Jenny McCarthy and the Holy War

2 Nov

Now I know some people don’t like this blog going after Jenny McCarthy. I understand why (giving air time to air heads seems silly) but I really do believe its important that what this woman says in the name of the autism community is checked, double checked and exposed to the cold light of day.

So – continuing the theme of what Ms McCarthy says at one point in time is not the same as what she says at another I want to present the results of my own Google Phd research.

Lets go back to September 2007 where Evan is recovered:

McCarthy claims that a radical diet, 100% free of gluten and casein, facilitated her son Evan’s recovery from autism….

However, also in September 2007, Evan’s ‘therapist’ describes him as in recovery:

I think Evan is in recovery,” says Sarah Clifford Scheflen, a speech-language pathologist at UCLA and Evan’s therapist since 2005. With autism, a neurological disorder that impairs ability to communicate and relate to others, “early intervention is huge,” Scheflen says, “and Evan received that.”

Fast forward to April 2008 and McCarthy describes Evan again as recovered.

We believe what helped Evan recover was…..

But then two months later Jenny says they will be chelating Evan:

A lot of people are scared to chelate, which is the process of pulling metals out of the body, but it has triggered many recoveries. … Everyone has their own recipe to recovery, but your child might need chelation to get there. With a DAN doctor, I mean these guys are so good, they will help, you know, make sure your child is safe, your child has the minerals it needs to do it. … I’m, of course, scared to do it with Evan, but I plan on doing it this summer because Evan still suffers from seizures……


Four months after that
, under the headline ‘Jenny McCarthy: My Son No Longer Has Autism ‘ Jenny says:

Jenny McCarthy says she helped her son, Evan, recover from autism.??…

However, four days after that Evan McCarthy’s paediatrician Dr Jay Gordon described Evan thusly:

Jenny McCarthy’s son is doing better than he was before she started intervention. He is recovering from autism. That’s an ambiguous phrase but it’s the best I can do.

Its a bizarre mish-mash of cured/not cured recovered/recovering – where does the truth lie? Does it matter?

Yes, to me it does. This woman is selling books off the back of the autism community. Part of her marketing is that we all love her and are rah-rahing for her. Well I’m not. I’m not sure she’s lying but there is dishonesty of some kind going on here.

And lets go back to the story in People in September 2007. The first box out says:

“I don’t want to come across like a preacher,” says McCarthy….

And compare that with the story in USMagazine a year and a month later:

I made a deal with God,” she explains. “I said, ‘You fix my boy, you show me the way and I’ll teach the world how I did it.

Something has happened to Jenny McCarthy between September 2007 and October 2008. Something that has taken her from not wanting to come across like a preacher to making a deal with god to show her the way and she’ll teach the world how. Make no mistake – that is explicit religious terminology. She wants the world to think of her as someone who ‘knows the way’ and she can ‘show them’ that way. The comparisons with Christianity are both undeniable and frankly – disturbing.

Its obvious from hearing that thoughts of Evan’s paediatrician that Evan is not recovered or cured and yet Jenny McCarthy wants to ‘show us the way’? It sounds more to me that Ms McCarthy is becoming dangerously close to religious fervour.

9 Responses to “Jenny McCarthy and the Holy War”

  1. Socrates November 2, 2008 at 21:46 #

    Sorry, I don’t know how to respond except by: Autism Expert Makes Hoddog (Badly).

  2. Dr Aust November 3, 2008 at 00:03 #

    I made a deal with God,” she explains. “I said, ‘You fix my boy, you show me the way and I’ll teach the world how I did it.

    Yes, the combination of gosh-me folksiness, perkiness and appeals to G*d puts me in mind of a certain US Vice-Presidential candidate.

    The barely-concealed aggressive ignorance is a fit too.

    Wonder which one out of Jenny Mac or Sarah P we’ll be stuck with for longer?

  3. Bonnie November 3, 2008 at 04:10 #

    I just wish she would say exactly what is probably happening, and that is, her son has been reacting well to the therapies that have been given to him. I personally am an “Autism Acceptance” advocate. However, we have also been treating our son with supplements, and b12 injections, and we’ve seen some great changes in him. He is still Autistic, and it wasn’t our goal to have not be. But, we do want him to be able to focus at school, to be able to express himself well, to be able to maybe pick up on some social cues. So, there are things that help some kids with this, our son included. Is he cured-no. But he’s able to exist more independently, and be a bit more understood and productive, had we not been doing what have done. Who knows, we could be fooling ourselves and his improvements are just coming with age?! But it seems curious that improvements have come about since therapies have begun. BUT HE”S STILL AUTISTIC! HE’S STILL HIMSELF!
    So why can’t she just come out and say her son is doing better. Why does it have to be all about the cure?
    I’m rambling, sorry…..

