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Make Them Fear, Make Them Silent: Shaming In The Age Of Autism

Make Them Fear, Make Them Silent: Shaming In The Age Of Autism

AntNat2By Natalie Palumbo

I’m 20, a rising sophomore in Motion Design at Ringling College of Art and Design, and the only sibling to an older brother with low-verbal autism.

Whether I’m away at school, or travelling far from home, I always stay in touch with my family and monitor the news. I’ve noticed an alarming pattern that seems to be forming. There appears to be a considerable attempt to shame parents for their concerns regarding medicines, and what is safe for their children to receive in terms of vaccinations and prescriptions.

I find it disheartening as a sibling that there isn’t more compassion coming from the medical professionals. Shouldn’t the parents feel comfortable asking if the recommended medicine is safe for their children to take? Why is there this attempt to make parents refrain from asking any questions, and why is there such an effort to shame them? I’ve noticed there are more stories being unearthed about doctors disregarding previous diagnosis, and children being held hostage by hospitals as in the Justina Pelletier case.

The Justina Pelletier case involves a 14 year old girl who was suffering with mitochondrial disease. After a setback, she was taken to Children’s Hospital in Boston. Despite what the parents reported to the medical professionals, the doctors believed that the child’s problems were psychiatric and not gastrointestinal. They ordered a complete change of protocol in spite of parent objections. The parents wanted Justina discharged from the hospital so they could seek care elsewhere.

According to reports in the Boston Globe, this resulted in “A medical collision with a child in the middle”. Journalist Niel Swidey wrote that doctors at Children’s Hospital, “contacted the state’s Child Protection Agency to discuss filing ‘medical child abuse’ suspecting that Justina’s parents were interfering with her medical care and pushing for unnecessary treatments.” These allegations led to Justina being taken from her parents and placed in emergency custody by the state. After a 16 month battle, the case was resolved in favor of the parents, but there are many more stories like Justina’s.

As a young woman witnessing this behavior from medical professionals and hospitals, it makes me frightened to think of what I might face with my own children. After witnessing my parents’ continued struggle to get adequate care for my brother, I have many questions about family history and medical vulnerability. Will I be shunned and threatened for asking questions? Will I be shamed for having concerns? Who can I trust? Should I be expected to keep quiet and accept the possibility of tragedy, no questions asked? What if tragedy strikes? Am I allowed to ask questions then? The excuse for maligning parents with questions is always “the greater good”. Is it ever the greater good to shame people into silence?  

All a good parent wants to do is make sure their child is getting proper care. It really bothers me that parents are not just judged, but vilified for daring to even ask questions. Why shouldn’t parents be concerned about the safety of what is being injected into their children’s bodies? If parents must sign acknowledgement of medical risks, why can’t they ask questions? Why not treat parents and their concerns with the respect they deserve?  No one should be shamed for asking questions and wanting to be more informed.

Natalie Palumbo is a Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.


Full Spectrum Mama

There are so many ways in which those on the spectrum and their families are silenced, from these mentioned above to training and shaming that tries to get us to be "normal"...It's a mess -- one that it's up to us to try to clean up for our sakes and those of our loved ones...


As the mother of a unvaccinated toddler I am continually amazed how parents are shamed and bullied for questioning doctors and the pharma industry. For doctors and others to say they know our children and what's best for them better then their own parents feels very misguided. I find myself lucky that I continuously questioned my daughters pediatricians when they didn't make sense around the vaccinations they wanted to administer. In my heart, I know that part of the reason why my daughter is in such excellent health and her verbal skills and understanding of language is high for her age is because she wasn't vaccinated. It's similar to the other parents I spoke to who have unvaccinated kids. In fact, I never met any unvaccinated child while I was researching vaccines who has health issues and other challenges like the ones of the vaccinated kids I know. It's the great "cover up" of our time. It's so obvious that they have to use such force and bullying to keep people in the dark.

Truth is hard to come by

It occurs to me that the attempt to convince doctors to dismiss patients who refuse vaccines is a self-preserving move by the vaccine industry. It is not so much that they are concerned about individual people/kids not taking vaccines but more so that they don't want any doctors (or others) who are currently convinced by education/brain-washing of vaccine value/safety to start having doubts.

While I am not currently enamored of mainstream doctors, I do think most of them went into medicine with some desire to help others and IF they were to see clear evidence in their own practice that unvaccinated or less vaccinated children/adults stay healthier, then they might well join the vaccine questioners/dissenters.

That would truly be a disaster for the vaccine pushers, which is why, I think, their strategy is to vilify vaccine refusers and convince all doctors to not to allow any non-vaccinators in their practices. That way doctors won't have any chance to observe firsthand any differences that might otherwise be very noticeable and raise concerns/questions. HIPPA laws can't prevent individual doctors from doing their own small research projects into the question of whether or not vaccinating leads to any differences in patient outcomes within their own practice.

So I hope enough doctors are truly honest and caring enough to question the wisdom of firing patients who don't vaccinate and then become curious enough to do a little comparison of the health/development outcomes in their own practices. There is nothing more convincing than firsthand observation. And if, as I and most here think they would, such doctors do see patterns that raise concern, I wish them the courage to to speak out loudly and ask hard questions of the powers that be.

