When Evan McCarthy was 2, he suffered from severe convulsions. The medications he was given caused false positives in that his behavior was described as violent and psychotic. Marginally verbal prior to his seizures, Evan displayed autistic behavior that was overlooked. A peaceful, non-demanding baby, Evan's interest in door hinges and quiet pasttimes was not readily identified as autism.
The warning bells went off after his epileptic episodes; Jenny McCarthy even took some of Evan's medicine to see if she would suffer from the same symptoms. When she learned that she, too suffered from an inability to keep saliva from overflowing and to keep her mind from wandering, it certainly wasn't good for Evan. The doctors who prescribed it continued dismissing her claims.
Jenny McCarthy has written books about the humorous aspects of pregnancy and motherhood. She has been on television discussing those books and sharing funny insights. She candidly explains the poignant irony of those books when observing her son's behavior.
Evan's behavior was uncontrollable at one point. It was then that Jenny McCarthy realized that he was being pushed out of his Comfort Zone. His earlier peaceful period remained intact as no demands were made of him. Once he became more alert and responsive, he objected strenuously if any door was open, even partially. Furniture could not be moved. Upon starting preschool, he would have a magified version of the flu, being out for weeks whereas his classmates suffered only a few days.
I like her honesty about her resentment and feelings of isolation when seeing other children Evan's age and noticing the thunderous contrast in behavior. She even refers to other children as brats and bullies when they take toys from Evan or get right in his face and shout. Her feelings are well founded and understandable.
After many trial and errors, Jenny McCarthy hit upon the gluten/casein (GFCF) free diet for Evan. He was also taken off all dairy and wheat products. This strict regimen did the trick for Evan. At 3 1/2, he laughed at an abstract joke he heard on television; he started talking and giving descriptions. By the time he was 5, he was chattering like a little magpie. Jenny McCarthy said she had long awaited the day she could tell her son not to talk so much as she was writing. At the time she gave Evan this directive, she was writing this book. Upon realizing the irony of it all, she reversed herself, telling Evan he could talk all he wanted. And he did. Evan said he liked to flap his hands because it was like angels flapping their wings; he liked watching rotating fans because the motion made him feel good inside.
As it turns out, Evan's problem was a "leaky gut," as a result of the vaccines he received. According to Jenny McCarthy, Evan's immune system was very weak (one doctor said Evan's immune system was worse than that of a person dying from AIDS) and that his own body was attacking the vaccines from within. The only thing that bothered me in this book was the line in re vaccinations, "as long as my kid doesn't turn out like R*** M**," which is a slur in the autism world. Most people with autism are nothing like that character and savantism affects less than 10% of people with autism. However, the point about how more funding is needed for autism research is well taken.
This is a wonderful book. I like the way Jenny McCarthy shares her deep faith. She also provides a list of web sites and other useful resource tools. This is a book we all need. It makes me think of the 1969 George Harrison classic, "Here Comes the Sun," in this case "Son" because Jenny's son finally came out of autism. Evan's story was on Oprah! September 18, 2007.