Last night Larry King Live helped highlight National Autism Awareness Day by inviting actress and author Jenny McCarthy to a panel about autism with four well–known doctors. As the mother of an autistic son, Jenny has become a spokesperson for the disorder, which affects one in every 150 children. The debate on the cause of autism often becomes deeply personal and heated and last night's show was no exception.
To see snippets of the discussion and more about the panel, read more.
Careful not to point fingers at vaccinations as the sole cause of autism, the blond bombshell emphatically stated that she, along with many others, are anti–toxin and anti–schedule. In 1983, children were given 10 vaccinations by age five. Now, children receive up to 36 by age six.
Dr. Harvey Karp and Dr. David Tayloe (President-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics) appeared on the panel where they agreed more research is needed to find the causes of the disorder but argued that vaccinations do more good than harm. When Jenny asked Dr. Tayloe why there has been such a dramatic increase in how many shots are given in the past couple decades, he said:
Because we've been able to develop ways to vaccinate children to prevent pain and suffering.
Sitting next to and supporting Jenny, Dr. Jay Gordon said they are not anti–vaccine. They just believe in changing the schedule of vaccinations, removing toxins from the shots, and reducing the number of shots given at such a young age.
In Jenny's newest book, Louder Than Words: A Mother's Journey in Healing Autism, the autism spokeswoman gives parents hope on how she and her son have trekked down the road of recovery to a much happier and healthier place.
On June 4, 2008, Jenny and beau Jim Carrey are organizing a march in Washington, D.C. where they are encouraging anyone and everyone to come out and support awareness for autism.
I don't know how I feel about vaccinations and a link to autism but I do believe growing awareness is key to finding a solution.