To Anyone STILL Saying Vaccines Cause Autism, Please Stop Now

To Anyone STILL Saying Vaccines Cause Autism, Please Stop Now

Do your research, people.
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Growing up as the daughter of a nurse, I was taught to be a very health-conscious person. My mom always made sure we were at the top of our health game, especially when it came to our vaccines.

I vividly remember getting our flu shots as a family every year. While I used to complain back then, I am now extremely grateful that my mom chose to vaccinate us not only for little things like the flu, but all the vaccines that every child should have.

I have seen multiple videos and posts on Facebook about how "vaccines cause autism" or other horrible diseases and illness. I would like to shine the light on this issue in the most educated way possible.

Vaccines are meant to introduce one's body to an illness so that it can develop antibodies to fight off the illness if it is ever encountered again. Sounds like a great idea, right? That's because it is.

In my abnormal psychology class last year, my professor told us the story about how the supposed link between vaccines and autism/other illnesses came about. A medical researcher by the name of Andrew Wakefield originally "conducted studies" in 1998 on a possible link to autism and bowel disease caused by the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (commonly known as the MMR vaccine). He published a paper with his findings.

Many medical researchers tried to replicate his findings and could not. It was eventually found out that his data was faked and his entire paper and experiment was a fraud, but by that time, it was too late. The paper was out there and taking over the media by storm.

Ever since, thousands of medical professionals and public health agencies have attempted to spread the word that there is no known link between vaccines and illnesses, but the public chooses not to listen.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has released statement upon statement that there have been studies done revealing that there is no link between vaccine and illnesses. Autism Speaks, an organization that often tries to get the word out about autism, has it stated on their website under the causes of autism that there is no link.

The biggest problem with this ongoing debate is that people are unwilling to listen, putting our society at risk. We are seeing an increase of illnesses that are rare or had previously been eradicated completely due to parents choosing not to vaccinate their children. We share videos and articles on Facebook from unreliable sources and people believe what they see without checking the facts first.

There are so many sources out there if you have questions on vaccination. The CDC has an entire page dedicated to parents who are unsure of vaccinating their children. We are so quick to believe things we hear without doing research and it is causing damage to our society.

So please, do yourself and our society a favor. If you hear something, read something or see something on this subject, do the research before passing it along.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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5 Things I Really Wish I Knew ~Before~ Losing My Virginity

Advice to our younger selves.
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Everyone has a first time. We're all at different stages of our lives when it happens, which impacts how we approach the situation and how we feel about it immediately after and in reflections. Some people idealize their first time, some people regret it, some people feel nothing about it. I agonized over my virginity.

I wanted nothing more than to throw it at the first willing participant. I felt that it made me someone inferior to my friends who had already had sex, like somehow I was missing out on some great secret of life or somehow I was less mature than them. I spent a lot of time wishing it would just happen, and then one day, it did when I wasn't expecting it. I don't regret my first time, but because I had wished for it to happen for so long, I had built up this image in my head of how it would be that was completely unrealistic.

So, this is for those girls like me whose imaginations get the best of them. Here are some tips to ease your worries and prepare you for what it's really going to be like.

1. It's going to be awkward.

Not just the first time, every time. No matter how much porn or how many blogs or erotic fiction you read, you will not have any idea what you're doing. The other person probably won't, either. There are too many variables, and you're both so concerned with doing it well, you'll be focused on too many things to properly control your limbs.

2. Don't think about your body.

The angles that are required for things to work leave both participants in awkward positions with limbs in strange places. Don't look at your body; don't even think about where your limbs are. Just keep your eyes and mind on the other person and what they're doing and how you're feeling. If you're feeling bad, let them know, so you can change it. If you're feeling good, enjoy it.

3. Don't do it drunk.

Not even a little tipsy, at least not for the first few times. Alcohol throws in another variable and another reason your limbs are flailing listlessly on top of other unforeseen complications. Just wait until you've had a little practice to introduce alcohol into the mix. You want to actually remember your first time and understand what's going on.

4. You're not going to feel any different after.

I expected to feel a weight being lifted or some newfound maturity, but I really didn't feel any different at all. That's because I really was just the same girl as before. Finally having lost this imaginary flower didn't make me physically any different at all.

5. You're going to feel something.

There wasn't some profound emotional release afterward, either, but I did feel a little different. Again, not in the sense that something had actually change, but I felt different because I had placed so much importance on this, on having sex, and now it had happened. I wanted there to be some big release or celebratory moment, but really, I just felt the same. I didn't even feel a little more mature or experienced. I was positive that if I ever did it again, I would still have absolutely no idea what to do (which was true).

Cover Image Credit: Seventeen

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Autism 'Awareness'? I Said I Needed A Solution

I'd rather have a conversation with my brother than an "Autism Warrior" T-shirt.
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My brother is autistic, so obviously, I've heard of the Autism Awareness movement and I know their missions and goals. The problem is, I've never felt like the whole "awareness" thing really helped anybody.

Parents and their autistic children receive support from groups or organizations affiliated with the Autism Awareness community. However, instead of actively searching for answers or even ways to improve their child's quality of life, I see so many parents in my community scream out for acceptance or even for things that they feel entitled to.

The idea of "awareness" is overused and in my honest opinion, mediocre. If we want to get anywhere as a nation or even a species, we need to abandon the idea that our children are "OK" or "perfect" when they are obviously suffering. Autism, at least to me, is not really a blessing or a gift from God. I want nothing more than to have a full blown conversation with my brother or even for him to go to school and make friends his age.

We're already aware of autism; we've recognized it. It's time for parents to grow out of this delusion that their love and acceptance of their children's condition is all that their child really needs. Of course, I'm not saying to completely resent your child based off of their condition, but instead, parents need to fight for recovery as well as nurture their kids. A diagnosis does not have to be forever. It takes action and dedication to heal a child. Every child is perfect in their own God-given way, however, that perfection should never be based on a diagnosis from a doctor.

Additionally, parents should recognize that a condition such as autism, or any form of ASD, has the potential of being "cured." The Autism Awareness movement, as far as I have seen in my own experiences, hardly addresses any of the core medical reasons why a child has been affected by Autism. Instead, the Autism Awareness Movement sort of profits off of the "autism aesthetic" that perforates America. Everyone is always focused on making their child comfortable or getting the opportunity to wear a shirt that says "Autism Warrior," yet the mission to heal a child is clouded.

However, I wholeheartedly support organizations that get disabled children into sports or stimulating activities. It's when an organization, group, or even a faction of a well-intended organization attempt to profit off of others shortcomings instead of offering extremely needed services or information. We live in an Instagram society, where healing is a low ranked priority compared to creating a facade of "acceptance."

In my family, we encourage healthy eating (within our budget). My brother, Tristian, is pushed to communicate and do things for himself. We supplement for things we're deficient in, as well as research different ways to heal. When Tristian was around 2, he was diagnosed with low-functioning, non-verbal autism. Today, at 7 1/2 years old, he can hold up a simple conversation, read, spell, and can even make jokes. The road to recovery has been long, strenuous, and nothing short of draining.

Despite all of the stress and constant regressions, it's still rewarding to see him become what he should have been without his diagnosis. I understand the mission of Autism Awareness; however, is it really helping our children's future? If we had bought a cute Autism T-shirt, or decorated a jersey with "#TeamTristian," would we still be where we are now?

Cover Image Credit: Sophia Garza

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