Today, Ms. Peete ran a poignant HuffPo piece Autism Meet Adolescence about her son, now a handsome young man of 15, and the new fears puberty brings, especially for a male of color with autism. We should also be aware that Holly has publicly talked about her son R.J.'s regression into autism following vaccination as a toddler.
"In 1999, I brought
my typically developing toddler into my pediatrician's office and asked the
doctor to consider postponing or perhaps breaking up the controversial MMR shot
he was scheduled to have that day. Because my little guy just came off a round
of antibiotics after an ear infection and I suspected his immune system was
weakened, I worried that he wouldn't be able to assimilate this heavy viral
load. (MMR shot contains no thimerasol or mercury but a cocktail of 3 potent
live viruses). The doctor ignored my fears and belittled me for even
questioning him. I felt humiliated and powerless. Despite my "inner mommy
danger meter" on full tilt, I allowed my boy to be inoculated. Ms. Pipes,
unless you have watched your son get this shot, have heard him cry and scream
"no mommy!" (words I didn't hear again by the way until years later),
held him through the night while he battled fevers for days afterwards, and
then disappear into autism you could not begin to understand my position.
"I don't however, as you condescendingly suggested, use my suffering and testimony as an excuse for my convictions but as evidence of harm."
Her husband, Rodney Peete wrote the book, Not My Boy!: A Father, A Son, and One Family's Journey with Autism (2010)
In the second chapter of the book, "The Wake-up Call--The Diagnosis," Rodney described what happened to his son when he was given the MMR, along with the HepB and the polio vaccines--all on the same day. (This followed a course of antibiotics for an ear infection.)
"At home that night, R.J. had a terrible fever and started shaking violently, just short of a seizure."
Rodney went on to describe the response from the pediatrician who merely recommended they give R.J. Tylenol. He ended up in the ER that night. (p.25)
Rodney stated, "Holly and I, and many other parents of children with autism, believe that the scientists who have concluded that there is no connection between vaccines and autism should have designed their studies differently. ..." (p. 26)
"That day of the vaccination marked a major turning point for R.J. Within a week of the shots, he stopped responding to his name....Shortly after the shots, R.J. withdrew. He stopped making eye contact and he didn't laugh much. Often he'd just lie curled up in a ball staring at his hand or the wooden slats of the crib, lost in a world of his own." (p. 27)
On World Autism Awareness Day, we all need to be aware that one of the board members of the leading autism advocacy organization in the world believes her son has autism because of the vaccines he received.