Good morning. Recently, I have received emails from people claiming to be students, asking for "help with research". The topic is autism and/or vaccinations. A friend in my town's son was asked to write a point/counterpoint on vaccine choice - in SEVENTH GRADE.
Last week, an email asked me to explain the vaccine autism link for a school project. By the time I would have answered, the kid would be celebrating his 25th high school reunion. I got another such an email yesterday.
Lauren XXXXXXX (Student) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I’m so sorry to bother you, but I must say I’m offended by your publications. I am 16 years old and am living with high-functioning autism. I build my own computers. I am a master of economics. I am not a victim of a vaccination. I am not a side effect or mistake. I am an upgrade. Your blog makes me feel bad about myself. I am somebody, not a disease. I have autism, but autism isn’t me. Stop writing to make me feel like I wasn’t meant to be.
Sincerely, Rose Mxxxxxxxxx
A student says she wants us to stop publishing because we offend her. Oh honey, welcome to the world. I'm never rude to children who contact me. Or any reader, or faux reader. I gain nothing by whipping out my Snark guns. I borrowed dear Dan Olmsted's response to almost every email he got: "We always enjoy hearing from our readers." If I were to answer her in full. And I will not, I would tell her I do not think she is a mistake. Or a side effect. Her autism might be though. I would encourage her studies and her work and hope she is kind to the students in her school who have disabling autism, like my girls. I said none of this to her. I don't engage young people in this way - it's rhetorical. If she is genuine, I wish her well.
Kids should be thinking about prom and a first kiss and their first time voting and a driver's license. They should be worried about college debt, and maybe STDs and pregnancy. But vaccination? It feels fabricated. What do you think?