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Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
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Autism-Vaccine Link?

Allan N. Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Jun 11th 2007

A special federal court U.S Court of Federal Claims) agreed to hear the case of a family whose child received a vaccine and subsequently developed immune system problems including severe autism. The case will take three weeks to be heard. In this court it is easier to win a case than in regular courts because families will only have to show that there is a link between vaccines and autism. Some 15,000 families have claims involving vaccines and autism. Winning this case would mean that affected families would receive compensation in order to pay the costs for training affected children.

Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder that impairs a child's ability to communicate and interact with others in a normal fashion. Additional symptoms include severe anxiety, irritability, failure to notice important social cues and facial expressions in others and the inability to make eye contact and respond to what others are saying. There are also serious cognitive deficits in these children.

For several years many parents have asserted that their children were normal until they received the vaccinations for diseases such as measles, mumps and rubella. Parents charge that a preservative formerly used in the vaccines caused their children to become autistic. Scientists insist that studies fail to show any such connection between autism and the types of vaccinations that were used. Presently, the offending preservative is no longer used.

While children receive many of the vaccinations within the first year or two of life, families report they saw a dramatic change in their children subsequent to the shots. Part of the difficulty with interpreting this data is that symptoms of autism can begin to manifest themselves very early. In addition, no all or even most children receiving the vaccinations are affected.

We will all be waiting expectantly to hear the ruling of the judge in this important case.

In the mean time another log entry that will be coming up will be talking about the use of specially trained dogs to help autistic children begin to verbalize and communicate. At the moment the data on the use of these dogs with autistic children is anecdotal it is hoped that it will lead to hard scientific research.

What are your comments?

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at for details.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

Behavioural issues - j. Clarke - Jul 6th 2012

i have to agree with B. Smith as her letter is exactly what i've gone through with my 11yr old.  But she doesn't have ADHD like originally thought at age 4.  At age 6 we were told she has anxiety, reactive attachment disorder and oppositional defiant disorder.  Funny as she was fine till age three.  now we find out at age 10 she is bipolar, with anxiety, oppositional defiant.  Meds help 50% but her grades of A's and B's are now C's and D's.  So i too am thinking there is a link to heridity and vaccines.

Change in one day - - Feb 3rd 2010

My child was a fun happy child. Smilling all the time. He was the easiest baby in the world full of life and happiness. That is until he received his vacinations around one year old. I too saw his personality change in one day. He went from being a smiling happy playfull vhild to staring into space and uaware that we were even there. It took about a week to pull him out of this but his personality is totally different now. I understand why we need vacines but I also understand what I witnessed with my own eyes. There is not a doctore around that can tell me what I saw was not fome the vacines.

Autism-Vaccine - Sad Father - Jan 19th 2010

My boy who is now three was normal up untill he had several vacciens in one day. He doveloped dierea the day after the vacciens were administered and a year and a half later it still hasn't cleared up. Also his vocabulary has not increased in a year and a half. The day he got the shots they took his life away. I seen it with my own eyes, just like he had a mild stroke.

no reported evidence - - May 7th 2009

Hello B. Smith,

I can only assure you that there is no reported evidence of a link between vaccinations and ADHD. In fact, all the evidence points toward genetics, meaning that it is inherited from the mother, father or both sides of the family. Yes, ADHD is very troubling for children and parents who must cope with it. However, there is good evidence that a combination of medication and behavioral therapy helps children improve in school and at home. There is no cure but people can control it. By the way, ADHD people can be extremely creative. You need not blame yourself, vaccines or the medical doctors.

Dr. Schwartz

vaccinations causes behavior & mental disabilities - B. Smith - May 6th 2009

 Children are not just getting autism from vaccines. All these children are getting ADHD, Conduct disorder, compulsive control disorder, ADD,oppositonal defiant dissorder, bi polar, and the list goes on.  I know for a fact that it is caused by vaccination. I say this because I have witnessed this and noticed the effects and changes in my daughter almost instantly before my eyes.  My daughter is now 11yrs old, and I have yet to come to an end with this devasting battle. It's been hell for the past years. Up untill the age of 4 yrs old, my daughter was advanced,walked, talked, potty trained all before a year old. She knew her ABC's, how to count from 1-100, all the US states, all the planets, reading, writing, and much more. She was developing and exceeded her peers. Her day care and school even placed her in classes with the older children. Then all of a sudden between the ages of 4 & 7, the changes and problemes began. She started having ADHD symptoms and problems in school. Completely had to be taqught things over again, behavioral issues, short attention span, etc.  I have taken all the necessary steps for help, but nothing helps. Not theraphy, medication, school 504 plans, changing my life around, and so on. It's been so many years and I'm still trying to adjust and continue to seek help . There is so much that this has done to my life and so many situations we get into because of this. But I have always known in the back of mind that it was the vaccinations because I watch what it did to my daughter right in front of me and I delt with it as the doctors and therapist tell you to and then they diagnose your child with something. Just recently after finally figuring out all that we've been through it's something I just have to continue to deal with, I cried so hard because my daughter is going through this and she don't know why, but I do and all ways have. When you hav a child that is normal no health concerns, no issues, and the one day you notice a change in their smile, their behavior, and the look in there eyes, and there is nothing you can do... It hurts! Not only that, but why should she have to look back at her childhood as painful, or a struggle. My daughter is still doing good academic in school but it's only because I have to provide all this extra help and tutoring, and after school programs. As she got older the ADHD sympyoms are a little less just now, but the behavior issues are worse. But this she did not need, she was an almost perfect child before. 

Truly sad - Holmes - May 2nd 2009

I find it sad that people go say this because they don't want to believe that in some way they are responsible for their child's autism... and before any one says anything I do have asperger's and was diagnosed shortly before getting vaccinated my mom still denies that i have it even after numerous diagnoses

more research needs to be done - - Sep 15th 2008

I definitely think more research needs to be done on the topic as the numbers of children diagnosed with autism continue to increase.  However, I still don't think the research is definitive or convincing enough to support a link between the two.  There's a great debate on the topic at  Experts from both sides weigh in, and there's a guy named Kevin Leitch who is really taking on the groups who believe autism and vaccines are linked.

Autism and Vaccines - Thomas D. Taylor - Aug 8th 2008

Midnight In Chicago issues free podcasts to the public on autism spectrum disorders. "Autism and Vaccines: Parts I & II" might be something people would enjoy.

 They are free to the public and can be found at

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