Friday, September 28, 2007

Seizures can be linked to Autism

Actress Jenny McCarthy is attempting to raise public awareness about autism through a new book discussing how she is raising her son, who suffers from the developmental disorder.

"I'm really willing to go the distance to kind of spread the word and really share my emotions on the issue, because it's so close to home," McCarthy told CTV's Canada AM.

"Louder Than Words: A Mother's Journey in Healing Autism" is McCarthy's fourth book. In the book, McCarthy talks about how people in public are unsure how to react to a child with autism because they may have temper tantrums.

"You kind of have to let them have their outburst," McCarthy said, "and a parent might look at you and go 'God, you're a bad parent. You don't know how to tame your child.' And you want to go -- 'It's not my fault.'"

McCarthy's motherly instincts about her son's autism were raised when he began to have seizures. One of the seizures led to her son having a cardiac arrest.

One day before her son was formally diagnosed with autism, McCarthy appeared on the 'Live with Regis and Kelly' talk show.

She was promoting her third book "Baby Laughs," which described how happy and healthy her son was.

"All I wanted to do was cry and I had to pick myself up and stay strong to get through it because I had to sell a book," McCarthy said. "I had to pay for autism when I got home. And that was really one of the most difficult times of my life."

A turning point came after McCarthy began experimenting with a diet free of gluten, wheat and dairy products for her son. The diet had helped some other autistic children, she discovered after conducting research online. McCarthy noticed progress was being made when she was watching television with her son.

"SpongeBob SquarePants" did not usually connect with her son Evan, but when he laughed at something "very abstract and funny" while watching it, McCarthy said she knew it was important.
"That was my big moment ... I call it kind of opening the window and pulling him out of the world of autism," McCarthy said.

McCarthy noticed that her son's eye contact and vocabulary noticeably improved within weeks as a result of being on the diet.

"I got my degree in the University of Google because everything on there is how I helped Evan," McCarthy said.

Looking after her son has also become easier for McCarthy with the help of her new love, Canadian comic actor Jim Carrey.

McCarthy has said that Carrey has connected with her son in areas that she was not succesful.
Recently, McCarthy called Carrey the "autism whisperer" because of the positive effect he has had on her son.

"He really has done wonders with Evan and I love him to pieces and I'm very lucky," McCarthy said.


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