Autism Court Ruling

February 13, 2009 3:37:44 PM PST
A special court has dealt a big blow to parents who blame vaccines for their kid's autism. The ruling found that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is not associated with autism. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Autism is a neurological disorder that affects how a child communicates. Some 5,000 families filed claims seeking compensation for their child's autism.

The fight is not over for people who claim a broader range of tests need to be administered before ruling all vaccines out.

Meanwhile, one parent we spoke to said she doesn't know why her son has autism and no matter what tests show her main focus is finding out what helps cure it, not what caused it.

At first glance, Leo Martinez seems like a typical six-year-old.

But spend some time with him, and you'll notice something a little different.

"How many cents is a penny?"

"It's a penny."

That's because two years ago, Leo was diagnosed with autism.

His mom, Kate Martinez said, "The wheels just clickety-clacked down the track with him and it just happened soo fast, so within two-and-a-half months of seeing the pediatrician, he was diagnosed."

Kate Martinez said her son did receive immunization shots shortly before his behavior started changing.

But, it's still unclear if there's a direct link.

"For it to be the vaccines or something else, the environment, I don't know. I don't know what it is," said Kate Martinez.

Though she won't blame vaccines entirely, there are people who do. More than 5,000 families have asked the federal government for compensation, claiming their child's autism was caused by certain types of vaccines.

Thursday, the court ruled against that claim. Autism experts are divided on the ruling.

Phil Cantu, an autism tutor said, "There has to be more studies done on it, just to be sure because who knows if it is a factor or how big of a factor it is if at all."

Dr. Amanda Adams with the Central California Autism Center said, "So many studies have been done in such a wide array of disciplines that it's really pretty solid information now. So, now we need to move onto genetic links and other environmental causes."

Kate Martinez said studies and court rulings won't reverse her son's diagnosis, which is why she's focused all of her attention on Leo. "My ultimate goal was to do what's best for my child, and what's best for him was trying to find out what worked and what didn't."

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