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Court says measles vaccine is not to blame for Autism

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Hudson_Hawk

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http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2009/02/12/court_says_measles_vaccine_not_to_blame_for_autism_1234457102/

Thoughts?
 

Hudson_Hawk

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I think any progress towards answers is a good thing, but I feel horrible for the families who will be turned away because of this ruling.
 

swimmer

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Agree with HH (as usual). It is important that people understand that there is no threat from vaccines currently given and that vaccinations are necessary for living in modern society. Thinking of how colds are passed around to all the kids makes me glad that we all have vaccinations by law in order to attend and work in public schools. But if it is true that the older vaccines'' contained enough mercury to cause Autism, well, those families need support.
 

cara

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The court ruled on three different cases, each one proposed a different mechanism for how the vaccine caused autism, and one of which used the mercury theory. The court found not enough evidence to support any of the theories, even using a low burden of proof which just required a ''preponderance of the evidence''.

Of course I feel for the families involved and hope that more resources will be made available to treat people with autism and research causes of the disease. But if this ruling helps direct the research to more fruitful areas or reduces the anti-vaccine furor, that can only be a good thing IMO.

One of the problems with these kinds of boards that award people money for certain kinds of medical mistakes or liabilities is that sometimes bad things happen to perfectly good people for random reasons. The boards must then deny compensation to people who suffered an illness, disease or injury through no fault of their own and who clearly need assistance simply because cause of the injury or illness doesn''t meet the board''s mandate. In this case, sucks to have a child develop autism, this child needs a lot of expensive treatment, but the cause wasn''t the vaccine so no money is awarded. Doesn''t mean money isn''t needed.
 

neatfreak

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Date: 2/12/2009 4:00:17 PM
Author: cara
The court ruled on three different cases, each one proposed a different mechanism for how the vaccine caused autism, and one of which used the mercury theory. The court found not enough evidence to support any of the theories, even using a low burden of proof which just required a ''preponderance of the evidence''.


Of course I feel for the families involved and hope that more resources will be made available to treat people with autism and research causes of the disease. But if this ruling helps direct the research to more fruitful areas or reduces the anti-vaccine furor, that can only be a good thing IMO.


One of the problems with these kinds of boards that award people money for certain kinds of medical mistakes or liabilities is that sometimes bad things happen to perfectly good people for random reasons. The boards must then deny compensation to people who suffered an illness, disease or injury through no fault of their own and who clearly need assistance simply because cause of the injury or illness doesn''t meet the board''s mandate. In this case, sucks to have a child develop autism, this child needs a lot of expensive treatment, but the cause wasn''t the vaccine so no money is awarded. Doesn''t mean money isn''t needed.
Well said.
 

purrfectpear

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My generation was vaccinated six ways from Sunday every time we turned around. Autism was a rare diagnosis.

Now we have autism this and autism that, and this degree of autism and that spectrum of autism. It seems like anymore "when in doubt call it some form of autism"
. We weren''t all ADD, ADHD, or any other mutiple initial then either.

I feel sorry for the Gen X and Gen Y kids that were diagnosed, labled and treated for a multitude of syndromes.
 

partgypsy

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I kind of agree with you purrfectpear. My question is, how does it benefit? It is good to identify early those who have extreme cases and can be helped by early intervention, but diagnosis does not = cure or even understanding many times.
 

Bia

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Date: 2/12/2009 4:14:58 PM
Author: purrfectpear
My generation was vaccinated six ways from Sunday every time we turned around. Autism was a rare diagnosis.

Now we have autism this and autism that, and this degree of autism and that spectrum of autism. It seems like anymore 'when in doubt call it some form of autism'
. We weren't all ADD, ADHD, or any other mutiple initial then either.

I feel sorry for the Gen X and Gen Y kids that were diagnosed, labled and treated for a multitude of syndromes.
I agree. Especially on the ADHD front. Why is it that a hyperactive child will often times be misdiagnosed with a psychiatric diagnosis and then medicated? Can't they just be hyperactive? God. Instead of pumping kids with meds, why not look for learning & behavior strategies that are more condusive to the child's learning & behavior abilities?

