Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes is also the land of 1 point of view, it would seem. There is no such thing as vaccine injury, choice or conversation about safety. If you have touched the topic, you are an anti-vaxxer and as such, you will be ridiculed even when you donate your precious time away from your severely autistic child to sit on a board designed to help families cope with the slew of problems associated with the rise in autism.
Wayne Rohde has written a carefully researched book on The Vaccine Court that every American should read. He moved to Minnesota from Oklahoma to help his son. His son Nick was the namesake of "Nicki's Law" which in 2008, fought for medical coverage for autism in Oklahoma. Monday (May 19), two newspapers – both in predominantly Republican communities – published editorials in support of “Nick’s Law,” a measure by Senator Jay Paul Gumm that would require health insurance policies cover diagnosis and treatment for autistic children. Patti Carroll has worked tooth and nail for ALL people with autism in Minnesota and also to protect those not "yet" touched. She was especially involved in helping the immigrant Somali population as they faced autism for the very first time, once here in America. To offend them by writing them off as mere "antivaxxers" is an insult in the extreme.
And it's sanctioned.
We are the new N word. We are the new R word. I was supposed to speak at an autism school somewhere in the United States in 2 weeks. I was hired as keynote speaker for their annual fund raiser. Some parents at this fine private school caught wind that "KIM ROSSI OH YOU MEAN STAGLIANO THE ANTIVAXXER" is being hired and guess what? They got me FIRED from the job. They cancelled my signed contract. I was really looking forward to meeting a new group and sharing my experiences by using my humor to make them laugh.
I'm sorry for Wayne and Patti. They have weathered a storm for being part of this committee from inside the committee and outside too. I know they are strong enough and dedicated enough to look past the shunning and slurs against them. They are autism parents and we are tough as hell. We deflect barbs and names like water off a duck while we fight in the trenches for our kids. We're tired. We're getting older. We are STILL finding news ways to help the aging autism epidemic survive and thrive into adulthood - by serving on committees exactly like this one in Minnesota.
From the Daily Beast:
Two members of the Minnesota Autism Council are vaccine skeptics, in a state that already has a history of struggling with misinformation about vaccinations and has recently fought one of the worst measles outbreaks in recent memory.
The Autism Council was formed last fall by state Sen. Jim Abeler (R) to advise the state’s legislature on public policy related to autism.
Abeler, who believes doctors should tell parents the “pluses and minuses of vaccines,” appointed anti-vaxxer Wayne Rohde, co-founder of the Vaccine Safety Council of Minnesota, a group that is skeptical of vaccines, and Patti Carroll, who was involved with organizing anti-vaccine outreach in the Minnesota Somali community.
Rohde refutes the label of “anti-vaxxer.” “Those who question vaccine safety are quickly marginalized as saying ‘We’re anti-vax,’” Rohde told the Star Tribune.