Celebrities on Autism: All for Better Book Sales?

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Photo by Stephen Shugerman/Getty

First Denis Leary's comment from his book that autistic kids are really "just stupid. Or lazy. Or both," a product of "inattentive mothers" and "competitive dads." (He says his statements were taken out of context).

Now comes Jenny McCarthy claiming in Us Weekly that her 6-year-old son has "recovered" from autism. She, too, has a recent book out called "Mother Warriors: A Nation of Parents Healing Autism Against All Odds."

As you can imagine, our mom members have a few words of their own to add.

Sure, many are piping mad at Leary. But most chalk it up to another ill-informed celeb running their mouth to get attention.

In a journal post, Alynn74 writes: "I have no problem taking the label that I'm a bad parent. But it pisses me off when people attack kids like my kids. Drawing attention to his ignorant comments isn't going to get anything but more people buying his book. As my husband put it--Just let it go. We know the truth. Some jackass's opinion isn't going to change that.

But back to Jenny--she claims that her son, Evan, has recovered from autism, due mostly to a dairy-free, wheat-free diet. Here's how she tells it in a CNN.com essay last April:

"There are some who wonder what me mean when we say recovering from autism. They confuse the word recover with cure. While you may not be able to cure an injury caused in a terrible car accident, you can recover; you can regain many skills that you once lost. In the case of autism, we think there are treatments that often bring about such healing."

dmsfr, owner of the Autism/Asperger's/PDD Awareness Group, mom of an autistic child, and also a psychologist, is reserving judgement for the time being.

"Only she knows if she is being honest and time will tell, as well. As kids on the spectrum get older, their behaviors change. They either continue to adapt to social norms and do well or they become socially more awkward and the social gap will widen."

But dmsfr does take issue with McCarthy's oversimplification. For dmsfr's own son, eating is a social event that helps him become more outgoing. She would never dream of forbidding him from eating "boy food" like pizza and ice cream.  

"I think that if it were JUST that simple for ALL kids on the spectrum, every mom would be shopping differently. A one size fits all cure is not what works. There are a host of different events that can cause a trauma to the child's body that would lead to autism. There is research that says it is caused by vaccines, prematurity, genetics, cell phones and a host of other things. My opinion stands that there is more than one trauma that will cause a diagnosis of autism and get us all to this one point: How do we help our kids become a functioning part of society?"

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Who do you think is doing more damage to the autism cause?

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autism, developmental delays, food, health

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Loa1002 Loa1002

I think denis is saying that to sell more books. He did have a song "i am an asshole" haha I do not think Jenny would lie about her son. People are going to do what she says she did with their kids--if she lied that is not helping anyone.

talia... taliarosesmommy

I really hope that Jenny wouldn't lie about her son.  She seemed genuinely interested in bringing attention to autism and I think she did a really good job, in that regard.  I also loved her previous books on being pregnant and the first year of motherhood.  I hope she doesn't turn out to be another wackjob!

momnl... momnlovinit

I would hope any intelligent person would do their own research and of course each case is unique and different, but I completely agree with Jenny and there are sooooo many outside factors that contribute to autism. It is just finding the right mixture of  treatment and YES it can make a world of difference. I think Jenny is just trying to make people aware of certain things and trying to make parents say hey enough is enough. Go Jenny!!!!

sarah... sarahsmom

My son was diagnosed with high functioning autism at the age of 5. Yes you can adjust diets for children with autism but YOU CAN"T CURE AUTISM. There is no known cure for autism only adjustments to the childs life. Eliminating dairy from a childs diet isn't a wise thing. If you do that how do you replace the calcium so that the childs bones grow? Unless Jenny Mcarthy is a doctor and works in a lab than I don't truly see how she CURED her son.

Tanne... Tannershotmom

Jenny McCarthy NEVER said that she cured her son. He is not cured. He is recovered.

karrey karrey

if you read what jenny said,you see where she said it can never be cured.just recovering from it!!! that is 2 very different things.

jenni... jenniemama2

I'm a little late here, but how can anyone say that Jenny is doing damage to the autism cause?  Obviously those who voted in that manner are basing their opinion on ignorance and have not read Jenny's books or seen her interviews on the subject.  Jenny mentions several times that she is not touting a "cure" and that the biomedical approach she champions is not going to help every kid diagnosed on the autism spectrum.  She is simply offering HOPE... she could have just sat back and said, "thank god I found something that works for MY kid" and went on with her life...no, she chooses to use her celebrity in a positive way and help as many kids as she can...to support other mothers and work for a change and bring awareness to the puzzle that is autism.  Jenny is in my eyes, a hero.  I would recommend Mother Warriors to anyone, even if your child is not autistic.

hwllm... hwllmssy1227

Yeah, well you should see the title of her latest book " Healing and Preventing Autism". Jenny McCarthy is definitely not helping the autism awareness movement as much as she might like to think. To insinuate that autism can be healed or prevented is simply FALSE and makes a mockery of all those parents out there who have tried their damndest to help their kids to no avail. I don't see her as a hero, I see her as falsely touting around information about her son's  "recovery" while  failing to state she spent $4,000 a WEEK on ABA therapy and attributing his progress to the diet and supplements.

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