Jenny McCarthy has been very outspoken on the topic of childhood vaccines. Her 7-year-old son Evan was diagnosed with autism in 2005, and since then, the 37-year-old mother of one claims that she helped “fix” her son. In a new interview with Time, it is not certain Evan ever truly had autism.
Jenny says the MMR vaccine gave Evan autism:
In the interview, Jenny claims that Evan did, in fact, have autism which was healed through a range of experimental and unproved biomedical treatments. Jenny says she made a deal with God. “Help me fix my boy,” she prayed, “and I’ll teach the world how I did it.”
Jenny claims the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine gave her son autism even though research has conclusively proven that vaccines are safe for children. In fact, the U.K. scientist who had published a study linking the MMR shot to autism was found by a British medical panel to have acted unethically.
Jenny says that not all vaccines are bad — although she swears Evan will not receive another — nor is she saying you shouldn’t vaccinate your child. Her message is one of perseverance: do everything necessary to heal your child, no matter what the doctors tell you.
“I wished to God the doctor had handed me a pamphlet that said, ‘Hey, sorry about the autism, but here’s a step-by-step list on what to do next.’ But doctors don’t do that. They say ‘sorry’ and move you along,” Jenny says.
Was Evan misdiagnosed?
A psychological evaluation from UCLA’s neuropsychiatric hospital, dated May 10, 2005, was “conclusive for a diagnosis of Autistic Disorder,” regarding a then 2-year-old Evan. Five years later, Evan is happily shouting out, “Are you here to play with me? When are we going to play?”
Was Evan misdiagnosed? There are murmurings from scientists and doctors asking if Evan was ever really autistic. Evan’s symptoms — heavy seizures, followed by marked improvement once the seizures were brought under control — are similar to those of Landau-Kleffner syndrome, a rare childhood neurological disorder that can also result in speech impairment and possible long-term neurological damage.
Or, perhaps Evan’s issue was a case of childhood development? Maybe he was a delayed 2-year-old who has now caught up by the time he is 7, a commonplace, routine occurrence, nothing more surprising than a short boy growing tall. These claims are enraging to Jenny who held him during his seizures and saw his eyes roll up after he received his vaccines.
Jenny stands firm a child can “recover” from autism:
Throughout the interview, Jenny is sure not to use the word ‘cure.’ “I look at autism like a bus accident, and you don’t become cured from a bus accident, but you can recover,” she says.
She encourages parents to never give up hope. “Try everything! Hope is the greatest thing for moms of autism,” Jenny says. “Hope is what gets us out of bed in the morning. I’m on a mission to tell parents that there is a way.”
Jenny’s conviction stems from having “recovered” her own son from autism. “Evan couldn’t talk — now he talks. Evan couldn’t make eye contact — now he makes eye contact. Evan was antisocial — now he makes friends,” she explains. “It was amazing to watch, over the course of doing this, how certain therapies work for certain kids and they completely don’t work for others … When something didn’t work for Evan, I didn’t stop. I stopped that treatment, but I didn’t stop.”
On the relationship between vaccines and autism, Jenny stands firm. “Come and see our kids. Why won’t the CDC come and talk to the mothers, talk to the families? Then tell us there isn’t a link.”
What do you think? Was Evan misdiagnosed? Did Jenny “fix” Evan and help him “recover” from autism?