Jenny McCarthy battles son Evan's autism

04/13/2007 at 12:36 PM ET

43gpspg_1Actress Jenny McCarthy, who has written several humorous books on pregnancy, motherhood, and moving on, tackles a more serious topic with her next tome – her son Evan Joseph, 4 1/2, battles autism. Her latest book, Louder Than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism, will be out on September 6th. Jenny describes it as ‘a heartbreaking story about a serious health issue.’

Jenny, who runs IndigoMoms.com, is of the belief that Evan is a ‘crystal child,’ and she herself is an ‘adult indigo.’ This belief suggests that ‘indigo/crystal phenomenon is the next step in our evolution as a human species.’ Proponents also suggest that many indigo and crystal children are wrongly diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, and autism. Starchild has more information, for those interested.

Jenny says that, ‘Evan is sensitive to air and water, he’s that hypersensitive,’ so she’s had to adjust her parenting. You can read an essay on the indigo/crystal belief that she wrote in 2006 for Children of The New Earth magazine by clicking here.

CBB reader Emma’s Mom knows Jenny and leaves this comment,

I thought you all should know that I happen to know that Jenny does take it very seriously and has Evan in a really great program at UCLA for autistic kids and it has nothing to do with the indigo/crystal thing.  She is, from what I have seen, an absolutely wonderful, loving mom of her kid. 

Having experience with a few autistic kids myself and following a few adult autistics I can tell you that what she is doing is interesting. She’s removing the ‘there’s something broken in my child and adding ‘there is something special in my child that others don’t see.’  I love that, personally, as I too see the something special in there. 

It doesn’t replace therapy and it doesn’t spew fake science.   I just had to step in here and defend her from these, what I consider to be, unfair attacks.

Source: WENN

Thanks to CBB readers Sacha and Vicky.

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Sally on

Sorry to be so negative, but this is the most insane thing ever. Indigo and crystal children indeed! First off the understanding of how evolution works is just so naive…note: it does not work like in the X-men and second these beliefs totally go against all the current autism research (which suggests a primarily genetic basis)! I hate it when celebrities publicise such crazy anti-science. It does no favours at all for people whose children have real problems that need proper medical treatment…not to mention doing a disservice to their own children..Jett Travolta anyone (if the rumours are to be believed). Wow I wish I was famous, and then I could come up with all kinds of random medical diagnosis and make money pushing them to the desperate and the un-critical.

Spiff on

I think this sounds ridiculous too…a very farfetched explanation for autistic children!

madison on

This is a really complex and interesting topic. New Age thinking like this really falls in the religion category for me as its based on beliefs, not scientific facts. And who am I to tell someone else that what they believe in is wrong? BUT IMO the statement linking indigo and crystal children to incorrect diagnoses is a stretch. Sounds like a nice story for people who are having a really hard time accepting the fact that their children aren’t perfect.

Jennifer on

It does sound ridiculous. As a mother of a son with Autism, I am greatly offended by this. She needs to get a clue.

Natalie S. on

All I have to say is that I’ve been blessed that my children are healthy and I don’t have to deal with the issues that Jenny has to. More power to Jenny for seeking an alternative solution, i’m not saying it’s right or wrong. Austism has such a wide spectrum with its disorder so I don’t personally know how much of the disorder Evan has. Good luck to her and Evan.

Kay on

It’s as good an explanation as any. Science can’t explain everything. In the case of autism, it hasn’t explained very much at all.

I think it’s harsh to accuse Jenny McCarthy of using her son’s autism to dupe the public into believing her theories and make money in the process. She seems very sincere to me.

I’m sure it’s against the rules to bash someone’s religion on this site. I think the same rules should apply to new age spiritual beliefs.

Leslie Feldman on

One can learn all what over 50 years of scientific research has found out to limit the risk factors for autism.

Read about the SECRET ABOUT THE EPIDEMICS OF GENETIC DISORDERS SUCH AS AUTISM, DIABETES, ETC.

INFORM YOURSELVES AND PREVENT AUTISM IN YOUR FAMILY.
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Father babies by age 34 or cryopreserve your semen in your mid 20s to 32 for any fathering of babies past 34.

KarenC on

I hope that her beliefs don’t prevent her
from getting the appropriate treatment and
support for her child.

Meditation doesn’t seem plausible for a
child that age, especially one with a
neurological condition.

juliet m on

Honestly, as an atheist, none of this sounds any stranger to me than any other religion. She’s not pushing her beliefs on anyone, so why not show a little tolerance?

ivey on

I’ve always looked at religion as a guide to help people through life. Also as a place to go for comfort when you may be going through a difficult period in your life.

I’m all for that so long as you don’t look down on other peoples religions and think that only yours is the correct one.

If this Indigo/Chrystal is giving her some solace during a difficult time then it is all good, hopefully its not all consuming to the point of not aiding her son with therapy and medicine.

And autism is such a difficult disorder, its hard to emotionaly connect with your child, it must be so stressful. I wish the best for anyone that has to deal/live with it.

PSB on

I’m with Sally, this explanation is a little like the Jett Travolta rumor. Kelly Preston thinks her kid is affected with some sort of disease that affects only Japanese children–but he’s “not Autistic”. She thinks he’s sick because of household cleaning products that millions of people use all over the world. I guess Jenny’s belief isn’t any crazier.

Maybe it’s too tough for stars to to admit there’s a genetic problem with their kids and that they aren’t perfect? It’s so sad, because the sooner they admit to themselves what the real problem is, the better chance they have at early intervention. They are standing in the way of their kids having a better life.

