Ever met that person that insists they’re right no matter how many things happen to show they’re wrong? Like how The Lion King is based on Hamlet but no matter how many YouTubers say it they won’t believe it – they think it’s wrong unless they hear it from a Disney executive? Well, if you give evidence to me, I’ll change my mind. I don’t know if other autists feel that way, but one of the traits of autism is to accept logical explanations. And if I’m given evidence to something I disbelieved once, I’ll start to believe it.
But you know who won’t believe it? Anti-vaxxers. Someone asked on Quora who still believes that vaccines cause autism. Someone answered that it was “everyone who is sane.” My request to them was not to change their minds. I knew that was a lost cause. My request was that they not call everyone who didn’t believe it insane. They came back with abuse and insistence that I must be wrong, even though I hadn’t said I didn’t believe it.
Afterwards, they actually forced me to give evidence about people who had been autistic before vaccines were invented, like Mozart for example. I don’t think this person believed it could be possible. But even if Mozart wasn’t autistic, that doesn’t mean Thomas Jefferson wasn’t, and he was already pretty old by the time the smallpox vaccine was invented. However, because they couldn’t reciprocate and name anyone who became autistic after being vaccinated, they couldn’t very well support their argument. They did not reply to this, but I got the feeling their answer was “Just because I can’t argue with that doesn’t mean you’re right, and you are still crazy”. And I never wanted to argue anyway – I just wanted them to respect opposing opinions the way I do, even if they don’t agree with them.
Anti-vaxxers are ruining the autistic community’s reputation. If autism came from an outside influence, then it could be taken away by an outside influence, and so even if they don’t mean to, they are influencing those who think there should be a cure. That belief is damaging to everyone on the spectrum. Autism is partly genetic, but more research needs to be done to discover other causes, why it’s a spectrum, and why so many people are placed in different areas on that spectrum when their brains show similar differences in them to the neurotypical brain (one of those being a lack of pruned synapses – that’s what makes us more sensitive to some things). Once the community accepts that autism is just a brain difference that can’t be changed by vaccines or whatever the opposite is, maybe the community will finally give autism a wider voice, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll find new innovative ways of managing the difficulties that come with it and ways of cultivating the positives.