Thursday, April 2, 2009

Jenny McCarthy...again!

Jenny McCarthy. Jenny McCarthy. Jenny McCarthy. I'm guilty to admit that if I keep hearing the name Jenny McCarthy every time a news or Hollywood outlet mentions autism, I'm going to have a melt-down of my own.

I promised when I started this blog, that it would only be about Same Child, Different Day and anything that promotes, supports or supplements it. And I swore to myself I this wouldn't be a rant blog. I've had bad luck with that in the past so let's just say, I'll try to make this the only one of it's kind.

Jenny McCarthy has a son with autism; granted and my prayers to her. And she's found what she believes is a treatment that seems to have cured him, in her eyes; hallelujah and praise God. If it's true, nothing aside from the same happening to my own child would make me happier. But, for all the reporting outlets to have dubbed her the end-all and know-all when it comes to autism is finally getting to me. She purports herself to be a self-appointed autism advocate for parents, but I don't recall asking her to be my self-righteous martyr.

First and foremost, there are countless fantastic families and individuals who have done as much if not more where the diagnosis has touched them. But you don't hear about them because, unlike Ms. McCarty, they don't have piles of cash, unlimited free time or the benefit of celebrity to thrust them into the limelight. On the contrary: many have given up jobs and homes, to move in with family and devote all their time and money into caring for their child, because their state, insurance company or community won't or simply can't help them otherwise.

Also, Ms. McCarty has found apparent success with her son's particular issues. However, as my good friend Heidi is fond of saying: if you've seen one kid with autism, you've seen one kid with autism. What works for Jenny McCarty didn't work in our specific situation, and it may or may not work for you. But the celebrity community-at-large has embraced Jenny, and have chosen to utilize her as a resource for all things autism. That's an unhealthy route to take, when you consider she does have a specific agenda she's pushing, and knowing that not all of those affected by autism share the same beliefs.

Yet, Jenny McCarthy is called upon time and time again to answer every question that could be asked regarding autism. I'm not claiming that any other person would be better versed on the subject, especially not a school-trained stranger not living the autism maze. But there are other families experiencing this condition, parents who don't hold a narrow-minded focus or agenda. It's the way of our society: popularity is the biggest factor we use in determining the most qualified authority. Just once I'd like to see the news media call on a regular family with a typical laundry list of daily tasks, a reasonable income and no axe to grind.

Anyhow, I said I wouldn't rant, and I don't want to get all irrational and thoughtless. And I surely don't want to invalidate the struggle I'm sure Jenny goes through on a daily basis. No matter the degree, autism is a challenging, life-changing diagnosis. I just wish society had chosen a more appropriate representative.

~ Jon

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