Sorry. Personal venting taking place.
 

Pandora II

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The idiot doctor responsible for all the outcry over the MMR has a lot to answer for.

In the UK it''s not mandatory to vaccinate your kids and we have a measles epidemic in London now and several children have died due to low uptake of the vaccine.

People forget that diseases like measles are not harmless, but can cause terrible brain damage and death in severe cases.
 

softly softly

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Date: 2/12/2009 5:48:42 PM
Author: Pandora II
The idiot doctor responsible for all the outcry over the MMR has a lot to answer for.


In the UK it''s not mandatory to vaccinate your kids and we have a measles epidemic in London now and several children have died due to low uptake of the vaccine.


People forget that diseases like measles are not harmless, but can cause terrible brain damage and death in severe cases.
I couldn''t agree more Pandora. While I don''t want to downplay the seriousness of autism it''s all too easy to forget that the reason these diseases are vaccinated against is because children used to die from them.
 

Tacori E-ring

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I am pro-vaccines so think this is a good thing. I agree with what everyone has said. The vacs are to PROTECT our children from terrible illnesses! I hope parents can trust their doctors and know they are doing the right thing.
 

mayachel

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I am pro-vaccine and agree that we need useful information in the hands of parents about the safety AND RISKS associated with any medical choice. While I understand herd immunity and its value can not be denied, I do feel that we pose a strong risk to civil liberties by mandating any type of medical treatment. Especially when it comes in the form of prophylactic care.

Although I hate looking at it from a legal standpoint, it seems to me that it would be better for the system over all, if parents felt that they were being given accurate pros and cons of choosing appropriate care. By allowing the parents and active role in the process, surely they want to do what is healthiest for their kid. If we create legislation that forces their hand, instead when something goes wrong, there is increased mistrust for science and western medicine on a whole. (AND LAWSUITS)

As someone who works with pregnant women and newborns, I usually direct them to Dr. Sears The Vaccine Book. He has a lot of information about the appropriate timing of when to get different childhood vaccines. It''s alarming to me, how frequently I see two day old babies being "offered" a slew of vaccines before their immune system has kicked in, with dosages and fillers that are NOT tested are recommended for newborns. Unless your kid is going into day care on day 4, there is no need to do everything under the sun within the first few days of life.
 

cara

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Date: 2/12/2009 10:17:32 PM
Author: mayachel
By allowing the parents and active role in the process, surely they want to do what is healthiest for their kid.
But most parents are not scientists. I'm sure that those parents who believe prayer and only prayer is the proper method of healing any illness honestly and fervently believe they are making the best choice for their child. In a less extreme example, my mother has a healthy skepticism of anything western medicine and an unquestioning acceptance of many things 'alternative' or 'natural'. The level of proof she wants depends on whether or not the finding and proponents agree with her preconceptions. Luckily, she was not in favor of prayer-only and didn't make me take anything harmful for long periods of time, but she did stuff me full of unnecessary supplements and unproven treatments because it was what she thought was best for me. Science is not easy, even scientists can have difficulty with their preconceived ideas messing with their interpretation of available date.

Just looking at the vaccine controversy, many people have a *faith* in the vaccineautism link that is not in proportion to the available data. While there might have been a time when the idea was plausible and warranted further exploration, many anti-vaccine advocates have been not been swayed by peer-reviewed scientific studies that have addressed the issue. Their belief that there is a link is not related to the available evidence.

As someone who works with pregnant women and newborns, I usually direct them to Dr. Sears The Vaccine Book. He has a lot of information about the appropriate timing of when to get different childhood vaccines. It's alarming to me, how frequently I see two day old babies being 'offered' a slew of vaccines before their immune system has kicked in, with dosages and fillers that are NOT tested are recommended for newborns. Unless your kid is going into day care on day 4, there is no need to do everything under the sun within the first few days of life.
While Dr. Sears book holds sway for many people, I haven't seen strong studies that support his theories and there are potential harmful effects to public health from the delayed/spread-out vaccination schedule he recommends. While it may make sense to parents to 'spread out' the learning required of their child's immune system, this idea doesn't have a lot of science behind it. Many doctors I have spoken to feel that the scale is all wrong, and that would require 10,000+ immunizations to 'overwhelm' the immune system, in their opinion, so a handful of vaccinations in one day is just fine. About the only legitimate reason for such a spread-out vaccine schedule is that it caters to parents who might otherwise not vaccinate their children. In that some parents might adopt Dr. Sears schedule over a standard schedule and, because of the many appointments required, not fully vaccinate their children, it is harmful. It is also harmful to have unvaccinated young children in the population that have not yet had their spread-out vaccines, especially when added to the no-vaccine crowd.