I really liked Jenny’s first two books about pregnancy and motherhood, but I’m kind of losing respect for her now.

gabriella on

Good luck to her and Evan, must be very hard to accept and deal with.

Sentinel69 on

It is a disease and not a fairytale.
I have a son ,17 years, with autism ,ADHD and ODD .
I had a dad who was an alcoholic and very odd behaviour.Now we know that he had a form of autism.I am convinced that in some cases it’s in the genes and not an external cause.The many ADHD-ers and similar diseases in this family is extreme.
If I did knew then what I know now I never had children.

christina on

I agree with Jennifer! I am deeply offended by this. My son is autistic and her views are more than strange!!!! I guess if your a “star” then this are different for you. At least they don’t have to deal with insurance companies and the state that you can’t get funding because the diagnosis “needs more”.

Evan's Grandma on

I too have an Evan also 4 l/2 on the autism spectrum. He is my precious grandson. I just hope that the Evan here is receiving therapies and “early” intervention…he needs that more than indigo and crystal??????? What is this weird stuff??? If not, please, please, let this mother know she is failing her beloved son. I am assuming she is knowledgeable enough to be doing so.

Evan’s Grandma

anne on

The problem with new age treatments is that with autism you have a window in which proven therapies help the child to progress. If this window (the younger the better) is used up with new age or unproven treatments that ultimately don’t work, then you cannot get back that time to have a do over……and the autistic child will never reach even the level that may have been possible otherwise…..I take care of a set of autistic twins (almost 6, not potty trained, mostly non verbal, no receptive language at all) that will never be self sufficient even though they are quite social (for autistic kids) because mom does not believe in getting them therapy…that they are fine, despite a definitive diagnosis…..

That being said, he is her child, and she has every right to do what she feels best for him.

I have 2 children with ADHD,(this disorder is suspected of being on the autism spectrum) one a grown woman that was never diagnosed and went through her school years struggling and friendless due to symptoms of a disorder that was not being diagnosed in it’s inattentive form. We tried every form of positive reinforcement, every parenting style, every diet modification, every teacher suggestion…nothing worked. She passed school with C’s and D’s despite testing gifted in every subject. She struggles to this day, even medicated, due to lifelong habits that she cannot change……my youngest is on meds and doing wonderfully, despite him being exactly like his sister before beginning them. The right medicine (in our case) has given him self confidence, shown him that he is indeed as smart as the rest of us always told him, helped him to cope in social situations and make friends……totally made him like himself. I don’t know if he will ever be able to go med free…..but then I don’t think my older son will ever be able to go without his glasses or asthma meds either…..all of these things are just tools for my boys to help them in their journey through life, and if the youngest needs to take the ADHD meds his whole life (or the older son the asthma meds), then so be it….not medicating or using proven treatments can sometimes lead to lifelong issues…I know from experience…

Lauren on

I completely agree with Sally and everyone else who says this “indigo/crystal” concoction is bizarre. I am so tired of celebrities with little to no educational background spewing ridiculous theories/ideas for all the world to hear with little to no backbone to base their opinions off of. If Evan really is autistic, he needs serious help in the form of therapies and early intervention, as people have said. If autism is treated at an early age, it can become more managable later in life. The fact that people like Kelly Preston and Jenny are totally out in left field when it comes to dealing with their kids is incredibly disturbing to me. Autism is a serious disorder, and it needs to be treated as such-not explained away with uneducated theories.

LBZ on

I have a 6 year old son who is autistic, but on the high functioning side. I think this does sound a little wacky, but there may be some truth in it. People in the profession of engineering and computer programming tend to have a high percentage of autistic children. These are usually special people with special abilities that help move the world forward, and may be on the spectrum themselves.

I also just want to say I get very irritated when I read posts that refer to autistic children “not perfect” when the truth really is they are usually exceptional.

Dawna on

Oh wow, another celebrity that has a child with autism! However, this indigo/crystal belief is a bit far-fetched. I wonder what those involved with AutismSpeaks would say about this kind of stuff?

EmmasMom on

I thought you all should know that I happen to know that she does take it very seriously and has Evan in a really great program at UCLA for autistic kids and it has nothing to do with the indigo/crystal thing. She is, from what I have seen, an absolutely wonderful, loving mom of her kid. Having experience with a few autistic kids myself and following a few adult autistics I can tell you that what she is doing is interesting. She’s removing the “there’s something broken in my child” and adding “there is something special in my child that others don’t see.” I love that, personally, as I too see the something special in there.

It doesn’t replace therapy and it doesn’t spew fake science. I just had to step in here and defend her from these, what I consider to be, unfair attacks.

Sentinel69 on

@Leslie Feldman: I don’t agree.My grandparents where young, my parents also and my son was born when I was very young ,almost 21 years and hubby was 28 years. Age is not the issue but I do think it is something you can pass genetic.
But (!) I am proud of my son ,how difficult and hard it can be sometimes handle him.He is special.In some things very smart and creative.

Bren on

I used to nanny for an autistic child and I think it is great that celebrity parents are coming out and talking about their children with Autism. Autism is becoming a very common thing in this world and people need to learn how to deal and cope with it not just as parents but as siblings, friends, neighbors, teachers and so on. People don’t understand these children and they may seem irrational but what people have to understand is they don’t understand the world like we do and so they need patient individuals to help them through life.