  4. Do'C November 3, 2008 at 06:06 #

    Who knows, we could be fooling ourselves and his improvements are just coming with age?! But it seems curious that improvements have come about since therapies have begun.

    Hi Bonnie, I don’t think it’s so curious that improvements have come about since therapies have begun – children develop (albeit at different rates). There is no reason to think development would remain at a complete standstill without supplements or MB12 injections. While this may not apply to you at all, some probably find comfort in believing such a notion as justification for the “expense”. “Expense” does not only refer to money. There are other factors to consider.

  5. Patrick November 3, 2008 at 14:56 #

    How much self elevation is there when the end of the sentence reads …”how I did it.”?

    Shouldn’t it be more like “what you showed me.”?

    The level of respect looks tilted to me.

  6. farmwifetwo November 3, 2008 at 15:02 #

    Well Doc…. I’ll put my son back on dairy and when he’s finished head-slamming holes into every wall I have… I’ll call you to pay to fix them. Then there’s the never ending diahhrea – want to come and do the laundry b/c I suspect toiletting will go back to being non-existant since he’ll never make the toilet in time and it’ll be running down his legs. Nightly, nightmares and terrors – you can go without sleep… we’ll stay in bed.

    Yes he no longer needs the risperdal but we haven’t reached puberty yet… so we’ll “never say never” about returning to medical interventions to allow him to handle the hyper-activity, anxiety, concentrate, think and function.

    I’m not one for high doses of vitamins, chelation and other nasty unproven treatments that in the end can damage one’s insides.. yet my ped recommended a daily children’s multi-vitamin for him.

    But to think that a child should suffer from IBS and other illnesses just b/c they are “autistic” (I despise labelling someone – takes away their individuality. Label’s are only for getting services, they aren’t who someone is)… give me a break. Had he been “Normal” they would have told me to start pulling foods to see which one was making him ill… B/c he had a dx of autism I got “some children with autism are like that” (quote). Why the double standard???

    I’ve been reading “Concepts of Normality”.. so… are we now into neurodiversity = don’t educate???? Heck, they don’t educate children with ASD now, unless you’re like me and do enough of it yourself they find themselves keeping up, instead of letting the kid just sit there all day. I’m starting to think that’s Estee’s (Joy of Autism) POV on the subject. I’m not talking unending sit at the table ABA which my kid hated and I don’t blame him. But speech, OT, and the 3R’s, gynastics, piano….. Her attitude of “The world must accommodate my son.” is starting to become worrisome. So, now she’s advocating special classes where they are left to “be”. See… I’m becoming very confused about this… Am I now a horrible parent since I’m working towards Univ and independance with both children on both ends of the spectrum. Should I just let them sit and rot and “be” and have support to wipe their backsides??? Actually, my mind slid fully into the gutter about supports and the chapter on Sex.

    Autism isn’t curable, and flapping doesn’t bother me, and not one of us thinks the same as the next – nor should we. In another chapter it was discussed by another author about “Passing for Normal” – don’t we all do that every day?? But I do expect appropriate behaviour (no feces smearing, destruction of property, head-slamming holes into my walls). But when are we going to start working towards a full and inclusive education and living that may use supports as a tool… and not demand them as a crutch?? Why is Autism “a way of being”… I keep thinking of bands of hippies, communing somewhere, whenever I read those words. None of us think the same so why is it different than anyone else?? My goal is to have mine enjoy “normal” activities, independance and education like many in “Autism and the Myth of the Person Alone” (Bilken). Although already mine don’t require as many supports as many writers in that book… what’s wrong with “passing for normal”???

    S – Who really isn’t excited about Ms McCarthy b/c her and others like her with cured children will discover that once they reach Gr 4…. they aren’t “cured”.

  7. Patrick November 3, 2008 at 15:08 #

    And if we are supposed to be shown how it was done, then how was this applied: (The Quantum Prayer Wheel) http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/06/your_friday_dose_of_woo_generation_woo.php

    Or was its use being promoted for Profit only?

    Come now, we were promised we would be shown the way!

  8. Ringside Seat November 3, 2008 at 19:01 #

    … and of course, Leo Kanner pointed out that children tend to improve in their development and skills as they get older, even in the 1940s.

    You could put a daily fried egg on kids’ heads and a huge number will show dramatic improvements.

    Maybe I shouldn’t have said that, in case we get some quack selling a fried egg therapy. Nah, not profitable enough.

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