Vaccines and autism … controversy or not?

A Today Show feature about autism that aired back on October 30 is still weighing heavily on my mind. Matt Lauer spoke with Dr. Nancy Snyderman — she had recently interviewed Dr. Paul Offit, the author of Autism’s False Profits: Bad Science and Risky Medicine and the Search for a Cure. Offit disputes the link between Vaccines and Autism.

When Lauer referred to the topic as “controversial” he was quickly corrected by Snyderman. She passionately stated the link is not controversial, saying the science supports no link in many documented scientific studies.

Snyderman’s statement about the lack of controversy concerns me. As a provider of services to children from birth to age three and their families, I find it important to listen to parents as they share their thoughts and their fears regarding media attention surrounding autism and vaccines. Listening helps me provide support.

Anyone who provides services to and listens to families of children with autism quickly learns that the question of the cause of autism weighs heavily on their minds. It is still controversial.

Here’s one thing I know that is not controversial, though: until a cause and a cure is found, Easter Seals is dedicated to doing what we’ve always done — supporting people with autism and their families today by providing supports and services to those living with a diagnosis.


Comments may not reflect Easterseals' policies or positions.

  1. Mona Says:

    Seeking a “cure” for autism is very much controversial, especially coming from an organization that strives to support Autistic people.

    If this organization still believes that there is something fundamentally wrong and needing ‘fixing’ with the Autistic brain, it has really sadly missed the makr

  2. Mary DeBernardis Says:

    Our daughter was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3, but at age 12, her autism was found to be caused by Fragile X Syndrome, the leading genetic cause of mental impairment in the world, including autism. Her younger sister is not affected and both daughters had their vaccines. We encourage families to get the blood test for fragile x syndrome to rule it out. Feel free to visit the websites, and

  3. Elise Says:

    What a hot-button issue! It’s true that there is a lot of fear out there regarding immunizations and concerns about autism. I am just so grateful that most pediatricians are willing to take the time to explain to parents what is known about vaccines and how to administer them, as well as take responsible steps to prevent complications while administering those vaccinations, such as not giving children an immunization while they have a low fever. We all want what is best for our children, and that includes preventing diseases like the measles or polio.

  4. Jessica Moore Says:

    Lisa, thank you for writing about this. I agree that this is a very controversial and prominent issue. As a speech therapist working with 0-3 year olds and their families, it is rare that I can even mention the word “autism” without getting a question about vaccines. As providers, I think it is important to know what parents are being bombarded with in the media. But even more importantly, you are exactly right that we are able to offer a lot of support simply by actively and genuinely listening to their concerns. We may not be able to provide answers about the cause or cure for autism, but we can certainly provide hope.