At the Green Our Vaccines rally earlier today, actors Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey were on hand to lend their support and their celebrity to a cause that is near and dear to both their hearts. Since Jenny’s son Evan Joseph, 6, was diagnosed with autism in 2005, the 35-year-old actress and author has been outspoken in her advocacy of the biomedical approach to treating the complex neurological disorder. Green Our Vaccines does not suggest that parents forego vaccinating their children; Instead, it is a campaign which calls for the elimination of toxins from childhood vaccines as well as a less aggressive vaccine schedule.
In their efforts to draw attention to the rally and the issue, the couple sat down this morning with Good Morning America and spoke at length about Jim’s special relationship with Evan. Recalled Jenny,
When I first introduced Evan to Jim, you know…you never quite know what to expect. A lot of people don’t understand, when they meet a child with autism. You have to be very animated to get that child’s attention, and I think I can tell you that I have the most animated boyfriend in the world. But he really had a way of understanding Evan’s thinking. And I watched it and went ‘Oh my gosh, he’s got it.’
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Jim noted that "there is a difficult moment" when you first meet a child with autism.
They have issues with intimacy. There’s not a lot of closeness. They don’t want to be touched. It’s tough to get them to focus on you when their mind is somewhere else it wants to be. It took a lot of patience and a lot of love.
Jenny has often referred to Jim, whom she began dating in December 2005, as the "autism whisperer" because of his unique ability to connect with her son. During this morning’s interview, Jim — who said he "has a lot of fun" with Evan — revealed the reason behind the nickname.
One of the days I kind of broke through, I think possibly why [Jenny] calls me the autism whisperer…I would try to talk to [Evan] and I couldn’t get his attention, and was always saying ‘EVAN, EVAN, EVAN!’ So one day I thought, ‘I wonder if this will work?’ (Whispered Evan’s name twice) And it got his attention immediately, because it interested him. That’s what these kids need, something to grab their interest.
In a separate interview this afternoon with People, Jim said he never would have "seen the greatness of Jenny’s spirit" were it not for her son, whom he credited with teaching him "how to love." Jenny believes Evan — thanks to a gluten-free, casein-free diet, anti-fungal treatments, vitamin and mineral supplements and other therapies — has made great strides since his initial autism diagnosis; It’s an assessment Jim told Good Morning America he agrees with wholeheartedly.
I know it first-hand, I’ve seen the change [in Evan], and it’s miraculous.
Evan is Jenny’s son with ex-husband John Asher.