As the parent to a 6 year old diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum Disorder (or ASD), I’m certainly no stranger to the topic of vaccinations and their potential role in the explosive rise in Autism diagnosis in the US over the past 20 years. It was a topic I was familiar with when the twins were babies and I agonized over the decision whether or not to go through with the full vaccination schedule.
As it turned out, I had good reason to be concerned because I believe they did play a role in Stone’s autism. I will write a separate post with more details about Stone’s early years and how he was ahead of Ty on all major developmental milestones until after a series of vaccinations when they were 18 months old – after which time the development stopped and he regressed. But for now, I’ll focus on the marvelous documentary, The Greater Good.
I had heard about The Greater Good from others within the Autism community since it was released in 2011, but did not have an opportunity to watch it until last weekend, when I watched a recorded version that ran on the Current cable network. And I can tell you, its well worth watching – especially if you’re a parent. It was extremely well produced, taking pains to include opinions from a range of experts on the topic – including Dr. Paul Offit, “a highly esteemed infectious disease doctor, vaccine patent holder, Merck consultant and the most vocal vaccine advocate in America today.”
The documentary focuses on three main characters:
- Gabi Swank, a 15-year old girl from Wichita, KS, whose life was profoundly altered after she received the cervical cancer vaccination Gardasil. Gabi was an honors student and cheerleader before the vaccination. She wasn’t told of any potential side effects, but began feeling them hours after the vaccination. The documentary tracks her journey over a period of months – showing how she became so physically impacted, she was unable to walk the length of her school (she sometimes had to rely on a wheelchair) and was unable to attend her homecoming dance (even though she was voted a princess – even with her new disabilities) due to seizures initially, and then kidney stones. At one time she had to take 40 separate pills/prescriptions per day – costing her family $2,000/month (even with insurance). Her parents ended up divorcing, and they also lost their house.
- 12-year-old Jordan King, of Portland OR, who regressed into autism after a routine vaccination. Because he is non-verbal. the documentary relies on his parents and gifted sister to tell his story. They talk about how he was a normally developing baby – even speaking in sentences – until vaccinations. As The Greater Good website explains, “Jordan’s parents worry about his future. Will there be a place for him after they are gone? Will his younger sister bear the burden? How will society deal with this growing epidemic?” One of Jordan’s physicians is Dr. Green, a fellow in the American Academy of Environmental Medicine and American Holistic Medical Association. Green’s primary focus is on work with ASD children, caring for more than 2,000 children with autism. His work is leading and following parents to the best path of healing for their children.
- The Christner Family (from Tulsa, OK). In medical school, the mother, Dr. Stephanie Christner, learned that vaccines were safe and essential to the health of her children and all other children and she never questioned their safety. Tragically, her daughter died at 5 months of age – and Dr. Christner has no doubt it was due to vaccinations. In the documentary she tells an absolutely gut-wrenching story about her daughter changed after a round of vaccinations. She said stopped eating, started crying more and experienced a seizure and stopped breathing at one point – but later seemed OK. They continued with her vaccination schedule a week after the seizure episode and within two months, had lost their daughter. On her journey to find answers, Christener was shocked to find studies that documented vaccine injuries published in major medical journals going back decades. With her new knowledge, she wonders what else she might have missed before her daughter died at 5 months of age.