An Open Letter to Anti-Vaxxer Parents from an Autistic Woman

Dear Parents:

Your presence on Facebook and on the internet has been quite prominent lately. I can barely make it through one day without seeing a post from one of you shared on Facebook or elsewhere on the internet.

Let me introduce myself. I am a 21 year old woman. I’m currently studying forensic science in college. I have a passion for science (particularly chemistry), reading, and video games. But above all else, I am autistic.

I have been diagnosed officially with autism spectrum disorder, after a battle that ensued over several years. I have always known I was different, but I never understood why I was so different from my peers. Yes, I have had many struggles when it comes to socialization. Yes, I’ve spent much of my life having attempted to fit in with my classmates. Yes, I’ve had a tough time dealing with sensory issues that have often caused high amounts of stress. Yes, I’m extremely rigid when it comes to routines. However, I have managed to make friends, learn how to adapt to life, and I have successfully pursued a college degree for the past 3 years in the area of my special interest.

Why do you view my fate as one that is worse than a crippling disease or even death? Why?

One of my friends who is also on the autism spectrum, Teighlor Fiddler, sums up what your view says to us on the spectrum well. She says, of those who are against vaccines, that “They rather have dead children than have children like me”. That is exactly what your fight against vaccines (as a result of the “vaccines cause autism” argument) says to those on the spectrum. That you, as parents, would prefer that your child be dead or have a serious disease than have autism.

Stop and think about that for a moment. It tells us on the spectrum that autism is a fate worse than death or crippling disease.

How are we supposed to feel about that, knowing that there are a growing number of parents out there that think that we are worse off than those who are dead? What does that say to us? That we are horrible, worthless, and a waste of space. It does not make us feel hopeful about our future. It makes us feel judged and misunderstood by society. I cannot even begin to put into words how awful this makes me feel, to know that there are parents out there who consider someone like me to be someone who is living a life that is worse than death.

Let me tell you something, autism is not a fate that is worse than death or some of the worst diseases imaginable. And before you ask, no, it is not a disease. It may not make for a life that is smooth sailing all of the time, but it is something that I wouldn’t give up for the world. To assert that a child would be better off living with a horrible disease or even worse, dead, shows great ignorance on your part. It is clear to me that you have not, or will not, see the positive in an autistic person. Because let me tell you, you see absolutely no positive in autism if you consider it worse than death.

Like I’ve said, autism isn’t always a bucket of positivity, but even in the lowest of my moments, I can still see the positives. My autism has given me a passion for forensic science that has allowed me to persevere through all of my academic struggles. Without it, I wouldn’t still be pursuing my passion today. It has given me an outstanding memory that has proved useful throughout my life. It has given me the ability to notice things around me that others often don’t notice.

So tell me again, why is a life like mine worse than death?

Sincerely,

An Autistic Woman who is going to keep fighting against this warped view of autism

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18 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Anti-Vaxxer Parents from an Autistic Woman

  1. Meghan, so beautifully said!! Unfortunately when you present a view that differs from anti vaxers you are likely to receive horrible hate mail. Yes, I have been insulted and threatened. As has everyone I know who discusses this important topic. Don’t take their words to heart. And don’t respond. The venom in their attacps stands in direct contrast to your coherently presented opinion and only serves to make a reader less inclined to listen to their “arguments”. Thank you for writing this, ignore the haters, and hope you don’t mind, but I’m sharing this far and wide!!

  2. Girl that was gorgeous! I am an aspie and I fully agree! Since accepting and embracing what I refer to as my aspieness, I am a much happier human being. I am smarter than your average bear, and I am funny as heck. People are lucky to know me, as they are to know you! That was inspiring! I think of my mind as constantly entertaining and I do not need television as I have my own mind, my own personal aspergervision! I am a gift. It may sound conceited, but given the choice, I’d choose be reborn as me than anyone else hands down.
    Vaccinate away, the proof is in me, besides the fact that the research was false, I am awesome! So are you! Thank you so much for this amazing amazing letter!

    Keep it up!

    Brittburger

  3. People who are harassing you should listen to you and your perspective instead! Autistic people are the key to learning about autism! If you’re going to just scoff and name call instead of listen, you folks doing this are the ones with the real problem.

  4. couldn’t agree more. i feel similar about the demands into more research for prenatal detection autism and i wonder how my son will feel about that, when he will understand it means his life is basically considered unworthy by many parents. (i have heard the argument: “detection to prepare support!”, but the abortion rates of down syndrome are pretty eloquent when it comes to acceptance of disability..90%+ )

  5. You are amazing just the way that you are! I would never risk my children’s lives in order to spare them of autism. Not only that, but also risk the lives of others! It’s just wrong. I realize that I’m coming from the perspective of a mom with children on the higher-functioning end of the spectrum and that autism can be debilitating for some. But the fact remains, it’s better than the dangers that unvaccinated children are being exposed to as well as exposing others to. Whether or not there is a connection between autism and vaccines may be debatable, but what’s not debatable is the fact that vaccines protect people from diseases that can lead to a horrible and painful death! Yes. I will take autism over that any day of the week!

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