I’ve been in the world of autism for around 12 years. I wouldn’t consider myself complacent citizen of the autism world. I’d say I’m more a jovial but sarcastic hostage of the world of autism with a slight case of Stockholm syndrome. In all these years, I’ve never been prepared to be the resident spokesmodel for parents of children autism. I’ve always thought that eventually & unfortunately, a child that would bring autism into the collective consciousness of the average people (to Mr & Mrs Joe six-pack, in Palin terminology).
Over the years, I’ve heard of some celebrity connections to autism. Some of the people I’ve seen listed as having kids on the spectrum are:
Can you identify all of these folks? This is a pop quiz, people!
While I’m sure that some of the issues that we, as parents of children with autism, all face are universal. There is no amount of fame or fortune that can insulate you from the panic that a child’s diagnosis of autism brings. And I don’t fault them at all if they’ve jumped to the top of the list for services because of their stardom. Wouldn’t you if you could?
Before Jenny McCarthy , I used to think that if Julia Roberts or Matt Lauer or one of those High School Musical kids had a child with autism that more attention would be paid to the unmet needs of our kids. Not that I’d wish any ill fortune on any of those people or their kids, just that it would definitely put the issue more in the public eye. Of course, I don’t mean to categorize any of the celebrities who already havekids with autism as slackers. I’m sure that they were all contributing to autism awareness (and more importantly, dealing with their child’s autism) but no one’s efforts were creating what you’d call a publicity frenzy .
Then came Jenny. Jenny McCarthy has a bullhorn and she’s not afraid to use it, folks. She’s talked to Oprah & Larry King about autism. She’s written book. She’s on ET & Access Hollywood (please don’t ask how I know this!), she’s on the cover of magazines with her incredible bob (just the one o, people!) and self-proclaimed big mouth. She’s everywhere & she’s not afraid to speak up.
Even if you don’t agree with all of her beliefs, you must admit that Jenny McC is drawing the public’s attention to the issue of autism. Granted, this is not something that Jenny’s trained for (unless her stint as hostess of the MTV show “Singled Out” counts) but how much have any of us trained to be in this situation? I’m frightened of what I would have said if I’d had a public platform to share my opinions in the years immediately following my son’s dx. I haven’t read Jenny’s book (it’s moved to the interesting-but-not-vital portion of my book list) & I’ve missed most of her appearances, so I can’t comment on anything but to say that she’s definitely mixing it up.
And now, with this. Amanda Peet, who has been a mother for all of ten minutes, has proclaimed that …”parents who don’t vaccinate their kids are parasites.” For those of you who don’t know her, Amanda Peet is an actor (whose next movie is titled “What Doesn’t Kill You” – interesting timing, eh?)Did I mention that she doesn’t have a child with the diagnosis of autism?
While it would seem that Amanda Peet is referencing herd immunity in her “parasite” comment. It sounds as though she did research – talking to Dr. Paul Offitt, who created a vaccine of his own – the rotavirus vaccine. I wonder if she researched what families of children with autism go through. When my oldest was an infant, healthcare seemed pretty straightforward. Your baby’s sick, you take him to the dr. and find out what’s wrong and how to fix it.
That’s not how it works with autism. Nowadays, dr’s are better at diagnosing autism but no one can give you a treatment plan that will provide any guaranteed results. When my doctor got the report back from the developmental pediatrician, she said “Unfortunately, we’re right. It’s autism.” When I asked her what to do she said “Pray.”
Jenny McCarthy to the rescue! She has taken exception with Amanda Peet’s comments.
Who’s right? Who knows? Let me know your opinion!!
-the cheese does not take financial planning advice from Miley Cyrus