AOA 2010 Award: Mason Allen Medlam Foundation; Lori McIlwain
KitchenClassroom4Kids on "Cooking With my Son and The Autism Diet"

Best Of: Before Fear Sold Vaccines, Children Got Sick... On TV Even.

Vaccine_record_2"Most any child can have the mumps
Or even German measles
So here's a record of my health
From Chicken Pox to sneezles!"

Click on the photo to view it in full size. Use the "%" to scale it to fit your screen.

We first ran this post in 2008. In light of the drumbeat of insistence that questioning the safety of the current vaccine schedule and demanding informed consent are "anti-vaccine", I thought we'd remind our readers that fear, while an effective advertising strategy, isn't useful in making sound medical decisions for your children. Now, I'm off to use Scope to fight halitosis and then find a feminine spray for, well, you know and check up on our life insurance to make sure my family really is safe. Because when Mark and I die, our kids will still be here and need more protection than 100,000 vaccines could ever provide.

By Kim Stagliano

The poem above is from the vaccine record sheet of a 30-something Age of Autism reader you all know and love, as kept by her mother starting in 1969. Take a good look at this darling sheet of paper (click the photo to enlarge.) Then read her mother's notations.

We're reading the media alerts on "measles epidemics" that loom because of non-vaccinating parents. Remember when these diseases were featured in children's books and on sitcoms?


Arthur_chicken_poz_2 Leave it To Beaver: Beaver Gets the Chicken Pox

Friends: The One with the Chicken Pox


Arthur's Chicken Pox

The Brady Bunch: Is there a Doctor in the House?

Were kids dying of measles in America when Leave it to Beaver was airing? How about Arthur the Aardvark and his sister DW contracting Chicken Pox? Did PBS, the station that brought you Mr. Rogers and Elmo, mean to scare children with an episode about a deadly disease or simply explain to them that they too could manage the itch and discomfort of the Chicken Pox. Just last week, I heard a Frank Sinatra song called, "Ev'rything happens to me," where he sings, "I've had the measles and the mumps." When did measles and chicken pox go from entertainment fodder to epidemic fear? And who's behind it? 

Frank Sinatra Lyrics
Everything Happens to Me Lyrics

Why ramp up the fear level of childhood diseases right now?  Is it for back to school doctor's visits, so as to increase uptake? The media is in a frenzy with dire epidemic warnings, much like the color coded terror alerts that popped up everytime the current administration needed a voter boost before the 2004 election. Using fear to sell a product is as old as Cleopatra's eyeliner (which was made from lead.) Let's not be blinded by the technique.

Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism.




Do you know why parents send their kids to "pox parties"? It's not because they want to see their kids scratching and scarring themselves for a week. No parent wants their child to get ill, but they'll routinely arrange to have their kids get some diseases that make them miserable for days at a time. Seems odd, doesn't it?

The reason is simple. In childhood, these diseases are annoyances. You get all spotty, you scratch for a few days, you go back to normal. In adulthood, these diseases kill. Rubella in pregnant women causes birth defects and miscarriages. Three-quarters of chickenpox deaths are in adults, despite the overwhelming majority of cases being among children. Measles kills hundreds of thousands of people a year, even with vaccines available(though this is an improvement, it was pushing a million a decade ago).

Intentionally inflicting diseases upon your child to make them miserable may have been a good way to save them from worse when we were growing up and medicine hadn't advanced as far as it has today. But we have better options now, and lionizing a practice born out of brutal necessity does a terrible disservice to our children.


Back in the day measles, chicken pox and mumps were a free ticket out of school for a week. If I remember correctly It was Awesome!


I remember when the family of five boys down the street fron us all got the measles. They were even be out playing, their bodies covered with measels. We kids didn't think anything of it, nor did the adults. Noone complained. Noone reported them. They were never quarantined. None of them died, they got over it. It never, ever made the news.

Why? BECAUSE IT WASN'T A BIG DEAL! That's just they way it was back then (1970's).

If that happend today it would be a lockdown situ. The ped would call the school nurse. The school nurse would call the local health department, The Health department would call the state DPH. (Maybe the state would notify CDC or Homeland Security who knows?) The kids would be sent home and quarantined indefinetly. The next morning you maybe even read a news story about the deadly measles outbreak.

I'm much more worried about the paranoia that exists today than the actual disease.

Theodora Trudorn

You know I distinctly remember getting the chicken pocks. Wasn't considered a life altering time!! Socks got taped over my hands to keep me from scratching and mom made me bathe in oatmeal. Or what looked like oatmeal. I was fine afterwards with that natural immunity.

Nobody panicked back then about chicken pocks, and it wasn't really all that long ago! Now they want to tell me that it is life threatening?! Just how stupid do they think people are?!

Janet Sheehan

effalumps and's very confoozled...(from Winnie the Pooh!)
and how about Velveteen Rabbit- our very first video over 20 yrs ago! the little boy was sick and in quarantine, and his stuffed animals were sent to Toy Heaven :)
and some other cartoon character had the "weasles" but I forgot who that was! ahhh, the good ol'days...


My vaccinated ASD son got mumps and chicken pox. My unvaccinated NT children have never gotten any of these diseases. Strange, huh?


