By Cathy Jameson
I saw a teaser from Bloomberg Politics last week while we were visiting family on Christmas vacation. I tried to stay away from the news and relax, but when I saw that autism was mentioned in the headline, I took a minute to find a quiet place to read the link.
The link truly was a tease! Very little information was offered, but as the parent of a child with autism, I’m very much looking forward to reading what the former Secretary of State has to say. I’ll readily admit, though, that as the parent of a child with autism—whose autism is a result of childhood vaccines, I am hesitant to get too excited about the plan that Mrs. Clinton is about to unveil.
Clinton, currently a presidential candidate, was quick to point out in early 2015 that she, a grandmother of one, knows best about vaccines. As the mother of five, whose two sons were adversely affected by vaccines, I beg to differ.
I could be wrong, but with her past statement, I don’t believe that Mrs. Clinton is ready to fully support me or my son with autism.
For many parents, we clearly know that vaccines and autism went hand in hand – and not in a good way. Unless her plan includes preventing autism, which means also addressing the out-of-control vaccine schedule, I don’t hold out too much hope that her autism plan will be more than be a nice gesture.
I am tired about hearing that we should be doing something about autism and would rather actually do something about the disorder. I’d rather not wait for another “Autism President” to talk about a plan that will go nowhere. That said, I fully support what other people are saying we need to do about autism. Lisa Wiederlight’s recent proposal to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), a federal autism advisory committee, was spot on. I can get behind her plan and hope that others, including Mrs. Clinton, will as well.
Wiederlight, Executive Director of SafeMinds and parent of a teenager on the autism spectrum – and someone who I can identify with, recommended creating four working groups, including one that sounds similar to one of the bullet points mentioned in the Bloomberg link – to provide support for parents/caregivers.
The other topics Wiederlight presented, which are equally as critical and most certainly should be addressed by the IACC committee—and by anyone who chooses to include discussion of autism on their political platform, include wandering/elopement, environmental factors related to the rise in the autism rate, and co-occurring conditions and autism.
I believe that creating those groups is simple yet logical. Moreover, I believe that creating them is doable. Of course, those four topics do not include all aspects of the autism spectrum, nor do they represent each person’s concerns, but they do sum up what many parents of children with autism and vaccine injury have voiced for years now.
Others, like Mrs. Clinton, may believe that different groups or autism action plans should exist, and according to Bloomberg, we should know soon what her thoughts are.
Now, if Mrs. Clinton’s topics happen to be similar to what Wiederlight shared, I’d encourage her to join the discussion that was started at that last IACC meeting. I’ll go a step further, too. I’d ask that if Mrs. Clinton really is serious about presenting a national autism plan, which hopefully includes not just thoughts but action on how to reduce the alarming autism rate, which was recently reported by the CDC to be 1 in 45, then she, too, should begin to attend the IACC meetings. She’d learn what research is being done. She’d learn what research is not being done. She’d have the ears of several leaders of the autism community. She’d also be able to meet and discuss issues with parents of severely affected children, including how vaccines and other environmentals contributed to their child’s diagnosis. I’ve been told by some of those parents, who time and time again travel great distances to speak to the committee, do not feel that they are heard by the committee. Imagine what could be done for families if someone like Mrs. Clinton considered stepping in!
As main caregiver to a severely affected child who requires round-the-clock care, it’s nearly impossible for me to get to those meetings, but I’d welcome a willing advocate to step in in my place. So, Hillary, if you’re serious about addressing autism, and if you’re open to listening to the parent of a non-verbal vaccine-injured child, I’d love to talk. Oh, how I’d love to talk to you about this thing called autism.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.