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Chickenpox Parties

I was quite surprised to come across a story in People Magazine, dated November 7, 2005 on page 95 under Trends. This is entitled, "We Went to a Party and Came Home with CHICKEN POX!" The accompanying photo has siblings showing off their red pox with smiles on their faces. This was a result of a playdate last year where they purposely contracted Chickenpox. These children are now ages 6 and 3 and were instructed by their parent to drink from a sippy cup that another child had been drinking. That child in question had Chickenpox.

It seems that these parents are meeting online and inviting other families who want to avoid having their child vaccinated with the Chickenpox vaccine, to come in contact with an infected child instead. This is happening across the country and the first I have heard of it. I am a member of dozens of yahoo groups that cover the Autism Spectrum and other disorders, so these parents must be gathering on the anti-vaccine type of groups that are out there.

Both my children on the Autism Spectrum have received the chickenpox vaccine. I believe it was while in the first grade when you need to get a TB, blood and urine test before entering school. Here are some general questions and answers from the National Immunization Program on the Varicella Vaccine known as Chickenpox.

""But what she hoped would be a fun if infectious afternoon became a bit of a downer as one mom wrapped Seth in a towel and then rubbed it on her 2-year-old daughter's body as the little girl teared up. She was really freaked out-my son looked like an alien."

That parent went on to mention the hour was very uncomfortable but the end result was that he girl became infected, which is what the parents wanted. The article has a box showing numbers of Chickenpox cases before (1995)and after the vaccine. They also interviewed a pediatrician in private practice in Littleton, Colorado who felt it was strange that parents would go to these lengths to avoid vaccines and put their children at risk.

I hope this is not a trend as People Magazine mentions, but the President of the Autism Autoimmunity Project of New Jersey was quoted as saying " vaccines could contain other harmful substances. The risks outweigh the benefits." The families within the article live in Olympia, Washington and Flemington, NJ. It just so happens that my son Nicholas was born in Flemington, New Jersey.

The article also suggests visting the American Academy of Pediatrics for more information on chickenpox. I wonder how much information these children are given by their parents before they have to endure the virus. Sure the faces of the children on the second page of the article are all smiling, but did they comprehend the risk that are associated with Chickenpox, including the possibility of death.

I did notice that all the parents interviewed and photographed in the People article are the Mothers of the children with no mention of whether the Fathers agreed or even knew what was taking place with their children. Although autism was mentioned in the box with the interview and statistics, I did not read of any parents doing this who already have a child on the Autism Spectrum. The article focused more on parents doing this to avoid autism or other childhood disorders.

I am curious to know how People magazine first heard of these Chickenpox parties and I might just do a google search to see if I can spot any of these postings by parents in search of children infected with the virus.

Quite an interesting story nonetheless, although not something I would take part in or condone.

Here is an article on Shingles which states that 1 out of every 10 people who had chickenpox as children will get shingles as adults.

A Pox on my house - American Chiropractor


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