PSB on

Hey Emmasmom:

Glad to hear that Jenny’s son is getting the help he needs. I don’t think people have a problem with offbeat stuff like indigo/crystal as long as it’s in conjunction with real autism treatment and intervention. I know Jenny cares a lot about her son, because anybody who has read her books (as I have) would be able to tell. Let her know we hope Evan is doing well and GL.

Lindsay on

I have to side with the people who feel critical of and somewhat horrified by Ms. McCarthy “theory” on the origin of her child’s autism. (I also have a 4 1/2 with autism disorder.)
From a parent perspective, I can understand her buying into this idea that our children are somehow creating a “magical” and new type of people. When our daughter was diagnosed, I would have believed just about anything, just to not have to come to grips with the fact that our child had a disability.
There is nothing magical about a child who may never speak or potty train. There is nothing “indigo” about a person who is so frustrated by their inability to communicate or cope with their environment, that they physically hurt themselves.
I feel for Ms. McCarthy’s situation, and from an emotional perspective, I understand is completely. But the autism epidemic IS an epidemic. The numbers will rise, and unless we find out why, we will be over-run with loved ones who can’t care for themselves, and overwhelmed autism families with no answers, and no peace. Our efforts (celebrity or otherwise) would be better spent banding together to demand answers from our medical community, the CDC, and our government.

kate on

I have a 10yr old son with Autism and I honestly cringe when I here about celebrity’s speaking out.I firmly believe Autism is gentetic not some theory of evolution! Don’t get me wrong I want others to learn about Autism. Only if the camera crews could follow us around for a day! Going from ot to pt to speech to hippatherapy. That would be day in the real world!!!!

Brittany on

I want to thank Jenny for going public with her son’s autism. Anything that brings more awareness to this issue I think is a good thing. My son was diagnosed on the autism spectrum when he was three. I remember that day like it was yesterday–I thought I would never be able to smile or laugh again. He is six now and considered to be recovered. He is in mainstream Kindergarten without any support. He is happy, has friends, plays on the soccer team, plays with his brother, has empathy for others. I am so thankful every day for the DAN (Defeat Autism Now)physician who helped recover him. Kids who have autism have real medical issues that need to be addressed. They frequently have gastrointestinal issues, detoxification problems, allergies and more. Adressing these issues in my son made all the difference. The epidemic of autism is a wake up call for us all to stop and look at what we are doing to our planet. Herbicides, pesticides, heavy metals and other toxins are making us,our kids,and our planet sick.

Sienna on

I happened to be at UCLA with my own autistic child when Jenny and Evan were there. She had bee approached many times to talk about her son’s autism. She kept it secretive and private. Which is fine,everybody deals with it in their own way. I personally felt that she could do a lot of good by sharing her story. She wasn’t interested.
Interesting that it is coming out now by the means of a book. I truly hope that the proceeds of the book either go to an autism organization or into an educational fund for her own child and she is not cashing in on her son’s diagnosis.

Francesca on

I think what Jenny is doing is wonderful. I understand her point on this unfortunate epidemic that is effecting children. Some children on the autism spectrum are extremely intelligent, (Einstein, B.Gates) and I believe in my heart that these children will lead the future in medicine, science and have answers to things that us laymen just cannot solve at this point.
My other feeling is that this scarey epidemic can effect any unborn child and no parent is exempt from it. We need to solve this unclear disease soon because 10 years ago autism affected 1 in 10,000 and today it affects 1 in 150 children. That is insane. God bless Jenny for her strength and God help us all.

Namiko on

As someone on the autism spectrum and who has been active within the online autism community, I find the whole explanation as far as crystal children and indigo people to be rather absurd. As for scientific causes, it has been indicated that autism and other ASDs have some genetic component to them.

Like kate, I cringe when I hear celebrities speaking out. Why should we listen to them? Because they’re famous? Because they have lots of money? If someone is to get the real story of autism out, try going to families who live common lives: parents work, kids go to school and they also have an autistic child (or, sometimes, more than one). Ask them what it’s like having someone with autism.

As a former moderator on a prominent site for people on the autism spectrum, I’ve come across several people who have varying levels of functioning and several different views on the autism spectrum. Some are parents with autistic children, some are teachers and many of the members have either autism or Asperger’s syndrome. No one can really agree on a cause or treatment for sure, and it should be up to the parent to do what they think is best for their kid. Even if it ends up not being the best choice.

Finally, autism is not a disease. A condition, yes, and, depending on who you talk to, a disorder. Diseases usually connotate something that is either infectious or very dangerous.

-Namiko
Former WP Moderator and Aspie

Victoria on

I have two children with autism and we have done the whole slew of tx’s for YEARS. ABA, PRT, DIR FLoortime, OT, PT, ST, and everything else. We found that nothing has helped them EVER more than relationship development Therapy (RDI) from Dr Gutstein. It has changed their lives way more than the scripted crap that ABA gave them and has taught them to give up the control that the child centered PRT and DIR reinforced for them. In doing RDI for 5 years they are doing AWESOME! I mention this not because this has any connection to Indigo and Crystal children at ALL. But for ME it has made me more aware of a spiritual connection as I have had to learn to use my emotional and relationship center to connect and help kids grow that I have come to understand the belief in indigo children and do NOT think it is bizzare. Look guys to each their own. I have noticed my life is quiter, my family and kids happier and my ability to connect with my nonverbal child more attuned when I opened myself to consider what I thought was “freaky” too!!! So BACK OFF! Sometimes all of that intervention and clinicalization of Autism forgets the humanity that have inside. Sometimes just sitting back in the quite and giving them their place in our world instead of dragging them everywhere for every intervention and going to ever conference is not always the answer. I know my son and I have found our words in a different place. If someone like Jenny find her son’s world like the Sun Rise parent’s found Raun Kaufman’s back in the day, then so be it! ROCK ON JENNY!!!!!

