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Autism

Autism

02/17/2009

Question:

I am a mother of a 2 year old boy. Can you tell me if there is real link between Vaccines and autism. I have been giving vaccines to our son on a regular basis but after reading everywhere about the link between vaccinatons and autism I am really worried my son might get autism. Is Autism a condition that exist right rom the birth or can it come at any age? I am readingg everywhere that some kids where diagonsed with autism at the age of 3 and 4 years. This really worries me. My son seems to be on track with most of the things like paying with toys, trying to communicate and lot of other things. But he never comes to me to kiss. Whenever I ask him to give me a kiss he does that but he never comes on his own to do that. My son has the worst stranger anxiety too. He never plays with other kids or smiles at anybody. He smiles at me or my husband but not at any one else. He seems to be scared and insecure when people are around him. Could all this be a sign of autism? I als wanted to let you know that my son can count from 1 to 20 and read all he alphabets. So I feel like he is more interested in books but not really interested in socializing with anybody. Your advice will help me a lot as I am very tensed about my son right now especially because I have given all the vaccines to my son and now I am reading about the link of vaccines to autism.

Answer:

More research is needed regarding causes of autism. Although there is clearly a genetic predisposition, genes are only expressed through interaction with the environment, which could include the increased frequency and variety of vaccinations (among other things). However, vaccinations have not been proven to be part of the causal chain at this time, and they are lifesaving for the whole population.

At the current state of scientific knowledge, the risk of not vaccinating appears greater than the risk of vaccinating. However, it is not clear that all vaccinations need to be given as early as they currently are. You could discuss with your son's doctor the possibility of delaying some of them for a few years.

Regarding your observations of your son, you could obtain an evaluation regarding the possibility of autism at any child psychiatric, child neurological, or developmental/behavioral pediatric clinic. Ohio has two university centers of excellence in developmental disorders (Nisonger Center in Columbus and the University of Cincinnati), and every large city has some kind of specialized autism facility. Your child's doctor could refer for evaluation. Many centers have research studies in which a free evaluation can be obtained as part of the research assessments.

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Go to the Autism health topic, where you can:

Response by:

L Eugene Arnold, MD, MEd L Eugene Arnold, MD, MEd
Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University