Generation Rescue, an organization that says that “autism is mercury poisoning,” has taken out a full page ad in USA Today proclaiming that we need to “green our vaccines” and take “greater care” in administering them. By “greening” vaccines, Generation Rescue seems to mean that vaccines need to be—-like certain green cleaning products being promoted for use in New Jersey schools—safer. But today’s ad is merely the “same old same old” message the group has been putting out for the past years, and the “green” of their message is starting to wilt and wither.
In the past, Generation Rescue—and proponents of the hypothesis that vaccines or something in vaccines, such as thimerosal—have spoken out against vaccines; now, in a slight twist of rhetoric, their message is that vaccines need to safer (i.e., mercury-free). It’s not that Generation Rescue is “anti-vaccine,” but “pro-vaccine-safety“. Today’s ad also mentions ADHD—
The statistics speak for themselves. Since 1983, the number of vaccines the CDC recommends we give to our kids has gone from 10 to 36, a whopping increase of 260%. And, it, the prevalence of neurological disorders like autism and ADHD has grown exponentially as well.
Is Generation Rescue linking ADHD to vaccinations?!!??!—–things are getting a little out of hand here.
I understand that the parents behind Generation Rescue believe what they believe and believe that they have the best interests of children in mind. Nonetheless, surely there might be better ways to devote whatever sums went into paying for full-page ads in national newspapers, to help with (as today’s ad notes at the bottom), “the growing challenges of autism”—-the need to educate autistic children in schools and with services that take into account their individual learning differences and cognitive ability; the need to provide for autistic children’s education even after they turn (as in this article from the Doncaster Free Press) 16 and 21; the need to make sure that there are jobs and housing for autistic adults. The obsessive focus on mercury and vaccines and on sniffing out alleged (and very much imagined) government conspiracies of groups like Generation Rescue is starting to seem like, well, an obsession. Our children are growing up and the national conversation about autism needs to be focused on education and services, for autistic persons and to help others (such as law enforcement personnel) understand how best to help them.
And talking about about to create and fund such programs; how to get insurance companies to cover more costs for therapies; how to educate the public about autism is: For me, this is a constant work in progress, ever renewing, ever in need of revising and—-as I see how my son grows up and changes and keeps learning—-always offering some new, invigorating discovery.