Autistic Pride Reading is extremely saddened to read of the rise of measles in Europe following reduced uptake of the MMR vaccine. The BBC says of the European outbreak that : “Last year there were 23,927 cases and the year before 5,273. …. More than 41,000 people have been infected in the first six months of 2018, leading to 37 deaths.”
As autistic people this is terrifying - just over halfway through the year and already nearly twice the number of cases of measles as in 2017 and 37 totally preventable deaths. Purely because someone, somewhere decided that preventable disease and death were preferable to autism - despite there being many studies proving no link between autism and vaccines.
Looking online we can find a mass of confusion and fear on both sides of this issue. From some anti-vaxxers deliberately taking out their children whilst sick to infect others, to a barrage of ridicule aimed at these parents. Neither is a useful way forward, especially when there is simply no link between autism and vaccines. Lower vaccine uptake means no herd immunity which is why we there is a rise in measles and people are dying. Meanwhile the apparent rise in autism is simply caused by better diagnosis, and there is good evidence to suggest that the incidence of autism has remained the same over the millennia of human existence.
Let’s break this down a bit - are we personally, upset about being autistic and feel that our lives are worth less? Well no. Studies have shown that autistic children are kinder and more likely to share with their peers than non-autistic children. They have also shown that we are less influenced by advertising and flowery language, more accurate, less likely to be violent (but more likely to be the victims of violence) and of course always at the leading edge of technology.
Research have also shown other things such as that the communication difficulties associated with autism are actually a two-way issue caused by differences between the way the autistic community and the non autistic community express themselves. We are also examining the role of autism in human evolution through the creation of some of the world’s first art, and looking at the differences in expressions of empathy. We think autistic people have deeper feelings of empathy to non-autistic people and express it in different ways as opposed to simply not having it. All the known genes connected with autism are found in the entire population, it’s the combination of them that produces an autistic child. A recent study spoke about how the most common cause of autistic children was autistic mothers and ever since autism was first discovered, those studying it have noted how the parents display autistic traits and are employed in engineering,maths etc.
Autistic Pride Reading is not saying that autistic people are better or worse than people of any neurotype. We would like to say that autistic people can and do contribute an enormous amount to any society which we are part of and would like you to consider what those societies would look like without deep empathy, technology, art, compassion, kindness and honesty. We want to share with you and we urge you not to risk your child’s death because they might be like us.