While I generally agree that medical care should not be mandated, vaccines are different because of both the public health risks involved and the fact that children are involved. How liberally should we be in allowing parents to endanger their children AND other people by not vaccinating them? Do we really, as a society, want to go back to the days of polio outbreaks and measles outbreaks and whatnot, when we have found an effective way of preventing these diseases and have good science to support those methods? A sizeable epidemic would probably scare a bunch of people into the vaccination lines, but I hope that wouldn't be necessary. Sadly, we humans have a short collective memory... About 1-2 generations.
 

cara

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Date: 2/12/2009 10:17:32 PM
Author: mayachel
Although I hate looking at it from a legal standpoint, it seems to me that it would be better for the system over all, if parents felt that they were being given accurate pros and cons of choosing appropriate care....If we create legislation that forces their hand, instead when something goes wrong, there is increased mistrust for science and western medicine on a whole. (AND LAWSUITS)
OK, going about this slightly differently. Lets say you, mayachel, had a really good idea. Call it Proposition V. You wrote a proposition, California style, got it on the ballot, fundraised and advertised for it, all the newspaper editors think its a great idea, its a fairly non-controversial idea (only a few nut-jobs oppose it) but mostly its American like apple pie, costs pennies, and everyone that you talk to about it thinks its a great idea and says they will vote for it.

What percentage of the population do you think you could get for this really awesome idea, Prop. V?
75%?
80%?
85%?
Some people aren''t going to vote for it, not because they want bad things for their kids, but because their ex is named Vince and they don''t like V. Because they didn''t read it. Because they misread it. Because their best-friend''s hairdresser told them it was a bad idea. Because they think its unnecessary to vote for it, its going to pass anyway. Let alone the people who would have voted for it had they bothered to vote but just never got around to it.

For many vaccines, you need to do better than 85% of the population. 95% is a standard number thrown around, and with less of the population vaccinated than 95%, you can get outbreaks. But really you want 99+% of the population vaccinated. Some people will be allergic to vaccines (and thus skip many of them), some people will be vaccinated but not develop immunity, and some people will live in the woods/compounds unvaccinated against all law. If you don''t have a law to compel vaccination of the remaining population, as a society we will not achieve appropriate immunization rates. And there will be outbreaks.

So yes, I support compelling (some) immunizations with laws, and it does limit personal liberty for the sake of public health. But surely there is a place for such limits on personal freedom in our society? Or are we really too far removed from the epidemics of yesteryear to remember and appropriately fear the potential danger to public health?
 

soocool

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I am ver pro-vaccine, but a neighbor of mine has a son (now 20 ) who is autistic and does feel that vaccinations are to blame. She founded the AJ Foundation here in PA and I know she is extremely upset about this ruling.
 

DivaDiamond007

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Date: 2/12/2009 4:14:58 PM
Author: purrfectpear
My generation was vaccinated six ways from Sunday every time we turned around. Autism was a rare diagnosis.

Now we have autism this and autism that, and this degree of autism and that spectrum of autism. It seems like anymore ''when in doubt call it some form of autism''
. We weren''t all ADD, ADHD, or any other mutiple initial then either.

I feel sorry for the Gen X and Gen Y kids that were diagnosed, labled and treated for a multitude of syndromes.
I agree. My sister is a preschool teacher and she says that if kids are unusually shy or misbehave in any way then they''re labled as "autistic" or "ADHD" when they''re really just being kids.


I think it''s sad that parents, teachers and doctors are so quick to label someone and then drug them up to make them "normal". Maybe the pharmecutical companies are behind it


As a side note, however, I don''t doubt in any way that some people actually have autism or ADHD, I just feel that both disorders are grossly overdiagnosed.
 

