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

| | August 31, 2018

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:  Making monkeys just to suffer: Is new autism model ethical?

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

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.
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