Candid talk about autism on Oprah Winfrey’s show

Candid talk about autism
on Oprah Winfrey’s show


Something really amazing happened last week for families and children living with autism. And it happened of all places on the “Oprah” show. Oprah Winfrey’s guests on this show were two mothers of autistic sons. And they weren’t just any regular moms, they were celebrities. Jenny McCarthy a former Playboy playmate, comedian, actress and best selling author and Holly Robinson Peete actress and wife of former NFL great Rodney Peete.

We can plan on seeing more of Jenny McCarthy in the upcoming weeks because she wrote a book about her experiences in autism and she is scheduled to appear on a lot of different shows to talk about it. “Louder Then Words”, is Jenny’s recount of what happened to her son medically (he had multiple life threatening seizures) and how he would eventually come to be diagnosed with autism.

As I sat watching the “Oprah” show, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing on national TV and of all places on “Oprah.” Being a mom to an 11-year-old son with autism, I am well aware of the tens of thousands of letters written to Oprah over the years from parents of autistic children trying to get her to do a show on autism. For whatever reason, she finally decided now was the time, and let me tell you it was an incredible show.

Surprisingly Oprah permitted Ms. McCarthy to speak as freely as she wanted about her beliefs as to what caused her son’s autism. And what came out of Ms. McCarthy’s mouth was exactly what many mothers of children with autism have been saying for years. We had our babies vaccinated and then something happened to them. Something went terribly wrong. Our children withdrew into themselves, they stopped answering to their names, they became very ill, they lost skills, and they slipped away from our world into their own. Jenny went on to say we need to be able to screen infants before vaccines are administered to see if they may react poorly. One-size-fits-all vaccine schedules are not safe or sensible. One in 150 children are being diagnosed with autism, that’s one every 20 minutes. Jenny asked what number is it going to take to start listening to the mothers who have seen autism develop in their own children.

Another interesting thing happened on the show. The Centers for Disease Control submitted a statement to the show. As someone who has closely watched the wording on such statements by the CDC I was surprised to see a “softening” of the language as it relates to vaccines and autism. They state: “We simply don’t know what causes most cases of autism.” They proceeded to focus exclusively on the mercury preservative Thimerosal used in most flu vaccines you and your loved ones will be encouraged to get soon. Apparently they are conducting studies to see the role Thimerosal may play in the development of autism. This is peculiar considering the Institute of Medicine said in 2004 there is no association between mercury containing vaccines and autism and gave explicit instructions for it not to be looked at any further.

Odd the CDC would not take their recommendations unless they think their might be something there to look at. I might suggest the CDC take a look at the number of vaccines now given to our infants and children. A child will receive close to 48 doses of various vaccines by the time they are five years old. Twenty-five years ago it was merely eight vaccines.

Ms. Robinson Peete made a very profound statement at the end of the show. The CDC's statement about vaccinations has given her hope that parents and medical professionals can lay down their arms and open the lines of communication. We have to.