I don't know any child who has autism. My uncle definitely seems to have Aspergers tho, however is not diagnosed. My mother is in the medical field and it is her believe that he should have been diagnosed long ago.
The "definition of Autism" has been significantly broadened over the years. So that is one of the reasons that you hear of so many more kids these days with "Autism". If you look at someone like my uncle, he has a degree, he's been married, he can function day to day. However, he's "off". He's truely the "wierd uncle" that every family seems to have. My point being, I think Autism is being more diagnosed today because we know about it and the spectrum is broader. Doctors are "looking" for signs of kids with Autism, ADHD, ADD, allergies, etc. Things they didn't do a generation ago.
I have three children. I have done a whole bunch of research on the topic - even recently since I have a new baby boy.
Although the original study that started the scare linking Autism to the MMR vaccine was stated "flawed", there's also people out there from the Austim Families who believe that the retraction of that study is a PR push from vaccination companies...do with that what you will. Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey put out a statement about it online.
Here's what I think after my research - Autism isn't something you "catch". It's not a virus like a cold or HIV. I think of it moreso along the lines of a genetic mutation or at least having a genetic component. Personally, I think it's like alcoholism...there are genetic links. But just because you come from a family of alcoholics doesn't mean YOU will be one. I think some people have a predisposition.
As far as the vaccines are concerned I think many people who have experienced Autism with their own children have a point. That point being that either a component within the vaccines, the quantity of the vaccines being give in such a short span of time (read 5 medications in one visit) or 30 over two years, is something to think about.
Also if you combine the genetic and vaccine links together, you'll see some people think that there may be some "condition" which causes some children to not process the vaccines the same way the majority of kids due. Like there's something wrong with their liver? Or there's an ingredient in the vaccines they are allergic to that triggers the onset of Autistic symptoms causing the child to "shut down" emotionally/interpersonally.
Personally I think there's too much information out there from parents who have autistic children to say, "Austism isn't caused by vaccines." However I also think there's not enough scientific data yet supporting a cause - effect relationship...especially when it comes to ALL kids.
Therefore, we have decided to vaccinate all of our children. I have had no problem "delaying" some vaccinations for our baby so that he doesn't get a whole bunch at once or if he's not feeling 100% the day of the appointment. Plus we have 7 other children in our extended family who have all received all of their vaccinations with no side effects or issues.
If your family/child shows Autistic tendancies or has allergy issues I might be more concerned with running a "higher chance" of getting Autism. Again, I personally think there is a link, but not enough information at this time to prevent me/our kids from being immunized. When I discussed my concerns with our ped she said "no problem" on delaying any vaccs and even helped come up with a delayed schedule. But she said she too thinks there is a genetic component. But with the available research she wouldn't advise NOT getting vaccinations as they do save lives.
That's what I know and think. I hope this helps you.