I’m a twenty-one-year-old living with autism. I was born this way. My autism was not a result of vaccines. I am who I am, and I’m okay with that.
Please don’t put babies at risk of dying in order to spare them the possibility of autism, because the two are not connected.
Even if vaccines did cause autism–they don’t–but even if they did, I’d rather have my difficult life than no life at all. I’d rather have a speech impediment than have been silenced forever by a preventable childhood illness. I’d rather have trouble in school than have died before I ever got to go to school. I’d rather have social skills issues than never have had the chance to grow up and love people and embrace the world around me.
My condition is difficult, but I’m a happy, enthusiastic, and resilient person. I am so grateful for every day of life, no matter how challenging it may be. I may be different, but that doesn’t mean I’m less. I am happy with who I am.
I plan on living a long, full, and happy life. Your child– your autistic or neurotypical child– can have the same chance to live a long, healthy life, but not if a totally preventable childhood illness like measles or polio affects their life unnecessarily.
IF you believe that they do (or can), I, along with the entire body of scientific research on this connection, disagree with you, but we can at least agree on this: Autism is not a death sentence, but many of the conditions we vaccinate for can be.
Please, PLEASE vaccinate your children.
Anna Howell is 21 years old and a junior in college. Her goal in life is to be an Episcopal priest. She says, “It’s been a rough road to get where I am, and there’s an even harder one ahead, but I try to be courageous and creative about how I approach each day– one at a time, of course!”