No, no, Jim Carrey…you lost me

Oh, Jim Carrey…

Do you want to come over to my house and see an autistic kid?  I know you’ve seen kids diagnosed with Autism before, but I want you to see an individual who has been living with an Autism diagnosis since 1999.  Come on.  Come and see it first-hand in a home where we believe in vaccines.  Come and see it in a home without nannies, special therapies, book-writing, celebrity…

You lost me, dude.  I believe you are entitled to your opinion, but then you posted a picture of a kid having a meltdown without that child or his family’s permission.  And you lost me…  Lost me forever.

This is the thing, Mr. Carrey, sir…  Who gave you the right to use a child (anyone’s child) as a poster child for what other people shouldn’t want in their home?  Because that’s what it boils down to: people don’t vaccinate their kids because they don’t want autistic kids.  Oh, that’s the Big Bad Wolf right there…  Having an autistic child is the end of the world.  It’s the biggest curse.  It’s the worst that could happen.  It’s the biggest failure and burden a parent could face.

Beware having an autistic child.

You don’t want one of those.

WHY would you want one of those?  You could have a perfectly “normal” child, but instead you’d get an autistic one.  And you don’t want one of THOSE, do you?

Let’s bring back measles.  We’d rather have THAT than Autism.

OK, let’s clarify: “I am not anti-vaccine. I am anti-thimerosal, anti-mercury. They have taken some of the mercury laden thimerosal out of vaccines. NOT ALL!”

I know you have battled depression, and you have completely eradicated stimulants from your life.  I understand that.  Kudos to you.

Stimulants like coffee, though, are not airborne and contagious.  Have you had the measles?  If you haven’t, then, it’s probably because you were vaccinated.  You’re exactly three years older than I am, and I haven’t had the measles either.  I haven’t had chicken pox…I haven’t had any childhood illness, in fact.  I also don’t have Autism.

My youngest son, though, has Autism.  He’s 20 years old…he’s a pain in the ass.  If genetics are to be trusted, he would be a pain in the ass regardless of his Autism.  He gets it from his biological father.  In truth, he also gets it from me.  The Autism, it seems, is also passed down through the father’s side.  There are studies on this possibility; he also has a paternal half-brother who is autistic.

You have a daughter, and you’re a grandpa, aren’t you?  Did you vaccinate your daughter?  Did you persuade your daughter to not vaccinate her child?  I have a grandson.  I made sure to tell his mother to please vaccinate him. I also made sure to tell her that she needs to keep an eye out for any signs of Autism, but that if those appear we’ll work on it.

I’ve been doing this a very long time, Mr. Carrey.  Our little family has experienced quite a bit.  Self-aggression, regression, echolalia, hypersensitive hearing, behavioral problems, emotional rollercoasters that last several days.  It’s exhausting.  We just took our first family vacation in thirteen years.  It could’ve gone better.

Our son is handsome.  He is smart…in his own way.  He is moderately mentally retarded, autistic, non-verbal, and possibly bipolar.  Some of those things he gets from both family trees; some of those things just happened.

We have had to adjust our Christmases, Thanksgivings, birthdays, vacations, selection of a home, a town, a job to our son’s needs.  We can’t have a dog, not even an assistance one.  We were medication-free for the first fifteen years of his life, and now we’re down to very little medication, but we might/might not be needing more.

We have sat through countless IEPs, appointments with psychiatrists, doctors, teachers, administrators.  We have had people tell us that it’s the gluten, that it’s the vaccines, that it’s all in our minds and we’re lazy parents.  We have been told that all he needs is a little more discipline.

Over the years our son has had pneumonia, gastroenteritis, conjunctivitis, seasonal allergies.  He has needed dental surgery.  He currently has a sprained thumb and is walking around like his brace gives him Iron Man’s powers.  He wasn’t toilet-trained until the age of 8, and he doesn’t speak except seldom and you wouldn’t understand what he’s saying.  He uses ASL and he has a neat app in his iPad that allows him to tell me what he wants, even if this is “fuck off.”

My husband and I have grown old taking care of our son.  We have spent more days not traveling like other people than we can count.  We have declined invitations to events because finding a sitter is a bitch and a half.  We have raised our oldest to be his brother’s primary care giver when we’re no longer around.  We spend more money at the arts and crafts store than we would under different circumstances.  We order toys that are appropriate for younger children from Amazon, and we laugh at the collection of Madeline dolls our son loves.

Life is an adventure.  It is complicated.  It is difficult.  It can be downright tedious.  There are times when we wish we could run away to Spain and live in a rundown villa surrounded by olive trees…but we don’t know if our son would enjoy getting on a plane.  We also cannot afford this because that’s the way life is…

No toxins.  I get it.  I agree.  Some pretty noxious crap is put in things that shouldn’t have it.

But that doesn’t give you, or anyone else, to hold up a child in the Spectrum as a cautionary tale.  It doesn’t mean you can say “hey, this is so bad you don’t want it in your life.  Avoid it like the plague.”  When you post a picture (and I KNOW you apologized, you lovable lug, you) of a child having a meltdown while ranting about how bad toxins in vaccines are, you’re telling other parents “fear this!  Avoid this!  This is BAD!”

Isn’t it bad enough that people sometimes look at us funny when our son doesn’t act his age and size?  Do you think sharing our experiences (in conversations, this blog -anonymous though it is-) is easy?  We’re not trying to scare people, sir.  We’re trying to share what we go through so that, should this same thing appear on your doorstep overnight, you can see that we navigate it as best we can, and it makes for choppy waters, but it doesn’t sink us.

The Echols family has been gracious.  You’re lucky.  You made a spectacle of their child for your own purpose, and you know NOTHING of him.  You’ve never been to his house, enjoyed his company, experienced his difficulties, taken the time to know him and his people.

Come to my house.  Come and see that there’s nothing to be feared.  We are not deterred by this one rather large fly in the ointment.  Our kid, you see, is alive and well and has never had the measles.  He hasn’t been covered from head to toe in an itchy rash while experiencing a fever.  He also hasn’t experienced any complications from it, and he hasn’t died.  Someone just died, you know, from the measles…it was an adult woman whose infection seems to have gone undetected.

It could’ve been a kid.  It could’ve been a young child whose parents refused to vaccinate him/her because they fear Autism more than death.

Yes, yes…no toxins.  Ok.  I get it.  But until this can be achieved to the level that you want it, for crying out loud, stop influencing people with fear of Autism.  You don’t want the toxins in there?  Come up with other arguments; go about it in a way that doesn’t make our lives scary and undesirable.  We didn’t sign up for that part of it, Mr. Carrey.  Technically, we simply signed up for having children and loving them, taking care of them for as long as we live, and until they’re ready to be on their own.  That it didn’t turn out that way doesn’t make us bad parents, and it certainly doesn’t mean that you don’t want to be like us…

Find a better way.  One that preferably doesn’t involve us…

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