By Lisa Ackerman
Sorry for the history lesson – but here you go.
Back in the 50’s every red blooded American was afraid of the Russians and the possibility of a “cold war”. Senator McCarthy was quick to point to hundreds of innocent, different thinking individuals that they were contributing the downfall of America.
Enter Edward R Murrow – considered a pioneer in early TV and famous newscaster of the day. Murrow saw the injustice of the Senators severely public accusations. He then produced a series of TV news reports that helped lead to the censure of Senator Joseph McCarthy and the downfall of his theory.
What does this have to do with Autism? Well a small group of doctors and writers are calling Jenny McCarthy the equivalent to Senator Joseph McCarthy. The only similarities? Their last name.
Autism has a different story because basically families and the public have been lied to for decades. The lies?
- there is no autism epidemic, its just better diagnosis
- families are just looking for the abundant free services for their children
- parents just need to discipline their children
- these children were autistic from birth, had no regression of skills, and parents missed the signs
- there are just as many kids with autism as there are adults with autism
Ask any teacher or administrator that has been in a school since its opening several decades ago about “is there an increase in autism” and almost all I have spoken to get white in the face, swallow hard and say “Oh my God, yes.” They then comment they have never seen so many disabled children in their life. All with autism – a once rare development disability.
Missing a child with autism is like missing a train wreck 10 feet in front of your face. There is no diagnostic substitution. I surely do not see thousands of adults in my town tantruming and being hauled out of grocery stores as I do children these days.
What Jenny McCarthy did for the autism community is provide some important messages lacking in this community and in the public eye. She bravely;
- called attention to autism and the rising numbers
- pointed to the family issues and how autism can rip a family apart
- called out the CDC, FDA about the vaccine issues and how hundreds of thousands of families see a correlation of loss of skills at the time of immunization
- provided families with some hope that was long overdue. She pointed to treatments are available and to find answers unique to their children’s needs. She provided a story about a boy named Evan who has made remarkable progress after a diagnosis of no hope. This boy attends a regular education setting and no longer qualifies for an autism diagnosis.
These efforts hardly align themselves with Senator McCarthy. In fact, Jenny is a bit more like the newscaster Mr. Murrow. The public has been fed mistruths and the folks here to help families and their children by the devastated by autism have failed their job miserably.
Keep talking Jenny “Murrow” McCarthy. We need you to continue the message so our children who have been ignored for years get the attention and answers they deserve.
Lisa Ackerman is one the founders of Talk About Curing Autism (TACA.) TACA started in 2000 with 10 families in the Ackerman living room and by January 2008 has grown to over 6,000 families across the U.S. TACA provides 95% program and services free to families affected by autism. Web site: www.talkaboutcuringautism.org