By Wendy Fournier
The headlines this week have me sitting at my computer with utter contempt for the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The AAP is frantic about a fictional TV show scheduled to air on ABC this week. The show, entitled "Eli Stone" will depict the story of a family who is awarded a multi-million dollar lawsuit based on the theory that thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative still used in many vaccines – caused their child to develop autism. AAP president Renee Jenkins sent a letter to ABC demanding that this show be cancelled. Has the AAP got nothing better to do than worry about a TV show?
The media is going crazy over this story and I’m choking on the vocabulary that is being used - “emotional debate,” “the myth that vaccines can cause autism,” “fantasy,” “reckless irresponsibility.” The debate that vaccines have contributed to the explosion of autism in the last 20 years is not one of emotion, it is one of science. The word “myth” should be used only when something is proven untrue, that is certainly not the case here. Suggesting that ABC is being “recklessly irresponsible” is actually laughable when it comes from the AAP - which in my mind is the epitome of those words.
The AAP suggests that parents viewing the show will refuse vaccines and cause their children “needless suffering”. What about the needless suffering of hundreds of thousands of children who have been injured by the over-zealous, toxin-containing vaccine program that the AAP so staunchly promotes?
What exactly is the mission of the American Academy of Pediatrics, anyway? Is it not to protect the health of America’s children? Why are they turning their backs on the environmentally triggered, therefore PREVENTABLE and TREATABLE epidemic of autism? Why aren’t they looking at the kids who have recovered and developing treatment standards? Why are they wasting their time and energy worrying about television shows and fighting state legislation to ban the use of mercury in children’s vaccines? This organization should be fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with vaccine safety advocates to stop the unnecessary injection of toxins into our children through immunizations. They should be demanding the safest possible vaccines for our children. Yet there they sit, on the opposite side of the table. How could they possibly have such blatant disregard for the health of our children? Could the fact that they receive major funding from the pharmaceutical industry be playing a role here? Is the AAP selling out our children?
Recently, several autism advocates respectfully attempted to distribute information to pediatricians attending an AAP conference in Washington. Our goal was to educate doctors who are still under the misguided impression that autism is a mysterious, genetic, life-long mental illness for which there is no treatment. We attempted to give them hope for their patients and empower them with the knowledge that they can increase the quality of life of these children. The convention organizers didn’t appreciate our message and we were escorted out of the building by security personnel. What is the AAP afraid of? As a parent, I would hope they would explore absolutely every avenue of treatment for the 1 in 150 children in this country who are affected by autism.
We now know that autism is biologically based. There are underlying medical issues that cause the behaviors and symptoms that we collectively observe and diagnose as “autism.” Those medical issues frequently include gastrointestinal disease, bacterial and fungal infections, chronic viruses that go undiagnosed, heavy metal toxicity, food allergies and sensitivities, chronic inflammation, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, auto-immune disease and more.
Many of our children are in constant pain. And sadly, far too many are unable to express that pain verbally. So they are left to suffer in silence. When they scream and act out in frustration, we are told that they have “behavioral issues” and it’s just part of having autism. Wake up, AAP! Our children are sick.
Perhaps we need to strike the word “autism” from our vocabulary. Medical professionals should be prohibited from slapping that label on a kid and wishing their family luck as they push them out the door without a shred of hope. Physicians should be looking deeper. Yes, these kids display symptoms of “autism,” but what is causing those symptoms? That’s what needs to be properly diagnosed and treated.
It is my belief that doctors who choose to specialize in pediatrics do so because they have a genuine desire to care for children. To those doctors, I beg you to step outside the confines of what your guiding organization tells you to believe and look at the children you are seeing in your practices. It is within your power to restore health to these children and help them to live a pain-free and full life. Read Dr. Bryan Jepson’s book, “Changing the Course of Autism.” Attend a Defeat Autism Now! Conference and learn from the practicing physicians who are in the trenches and are successfully treating children diagnosed with autism. Talk to the parents who would not accept a hopeless diagnosis and have gotten their children back through individualized medical treatment of their biological symptoms. You can help these children!
I will close with a heartfelt message to the American Academy of Pediatrics. You have miserably failed our children. You arrogantly accuse others of “reckless irresponsibility” as you actively fight for the continued use of unnecessary poison in vaccines. You unapologetically turn your back on a generation of sick children, refusing to investigate potentially helpful treatments and condemning them to a lifetime of pain. Shame on you!
Wendy Fournier is the President of National Autism Association.