Transcript of Mary Holland’s Comments at IACC Meeting

Mary Holland: Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak. This was my first IACC meeting and I was impressed this morning by the self-congratulation, the words about the incredible work, the honor, the progress, the pride, the passion, the great ideas, the diversity of this committee and its accountability. I don’t deny that most of you here are people of good faith who care deeply about this issue, but this is not the way that this committee’s work looks to the outside world. What it reminds me of from recent memory was when President George W. Bush commended his head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency during the Hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans and he said, “Heck of a job, Brownie.”

And the country saw this, and the country was outraged. And in fact, Mr. Brown resigned. I don’t think the national public understands how devastating autism is. That’s part of our job in the autism community; it’s part of your job as the IACC committee. But I do think that you must be living in a bubble if you don’t see that when the last [IACC] 2.0 started, the rate [of autism] was 1 in 166 and it’s today 1 in 88. It’s a doubled autism rate. It’s very troubling as a stakeholder in this community, I am an autism parent, to hear you congratulating yourself. Rather, it sounded to me like this was the autism acceptance committee or the autism appeasement committee, that autism is a static condition, that it’s lifelong. And for the most part, I heard that it’s really not very treatable and that we need to be looking for lifelong places for people.

And I heard the “V” word once. And you all know as well as I do that that’s the elephant in the room. The question on parents’ minds throughout the country and throughout the world is, what is the relationship between autism and vaccine injury; is there a relationship or not? If you are not looking at that, then this committee has a very questionable role. I am a part of 10 groups that submitted a letter to Secretary Sebelius in April. We didn’t get a response. We got a letter from Dr. Collins that was non-responsive. So we sent it again today. We hope that we will get a response. We also prepared a critique of the IACC which we think would be of interest to those of you who are here. It’s certainly available and I would be happy to give it to you and talk about this issue.

It seems obvious to me that if we stay the course as a country, and if this committee stays the course, we should expect in 2018 that the autism rate will be 1 in 44 based on 12-year-old data. I think our children and our country deserve better. Thank you.