Saturday, September 28, 2013

did you say "brain damage?"

I wonder if I'm the only parent of an autistic child who gets SO tired of the autism and vaccine debate. If you're unfamiliar, let me boil it down to this. Some people think autism is caused by vaccines (specifically the MMR). Some people don't. There are numerous studies to each side. 

Fine and dandy as this debate is (although it really can turn very ugly), here's the real answer: we don't know! Autism functions so differently in each case, how can we possibly say one specific thing causes it? We can't. I believe it could be many factors causing each case. Because my son's autism doesn't look like Temple Grandin's or the boy from The Golden Hat foundation. They all look different. 

The thing that has come to my attention that bothers me greatly is calling autism a "brain damage." Yes, there are many cases where autism does go hand-in-hand with other disorders and disabilities, including mental retardation. However, calling autism itself a "brain damage" rather than a disorder is really heartbreaking to me. 

My son is NOT brain damaged. Yes, his brain works differently from mine. But mine works differently than my husband's and my other son's and my best friend's and my mother's. My son is not damaged. God made him exactly the way he was supposed to be - the Bible says this clearly.

For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

Psalm 139:13-16

I don't believe vaccines caused my son's; I don't live in other families' shoes to tell whether vaccines caused their autism or perhaps just caused it to show up better, but I believe each of these children were made with the Lord's full knowledge of this disorder in their life. Not to say it's how He meant it to be (but who am I to questions His ways?), but we do live in a fallen world where children starve, die from cancer, have malaria or AIDS, and where autism is a daily part of our lives. I believe it's a matter of thanking the Lord for our children and counting them as blessings.

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