Vaccines and My Autism

October 5, 2020

James Williams is an autistic self-advocate who travels and speaks all over the country. He was invited to the Vaccine Injury Awareness Walk in Grand Rapids, MI, this week, and this is the vaccine injury story he submitted.

I am a “non-Hispanic white” autistic male in my early 30s of Armenian, German, Dutch, and Welsh descent. I was born in 1988 and grew up in the late 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. During this time, I dealt not only with many classic behavioral, social, and sensory symptoms of autism, but many biomedical and physical comorbidities that are also, in many ways a part of autism–a wheat (and later, gluten) allergy, motion sickness, motor coordination-induced chin injuries, sinusitis, low acid reflux and other GI/digestive issues, a massive autoimmune collapse that nearly killed me as a preteen where my immune system and digestive system nearly shut down.

For most of my childhood, preadolescence, adolescence, and early adulthood, my family and I were led to believe that these medical issues were either unrelated to my autism, or were just medical comorbidities either directly or indirectly related to my autism. In adulthood, however, although no physician or professional will likely ever be able to “actually” validate my ailments as being tied to a vaccine injury, I began to “connect the dots” with the assistance of various MAPS physicians and others who understood vaccine injuries, and my family and I realized that many of the medical comorbidities I have dealt with throughout my life occurred within 3-6 months after receiving a vaccination. Although the chin cuts and sinusitis had causes unrelated to a vaccination, all of my autistic symptoms (including behavioral and sensory issues) exploded with a loss of functioning level and a loss of language (although some symptoms did appear starting from birth), after receiving a DPT vaccine at 18 months of age. The motion sickness, wheat allergy, and various GI and digestive issues occurred several months after I received an MMR vaccine at the age of 5. I received the first installment of a hepatitis B vaccine at the age of 11 (which is now given at birth in most states), which was followed by an acute attack of stomach flu 2 months later. The second installment of a hepatitis B vaccine at the age of 11 triggered a sore throat and another acute attack of stomach flu several weeks later, visible symptoms of low acid reflux, a life-threatening autoimmune and digestive system collapse wherein I nearly starved to death, and my wheat allergy expanded into a full-blown gluten allergy. I survived not by conventional medicine, wherein many doctors sent me and my parents home claiming there was “nothing wrong with me,” but by undergoing various alternative biomedical interventions that enabled me to regain digestive abilities and saved my life.

Later in life, my gluten allergy symptoms began to progress from a migraine headache to a combination of various cold and flu-like symptoms whenever I ingested gluten. After receiving a meningitis vaccine at the age of 18, those symptoms started emerging regardless of my gluten alllergy, which typically consist of chills, flash fevers, a sore throat, and acute nasal congestion, beginning with a month-long bout of these symptoms that occurred 4 months after the vaccine. These bouts have been validated by a MAPS physician as being related to autoimmune causes and not necessarily to a cold or flu, which I periodically endure to this day. I also currently live with low acid reflux and a gluten intolerance that I am fortunately able to manage with medication.

I remained silent about my medical issues for many years as my career as an autistic self-advocate began, from the age of 11 and throughout adolescence, until I started attending biomedical-centric autism conferences and discovered that there were other autistic individuals like myself who went through similar issues that I dealt with in childhood, and that many of those issues were connected to a vaccine injury. When my family realized that a potential connection existed between my medical issues and a vaccine injury, I decided to use my platform as a self-advocate to share my story at biomedical-centric autism events and vaccine awareness events, while carefully ensuring that my story is shared strictly within those events and not misinterpreted by facets of the autism community who oppose the idea of vaccine injury.

Most autistic self-advocates oppose the idea of vaccine injury and tend to attack people who speak up about vaccine injury. However, I have decided to openly attend such events in order to speak up for myself so that my story can be utilized to speak on behalf of others with vaccine injuries who cannot speak up for themselves. I hope that my sharing my story, I have done so.

