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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32 Responses to Vaccines and My Autism

  1. Laura Bizzle says:

    Please email me. Let’s talk about this. If you think autism needs curing? Surely you want an autistic person to comment on this?

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      Autistic people comment here frequently.

      As this post is written by an autistic person and you have declared it a “lie,” you clearly only consider the opinions of autistic people who feel identically to yourself count as “authentic.”

      That’s insulting, dismissive, exclusionary, and narrow-minded.

      • I believe that autistic people should be entitled to the same rights to decide for themselves how they want to identify themselves. People make choices other people don’t agree with. That’s just a fact of life. Personally, I believe that autistic people should be empowered to decide what they feel is best for themselves. That means respecting the desires of the autistic people who want to be “cured” while respecting the desires of other autistic people who are proud of their autism. I don’t want to cure you or anyone. I actually don’t want to cure myself at all and am proud of my autism. I just want to share my story of medical issues I have had that were attributed to vaccine injury not by myself, but by doctors I told my story to who made the connection. I’d also like to point out that I myself was shocked when the connection was made, but was forced to admit the possibility when I underwent a medical exam in adulthood where I could no longer deny the very likely fact that I had been injured by vaccinations.

  2. Laura Bizzle says:

    Your whole website is a lie! I am autistic and I do not need to be cured!!!

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      Nothing on this website implies that YOU need to be anything.

      The fact that others have made certain choices for themselves or the children (or adults) in their care does not mean that anyone is trying to impose their choices on you.

      Please afford others the same respect and refrain from imposing your choices on them.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story openly. We need more of you. The more we speak out, the more main stream this knowledge will be.

  4. Billie Rubin says:

    What’s the thinking about the new potential immunizations? Chance to reduce your risk from COVID exposure, new insult to the brain, more kids with vaccine linked autism? Here, at least, the risk of getting the disease is much higher than, say, measles, mumps, rubella (German measles), Hepatitis B, HPV, etc.

    I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

    • I think it depends on the person. Immunizations help some people but hurt others, and they don’t work for everyone–just like any other medical treatment. The problem, however, is that many people have been led to believe that getting vaccinated magically gives someone immunity from the specific virus that a person is getting vaccinated for, as if some fairy had taken out their magic wand and granted a person immunity. In reality, in order for a vaccine to work, you have to have an immune system of a specific caliber in order for the proper response to occur that gives you the intended immunity from the vaccination. Should your immune system not be up to the task, it’s very possible to get a vaccination but not get immunity from the vaccination. This is known as “vaccine failure,” and if you Google this term, you will find it has been extensively researched. One research paper points out that vaccine trials are typically conducted on healthy people with good immune systems that often have good results, but not as often on people with lesser functioning immune systems that may not have the same positive results from a vaccination.

  5. 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.

      • Professor Dan says:

        The reason autism was “rare” back then, was because the neurological condition was not common knowledge. The condition was just as widespread as it is these days (growing population = growing number of cases) but people with autism just weren’t diagnosed with it due to lack of expertise.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Do yourself a favor and read Denial: How Refusing to Face the Facts about Our Autism Epidemic Hurts Children, Families, and Our Future, by Dan Olmstead and Mark Blaxill. It is an impeccably researched book that illustrates with crystal clarity why your autism was NOT “just as widespread” (not even close) in the early 1900s as it is now. No matter how many times you repeat it, you can’t make it true.

        (By the way, autism rates are not measured in absolute numbers of cases, but as a percentage of the population. Rising population does not equal rising rates.)

    • K M says:

      You need to do some more research Cristina. I am sure your comments are well-intentioned, but I personally know of 5 families that had children who were completely normal at birth and have autism following vaccinations. Look into how many increases in autoimmune disorders, autism, allergies, etc., have erupted since the vaccination schedules increased. No liability to the manufacturers means they have billions of dollars to advertise and sell their products. People can be easily swayed by propaganda. Please, look into more research…

    • Cia says:

      There was no autism before vaccines and the autism rate has increased in tandem with the increased vaccine schedule. My brother and I were born healthy but reacted to our first DPT with days of inconsolable, constant screaming, vaccine encephalitis, which caused our Asperger’s. My daughter reacted to the hep-B vaccine given at midnight the day she was born, without my knowledge or permission, with four days and nights of constant, inconsolable screaming, vaccine encephalitis. Despite her brain injury, she was saying two words at 18 months: both were erased as soon as she got the DTaP booster, and she was diagnosed with autism two months later. She continues to be low-verbal at 20. Unemployed because no one wants to give even a simple minimum wage job to someone who is low-verbal.

      I disagree. Measles is GOID for the vast majority to get. In 1963, there were three to four million cases a year in the US, 450 deaths. Dr. Peter Aaby showed that in Senegal, children who got natural measles and recovered, 90% even in Africa, had only one-fifth the all-cause mortality as those who did not have the good fortune to get natural measles. I’d rather have a child whose brain is undamaged and can live life to the fullest. One in thirty American children has autism now, while only a tiny fraction of that number would have died from a vaccine-preventable disease had they not been vaccinated. Every parent must make the decision for themselves. Vaccines most definitely cause autism from more inflammation than was bargained for.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Tracy says:

    Thank you James

  11. 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.

    • Annie says:

      I need your help and guidance! Please 🙏 mom of 5 year old non verbal son diagnosed with asd at 2.5 years. Early intervention etc. but I would like to ask you a few things.

      • Suzie P says:

        I recently saw the Del Bigtree interview of JB and his son Jamison Handley and their use of the S2C system Spell to communicate. The main takeaway is to assume non-speakers are smart and can understand you – they simply can’t get their bodies to do what they want and often have oculomotor apraxia where they can’t control their eyes and appear like they’re not paying attention when they hear every word. Small fonts are also bad. Also, ABA is the wrong therapy for them.
        My son is highly functioning with auditory processing issues, etc. My husband, because it’s what his own mother would do to him, would keep telling our son to look him in the eyes when he talked to him – this meant my son would not hear what he was saying. So if he looked like he wasn’t paying attention, he was, and if he stared my husband in the eyes, he wasn’t listening. Lots of executive functioning issues as well. In the last couple of years as a young adult he’s been able to verbalize what’s going on with him. He needs additional processing time for what he hears – so a pause at the end of each sentence is really helpful. One speaker at a time with a pause in between, and he absolutely cannot handle a conversation with two or more other people OR a lot of background voices because he can’t separate out the ones he wants to hear. We’re learning all the time. The “look at me when I’m talking to you” once he told us many years later how that was wrong – made my husband feel awful. I can’t imagine how Jami’s dad felt when he realized how misunderstood Jami had been for so long.

  12. 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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