When I was a child, my dad nicknamed me “Jungle”. Recently, one of my colleagues also started calling me “Jungle” and I decided that it would be my internet moniker.
I was born in ‘76 in Durban. In ‘86 my family moved up to the Transvaal as it was then known. I still live on the East Rand. Currently, I work as a Software Test Analyst, making sure the programs do what they’re supposed to. My client sites are typically banks and other financial institutions.
I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in 1997, but I had long suspected I had the condition. Finally, it was confirmed.
In January 2010, I read that a doctor named Andrew Wakefield had been found guilty of misconduct. Curious, I began googling his name. A lot of sites came up. I learnt that Wakefield had submitted a paper to The Lancet, the British Medical Journal, in which he’d claimed to have found Measles virus in the gut of autistic children and that the MMR vaccine was the cause.
I soon found I’d walked into a minefield of conflicting information. Some groups hailed Wakefield as a hero and attacked the “Establishment” for silencing a “Brave Maverick Doctor”. Others expressed relief that a dishonest liar had got his comeuppance. Initially neutral, I soon started following the second viewpoint. I learnt that Wakefield had undeclared conflicts of interest and that he’d cooked his data to support his hypothesis.
The disinformation, quackery and outright lies surrounding autism and vaccination horrified me. Shockingly, I learnt that people had died from autism “treatments”, and that vaccine preventable diseases had started killing people as vaccination rates had dropped. Eventually, I decided that I had to speak up as an autistic self-advocate or watch as even more damage was done.
In November 2011, I was involved in an argument with a rather self-righteous parent of an autistic child. After that, I decided to come out from behind my moniker. My name is Julian Frost.