I wasn't actually aware that it was possible to be a "family with autism", but that's what Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) uses as its tag line (families with autism helping families with autism).
TACA had a rally today about vaccines, where Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy were the celebrities in attendance (well, the ones who are highlighted on the main page of the site). Not anti-vaccines, but "let's slow down here, don't give so many all at once or so close together!" Which is kind of cool, really, and is a view I have held for many years. (Not because I think vaccines cause autism, but because I don't see how it's a good idea to inflict a small, developing body with so much outside material all at once.)
I found out about the rally while I was driving home from work this afternoon. I was listening to Shine FM, the local Christian radio station, as I do every day. The usual Drive show host was away today, so Johnny Mac was hosting in her place. Johnny's an interesting host. His jokes are pretty well all groaners, but I enjoy them anyway (good thing; my boyfriend is really punny), and he's often proven himself to be highly intelligent - which he did again today, to my pleasant surprise. (By which I mean, I was apprehensive when he said we were going to talk about vaccines, but he was quite insightful and respectful and had actually researched the topic in a sane manner before deciding to talk about it.)
Johnny outlined the point of the rally and then asked people to call in with their thoughts. What's amazing to me is that he only shared two calls, and both of them were quite good (well, one was mine, so I guess I shouldn't boast, but whatever).
The first caller was an employee of the Calgary Health Region, and she noted how important vaccines are. She pointed out that as fewer children are vaccinated, the risk of epidemics of diseases we are trying to eradicate (measles, mumps, rubella, diptheria, scarlet fever, etc.) increases for everyone. Anyone in Calgary who wants more information about vaccinations can call 403.943.LINK
As for myself, I made a few points. First, I noted that people really need to be educated about what side effects could occur. Second, I noted that vaccines are not a cause of autism, and even if they were, I'd rather have a live autistic child than a dead child. Third, I pointed out that it's possible to get combined vaccines separated out and split over several months.
In our conversation, one of the things Johnny and I talked about - this wasn't aired - was that there is no proven link between autism and vaccines. I took the opportunity to state that there are people who believe vaccines cause autism, even though it's been proven otherwise several times over. He seemed to appreciate that.
I'm posting this and then sending Johnny the link to my blog, so hi Johnny! Thanks for taking my call and doing some responsible journalism on this topic - even if it was just a chance for people to call in and get on their soapboxes!