gigi on

The theory about crystal and indigo children is not a negative one. It is a category fo children who are special and function on a different plane. it is spiritual, which is not a bad thing. There is a reason that people cannot figure out what is going on with these children.
There is a group of children that came in this way.
I believe my autistic son to be a crystal child, and that’s a beautiful thing. The world will be changed because of him and others.

deb on

wow….there is sooo much negativity here it’s sad…I don’t understand why you guys can’t be a little more open-minded to these possibilities…I think it’s very beautiful what she is doing…I truly do…And I believe in any and all possibilities…It’s sad that there are so many close minded people out there….

Rachael on

I am a 27 year-old teacher and have worked with autistic children for 6+ years now. I also am a mother of two autistic children. I would first like to say that unless you are a parent to an autistic child, you really have no right to be critical of Jenny McCarthy or anyone else who endures what she does. What is the big deal about her having her own belief about autism? As this page described earlier, Jenny is not using “new age” thinking in the place of real therapy. She is allowed to believe wonderful things about her son- it is comforting to her. And it very well may all be true. Afterall, doctors and scientists have very little explanations about autism. We do not yet know a cause and a cure. It is a mystery. I can tell you that MANY autistic children do have a higher count of metals in their bodies. Many medical doctors are advocates for this and place autistic children on special diets and supplements to help “clean out” the metals in their bodies. Autistic children “mouth” such things as wooden coffee tables or metal railings (if you have not worked with/raised autistic children, you may have no knowledge of this.) Anyway, many autistic children are attracted to metals and rock almost by a magnetic force. Jenny’s thoughts about her child being a crystal child may be completely right-on. I will tell you this, my autistic son (age 2 1/2) is obsessed with the two crystal chandeliers in our house and with two other crystal items I have. He climbs on my dining room table to touch the chandelier, he stares at it, etc. He does not do that with other lighting fixtures in my house. Also, I feel that to “pick on” Jenny for being a celebrity is completely wrong. I am sure that she is going through her own personal hell- with the devastation of having her precious child diagnosed with autism. Going through it myself, I can tell you that it is heart breaking. Famous or not, I’m sure it hurts. And if you have read Jenny’s New York Times Best Selling book- you would read that she has money troubles like everyone else. I do not feel that being rich and famous solves your problems. She probably deals with issues that us “normal” folk know nothing about. And Jenny is using her fame for good. She donates portions of her book sales to autism research and she is even writing a book about autism. So before you spend your energy tearing someone else down, how about you take a look in the mirror. And also understand that we never really know what another person goes through- unless you walk in their shoes. I will end by saying that human science and nature (the earth) go hand-in-hand. Nearly every nurse/police officer/mental health worker will tell you that a full-moon changes human behavior. Our bodies are a very high percentage of water. The moon effects gravity, tides (ocean water) and humans- because we are full of water. That is as odd and the idea of an autistic child being a crystal child. The idea of radiation saving people from cancer is also odd. My point is that nearly everything in medicine/health is unbelievable when you really think about it. I am open-minded when it comes to autism. And if you knew my children and how they almost seem “magical” in their own way, maybe you would be open-minded, too.

Bailey on

I read Jenny’s comments and found it crazy. No crazier than other ideas that I have heard. For those with negative comments, please, please, tell us what the cure is before going any further. You can’t can you? Then try adding something of value. Perhaps adding that seeing a professional in the field may be able to assist in some way. I’ve seen this done with a child who somehow made a connection to Hockey. And that the parents were able to exploit this to make giant steps toward his communication skills. Now, that story isn’t written to indicate that one should teach an autistic child Hockey. Lighten up, you nay sayers and provide something constructive. The extra love and caring that Jenny shows for her child cannot be bad. Those who don’t treat their young with the same consideration cannot afford to be that critical. Normally, I find that those who protest too much will often lack any ability to add value to their words.

Here’s your out. I have a form of autism and I’ve seen psychologists and psychiatrists. None are able to produce a pill to cure me. What they are prepared to say is that I have a higher than normal intelligence and it is in the 90s percentile and that I have the capacity to be normal so I should act accordingly. However, with all the people behaving badly, I do not want to follow their lead.

Finally, maybe Jenny should put that we are not all born as natural leaders. We have to be taught everything and some pick it up easier than others. I, myself, am anti-charismatic but feel that I know what is right when I see it. Therefore, trying a battery of things is the best approach as it lets the child/individual pick out what makes sense to them and you work from there. I don’t believe that I could care for my child as Jenny does with Evan but my child will receive attention that best suits them. You may even wish them to celebrate with Santa Clause

Monica Moshenko on

‘An amazing journey’ of mother and son

As radio hosts, they’re going on the road to show reality of autism

Date: Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Section: News
Edition: Niagara
Page: A1
By Gene Warner – NEWS STAFF REPORTER
Illustration: Dennis C. Enser/Buffalo News

Monica Moshenko of Clarence and her son, Alex, 13, will be taking their radio shows on nationwide tour next year to raise public awareness about the disabled.