DivaDiamond007

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Date: 2/12/2009 4:33:40 PM
Author: Bia

Date: 2/12/2009 4:14:58 PM
Author: purrfectpear
My generation was vaccinated six ways from Sunday every time we turned around. Autism was a rare diagnosis.

Now we have autism this and autism that, and this degree of autism and that spectrum of autism. It seems like anymore ''when in doubt call it some form of autism''
. We weren''t all ADD, ADHD, or any other mutiple initial then either.

I feel sorry for the Gen X and Gen Y kids that were diagnosed, labled and treated for a multitude of syndromes.
I agree. Especially on the ADHD front. Why is it that a hyperactive child will often times be misdiagnosed with a psychiatric diagnosis and then medicated? Can''t they just be hyperactive? God. Instead of pumping kids with meds, why not look for learning & behavior strategies that are more condusive to the child''s learning & behavior abilities?

Sorry. Personal venting taking place.
Well said, Bia.
 

curlygirl

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Date: 2/13/2009 10:19:29 AM
Author: DivaDiamond007

Date: 2/12/2009 4:14:58 PM
Author: purrfectpear
My generation was vaccinated six ways from Sunday every time we turned around. Autism was a rare diagnosis.

Now we have autism this and autism that, and this degree of autism and that spectrum of autism. It seems like anymore ''when in doubt call it some form of autism''
. We weren''t all ADD, ADHD, or any other mutiple initial then either.

I feel sorry for the Gen X and Gen Y kids that were diagnosed, labled and treated for a multitude of syndromes.
I agree. My sister is a preschool teacher and she says that if kids are unusually shy or misbehave in any way then they''re labled as ''autistic'' or ''ADHD'' when they''re really just being kids.


I think it''s sad that parents, teachers and doctors are so quick to label someone and then drug them up to make them ''normal''. Maybe the pharmecutical companies are behind it


As a side note, however, I don''t doubt in any way that some people actually have autism or ADHD, I just feel that both disorders are grossly overdiagnosed.
I agree with both of you and had this same discussion with my children''s pediatrician. And Diva, I highlighted your last statement because I think that sums up exactly what I feel.
 

diamondseeker2006

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Well, I just heard a nationally recognized expert on ADHD, Dr. Russell Barkley, say that ADHD is underdiagnosed. Yes, there may be misdiagnosed children, but many more are never diagnosed. I see it everyday. They have learning problems because of the poor attention and it takes them much longer to store information in memory many times.

Autism is on a spectrum, and there is little mistaking the signs of moderate to severe cases of autism. All the children I have known with the autism label certainly were autistic. There definitely is increased prevelance now, but I suspect some are predisposed in some way and then there is some kind of trigger involved. I do suspect something in relation to the vaccines due to the onset for many children occurring after the 18 mo. vaccines. I have very little trust of the pharamceutical industry because I think it is driven by greed.

I do know that there are many more vaccines now than there were 20 years ago. I am pro-vaccine, but I would absolutely spread them out. There is nothing whatsoever wrong with doing that, other than a little inconvenience. And it could make a difference for some children.
 

basil

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My mom is a school psychologist, and she has been for 30 years. She doesn''t diagnose, but she directly deals with the children who carry these diagnoses (autism, ADHD, aspergers, etc.)

She has seen an increase in the number of kids diagnosed with these diseases. Her view is that a lot of kids who were diagnosed with other things previously (mental retardation, learning disorders) are now being diagnosed with autism if there is any question, because the resources are better for autism vs. MR, and because parents are more accepting of these diagnoses.

Of note, when I was in preschool/kindergarten, the teachers were quite worried about me because I didn''t seem to like to play with others, preferred to be by myself, and didn''t really talk to anyone. They approached my parents with their worries that I was developmentally delayed, who decided that I was just a quiet and shy kid and the teachers had no idea what they were talking about. I hesitate to think what would have happened had I not had confident parents - clearly I''m a relatively high-functioning (yet, still quiet and shy) adult. But I think if kids get pigeonholed in a special ed system, it''s difficult to get out from under a diagnosis made early in life.
 

