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Autism Can't Be Ignored

This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.

Lawyers representing 5,000 parents whose children have autism are going to court this week to see if the government will bear some financial burden to what has happened to their kids.

Autism, a word that was barely mentioned 20 years ago has become part of the American vocabulary. (Because 20 years ago the incidence of autism was less than one in 5,000.)

Now it's 1 in 150. That's right, 1 in 150.

Doctors I've spoken with insist that parents should continue to vaccinate their children, but the only link many parents have been able to find between their formerly healthy and high-functioning toddlers and the onset of autism is the MMR vaccination — which stands for measles, mumps and rubella.

While the lawyers and judges decide whether or not the state bears some responsibility for the epidemic in autism, what really needs to happen is a dramatic rise in research.

The parents of autistic kids quite frankly don't trust what's been done so far, and it's hard not to blame them.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.

By Harry Smith

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