Monica Moshenko of Clarence has her own twice-a-week radio program, a show on disabilities that has featured interviews with actors Henry Winkler and Teri Garr and Lt. Gov.-elect David A. Paterson.

Not to be outdone, her son, Alex, 13, has his own radio show, “Al’s Wrestling Talk,” which airs live on the Internet every Saturday night.

This is a high-powered tandem — a mother who has become a passionate advocate for the disabled and a teen with a very high-functioning form of autism.The Moshenkos plan to take their radio shows on the road for the coming year, touring America in a recreational vehicle.

The goal is to meet and greet people with disabilities, raise the public’s awareness about the disabled — and perhaps catch a few wrestling matches along the way.

“It’s going to be an amazing journey of a mother and her son,” Monica Moshenko said. “He has brought me into a new world I didn’t know about before. I can’t let it go. I’m so passionate about raising awareness about people with disabilities. I’ll stop when people listen and when changes are made.”

Moshenko hopes the journey will be captured in documentary form.

“What I haven’t seen is talking to people about disabilities in their communities,” she said. “Like how they receive services and the discrepancy in services. I also want to get a pulse on America and the largest minority in America — people with disabilities.”

Alex has Asperger syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism. Asperger’s is characterized by difficulty in forming friendships; intense absorption in a special interest; difficulty in understanding social cues, such as sarcasm and tone of voice; and oversensitivity to sound, light and some foods.

Asperger’s is on the high end of the broad autism spectrum. While roughly half the children with autism are nonverbal, Alex was an honor-roll student who once questioned Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton during a health care conference.

Alex told the New York senator that he was speaking for children with autism who can’t.

“Alex is a success story in so many ways, not only academically, but socially,” his mother said. “How many kids have their own radio show? How many kids could stand up and ask a question of Sen. Clinton?”

A kid with autism hosting his own radio show?

That speaks to the broad spectrum of autism, a disability now diagnosed in 1 of every 166 children, autism advocates say.

“You have 6- and 7-year-old kids who are wearing diapers, and you have kids who have to be watched constantly, because they run away,” said Kathy Eiss, local president of the Autism Society of America. “They have no safety awareness.”

In school, some children with autism are in a 6-1-1 class: six pupils, a teacher and an aide, said Tracy Panzarella, clinical services director for Autistic Services.

“On the other end of the spectrum, you have college professors with Asperger’s,” she added.

Alex, who sits on the high end of that spectrum, is following in his mother’s footsteps as an advocate for people with autism.

“It’s been kind of like a dream come true for me, to go out there and show people that I have a lot of knowledge for a kid with disabilities,” the personable Alex said of his show.

He’s also looking forward to taking that show on the road, to let other people see firsthand what he can do. The Moshenkos plan to leave town early in the year; while still seeking sponsors to help finance their trip, they’re willing to sell their Clarence home if they have to.

“I’m trying to say that I’m out here,” Alex said. “I have a disability. So what? I’ve gone through that, and now I’m an accepted person in society. I want to show off my talents that got me through a lot.”

Alex’s problems became evident by the time he was 4. Fireworks would send him to the floor, in tears. His mother had to keep him in a stroller in the mall; otherwise, he would “lose it.” He’d only play with certain toys. He would watch a Disney movie over and over and over again. And he was a slave to his daily schedule.

Even a few months ago, Alex sobbed uncontrollably when he saw a frozen dog — in a cartoon.

“I’m kind of like a robot — a robot with a soul,” he says.

Alex was in a 6-1-1 class in kindergarten. In elementary school, in both Williamsville and Clarence, he was in a regular class with a full-time aide and a lot of speech and occupational therapy.

But in his middle school years in Clarence, a lot of bullying and his own anxiety in a large school led to his being home-schooled now.

His mother didn’t hesitate in becoming a forceful advocate. She started a Power Advocates Web site, with special-education information, about five or six years ago. She organized two big conferences on autism. And she set up an autism walk in 2002.

Two years ago, she started her radio program, “Disability News and Views,” which started on WXRL and later moved to the Internet. It’s available at http://www.disabilitynewsradio.com.

“Why did I do it?” she asked. “I said Buffalo is behind in autism [awareness]. I wanted people to understand this invisible world these kids live in, especially Asperger’s.

“What Alex taught me is to reach for it, to make it personal.”

e-mail: gwarner@buffnews.com

All content herein is © 2007 The Buffalo News and may not be republished without permission.

Haven on

Everyone should check out safeminds.org. It’s a great site for children with Autism and I know from personal experience that it is 100% reversible with the right doctor, and if alternative therapies are started immediately. Please check it out and read Evidence of Harm by Kirby. It saved our lives.

her on

I think everyone is forgetting one thing…it isnt about whats “right or wrong” and Jenny doesnt “need to get a clue”. The lady has a child with autism and has found what works for her and some others as well, shes not saying its for everyone. You cant critize a mother, who is trying everything to make her son better. If you all would look at the facts about the change in diet and pharmaceuticals in the past 30 years and see the rise in sickness (including autism) you may see the correlation….i think thats what she shows she has done for her son and done some hands on therapy that everyday she works at. If anyone saw her on Oprah today, her analogy of her ideas/treatment to patients with cancer, going through chemotherapy…it doesnt work for everyone, but most people are going to try anything, to help save/change their lives….thats all shes offering to any parent with a child with autism.