School nurses and principals who have access to children's vaccine records might also have the opportunity to look at vaccination records in comparison to test scores and health problems (like add, adhd, asthma, diabetes, depression, odd, etc. etc.).

Insurance companies also have that information access so there possibly might be folks within these companies able to do a little independent (albeit unauthorized) research.

Making it more difficult for people to even talk about vaccinations is part of the plan--if those who don't vaccinate are unwilling to speak out or admit that they don't vaccinate when asked, it will be more difficult for people to notice any differences between vaccinated and unvaccinated as they won't know which kids are and which kid aren't vaccinated.

I observed noticeable differences between vaccinated and unvaccinated kids' behavior in a small sample based on questioning parents re: their kids' vaccine histories (years ago)--but it is more difficult now to have the panache to ask parents about their kids' vaccine status in most situations. Demonizing those who don't vaccinate makes it more difficult for people to even discuss the topic--and that is exactly the aim of those who name-call and ridicule those who ask questions.

And, unfortunately I don't think the picture is entirely straightforward--there are multiple variables involved that muddy the picture. So only those who are able to understand that will be able to perceive any pattern.

Still, truth will out if enough people start asking questions and seeking answers from the data at their fingertips (or in front of their eyes).

Laura Hayes


Yes, I read that lovely comment about meeting quotas so funding wouldn't be cut. Government programs seem only to expand. Doesn't seem to matter if the program is needed at its current level anymore or not, or needed at all for that matter. Doesn't seem to matter that other programs are in dire and greater need (hint: timely and appropriate services for the millions with "autism"...i.e. biomedical, behavioral, educational, vocational, the list goes on).


From the article you posted (re CPS kidnapping):

"States lose federal funds if they don’t meet a certain quota of children placed into foster care,..."

So if you have a healthy community with loving families, some still have to lose their children so that CPS can meet its quota. How sick is that?

Cynthia Cournoyer

If you question anything medical regarding children anymore, you must be one of those vaccine kooks. I think the health care industry is starting to view it that way. There are so many vaccines now that they are easy to question. That is the entry point into questioning everything. In order to make us all compliant, every question must be put aside or more people will question vaccines.

Laura Hayes

Once again, Natalie, you have hit the nail on the head...thank you! What you write reminds me of 2 recent articles I have written that AoA has published. To add to what you have written for any who might be new to AoA, I will include their links. I hope you have had some time with your family this summer :) Keep up your GREAT work!

The Oxymoron of Safe Vaccines:

Dear Vaccine Bully:

Also, here is a link which profiles a number of recent cases where CPS has abducted children from their parents, parents who dared to question or refuse medical "treatments" for their children. Shockingly horrifying that events such as these are happening in our "free"country:

Grace Carley

So true, Natalie, and very well said. Here in the UK, parents are being bullied and vilified if they show any reluctance to administer the MMR vaccine, not just by the medical profession, but by other parents who are toeing the Government and media line about "herd protection", and scare stories of measle outbreaks.

Eileen Nicole Simon

Natalie, thank you for speaking out about the shaming of parents of autistic children. This has always been the case, even before people rightfully asked about the safety of vaccines.

My son who is now 51 suffered head injury (cephalhematoma) and anoxia at birth. I was told that was nothing to worry about, but if concussion from school sports injuries are such a concern, why shouldn’t head injury at birth be considered serious?

I am glad that parents concerned about vaccines have banded together, and are demanding discussion about the safety of medical interventions. Why haven’t they at least modified the vaccine schedule? I will continue to speak out about unsafe procedures in obstetrics, especially clamping the umbilical cord, cutting off placental respiration before the lungs have taken over.

We need something like the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to investigate all possible factors involved in the increase in autism.


So true, Natalie- it's a very frightening trend how parents are being pressured, shamed and thugged ( via legal avenues) to not question what medical interventions are being given to their babies/children.
The only thing I can see is that even in the face of all that, parents are amazingly strong & able to advocate where their children are concerned and that parental concern trumps what they can throw at them.


Humanity seems to make little progress, only the nature of barbarian and oppressive institutions changes from generation to generation. Today we have our own witchfinder generals detecting MSbP and conversion disorders at every turn: in reality medical ideologues enforcing political correctness at hideous cost, when the science has failed and was only a commercial/bureaucratic construct in first place. Some of these strategies have always lurked in the background of medical practice, but as a formal method of enforcing public orthodoxy it has perhaps really only taken shape in the last 40 years.

If we had known a quarter a century ago what we know about all this now, I don't know what we would have done. For the new generation who can see all this, as we did not, they face the most appalling battles and decisions. The only thing is that they are slightly better armed with their knowledge than we were. But it is a terrible legacy.


One never sees a "real vaccine commercial" on television because they would then have to spend about 45 seconds telling of the few dozen side effects.

One only sees newscast "free public service announcements" telling you where to get the "often free or low cost" vaccines for your children.

The television station is well paid to make this "part of the news."

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