In the world of parents with autistic children, there is a big split between those that like Jenny McCarthy, and those that really wish she’d go away.
Truly, Jenny did this to herself. Her first book, “More than Words”, was about her son, progress and love. It included alternative autism treatments such as the gluten-free casein-free diet, but that wasn’t really the focus. It was a great book that most people enjoyed – even the parents who believed the diet wasn’t effective. It was about a mother’s love for her son, and her quest to help him be all he could be.
In her second book, “Mother Warriors”, Jenny did not focus on love for children. The description of the book reads: “Stories of hope and recovery from a nation of parents of autistic children”.Her book focused solely on mothers who were more about diets, supplements and alternative treatments than they focused on their children. Yes, they said all they did was FOR them, but their stories were more about what they believed the alternative treatments did than what they felt their kids accomplished.
By titling the book “Mother Warriors”, and declaring it a testament to mothers who fight for their autistic children, Jenny turned the tide against herself. By focusing only on alternative treatments, and insinuating that in order to be a “Mother Warrior” you have to be willing to give your child 40 supplements a day, restrict their diet and have them endure medical procedures not approved for the treatment of autism. The rest of us mothers are just junk apparently.
Never mind that every other mother of a child with autism fights a battle every day, with the world, with themselves. Never mind that the only difference between moms who do alternative treatments and those who don’t is doctor’s appointments. Never mind that we have more in common than differences.
She set the stage for mothers of kids with autism to take sides. She encouraged the thought that any mother of a child with autism not doing these treatments is not as good as those who do. She drew a line in the autism community, a community that does not need to be divided.
Instead of encouraging parents to do what’s best, Jenny advocates doing exactly what she does. This is a dangerous road to start down, considering every child is different. It is NEVER a good idea to do something because a celebrity says so. She is in a position of authority, and she is abusing it.
Jenny went beyond autism awareness. She focused on creating a “right” and a “wrong” way to approach a medical condition, which is selfish. Her second book is more of an advertisement for her DAN doctors than it is a testament of any mother’s faith.
So, congratulations, Jenny. You’ve made people aware of your treatments for your child, and by using a “this is the only way” approach, you’ve made life harder for those of us who don’t believe in or participate in those treatments.