How Much Does Your Pediatrician Know About Autism?

“All the studies show that childhood vaccinations are not linked to autism!” Bet you’ve heard that one before, especially if you happen to be a parent seeking answers about why your child is affected with ASD. “But, you want to give 12 different substances to my child? How many studies have been done about this many on the same day?” Mom has the temerity to inquire.

Or, a concerned parent asks “What about if the child is getting/getting over a cold, or there are other family members who have a cold?” “The day care center has a lot of absenteeism because of colds?” “He got sick the last time that he got the shots.”

Should we wait to vaccinate? Is it OK to ‘make up’ the vaccination schedule by giving more the next time? What are the risks? Has such research been done? Has anyone studied such details?”

A  two-year old child is not speaking yet. The pediatrician says, “He’s a boy, he’ll probably outgrow it. Just wait.” The parent asks, “What percentage outgrow it, and what percentage go on to have more serious problem? Should I have my son taken for a developmental evaluation?”

An 18 month-old girl has stopped using some of her words. She seems less happy and isn’t making as much eye contact. “Do you think that I should worry about it?” asks the mother.  “It’s probably nothing,” exclaims the trusted practitioner, “Kids have better and worse days. I wouldn’t worry about it.” But if the parents are still worried, who should they see?

A 10 moth-old child is only starting to crawl. Everything else looks pretty much OK, except for some reflux and occasional bowel problems. The doctor replies, “Sounds good. She’s not quite up-to-date on her vaccinations, though, so let’s get that done today and I’ll see her in a couple of months, when she’s 1 year.” In the meantime, what advice should the pediatrician give about what signs to look for?

There is a 6 month-old who has severe eczema. He has been seen by 3 specialists – an allergist, dermatologist and infectious disease doctor – already in his young life. Nothing seems to improve the rash except steroids. Now, they are not even helping. “What do you think I should do?” asks the father. “”The National Jewish Hospital in Denver has an excellent rash unit,” says the recently trained doctor. If you could get an appointment, it will probably be next Thanksgiving. Is there anything more that can be done?

A 2 month-old girl has an older brother already diagnosed with autism. The parents ask if maybe the “shots” could be put off for a month and if you could spread them out a bit. An all too common reply from the pediatrician’s office, “One thing has nothing to do with the other. If you don’t go ahead and get with the program, we’re going to ask you to find another physician.” Is this a tactic that we really want to utilize? Maybe the staff is doing it without the doctor’s knowledge.

A newborn child has just come through a pretty rough day – as have the parents. As mom puts the baby at her breast, a nurse comes over and sticks the child with a Hepatitis B vaccination that mom didn’t ask for – and didn’t even know was going to be given. “How many safety studies have been done on this protocol?” she asks the pediatrician.

A pregnant woman is going through a rough time, but things are pretty much OK and she is finally getting over those first trimester’s rejection episodes (aka ‘morning sickness’). Mom (and her fetus) need a flu shot, that’s for sure. “Is there any literature that I can read about that?” mom asks.

These aren’t the errant wanderings of an off-the-wall practitioner. These are the stories that I hear every day.

Those kooky parents.

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One Response to “How Much Does Your Pediatrician Know About Autism?”

  1. joseph gautier says:

    Makes us sick in our hearts, Doc.

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