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Was my grandson's autism due to the MMR?

MagazineSeptember 2003 (Vol. 14 Issue 6)Was my grandson's autism due to the MMR?

My grandson was diagnosed as having ASD (autism spectrum disorder) when he was two-and-a-half years old

My grandson was diagnosed as having ASD (autism spectrum disorder) when he was two-and-a-half years old. Now at the age of four, this has developed into high-function autism (HFA)/Asperger's.

He had his MMR vaccine when he was 18 months old and, over a period of two weeks, became increasingly miserable and uncooperative. He stopped talking, avoided eye contact, did not respond to stimuli or, indeed, to anyone except his mother. Various GPs and a paediatrician all said it was a virus!

After three months, we managed to get him referred for a hearing test (negative) and eventually to speech therapy. From there, he was referred to a paediatrician for diagnosis. Apart from a small input of speech therapy and sessions with a teacher adviser, no treatment or help was given or advised.

No 'one-to-one' therapy sessions ever materialised as promised, and my daughter has had to source and pay for this herself.

An Early Bird group run by Social Services/Health/Education has offered some insight into the causes and management of difficult behaviour. So, after a great deal of research, tenacity, initiative and financial commitment, my grandson is now finally undergoing an intense, personalised educational programme, a form of interventional treatment called 'applied behaviour analysis', or ABA, used by many to teach autistic and Asperger's children. He is also being treated by a nutritionist. Yet, I was told by GPs that ABA would be positively harmful and that a change in diet or supplementation would not help. - M. Morris, North Shropshire

WDDTY replies: As MMR-induced damage usually begins in the intestine, because certain peptides or large food molecules are allowed to pass through the gut walls, many such children benefit from a wheat- or milk-free diet. Contact the Autism Unit at the University of Sunderland for details on 0191 510 8922.

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