~ James Williams

For more by James Williams, click here

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15 Responses to Vaccines and My Autism

  1. Cristina says:

    I disagree with this. Even I’m the event that the inflammatory response to a vaccine can have some consequences in autoimmune response, which is largely improved despite many people trying to prove it scientifically…
    1. Vaccines happen at an age when there is a tremendous developmental explosion. So it happens that autistic traits are more visible around 18months-4 years… when some vaccines are given. Association and causation are 2 different things.
    2. I still prefer to have a child with autism alive than a dead child due to measles or tetanus.
    3. Did you not have any disease or symptoms outside of 2 months after this vaccines and 4 months after the other? I understand that humans need to understand why behind certain things… unfortunately I think some whys are wrong here and put at risk that some people don’t get vaccinated and get severe complications from getting ill with preventable diseases.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      What do you mean “largely improved despite many people trying to prove it scientifically”? There is a TREMENDOUS amount of peer-reviewed scientific study indicating that the immune activation from vaccines, especially when combined with adjuvants such as the aluminum adjuvants contained in many vaccines, trigger autoimmune diseases, many of them very serious if not deadly (my own husband recently died with two very serious autoimmune diseases), within three years. That’s not “improvement” of any kind. Autoimmune disease, like many other neuroimmune conditions, is rising rapidly in prevalence just as the early childhood vaccination rate is rising.

      1. Everyone here is well aware that “correlation and causation are 2 different things.” They are always well aware, however, that autism rates have EXPLODED in the little more than three decades since Congress removed liability from vaccine manufacturers for the harm their products do. In that time, MANY doses of vaccines have been ADDED to the childhood schedule at the very time when as you pointed out “there is a tremendous developmental explosion.” Anything that can interrupt that development, and immune activation events of the type triggered by vaccination are well known to be able to do that at least a sizable subset of children, can derail it permanently.

      2. Virtually anyone would “still prefer to have a child with autism alive than a dead child due to measles or tetanus.” But that is a total misrepresentation of the choices being made by parents who decide not to vaccinate. Childhood death from either measles or tetanus is and has been vanishingly low for many decades. In the year before the FIRST (ineffective) measles vaccine was licensed, fewer than 400 children in the entire country died from measles, despite the fact that virtually all children got measles. And the likelihood of dying from tetanus is much rarer still, especially for children. There are fewer than 30 CASES per year in the entire country, despite the fact that most adults are considered “under-vaccinated,” and the vast majority occur in adults, usually in adults that have significant impairments in circulation due to a condition like diabetes.

      On the other hand, before the first measles vaccine autism prevalence was estimated to be about 1 in 10,000 children and has risen to nearly 3% of the childhood population, higher in boys. That means that your child’s likelihood of developing autism is MANY orders of magnitude higher than their likelihood of dying from measles or tetanus. Making vaccination decisions by assuming the risks are equal is just crazy. James was, in all likelihood, never at risk from any of the diseases he was vaccinated for.

      3. You are assuming that a disease in the same timeframe would be a triggering factor for James’s illness. Sometimes “diseases” can trigger these kinds of illnesses, because they, too, are immune activation events. Yet, back when every child got measles, neurological conditions like autism and ADHD were rare, so the likelihood that a disease would trigger the illness appears to be many orders of magnitude lower than the vaccines, quite possibly because it’s rare for a child to get more than one immune activating event in the first two years of life “when there is a tremendous developmental explosion.” Yet, it is expected now for children to have many immune-activating vaccination events prior to their second birthday.

  2. Karen says:

    Look into Medical Medium and his books – celery juice is healing for many digestive issues, heavy metal smoothies are helping neuro issues. Thank you for your important contribution to what will soon be the end of medically induced injuries.

  3. Will Rogers says:

    Very awesome essay, James! I sure do remember that autoimmune collapse. I was worried sick about you. I always suspected it was caused by stress.

