I usually don’t talk about my personal life on this blog, but I will depart from that for this post. Robert Scoble visited us in our Pleasanton office yesterday, and myself and Raju did about an hour of video interviews and product demonstrations. After the interview was over, we went out for coffee at Peets, where the conversation turned to kids. That was when I mentioned autism and how that has impacted our lives. Once I get going on that subject, I just can’t stop – I think we ended up spending more time on autism than on Zoho.
Scoble has a nice post up on this topic. I am not a hero, it is my wife Pramila who is the real hero in this. She is the one who has been relentless in seeking cures, educating herself first and then me on the latest treatments and so on. Without her relentless energy and drive in attacking this problem, I don’t believe my son would have made the progress he has made. Of course, we still have a long, arduous journey ahead. And we are not alone in facing this: the CDC estimates that 1 in 150 kids (and more than 1 in 100 boys) are now affected. It is a bigger tragedy than AIDS, and it is a virtual life sentence for most of the impacted kids, unless we find a way to help them recover.
Thank you Robert, for writing about this. It means a lot to me personally, and it means a lot to parents in our situation. If you are a new parent or going to be a parent soon, I strongly urge you to educate yourself about autism, and about vaccinations. The medical establishment, for the most part, is still in the dark ages on this subject, and particularly, play-by-the-book pediatricians don’t really know much about the subject to be good guides. Parents have to educate themselves. We had pediatricians telling us “Nothing is wrong with your child, he will be fine”, based on that casual 2 minute interaction during those busy days we went for the shots. We just wish we had been more paranoid.
I am not an anti-vaccination activist (we have employees in our Chennai office afflicted with polio), but it is still worth asking the question “Are we over-vaccinating our kids? How much is too much?” My son’s condition worsened measurably after we gave him 3 shots in one day, right before he joined kindergarten, because the school told us that we hadn’t been up-to-date on his shots, so we had to complete them before he could come in. I now really wish I hadn’t taken him for those shots, or at least staggered them over time.
I urge you to read these books, and educate yourself:
Vaccinations: A Thoughtful Parent’s Guide: How to Make Safe, Sensible Decisions about the Risks, Benefits, and Alternatives
What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About(TM) Children’s Vaccinations