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Viewpoint: Neurodiversity and why we can’t let fear of autism discourage vaccinations

| | August 31, 2018
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Image credit: Yuri Gripas/Reuters
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Measles cases are surging across Europe, as vaccination rates have dropped. It’s a problem that medical authorities believe is, in part, a delayed effect of Andrew Wakefield’s utterly discredited scare campaign that attempted to link the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine to an increase in autism diagnoses. That Wakefield has had such a long-lasting, harmful effect is an indictment of how autism was, and is still, perceived in some quarters: a devastating and incurable scourge, and the greatest trauma that can befall parents.

I’m autistic, and I was diagnosed 10 years ago, in 2008. At 12 years old, I had no way of knowing that anti-vaccination was still a live topic around autism.

But many autistic children and adults were caught up in this bizarre and often harrowing episode – the discussion was too often centred on how to avoid having an autistic child, or what “mistakes” were made that caused the autism, rather than embracing the possibilities of neurodiversity.

Related article:  HPV vaccinations could eliminate cervical cancer, researchers say

The culture of fear that Wakefield aided and abetted has been taken up by far-right political movements, which capitalise on the fears that surround autism. In their narrative, autism is devastating and to be avoided at all costs.

Anti-vaxxers cannot be allowed to regain the foothold that they had when I was diagnosed.

Read full, original post: I’m autistic – don’t let anti-vaxxers bring back the culture of fear

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