I first watched Jenny McCarthy on the Oprah show several years ago before I became a teacher and before I had learned much of anything about Autism. Since then, and especially since I became a teacher of students with Autism, I have wanted to read one of her books related to the topic. I admit, watching the Oprah show scared the crap out of me and made me start questioning whether or not I would vaccinate my future children.
After finishing Mother Warriors and having had several other discussions with co-workers and reviewing the materials from the conference, my feelings are very torn on the subjects of 1.) Do vaccines cause Autism and 2) Can you heal Autism. The book makes an effort not to use the word "cured", but sometimes it is implied.
Here is what I liked about the book:
- It shows the dedication of parents to help their children.
- Jenny McCarthy is brutally honest in sharing her feelings.
- Emphasizes the brain-gut connection- that what you eat effects how your brain and body are able to function.
- Emphasizes the importance of using multiple treatment options and that not every case of Autism is the same.
Here is what I didn't like about the book:
- It shows no scientific research to validate the claim that vaccines are related to the onset of Autism. A group of parents with similar stories can not count as validated research. However, I will give some credit here to the fact that Jenny McCarthy and the other parents were trying to get research started and that they ran into many roadblocks.
- If the vaccine theory was valid, it still would not explain why the number of boys with Autism is significantly higher than the number of girls with Autism.
- I do not agree with some of the treatment methods used.
- They do not give enough credit to the use and effectiveness of Applied Behavior Analysis strategies as treatment options.
- They give no credit to the use of early intervention strategies.
Overall, it is an okay book that shares some heart wrenching stories. I tried to read it with an open mind and to understand where these parents were coming from and their frustrations. But, I am a teacher and I like knowing facts and statistics and they just weren't presented in this book. I will say that I did like the portion of the book in which Jenny describes how when she healed her son's physical ailments that the Autistic characteristics also decreased and that she didn't use the word cured.
I do have the urge to go back and read her fist book Louder Than Words: A Mother's Journey in Healing Autism although I am a little turned off and skeptical about the use of the word "Healing". She has also co-written a book called Healing and Preventing Autism: A Complete Guide with Dr. Jerry Kartzinel. I am trying really hard to be open minded about these books. I feel like a line has been drawn in the sand and the people who believe in the medical/dietary route stand on one side and the behavior interventionists stand on the other. One group seams to be focused on healing while the other is focused on helping and adapting. Can they both work together...that is my question.
Thank you again for reading, I could have gone on longer and gotten much more technical but I don't want to scare anyone way. As always with my book reviews, it is only my opinion...and they may change after a little more informed reading, but I will always be honest.
Congratulations to Crystal from Adventures in Manis-Land, you will be receiving my $5.98 copy of Somebody Else's Kids that I reviewed last week. Please e-mail me your address so I can get it out in the mail soon!