7 Mar 2008
On March 6, 2008, the major news networks reported on a National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program case in which liability was conceded based on circumstances surrounding Dr. and Mrs. Poling’s 9-year-old daughter’s autism. Medical personnel at the Division of Vaccine Injury Compensation, Department of Health and Human Services concluded that the facts of this case met the statutory criteria for demonstrating that the vaccinations Hannah Poling received on July 19, 2000, significantly aggravated an underlying mitochondrial disorder, which predisposed her to deficits in cellular energy metabolism, and manifested as a regressive encephalopathy with features of autism spectrum disorder.
Individuals living with autism need help today, and this case illustrates the need for the medical community to probe further into environmental causes of autism. The Polings, like all families affected by autism, deserve to be heard and supported in their journey raising their daughter. While we don’t know the cause for autism, or its interaction with other conditions or environmental aggregators, we need to focus today on what works to maximize the potential of people with autism to help them live meaningful, productive lives. This has always been ASA's mission and we will continue to advocate for research, family and individual support, and lifespan services for people across the autism spectrum.
ASA believes that the science of autism causes and treatments need to be more vigorously researched. We hope that primary decisions will be reached through thoughtful dialogue by parents and professionals on medical research and comprehensive treatment and services, not court rulings.
President and CEO
ASA Member since 1991
Parent of a son with autism