Fat kids, skinny kids, kids who climb on rocks; tough kids, sissy kids, EVEN KIDS WITH hotdogs...


Yea, Libby, I looked it up earlier but didn't comment yet about the Little Bear episode. It was season 2,episode 14. He AND Emily both had the mumps and sat around making a book about their friends. According to the CDC and the media etc etc...they should have been writing their death bed confessions. The way they make it seem.
My cousin Debbie had polio as a child. She was born in the late 50's. She was married, 3 children, part time job and a beautiful home that she kept spotless. She has a limp and has to wear a mask during bad air quality days or when the weather is too cold.
I remember very CLEARLY that my mother took me to a family members house where all 4 kids had the chicken pox. I never did get them but I did get the vaccine 8 times (yes, I said 8 times) because in order to get into nursing school, you have to show a possitive titer for Chicken Pox, Measles, Mumps, Rubella. I did not show a possitive titer for any of these. They sent me back NUMEROUS times still wanting a possitive titer. Guess what??? I STILL don't have a positive titer for ANY of those diseases. The last time I went in they gave me a tetanus "just in case". I STILL don't know what the "just in case" was for. My arm still have burning, itching, tingling, and pain that comes straight from my bones. It's been 5 yrs ago. Needless to say, I did ALL of this assinine stuff before I stepped out of the sheeple line.
Oh, and I had a date for prom...I was a freshman and the star track guy (Brad) had asked me to senior prom. We had the limo, fancy clothes, flowers...his mom called my mom the day before...Brad had chicken pox and wasn't able to come.
He was back in school a week later. One little scar on his forehead (it just made him hotter) and he lived to tell the tale. I, on the other hand, didn't get my fairy tale evening!!!


Jill, 19 kids and counting - I have watched in total awwww. How come they can have so many healthy kids and I cannot even have two? They do vaccinate though because the last little baby girl they gave birth to,was really sick, slow to get out of the hospital, very low birth weight. They vaccinated her right on the show. What they were I don't know, they did not say.

Tammy McNair

Great article! I have been looking in my area for a "chickenpox party" so my little guy will have natural immunity! ;0)


Why ramp up the fear level of (autism) right now? Is it for back to school doctor's visits, so as to (de)crease uptake? The media is in a frenzy with dire (autism) warnings, much like the color coded terror alerts that popped up everytime the current administration needed a voter boost before the 2004 election. Using fear to (avoid) a product is as old as Cleopatra's eyeliner (which prevented eye infections and disease.) Let's not be blinded by the technique.

Donna L.

My 70 year old mother contracted measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox as a child. Today, she is as healthy as an Olympic athlete, can swim laps for 3 hours straight, and has never been diagnosed with or treated for a single health condition.

My great-uncle had polio as a child, and even though he spent his life in a wheelchair, he had a successful career, a beautiful home, a wonderful wife, two children, and countless friends.

My son received vaccinations against hepatitis B, rotavirus, influenza, pneumonia, diptheria, pertussis, tetanus, measles, mumps, and rubella. He needs help eating with a knife and fork, he can't write his name or tie his own shoes, and he is unable to verbally express his most basic wants and needs. He also bites the backs of his hands until they bleed, and frequently slams his head into the wall.

Which of these three scenarios is more fear-evoking?


I always think it's odd when people say things like, "Nobody alive today remembers how terrible these diseases were!" My generation grew up with these diseases! I'm a bit too young to remember polio, and smallpox was before my time, but the rest were routine childhood illnesses when I was growing up. And chicken pox was routine until about ten years ago.

If we could prevent all these illnesses safely, if adverse vaccine reactions were truly rare, and if we develped a full understanding of how to minimize and treat adverse reactions, that would be one thing. Sure it would be great to prevent these illnesses if the trade-off were not epidemic levels of autism, IBD, seizure disorders, asthma, severe allergies, bipolar, ADHD, diabetes... But to exaggerate the dangers of these illnesses in order to justify not even acknowledging the down side of vaccines is just propaganda.


Little Bear had the measles and mumps! On TV and in the book.


I caught an episode of "19 kids and counting" on TLC where almost ALL of the Duggar kids had chicken pox. I am unsure if Mrs. Duggar vaccinates her children or not, but it was no big deal in their home. They were controlling the itching with anti itch creams and fever with Benadryl, right there on National TV. They talked about how yeah, it was annoying, but it was ok b/c now they had natural immunity. :)


Right on page 5 of Patti Smith's memoir "Just Kids", Smith mentions pretty pointedly that she had measles, mumps and chicken pox and attributes her early literary visions to the fevers that came with the illnesses.


Still have that Arthur book - one of the special things about autism is that your kids still like a lot of the same things they liked ten years ago.
And the Brady Bunch episode where all of the kids get the Measles at the same time is a classic! The parents are only mildly concerned. No one called 911, no one went crazy with panic. Alice didn't even break a sweat! It was just another childhood illness to get through with a little TLC, then life went back to normal. Now if all the Brady kids regressed into autism at the same time, now THAT would be a scarey show!


I've one to add from the UK
Rainbow c 1988

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