Sometimes when I study the behavior of my younger daughter S, I fear that she may have autism. I've done a ton of research regarding the signs of autism because of this and though she does show a few of the warning signs, she also shows a lot of signs that she is fine.
Here's the breakdown:
Warning signs she shows:
1.) At 14 months old she still has not spoken, not even an attempt to say a word. She does however babble constantly and make all of the sounds that she is supposed to ( ba , na , ma, da ).
2.) Rocking and hand flapping. She rocks back and forth constantly when sitting down. But, I've noticed, she only does this while leaning against something soft and bouncy like the couch, and she usually does it when there is music on. The hand flapping thing she does a lot . I have no way of explaining this one away, it's just something she does and it scares me to no end.
3.) She is a slave to her schedule and if she strays from that schedule then she is very, very irritable. Also going along with this is the fact that I cannot rearrange the girls bedroom. I once moved S's crib to another wall and she didn't sleep for two days, I put her crib back the way it was and she slept like a baby.
4.) She doesn't really point or gesture. This one I'm shady on. She "kinda" points...but not really. My older daughter was pointing at stuff by 10 months old so this worries me a bit.
Signs she is developing normally:
1.) She makes eye contact and has ever since birth. Even the doctor once commented on how good her eye contact was during a routine visit as she stared him down and dared him to touch her.
2.) She is very happy and smiley and has been since birth.
3.) She plays social games like peek-a-boo and patty cake. She also loves to play with her sister. They chase each other around, jump on the couch, and laugh so loud it shakes the house.
4.) She likes to cuddle. She'll run to me with her arms up so I can pick her up, she gives me kisses, she loves to sit in my lap and interact with me.
Now, regarding immunizations. I've recently done some research and what I found scared me so badly that I cried. I cried because I did not do this research sooner and I feel that I may have unnecessarily exposed my children to harm.
I realize that some immunizations are necessary. What I did not realize, was that there is an alternate immunization schedule that you can follow so that your child does not encounter some of the harms that come with vaccinations. The research linking the many immunizations children receive nowadays with the skyrocketing numbers of children with developmental diseases (autism being one of them) is shocking!
For example, 50 years ago we had only four childhood vaccinations and the number of children afflicted with developmental disorders was roughly 1 in 10,000. Today, children receive 32 doses of vaccinations by the time they are 2 years old and 1 in every 68 American families has an autistic child. Coincidence ?? I think not. Our overzealous vaccination schedule may also be linked to the high numbers of children with ADHD and learning disabilities. Scary, no??
Doctors who believe the link between developmental disorders and immunizations exists, suggest an alternate immunization schedule.
1.) No vaccines until a child is 2 years old.
2.) No vaccines that contain thimerosal (mercury).
3.) No live virus vaccines (except smallpox, with the threat of terrorist use of the disease being so high)
4.) The following vaccines, given 1 at a time, every 6 months, beginning at age 2: pertussis ( acellular not the whole cell), diphtheria, tetanus, and polio (the salk vaccine, cultured from human cells, not monkey cells)
You can read the full article here . This article is sited by almost every autism website that I have come across.
It has also been said that you should not let the doctors give your child another dose of a vaccine that they had a bad reaction to. This makes me nervous. When S received her MMR (measles, mumps, rubella...a live virus shot) she was not "normal" for a month. Fever, crying, not sleeping, and she even broke out in a head to toe rash consisting of little red bumps. A phone call to the doctor's office said this was normal...let me tell you, there was nothing normal about it.
AND...yup, it gets better folks...there is new research that suggests that the way we overly vaccinate our children may actually inhibit their immune systems from developing normally thereby making them more susceptible to cancer at an older age. One example of this is that women who have had mumps as a child are much less likely to develop ovarian cancer than women who did not have this disease.
Now, the trouble with the alternate vaccine schedule comes with enrolling your child in public school. Public schools require your child to follow the CDC requested vaccination schedule. So, as parents, we don't have to follow what the government tells us to do regarding our children's health care...unless we want them to be educated. Nice, eh?? The only way around this is to provide the school with a letter from a religious "leader" stating that vaccinations are against our belief system. Hard one for me being that I have no belief system.
So now I'm torn. L is already 2 years old and has gone thru the rigorous vaccination schedule. But, do I allow her to get the follow up live virus vaccinations that the CDC requires at 4 years of age?? My gut says no...but then comes the hurdle of enrolling her in public school. As for S, there's no way I'm letting her get any more vaccines until she's older than 2 years old. And as for her follow up MMR ...NO. FRIGGIN . WAY.
Thoughts?? I'm especially interested to hear from any parents with older children who may have experienced some of the things I'm going thru with S...am I just being paranoid?? Teachers...any suggestions as to how I can jump the public school hurdle??