Autism amongst the Amish

22 Apr

Don’t Stand So Close To Me

I recently had an email conversation with someone who is married to a lapsed Mennonite and who’s secretary is a lapsed Amish. As this was too good an opportunity to miss I asked xyr about autism amongst the Amish and vaccinations.

I was interested in Dan Olmsted’s idea that he and his sources waltz around Amish communities, grabbing people and asking ‘got any autism in the family’? and calling this reporting. When we talked about this xyr answer was fascinating:

As for tracking autistics, forget about it. Families are not likely going to seek diagnosis unless there are seizures or some other acute issue. Imagine driving up to a bunch of Amish farms and asking, “Are any of your kids autistic?” I would guess they probably haven’t ever heard of the word.

As xe explains it, the Amish are deeply religious people. Xe has first hand experience of this and explained to me how it would be virtually impossible given these beliefs and on such a short aquaintance for Olmsted – or his sources -to get ‘close’ to the Amish as a population:

The entire Amish religion is based on shunning the outside, secular world, these are the biblical tenants they live by:

Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers. (II Corinthians 6:14)

Come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord. (II Corinthians 6:17)

And be ye not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2)

The Amish only make accommodations when necessary. So, they have a phone in the barn to call the vet and the dairy plant. They accept rides in automobiles and trucks but don’t drive. They may shop for essentials but they aren’t going to chat you up.

And as I said before, I doubt seriously that they would seek a diagnosis for autism unless there was some acute comorbidity like seizures. They would likely know that their child was different but that was god’s will.

and as for vaccination:

The Amish are not anti-vaccine. Some Amish kids go to public school and must be vaccinated. My brother-in-law was raised Amish until about age 10 and he’s got the small pox scar to prove the point.

The basic gist is that the Amish are leery of non-Amish/Mennonite (whom they refer to as ‘the English’ (!!) apparently) but if a matter is medical and may cause threats to health than they are not stupid and seek out Western medicine.

Based on this, I really have doubts that Olmsted ever did more than stablish himself as a ‘nosey English’. I really have trouble believing that such a reserved, separate people would open up to either him or his water cooler salesman source about their personal, private medical matters.

No Autism Amongst The Amish

Its a long standing (and oft repeated) belief amongst the autism/antivaccine believers that there is no autism, or vastly reduced incidence of autism, amongst the Amish. This belief is repeated by all and sundry:

…thousands of Amish, almost all of whom do not vaccinate their children and do not seem to suffer much autism.

Dan Olmsted.

This finding of no significant level of “autism”….has also been observed in the unvaccinated children of the Amish

Dr Paul King, CoMed, closed access Yahoo List.

….the Amish community who do not participate in Western medicine, including the practice of vaccinations, have demonstrated their rates of autism are substantially lower.

Lisa Ackerman, TACA (Talk about Curing Autism) Executive Director, closed access Yahoo List.

Why has there never been autism in the Amish community? They dont vaccinate!

Poster ‘Jan’ to closed access Yahoo List.

I challenge anyone to go into any Amish community in this country and find autistic children. You won’t find them. Yet, our schools are being over run with autistic children. Why? The Amish do not vaccinate.

Poster ‘Paul Troutt’ to closed access Yahoo List


Poster ‘Amethyst Mueller’ to closed access Yahoo List.

And so it seems clear right? All these people are saying the same thing. We could go into any Amish community and find very, very low or zero autism. And to what do these people attribute the non-existent autism? Vaccines (or the lack thereof) of course!

What would happen if we removed one of these factors from the equation?

The Old-Order Amish have low rates of vaccination and are at increased risk for vaccine-preventable diseases. A written survey was mailed to all Amish households in the largest Amish community in Illinois inquiring about their vaccination status and
that of their children.


Well, well. How very interesting. Finally some _science_ , as oppose to journalism, that examines whether the oft-reported belief that the Amish don’t vaccinate is true. What did these guys find?

Responses were received by 225 (60%) of the 374 Amish households in the community with children aged <15 years. An additional 120 responses were received by households without children. A total of 189 (84%) households with children reported
that all of their children had received vaccinations; 28 (12%) reported that some of their children had received vaccinations; and
8 (4%) reported that none of their children had received vaccinations.

84% of Amish households reported all their kids had received vaccinations. Only 4% reported that none of their kids had received vaccinations.

Among all respondents who knew their own vaccination status, 281/313 (90%) reported that they had received vaccinations
as children

Wow. Amazing how the two to three ‘toxic train wrecks’ from amongst these adults could not only have been missed (vaccine induced autism being unmissable as we all know) but also managed to fill in a survey.

So – we can say that the assumption that the Amish do not vaccinate is in severe doubt. When 90% of Amish adults in a survey state they received vaccinations and when 84% state all their kids have been vaccinated to what do we attribute the fact that according to Dan Olmsted, Dr Paul King, Lisa Ackerman and various posters on Yahoo groups there is little to no autism amongst the Amish?

53 Responses to “Autism amongst the Amish”

  1. Phil April 28, 2007 at 10:48 #

    Maryanna is clearly delusional. Prometheus is spot on – people are living LONGER. We have an aging population in the western world – so much so in Australia that governments are deliberately preparing for it with policies aimed squarely at the elderly.

    I think we are dealing with a troll to be honest.

  2. HCN June 4, 2007 at 15:07 #

    On VAERS:


  1. Left Brain/Right Brain » Generation Rescue II - This Time It’s Vague - May 3, 2007

    […] Now that there’s no science to establish a causative link between mercury and autism, plenty of epidemiology to refute it and now that the first piece of science on the Amish has shown that actually they do vaccinate and that the penny has finally dropped, even for David Kirby, regarding CDDS’ inability to support the epidemic, what is the Generation Rescue position now? Lets see shall we?: […]

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