christine Sullivan on

This is for all you mother’s out there who are suffering and tortured with your childs’autism who wonder about all these so called gluten free diets, candida testing, etc. I am a mother who figured all this out 20 years ago when my child received the MMR and surprise disappreared into autism. We received diagnoses such as severe retardation, autism, etc. and to put him in a special school. Yes he had no eye contact, spinned wheels on toys, no more affection, blah blah blah and so on. When they almost killed him with drugs I put a stop to it all. I was determined to find out why a extremely intelligent child just disappeared within a few short months. I researched obscure studies and put them together one by one. I started with food. I went extreme though because alot of foods can cause behavior problems so I fed my son Danny nothing but rice, hamburger and water for 3 days. By the 3rd day my son picked up a book and began to read, at 3 1/2 years old!! The twinkle in his eyes came back and so did the hugging and kisses. It was so profound I rushed to Michigan to work with countless alternative doctors to gain a better understanding of what I had discovered. They learned along with me. Candida, gluten, casein, mold, all part of the problem. Mercury, also discovered in his body, a big problem. Jenny will give this subject the limelite I couldn’t give it as an ordinary mother fighting the fight. I managed to help a few mothers though. My son is leading a normal life, college scholarship, 3.8 GPA. The proof is in the pudding. I do believe there is a time frame to address this to gain the most, and that is as soon as it occurs. As with any tissue in the body, outside or inside, irritate it long enough and you’ve got permanent damage. Good luck, I truly wish all you mothers the best. I know how exhausting and lonely it is, I’m not without battle scars, but it pays off, don’t stop fighting.

Tiffany on

Before you start judging and knocking Jenny…Do the research..it is out there. Unless you are a mother with an autistic child you will not likely have the drive to do so.. I am in the medical field also, never doubted medicine. Until now. My son is 8 was diagnosed at 3. Much like Jenny I went the biomed route and tried everything including fighting for 40hr ABA. Im happy to say my son who was non verbal, is now very social, talkative happy little boy..thriving in a mainstream 3rd grade classroom. the judgment of women putting down jenny is appauling. She has the means to get the truth out let her do it. Dont knock it until you have done INCREDIBLE research Im talking at least a year..then you may think twice.
It is NOT about the indigo and crystals thats not her point..its much more. that is just something she believes in and has nothing to do with the vaccine connection which Im proud to see her speak out about.The GFCF diet works wonders for MANY children. Thimerisol if vaccines IS real. I have been to numerous medical conferences. So before you laugh her off think again. The truth is coming out, there are numerous hush hush lawsuits going on right now about autism and vaccines. Ignorance is bliss and doctors really dont know as much as you believe they do.

VANESSA on

People posting these messages are so quick to judge Jenny. What she has done has required alot of courage. If you have had the opportunity to read some of her books, you will see that she is only trying to help other people deal with issues that she has dealt with. Many are quick to judge her because she only came out about her sons problem through a book that she is only in this to make money. Money isn’t everything !
This is her way again of helping others out there who have 8-5 jobs and dont have the time to research the disease. Give Her a Break!!!!You should respect her not bash her!

Judy on

Thank you so much for using your celebrity to pomote awareness of this serious issue.
I have a 6yr old daughter who has been diagnosed with Sensory Integration Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Depressive Disorder and doctors have said she most likely has ADHD and possibly Bi Polar Disorder. Asperger’s Syndrome is also a possibilty but because of her age at the time of the evaluation and because she wasn’t in school they said they couldn’t make a proper diagnosis. They said they were unable to evaluate her social skills but she met all other requirements for a diagnosis. They suggested I have her evaluated again in a few years. She currently receives no services for any of her diagnosis. I have been fighting to get her services but because she is high functioning cognitively the school’s say she doesn’t qualify for services, the pediatrician says she’s perfectly normal and healthy for her age (despite all the disorders she has been diagnosed with) and our insurance doesn’t recognize sensory integration disorder so OT is not covered by our insurance plan. She did receive OT for a year and a half through our state’s child development services but now that she’s in school she’s lost that and the school refuses to provide services. She struggles everyday just to function and I have become completely responsibile for all her therapy. I’m feeling extremely overwhelmed and alone. I don’t know how to get her the help that she needs. We live in a small rural town in Maine and access to specilaists is limited and insurance won’t cover it. I’ve enrolled her in riding lessons hoping to replace her OT and help with her anxiety. I’m desparate to know exactly what is going on with her and how to help. Do you have any suggestions on where I can go from here to help my baby. Are there organizations out there that can help me navigate this process? I’m doing the best I can but this is over my head. I have two other children and work full time on the weekends and I feel I’m being pulled to my breaking point.

Thanks for letting me rant. Know one else seems to understand what I’m going through.

Thank you for being a voice for our children.

Sincerely,

Judy

Maggie on

I agree with many moms on here. You can say “it’s not vaccines” “it’s not diet”…”these people just can’t get over their kids having a problem”, but unless you’ve experienced this, you cannot talk about it. I thought all those things before I was side swiped by my son’s issues. Nothing that was happening made sense and none of the doctors had any real answers. They go off a list of behaviors and that’s it. They don’t know what to do about it; they don’t know what causes it; they can’t answer any questions. So, why knock things that are working for people? Every child is different, and if a parent is working to try and help her child, that should be applauded. — I really can’t say it better than some other moms on here, but you learn to think outside the box when you realize that that’s what it is going to take to help your child.

Kristina on

Perhaps you all need to open your minds a bit more.

While I’m not fully agreeing with Jenny’s methods, tell me, what has modern medicine done for autistic children?

