I'm afraid there are no easy answers to this one.
Some people think there is a link or a genetic weakness with those that appear to develop autism after the vaccine.
Almost all professionals say there is no link and, as you say, even those that think there was a link will probably find that there was autistic behaviour before the vaccine, but they just didn't recognise it for what it was.
Also the way autism develops causes people to believe it is caused by something environmental because for many children they appear to be developing normally for the first couple of years of their life and then either regress or simply don't go on to develop the social skills seen in other children.
I too began to notice that something wasn't right at about the age of 3. But knowing what I know now, I can honestly say that he was tactile defensive as a baby, and showed other sensory difficulties eg. he would eat until he vomited. He didn't crawl etc.
Any vaccine is only effective if enough of the population is covered. When there are alot of children who haven't had the vaccine there is a chance that there could be an outbreak and if your child caught measles, mumps or rubella you would have to live with the consequences of that.
As you already have autism in the family it is a more difficult decision. And even if your child did have the MMR vacination and did get a diagnosis of autism, you would suspect the vaccine even if it had nothing to do with it. I would recommend you discuss it with your GP. If you were considering waiting until the child was 3+ before they were vaccinated then ask your GP about the risks involved. You could also find out if it is possible to do those vaccines one at a time.
I would also be keeping an eye on your child to see that they are reaching all of their milestones both physically, verbally and socially. I would also find out about Sensory difficulties associated with autism so that you recognise any sensory seeking or avoiding behaviour. Although problems with sensory processing are not part of the diagnostic criteria, it is recognised at nearly all (if not all) children/adults on the spectrum have some kind of sensory processing difficulties ranging from mild to severe.
If you plan on travelling to other countries in the near future, have your child get the shot. Other children who aren't immunized who travel to other countries can get the disease and pass it on as well. Otherwise, I personally wouldn't see any risk in waiting for a little while, as long as you intend to have the shot eventually. Your child will need all their immunizations before they start school. I guess if you get childcare outside of the home, immunizations might be an issue as well. If you don't know the other kids and adults your child will be in contact with.
Also checking with the doctor to make sure there is no thermiserol/mercury in the shots can set your mind at ease. They removed thermiserol from most shots, but I believe it is still in the flu shot. I refuse to give my daughter the flu shot anymore. I also believe it is in the chicken pox (vacerila?) vaccine. Also not a necessary shot. I didn't have flu or chicken pox vaccines when I was growing up. Why do we have to protect our kids against every thing? It would be one thing if your child had asthma or a chronic health problem that you wouldn't want him/her to get the flu. Or I guess an infant, though I don't think they give flu shots to kids under age 1.
Oh, our daughter had sensory issues (one part of autism, though not with everyone who has autism) from the day she was born. So did I from the day I was born, according to my mom. No one in my family has been diagnosed with autism, but there are a ton of relatives (myself included) who have OCD, reclusive/anti-social behavior, ADD, anxiety disorders or problems socializing, speech disorders, depression, etc. I don't know if autism has increased in occurance or if the definition of autism has broadened that people just went undiagnosed years ago. I'm in my mid 30s. Never heard of autism until the movie Rain Man came out, and that is not really an accurate picture of what most people with autism are like. I remember my elementary school had an LD (learning disability) and ED (emotionally disturbed) classrooms. One of my friends was in the LD classroom and I didn't have a lot of friends because I was ridiculed just for associating with her. The regular classrooms just didn't want to mix with the LD or ED (special ed) kids. It was really a sad time growing up. I'm happy that today there is a lot more understanding about learning disabilities and emotional issues. Hopefully since adults are more understanding, they can make their kids be more understanding. Would some of us been diagnosed with PDD or autism when we were growing up? Possibly. I wonder if some kids who had autism 30 years ago were diagnosed with mental retardation instead? I read this story awhile back about this guy who was in his 70s who had a sister who was taken away from their family when she was 3. Evidently it was an embarrassment for an upper class family to have a child who was retarded. The girl was sent away to a home and the family moved so their new neighbors would never know they had another child and the boy was not allowed to ask questions about his sister. He later tracked her down when he was an adult. That is horrible to think that 70 years ago some families would consider just ditching a child so the state would have to take care of the child. Anyways, I can't remember where I read the story. It was several months back in a magazine which I was reading at a doctor's office waiting room.
I believe that my sons autism was caused by the Whooping cough vaccine.
He was born normal and one could say so are a lot of autistic kids. My son had a reaction to the vaccine by swollen painful area. In fact it the leg was all swollen and had temperatures.
Called the doctor and he never came. It was in the middle of the night. My son was very listless after that. He then was given the second injection by mistake. I believe this caused my sons autism without any doubt. He was never given the third dose of vaccine.
He did catch Whooping cough about 14months and antibiotics was given with quick results. He then caught Whooping cough again at the age of 10 I think it was. This time he was very sick but again antibiotics came to the rescue.
They say that Whooping cough can only be caught once. I quess he proofed that theory wrong.
I think Whooping cough vaccines should have an allergy test before they are administed to any child. I really feel very strong about this subject.
There have been test done in the UK about Whooping cough vaccines.
A friend of mine has a son with aspergers. Her son is a twin. Both boys got all of the shots AT THE SAME TIME. If autism is caused by shots, wouldn't they both have autism
The MMR is not required until school age. You CAN wait until your daughter enters Kindergarten and in most states the shot is not required at all. The US has about 95% innoculation rate---which means the general population is helping to immunize your daughter without her having to receive the vaccine. Although this does NOT mean your daughter can't catch a disease or illness. It just lessens her chances of contracting it. If you aren't planning international travel, you can wait. And again, there is no link that the FDA/CDC/AAP or any other health organization has come right out and said. There is only speculation.
Here's the thing. You are right. You noticed signs for your niece early on and the shot could have been the tipping point. That's what most parents and good doctors speculate. That, first there are signs as subtle as they may be---then the vaccine comes in and hits those small signs into overdrive and wham---autism. With my child, we did know very early on that he could be autistic. Unfortunately the state I lived in at the time (Hawaii) has a zero tolerance for unvaccinated children. He HAD to receive either the Chicken Pox Shot or the MMR at a year old. So we opted for the less invasive and singular shot of Chicken Pox. Unfortunately he's very allergic to eggs (didn't know this at the time....ahem...cursing the allergist for refusing to see us!!! Like GERD isn't sometimes caused by allergies or made worse!!! *breathes*) and thus he went into full-blown autism. It took 3 days for him to stop puking and then after that---zero language! He went from 20 words to nothing. He's now 2 and a month old---we have 5 words. It's been rough. I've cursed myself up and down for allowing it, but it was either I raise my child or the state took custody of him. All for a stupid shot!
So, if it's a matter of you guys just wondering or not being against it in the future when she's older. I'd say wait. There's no need for any of those two shots until she's much older. At age 5 or even 4 the immune system is better equipped to handle live vaccines. Just so you know---I'm not against vaccinating my child. He received all the normal shots an infant gets. I was simply against live vaccines knowing how he reacted to non-live ones. So -- discuss it with your wife, pediatrician, and decide what is best for you and your family. Kids are like shoes---in that one size is not right for everyone. Only you as the parent knows what your child is capable of handling at this age. Be her voice. If you decide not to innoculate right now--there's nothing wrong with that. Just check the laws in your state to see if it is a requirement for school so you are prepared to deal with it later on (much later on).