Mr. Chairman, Honorable Dan Burton and members of the committee:
My name is Mary Norfleet Megson. I am a board-certified pediatrician, Fellowship trained in Child Development, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Medical College of Virginia. I have practiced pediatrics for 22 years, the last 15 years seeing only children with Developmental Disabilities, which include learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and autism. I have served as advisor to the City of Richmond and the surrounding counties as they have established entire programs for autistic children.
In 1978, I learned as a resident at Boston Floating Hospital that the incidence of autism was one in 10,000 children. Over the last 10 years I have watched the incidence of autism skyrocket to 1 in 300 to 1 in 600 children(1).
The segment of children with "regressive autism", the form where children develop normally for a period of time then lose skills and sink into autism most commonly at 18 to 24 months of age, is increasing at a phenomenal rate. I am seeing multiple children in the same family affected, including in the last week four cases of "autistic regression" developing in four-year-old children after their MMR and DPT vaccination. In the past, this was unheard of.