Dr. Offit. First, I would like to recognize the courage of the parents who have testified her today, as well as the two grandparents on the committee, including you, Mr. Chairman. As I share my testimony, I also deeply share their feelings and concerns. My name is Paul Offit. I am pediatrician, and I am also the chief of infectious diseases and the Henle professor of immunologic and infectious diseases at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. In addition, I am a member of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to the CDC. I have 20 years of experience in the areas of virology and immunology. My role in these proceedings is to explore the theories that have arisen due to concerns by the public that autism might be caused by the combination of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines known as MMR. No evidence exists which proves this association. However, three theories have been used to explain it. In the time that I have been given, I would like to explain why I think that these theories are not valid. The first theory is that children who get the measles vaccine make an immune response not only to the vaccine, but also to their own nervous system. This kind of reaction is called autoimmunity. To understand why this theory is invalid, we must first understand differences between natural measles infection and measles vaccination. During natural measles infection, the measles virus reproduces itself many times in the body and causes disease. In contrast, following measles vaccination, the vaccine virus reproduces itself much less and does not cause disease. Because more measles proteins are made during natural infection than after immunization, the immune response to natural infection is greater than the immune response to immunization. If the immune response is greater after natural infection, then the autoimmune response would also be greater. If this were the case, then autoimmunity should occur more frequently after natural infection than after vaccination. Or, said another way, if measles virus caused autism, then measles vaccination would lower, not raise, the incidence of autism. The second theory is that the child's immune system is simply overwhelmed by seeing three viruses in a vaccine at the same time. Some have gone so far as to suggest that it may be of benefit to divide the MMR vaccine into three separate vaccines. The rationale behind this theory is that children do not normally encounter such an assault on their immune system. From the birth canal and beyond, infants are confronted by a host of different challenges to their immune system. Their intestines encounter foreign proteins in milk and formula. Their lungs encounter bacteria inhaled on the surface of dust in the air. And literally thousands of different bacteria immediately start to live on the skin as well as on the lining of the nose, throat, and intestines. Here is how infants deal with this immediate confrontation to their immune system. Babies have a tremendous capacity to respond to their environment from the minute they are born. The newborn has billions of immunologic cells which are capable of responding to millions of different microorganisms. By quickly making an immune response to bacteria that live on the surface of their intestines, babies keep these bacteria from invading their bloodstream and causing serious disease. Therefore, the combination of the three vaccines contained in MMR, or even the 10 vaccines given in the first 2 years of life, is literally a raindrop in the ocean of what infants successfully encounter in their environment every day. The third theory is that the MMR vaccine is given by an unnatural route. The rationale behind this theory is that children do not normally encounter viruses or bacteria under their skin or in their muscles. But infants and children frequently encounter viruses and bacteria in many places throughout the body. Our species survives because from the minute we are born, we are capable of meeting challenges at all sites. To review, here are the medical facts. First, if autism is a consequence of autoimmunity, the incidence of autism would have decreased, not increased, after vaccination. Second, children from birth are confronted with and manage an enormous array of different challenges to their immune system at the same time. Third, challenges to their immune system occur by a variety of routes. The parents we have heard testify here today are asking a scientific question: Does the MMR vaccine cause autism? Questions of science are best answered by scientific studies, and the answer to this question is already available. Dr. Brent Taylor and his coworkers in London have conducted a large, meticulously designed, well-controlled study that disproves an association between MMR vaccine and autism. I believe other studies will confirm Dr. Taylor's results, because it is important to have confirmatory studies. What is really at stake here? In the early 1990's, our immunization rates against measles dropped only about 10 percent. Measles outbreaks swept across the country. About 11,000 people were hospitalized, and 123 died from measles-- died from a disease which is easily and safely prevented by a vaccine. My concern, Mr. Chairman, is that parents listening to or reading about this hearing might incorrectly conclude that vaccines cause autism. This is not the case. Vaccines are extremely safe and highly effective. I encourage this committee to make that fact clear to every parent in America. If, as a result of reading about this hearing, some parents choose to withhold or delay vaccines for their children, their tragedy could be profound. If many parents choose to withhold vaccines, the tragedy all across America could be devastating. Let us proceed cautiously, carefully, and scientifically. Thank you. Mr. Burton. Thank you.
Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid.
ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.
The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t work. In study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work.
What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.
The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth.
The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome.
This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.
Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.
Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.
Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.
[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]
Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.