Kaleigh

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I have to ask, many parents take a healthy kid, get the vaccine and whammo. I can''t ignore that. My son was allergic to everything, so when his time came to get the MMR. I said, we are going to do it my way. Small doses over time. Luckily I had a pediatrician that heard me, listened to me. And knew I had done my research. This was 18 years ago... So it was on my radar. Even back then!!! I am glad I was cautious. He had severe asthma, etc... Allergic to eggs, something that is a component of the vaccine. I had a friend that had a happy healthy baby, he was so full of life. He got the vaccine. The next day, nothing, he wasn''t there. Coincidence?? I dunno.

I am pro vaccinations. Not saying not to get them. But know all you can....
 

Heidi137

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My son has a diagnosis of autism and I noticed a definite change after his 18 month vaccination. I don''t believe for a minute that autism (or ADHD) is overdiagnosed. It''s very difficult to get a diagnosis of autism and most pediatricians aren''t trained well enough to recognize it (and they only see these children for brief periods of time). I had to push for a referral to a pediatric neurologist. My son has no learning difficulties (he''s gifted) and he is not a behavior problem either. Autism is not just a child who is quiet and prefers to be alone but it is a child who cannot relate to others. My son talks constantly and loves people. (A few things to look for: poor eye contact, lack of typical children''s interests, sensory difficulties, repetitive and rigid behaviors, dislike of change, perserveration on certain topics, etc.)
 

snowflakeluvr

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we had friends who''s daughter at 6 months had vaccines, days later, she had seizures and now at 15, has been multi-handicapped since that. her mom is a nurse and completely believes that the immunizations were to blame. dh and i had our first two in our 20''s and our last 2 in our 40''s-since i am a stay at home mom(kiids were never in daycare, etc) i waited till they were several months to begin their shots. they are 5 and 3 and healthy little people. i am not convinced that immunizations don''t play a part in some of these issues, so i waited a little while to start their shots and they are fine.
 

asscherisme

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I have THREE children with autism, yes THREE. (and one without autisum) And while its exhausing, tough, and sometimes at the end of a tough day and I think, why me????

I 100% don't blame vaccines. I think in my case, its heredity. There is autism in my ex's family that I did not know when I was having kids.

Within an autism support group I was apart of, I found that I was not fitting in because of that opinion. The moms there felt SO strongly that it was because they vaccinated their kids, I might as well told them I don't believe a man actually walked on the moon when I said I don't blame vaccinations for my childrens autism.

Heidi, does your son have aspergers? 2 of my kids have aspegers and are highly intellegent and in gifted classes. Also, super obsessvie, socially awkward, takes things literal, sensory issues etc. My oldest was diagnosed with bipolar and OCD and I said, no, no, no, I don't accept those becuase I don't believe them and I kept looking for answers. When he finally go thte diagnosis of aspergers it was a lightbulb clicked and I knew that was what was wrong and it made sense and explained the moodiness and moodswings, and obsessiveness about certain topics etc. It was scary, and yet a relief all at the same time. And also VERY hard to accept because its something they never outgrow, but rather learn how to make their way in the world.

My other diagnosed child has more of the traditional autism and is severly developementally delayed.
 

asscherisme

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Date: 2/13/2009 10:19:29 AM
Author: DivaDiamond007

Date: 2/12/2009 4:14:58 PM
Author: purrfectpear
My generation was vaccinated six ways from Sunday every time we turned around. Autism was a rare diagnosis.

Now we have autism this and autism that, and this degree of autism and that spectrum of autism. It seems like anymore ''when in doubt call it some form of autism''
. We weren''t all ADD, ADHD, or any other mutiple initial then either.

I feel sorry for the Gen X and Gen Y kids that were diagnosed, labled and treated for a multitude of syndromes.
I agree. My sister is a preschool teacher and she says that if kids are unusually shy or misbehave in any way then they''re labled as ''autistic'' or ''ADHD'' when they''re really just being kids.


