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.