I come from a family with two autistic cousins. Both started out similar. One parent went one route of parenting, the other a different. One child is sociable, the other so angry and untouchable.

It’s not coincidence.

Autism is something you can be genetically predisposed for. It’s your environment that ends up triggering it or not. Not your nurturing — your environment. Keep your children away from medications and processed foods the best you can while their brains develop.

I’m so SICK and TIRED of parents shoving pills down their child’s throat the second a doctor says, “Oh yes, your son/daughter has ADHD.” It’s garbage.

Open your minds a bit. Modern medicine is doing nothing to help autistic children right now other than messing their minds up further. Give some credit to some people who actually give a damn enough to try and find another method, right OR wrong. They are trying, which is a lot more than any of you have done with your rude comments. Don’t offer such harsh criticism next time unless you offer something positive toward a solution.

As a side note, does anyone ever notice how when some brand new medication comes up, the side-effects are sometimes worse than the problem? Worse yet, six months down the road that medication is recalled due to so many lawsuits.

Be careful with what you do with your medicines.

Liz on

I am an Instructor Therapist for children who are on the Autism Spectrum Disorder. I have 2 degrees (Psychology and Education) and my diploma in Autism and Behavioural Science. But it isn’t my Education that has me speaking out against these “new age” treatments but rather it is my work with hundreds of children with Autism. There is already a problem with parents turning to alternate therapies (many of them very expensive) to try to speed up treatment or to achieve “recovery”. I put recovery in quotations because although some children may catch up with their peers developmentally (the ultimate goal), their Autism will be with them forever. I think to have a celebrity endorsing anything beyond what has been shown to be the most successful intervention (behaviour modification – IBI principles) can be very damaging.

Barry Merriman on

I would like to clarify the scientific side of
this discussion. I’m a Research Professor in
Human Genetics at UCLA, and a large portion of
my work over the past 7 years has been devoted to trying to find the “genes for autism”. Just as others above have pointed out that you should not be quick to judge the actions of
parents of autistic children unless you have been there yourself, I would add that you should not be quick to make pronouncements about what is and isn’t known about autism unless you have been doing the research. So,
let me just touch on a few major points:

(1) Autism is very strongly genetic, this
is a proven fact, not speculation. Here
is the simplest way this has be proven: if you look at identical twins, if one
is Autistic, the other will also be Autistic
about 90% of the time. Indeed, if you loosen up the definition of Autism a bit,
this figure rises to nearly 100%. Moreover,
this is true even for identical twins that
are raised apart—so it is very much in the
genes, and very little in the environment.
In fact, among all complex disorders, Autism is one of the most strongly genetic in the above sense.
Caveats:
(a) these studies were done over
a decade ago, when Autism was defined
by the most severe critera. The current
definition of autism is broader, and the
perhaps that would weaken the genetic
basis a bit—those studies need to be done.
(b) The above does not mean _every_ case
of autism is inherited. They could be due
to a spontaneous genetic mutation, or they
could indeed be due to a strong environmental
insult, such as ingesting some toxin during
pregnancy. But, the above does mean this
is not generally the case—the only valid
general statement is that Autism is strongly
genetic, and other causes are exceptions to
this.
(c) Just because the risk for Autism is
strongly genetic, that does not mean that
the course of the disorder cannot be altered.
Some treatments help some people, who would
otherwise fare much worse without treatment.
So, by all means, it is worthwhile pursue the therapies that are out there, and to make
the effort as a parent or caretaker.

A final word on the genetic basis of Autism,
since there seems to be resistance to this
notion, even though the science behind it
if very well established: if you have an autistic child, its
often pretty easy affirm the above genetic result: look at your immediate relatives for signs of fairly strong mood or social disturbances…often if there is
a severely autistic child, these component traits will be evident in near relatives.
I can’t speak with any authority about Jenny McCarthy, except to note that she clearly has a very flamboyant personality, and she may well have some mood disturbances in her family history.

(2) There is no evidence for an
Autism epidemic. The main reason
that the incidence of Autism has risen
from 1 in ~5,000 a decade ago to 1 in ~200
is _seems to be_ due to a broader definition that is more widely applied. For example,
one large study in the state of Georgia compare students in special education classes
in recent years to those a decade or more ago. They made an Autism diagnosis based on the description of the child given in the special education assessment records. They found
comparable rates of Autism now and then,
and consistent with the current rates. This
strongly supports the idea that the diagnostic process has changed, not the
fundamental incidence of the disorder.
Caveats
(a) This sort of study needs to be done
on a larger scale to be certain—maybe
the state of Georgia is different than
the nation as a whole. But the Georgia
study was a large study, so it should
otherwise be reliable.
(b) This dose not rule out the possibility
that there are factors leading to an increase
in the actual incidence of autism—it just
suggests any such factors are minor, not
the major component of the story. For example, assortative mating, or what one
might describe colloquially as “nerds marry nerds and have super-nerdy kids” makes genetic sense, and I would guess it
is happening, for example especially in
places like Silicon Valley. Also, it would
not surprise me if vaccines or environmental
toxins are impacting some especially susceptible kids—but the point is, there
is no evidence that these or anything else is driving an epidemic of autism, while in
contrast there is clear evidence that
it is being diagnosed much more widely now
than a decade ago.