I think it''s sad that parents, teachers and doctors are so quick to label someone and then drug them up to make them ''normal''. Maybe the pharmecutical companies are behind it


As a side note, however, I don''t doubt in any way that some people actually have autism or ADHD, I just feel that both disorders are grossly overdiagnosed.
I''m glad that I don''t live somewhere like that. I feel that this myth of overdiagnosis makes those of us who really and truley do have kids with autism not be taken seriously. I don''t tell people unless they notice odd behavior in my kids, and sometimes its impossible to hide. Becuase if you do tell people, they think "Oh yeah, you are one of those moms who is so quick to label". If I did accept the first labels that came along, my oldest would be labeled as bipolar and OCD and medicated until he was not himself anymore. I REJECTED those labels and threw the prescriptions in the garbage becaues I knew in my heart those labels were wrong and I kept looking for answers, visiting psychologist after psycholost after doctor after doctor.

I heard read a quote from the actor/comedian Dennis Leary promoting his new book and he said that he felt that parents who say their kids have autism are just lazy and using the autism label as an excuse to be a bad parent and not control their kids. I invite him to spend a weekend with my kids.
 

neatfreak

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Something important to remember here in this "over or under" argument is that a disease can be simultaneously under AND over diagnosed which I think is what is happening in the US. Many kids are diagnosed with these issues who don't have them and yet many kids with them are never diagnosed. Both sides are right in a way IMO.
 

Heidi137

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Yes, my son is on the Asperger''s side of the spectrum. In some ways, it''s more difficult when the kids are higher functioning because they are more aware of their differences and are troubled by them. Now that my son is a teen, we are really seeing the social issues and it''s heartbreaking. I am sure there are some Asperger''s children who are never diagnosed but I''ve never heard of a child being misdiagnosed with autism. It''s definitely not a label I would choose.
 

asscherisme

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Date: 2/16/2009 8:40:00 AM
Author: Heidi137
Yes, my son is on the Asperger''s side of the spectrum. In some ways, it''s more difficult when the kids are higher functioning because they are more aware of their differences and are troubled by them. Now that my son is a teen, we are really seeing the social issues and it''s heartbreaking. I am sure there are some Asperger''s children who are never diagnosed but I''ve never heard of a child being misdiagnosed with autism. It''s definitely not a label I would choose.
I agree 100% with you. My oldest son is in Jr. High which is a social landmine for ANY child but add aspergers/autism to the mix and it can be downright torture. My son is very aware he is different and that he can''t always control his behavior and that self awareness is really hard on him.
 

Pandora II

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Both my father and I have high-functioning Aspergers, and I also work with a number of colleagues who have it as well .

I wasn't diagnosed until two years ago - by which time I had learnt a lot of coping mechanisms, the most important thing that helped me was to move to a country where I didn't speak the language and so I had to learn to recognise non-verbal signals (I learnt to speak at 7 months, so always over-relied on verbal language) for the first time ever. - and in the meantime I couldn't say any of the things that made people do a double-take like they did in the UK or get my intonations wrong. Also if people thought I was eccentric or a bit odd, they put it down to my being English rather than it being something distinct to me as an individual. For the first time in my life I found I was accepted socially and that reduced my anxiety levels which always made everything so much more difficult.

I'm still not always that good at it (and have to ask DH if I've got things right) and I can be very blunt with people as I don't always remember that I can influence how they feel with what I say and do. I do work hard at trying to hide it - it's very obvious to people I spend a lot of time with, but otherwise I do a fairly good job at disguising it.

On the plus side, I have useful skills when it comes to details, concentration and fact recall (if I'm interested in something...)

I do worry about our daughter (due in May) having it - I found it very hard to make friends and didn't really have any at all as a child (I was very into my own hobbies and I wasn't able to interact socially with my peers). I want her to have a 'normal' childhood, so I'm trying to learn what I can about teaching her these skills early on.

Since I, my mother, my sister, a gazillion other relatives and my FIL all have bipolar disorder as well, it's a distinct possibility she may inherit the propensity for that as well so it's doubly important to me that she has as happy a childhood as possible to minimise the stresses that can trigger it.

Do any of you with children with Asperger's know of any good books on teaching social skills for young children?
 
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