October 27, 2015
SafeMinds co-founder and board member Lyn Redwood spoke at last weekend’s Truth, Transparency & Freedom Rally. Read her moving account of decades of Federal inaction on vaccine harms – and her personal triumph helping her own son lead a successful life beyond autism.
My name is Lyn Redwood. I have a master’s in nursing and worked for years as a nurse practitioner in obstetrics, gynecology, and pediatrics. I co-founded the nonprofit organization SafeMinds in 2000 and the National Autism Association in 2003, and I have been fighting on behalf of families affected by autism for over 15 years.
My youngest son weighed in at almost 9 lbs at birth. He was a strapping, happy baby who smiled, cooed, walked, and talked all by one year. Shortly after his first birthday we started to lose him. Suddenly my active, healthy baby was sick all the time. He had back-to-back colds, ear infections, and even strep throat. All he wanted to do was to sit in front of the TV and watch the Disney movie, “The Fox and the Hound,” over and over again. And he would cry inconsolably if you interrupted his routine. He stopped interacting with us, he refused to eat most foods and suffered intermittent bouts of diarrhea. He also lost all the words he had been saying and the twinkle in his eye was gone too. Something was horribly wrong with my beautiful baby boy.
At first he was diagnosed with a global receptive and expressive speech delay. Typanostomy tubes and aggressive speech therapy did nothing to help him recover his speech. Then he was diagnosed with autism.
That was 21 years ago. But sadly, my story has become the same story as hundreds of thousands of parents throughout our country who have watched their children literally disappear overnight.
How many of you here today have a child who had been diagnosed with a ADD/ADHD, a learning disability or autism?
I’m here today to tell you that after years of research and advocacy, I have come to the belief that our children have been harmed. And that our federal agencies responsible for protecting the health of our children, are aware of this harm, are complicit in the harm, and are doing nothing to stop it.
My husband and I were told autism was a genetically based psychiatric disorder. But no one in my family or my husband’s family has either autism or asperger’s, and the fact that our son had been completely normal at birth, developed on schedule the first year of life, and then regressed, just didn’t make sense to us. Something had happened to our son.
In July of 1999, I received notification that some vaccine manufacturers used a mercury based preservative called thimerosal in their vaccines, and that as a precaution; the use of thimerosal was being phased out. At the same time the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a report saying there was no need to test mercury levels in infants, since exposures were quite low and there was “No evidence of harm.”
But the more my husband, who is a board certified emergency physician with formal training in toxicology, and I thought about this statement, the more curious we became. It didn’t make sense. How did the AAP know that the levels of mercury, a heavy metal much more toxic than lead was of no significant consequence when no child had been tested? Without looking for evidence of harm how can one conclude that no harm occurred?
Read the full article at the SafeMinds website here.