Autism and Childhood Vaccines Hearing Testimony: Coleen Boyle | April 6, 2000

Dr. Coleen Boyle is fair-skin has short brown and gray hair and is wearing a white button up shirt with a black vest.

See testimony here >>

Read full testimony here >>

Ms. Boyle. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and members of the 
committee. I am Dr. Coleen Boyle, Chief of the Developmental 
Disabilities Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and 
Prevention. I am presenting the agency's testimony, and I am 
accompanied by Dr. Ben Schwartz, who is the Acting Director of 
the Epidemiology and Surveillance Division at the National 
Immunization Program at CDC.
    I am pleased to discuss our work at CDC to prevent 
developmental disabilities including autism. I want to begin by 
assuring the parents that we have heard from today that CDC is 
concerned about autism, and that we are working hard to find 
the causes of autism and other developmental disabilities so 
that all children will have the opportunity to have a healthy 
and productive future.
    Autism is a serious developmental disability which can have 
profound impact on children and their families. It is 
characterized by qualitative impairments in social interactions 
and communication and a pattern of restrictive, repetitive, and 
stereotypic behaviors, interests, and activities. Autism may 
require long-term special education and care at a cost of more 
than $30,000 per year. Costs for residential care can be 
$80,000 to $100,000 per year.
    CDC's role in preventing developmental disabilities 
including autism is to track the disease rates in the 
population and to identify causes of this condition. CDC can 
then establish prevention programs and then evaluate how well 
these programs work.
    We do not know if autism rates are going up. Early studies 
found autism rates in the range of 4 to 6 per 10,000 children, 
using a narrow set of criteria. More recent studies have 
reported rates averaging 12 per 10,000 children, but these 
studies have used different criteria than the earlier studies.
    CDC is not certain how much of the reported increase is due 
to changes in the definition of autism or an improved 
recognition of this condition over time. We also do not know if 
other factors have contributed to the larger numbers of 
children seeking treatment.
    CDC is currently developing ways to better measure autism. 
In 1998, we added autism to our Metropolitan Atlanta 
Development Disabilities Surveillance Program. This program, 
which also monitors other serious developmental disabilities 
such as mental retardation and cerebral palsy among school-age 
children in Atlanta, is the only community-wide study in the 
United States. CDC has just funded Marshall University in West 
Virginia to start tracking autism in six countries in that 
    At this point, I want to briefly describe our activities in 
Brick Township, NJ and in investigating the alleged association 
between autism and the MMR vaccination.
    In early 1998, the CDC and the Agency for Toxic Substances 
and Disease Registry [ATSDR], were contacted by the New Jersey 
Health Department, Senator Robert Torricelli, and U.S. 
Representative Christopher Smith, requesting the CDC 
investigate autism rates in Brick Township. They were concerned 
that the number of children with autism was too high.
    In response, CDC conducted a study of children with autism 
living in Brick Township during 1998. ATSDR investigated 
sources of environmental pollution and exposure routes in Brick 
Township. All the data have been collected, and the results are 
currently undergoing scientific review. Once this review is 
completed, we will provide the report first to the parents of 
the affected children, the community, and then the local and 
State health departments. We would be pleased to brief 
interested Members or their staffs on the results of this work 
at the time we make them available to the community.
    As the committee is aware, a theory links the MMR vaccine 
and autism, which has generated public interest and some 
controversy. CDC believes that the current scientific evidence 
does not support the hypothesis that MMR or any combination of 
vaccines cause the development of autism. Initial case series 
reports have not been substantiated by more focused reviews or 
by more in-depth followup research.
    It should be pointed out that factors known to be 
associated with autism include genetic factors and events that 
occur before birth.
    CDC recognizes how important it is to identify the causes 
of autism as well as to ensure the safety of vaccines. CDC is 
currently undertaking three studies related to autism or about 
hypotheses related to vaccines and autism.
    First, CDC is using its Autism Surveillance Program in 
Atlanta to examine the possibility of a link between the MMR 
vaccine and autism.
    Second, we are working with the National Institutes of 
Health to conduct a study that will evaluate whether 
vaccination is linked with developmental regression which 
occurs in some children with autism.
    Third, CDC is using the Vaccine Safety Datalink, in 
collaboration with several HMOs, to study inflammatory bowel 
disease and the MMR vaccination.
    Through these studies, CDC is working to assure the safety 
of the vaccination program and to identify preventable causes 
of autism.
    Mr. Chairman, in the past 4 years, public health has made 
significant advances in preventing developmental disabilities. 
Prevention of congenital syphilis and congenital rubella 
syndrome have spared lives and prevented disability for 
thousands of children. Newborn screening programs have 
prevented lifelong mental retardation in children with 
hyperthyroidism and sickle cell disease.
    However, given these strides, we still do not know what 
causes many developmental disabilities, including autism. While 
additional scientific research is being completed, it is 
important to also consider the broader context of public 
health, including the vaccination program, which is one of the 
most successful public health achievements of the 20th century.
    Given the weight of the scientific data and the known 
seriousness and ongoing risk of vaccine-preventable diseases, 
in CDC's judgment, the best public policy is to continue 
vaccination unchanged while aggressively working to try to 
identify causes of developmental disabilities.
    CDC agrees with the committee and the parents who have 
testified today that autism has a significant and profound 
adverse impact on the lives of children and families and 
communities where it occurs. We must track this disorder, we 
must identify the preventable causes, and we must institute 
effective prevention programs.
    It is my hope that our efforts, combined with those of the 
NIH and the academic community, will lead to a way to prevent 
developmental disabilities of autism, enabling those children 
to live full and productive lives.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee.
    Mr. Burton. Thank you, Dr. Boyle.


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 workIn 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.

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