(3) Finally, a comment on “Indigo Children”.
I can’t claim to be an expert on them,
but then no one else can either. I will say
that as an expert in genetics, though,
ANY statements that Indigo’s are a new
wave in human evolution are pure fantasy.
There is simply zero–thats 0.000—evidence that these children are any genetically different than similar such children who were being born 100 or 1000 years ago. This is just stuff someone pulled out of thin air (likely inside their head). But, I don’t
want to overstep the bounds of science, so
I would say this to Jenny McCarthy and others: You don’t need Indigo children crap
to believe that every child is unique and
valuable, and has things that make them special in positive ways, even though others may simply label them disabled. There is
no need to proclaim them to be from a
spiritual super-race to gain respect for them—better to just promote the idea that
all people have basic human dignity that should be respected and that all people have qualities that should be cherished, and we need to affirm this especially for those
impacted by disabilities.

katalina on

I can only comment that more needs to be researched into the vaccine/autism connection. I received a swine flu vacc back in the 70’s and have had seizures since. Neurologists state its “idiopathic” no known cause. I deal with it and take meds for life now. Are these vaccines truly safe? Jenny is trying to do what is best for her son and I commend her. Most of the posters appear to not have read her entire book but focus on indigo and crystal comments.

I think the dietary change also had alot to do with Evan’s progress and that is wonderful.

Bea on

Thank you so much for getting the information out there. The DAN doctors are doing remarkable things and as an occupational therapist who works with children diagnosed with Autism I am trying to steer parents in the right direction to get the help they need for their child. You are an angel. Thank you so much.
Beatrice
Cary, NC

Karen on

Wow, I can’t believe the negative comments! I have had a very similar experience with my eight year old daughter who was diagnosed at 2years old with autism. Fortunately with early intervention, speech therapy, group therapy and a special diet, my daughter too has reversed her autism characteristics! When she was young, I saw her struggle with communication and all her “strange” behavior traits that I too thought were her personality. She would flap her arms and I nicknamed her BlueBird which means love. She lined up her stuffed animals, closing all doors in the house before we’d leave and struggle with sounds instead of words to communicate.

With constant speech therapy, group therapy which was video taped and special diet my daughter turned the corner! She now is president of her third grade class and has entered the “gate” program for gifted childred. She also has no problem communicating both verbally and physically!

I contribute this 100% to early prevention! IT DOES WORK! Please don’t critise Jenny with her enthusiasum as I believe early intervention can make the difference in every autistic child.

Thanks Jenny for getting the word out there and I hope we have more people step up to help our childred!

THANKS!

YOLANDA on

JEN ON THE VIEW..BUM’S RUSH..FOR MORE IMP. GUEST FOLLOWING HER??? BARBS’ BDAY..78..BS…THEY DID NOT WANT HER TO COME UP WITH INDIGO OR CRYSTAL CHILDREN..THEY DONT EVEN MENTION SHE WAS ON ON THEIR WEBSITE..ONLY JOEY FAT ONE….TO SING TO BARB AND GET OLE BILL GETTY ON SCREEN???ANYONE ELSE SEE THIS..

Grace on

I have a son on the autistic spectrum and have heard about the Indigo children theory through a good friend. My son went through Biomedical intervention and his blood tests showed that his body has high levels of toxins like mercury and lead. My belief is that some parents try to deal with their own grief by “dressing” up autism saying that they belong to the Indigo generation but it is nothing more than more and more of our children are being poisoned by all the toxins around us. Our food is contaminated with additives, preservatives, eating GMO stuff, inhaling polluted air. As parents who are “contaminated” we pass these poisons onto our children.
My two cents worth.

Maribeth on

I am very happy that Jenny has been able to treat her child and handle his illness. As a teacher I see these children every day and wish every parent was able to handle the problem as she does. Instead of “dealing” with her child she is being procative and doing whatever is needed for her chld, instead of doing what she or her family needs to do. An autistic child needs intesive intervention that most families are unable to provide.

Patricia on

I have two sons out of five children and both display signs of autism. I have not had either child tested as the older child was diagnosed ADHD when he was young.
I feel sick and sad that autism was not even considered when he was younger. He displayed symptons directly after receiving shots and all the documentation is right in his medical records.
Yes I will immediately seek further evaluation for both children.
If it is proven that they are autistic as I believe they may be I will also be seeking medical treatment for them also.
I applaude you Jenny for getting the message out there for all parents to see. I believe your efforts are to help all children live happy and normal lives and I just want to say thank you.
PS Most people do not even understand what being an indigo means.

Alvin on

Did anyone of the negative comments read her book and what remedies she did to get her son better? It is amazing to me how many people will just dismiss things that do not come from the “regular doctors”. I have seem an alternative medicine doctor and have heard him speak on the radio. A lot of the nutritional remedies would be helpful even if it didn’t help the ailment you intended. Not every medication given by a doctor works as intended. You need to keep an open mind. Extra vit c or vit e or a reduction in sugar are very good things. Most doctors will tell yo that vitamins are just expensive urine. I can tell you for a fact that getting my vit c intake up to 6-8000 mg a day in divided dosages got rid of my allergies. Most of these remedies won’t hurt to try. Before you dismiss her remedies, read what here remedies his. God bless her and her son and the rest of you

Layla Redonda on

What ever works for the children is what matters. Dont ever give up……there is always hope…….My son is 4 1/2 yrs old he is in pre-k ese program. This is his 2nd year going to pre-k ese. There are only 8 kids in the class, mostly autistic. My son is not autistic, I could have put him in a regular pre-k classroom, but I didnt. He helps autistic children in some ways and they help him….We all need to help each other…………..God Bless

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