  4. Sally Rubin says:

    Yes, this is a pretty striking match to what our son experienced. I’m so glad you were able to get the biomedical relief you required and are moving forward with a productive life. I hope that one day we will meet you.

  5. Tim Lundeen says:

    Thanks for all you are doing!

    A note re sinusitis — I think this can be due to vaccine injury. It is usually caused by chronic fungal infections, which your body is unable to clear if you have ongoing chronic inflammation caused by vaccination.

    • Billie Rubin says:

      There are two types of sinus infection – acute, lasting a few days to weeks, and chronic sinus infections, lasting more than 12 weeks. Almost all acute infections are viral in origin, usually from the same organisms (adenoviruses) that cause colds. Chronic infections are usually considered secondary (in a setting where a viral infection has occurred) infections, and from bacteria. These are the ONLY types of infections for which antibiotics are helpful (except see below); antibiotics do not work against viral infections (there are some antiviral agents, but not useful in sinus infections).

      Fungal infections are exceedingly rare, and generally seen in severely immunocompromised individuals. There are anti-fungal medications but this is a big deal when one needs to be treated.

      I know it is commonplace to bang the drum about vaccinations causing immune suppression and inflammation but the about statement about sinusitis is wrong, and can lead to some serious harm if all or even some sinus infections are treated as fungal, when that isn’t the case.

  6. Tracy says:

    Thank you James

  7. A. Bernard says:

    Yes! We have very similar stories. Not just my son with autism but myself, my daughter, my grandchild – vaccine followed by adverse events. Our family medical history reads like a list of known adverse events. At some point I began to put together a timeline of vax and ER trips that made the conclusion of a whole vaccine injured family hard to dispute, despite all the times we were told “coincidence.” The doctors admit now that we are a family of poor methylators. We are also a family that was born sporting visible MTHFR mutation markers that silently said we were poor methylators and could not detox readily. My son had all the markers- ALL of them clearing visible at birth, plus being born 2 full months prematurely. He was an adult before I learned what the markers are – tongue and lip tie, prominent blue vein across bridge of the nose, angel kiss, stork bite ( still has big red patch across back of head) and a sacral dimple – his was deep and obvious at birth. Autism diagnosis happens to 1 in 3 prematurely born. My son is slightly older than you but after so many years, there are no excuses any more for doctors not knowing about the MTHFR markers. Thank you for advocating! Neurodiversity talk is nonsense for a population with so many health challenges. If you need support, here I am!

    • Billie Rubin says:

      I wonder if the doctors who told you that you and your family had MTHFR gene mutation were medical doctors, or non-physicians. The description of markers visible at birth – tongue and lip tie, stork bite, sacral dimple, etc. are not correlated in the medical literature, as the gene mutation is a metabolic abnormality rather than a structural one. You may well have the mutation; it is very common in the heterozygous form (one parent had it, or it was a spontaneous mutation) and not uncommon in the homozygous form (both parents had it), and it is easy to test for it. However, the external findings that you relate can be due to many causes unrelated to a gene mutation. The angle kiss or stork bite you discuss are due to small blood vessels (veins or capillaries usually) that are dilated (opened) more than usual. Sacral dimples occur in 3 – 8% of the population and are usually benign. Sometimes, these can be associated with spinal cord abnormalities (eg. spina bifida), but, again, not the metabolic abnormalities associated with MTHFR gene mutation.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        It is not clear what contribution MTHFR makes to such “structural abornmalities,” but your premise is wrong. You imply that genes affecting metabolism do not affect structural development, but that’s just not true. The structural abnormalities we are talking about fall under the general heading of “neural tube defects,” which are indeed related to metabolism of folic acid and folate. When key metabolic pathways are impaired, structural development can indeed be compromised as this article makes very clear: Inherited Metabolic Disorders. Look particularly at page 2.

  8. Susan says:

    James, your voice is amazing. I am so impressed by reading your story.
    Thank you for being the voice for our children who at this time cannot communicate their story to the world.
    Well done! Indeed.

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