By Katie Wright
Like tens of thousands of parents I watched history being made on “Larry King” Wednesday night. Jenny McCarthy held up the AAP’s 1983 infant and toddler immunization schedule and the 2008 schedule and said what all of us have known for years, “too much, too soon.” We can no longer play russian roulette with our babies’ developing central nervous systems. As Kirby so eloquently said, “the debate is over, after the Polings concession, it is a fact that vaccines can trigger autism.” Newsflash- AAP- mitochondrial disorders among ASD kids are neither rare or in most cases, pre-existing. My child has a mito disorder too. They are triggered by too many vaccines at too young an age, overloading a developing immune system.
I almost felt sorry for Dr. Tayloe, the routing he endured was painful to watch, yet well deserved.
His cohort, Dr. Karp, spoke about or families’ concerns about over vaccination in his usual disrespectful manner. As Jenny McCarthy so succinctly said, we not anti- vaccine; we are pro safe vaccine and vaccine schedule. Karp and Tayloe are apparently fine with the fact that ether, aluminum, ammonia and other toxic substances remain in vaccines as preservatives. It is a sad day for the AAP to declare itself to be against basic vaccine safety. Their claims of financial self-sacrifice in their blind adherence to the world’s most aggressive infant vaccination schedule are grossly disingenuous. If they want to learn about financial sacrifice they can talk to the parents of an autistic child.
I was so proud of my parents, Bob and Suzanne Wright, for doing the impossible and having the United Nations declare World Autism Day. The epidemic deserves this recognition and sense of urgency. While most of the geneticists invited to speak about autism made ridiculous claims about how autism is “90% genetic” all the questions from the audience were both dismissive and angry about the endless amount of money poured into gene research while more promising and urgent avenues of investigation are ignored. I was thrilled when my Dad said yes, that Autism Speaks was sponsoring a vaccinated vs. unvaccinated population study, in response to a mother’s question.
Meanwhile Autism Speaks has sadly been ignoring all the exciting news that the vast majority of parents deem important. There was no mention of Jenny and David having their history making debate with the AAP and there is no mention of this weekend’s DAN! conference on the website. I cringe when I hear AS leaders telling parents to look to the website for help and information. On World Autism Day, of all days, the only AS science “news” was a ridiculous and insulting story was about how TV watching may cause autism! I swear I am not making this up. AS science “news” exhaustively reports on each and every Paul Offitt op-ed piece, everything remotely related to the genome, AS ATN member Dr. Nancy Minshew’s “gloves off” assertions that autism is totally genetic, NIH studies about why the GF/ CF diet is dangerous and how old parents cause autism and every gene study from Cold Springs Harbor. Meanwhile substantive science news, science that parents actually care about and science that could actually help our children is ignored. AS will not acknowledge the Defeat Autism Now! conference happening this weekend. Dr. Polings’ essays about vaccines triggering autism in his daughter, David Kirby and Deidre Imus’ front page Huffington Post pieces about vaccine safety, the CDC, and making our environment safer for our children- all ignored. The latest GI treatment news and Dr. Wakefield’s response to his critics- also ignored.
If Autism Speaks only mission were awareness that autism exists this would be OK. However, the walks collect tremendous amounts of money for research and services. When I was a kid I was told over and over again, if you are going to do something, do it right. If you say you are a big tent and that you welcome and respect the concerns of the parental community get your scientific leadership to show up at a DAN! Conference. This has yet to happen in four years! I am not talking about setting up an AGRE table; I mean scientists attending the workshops and actually listening to parents. Somehow they find the time to attend and sponsor dozens of international eye- gazing and brain imaging workshops, but cannot find the time for DAN! Priorities need to change.
Katie Wright has two young boys. Her oldest son, Christian, is severely affected by autism. He developed normally; smiling, talking, walking; only to lose every skill and every word by the age of 2 and a half. Upon the advice of medical professionals Katie and her husband were advised to pursue only high quality behavioral therapy, speech and OT for Christian. It had no meaningful impact on Christian until his parents sought help from DAN! doctors who treated the underlying causes of Christian's descent into autism. Christian has improved but still has far to go. He has Inflammatory Bowel Disease, the measles virus in his gut and an immune system akin to a late stage AIDS patient. Christian does not have a psychiatric disorder. Before autism, Katie Wright was the Clinical Director of Sexual Assault Crisis Center in Stamford Connecticut. Katie is proud to serve on the Boards of NAA and SafeMinds.