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Of seizures and celebrity:
Evan’s grandmother speaks up

January 12th, 2014 · 33 Comments · Narrative

Jenny McCarthy is the face of vaccine rejectionism in America. The story she tells of how her son, Evan, became autistic after his MMR shot is arguably the origin myth for the anti-vaccine movement, and the legions of  “Warrior Mothers” who follow her. Now, a competing narrative from someone else close to Evan calls the myth into question.

“I have such tremendous guilt for not speaking up when I knew something wasn’t right,” says Joyce Bulifant, Evan’s paternal grandmother. “But I was afraid of Jenny, and didn’t want to be the interfering mother-in-law. I was more concerned about me than taking care of Evan.” She agreed to speak with AutismNewsBeat.

McCarthy’s many critics have pointed to her numerous contradictions. She told Oprah Winfrey, for example, and there is “no doubt in my mind” that the MMR vaccine caused her son Evan’s autism. But she has also written that Evan showed signs of delay by six months – one year before the shot.

“I don’t think she’s very fond of me, but I love her because she is Evan’s mother. It makes me sad that we don’t have a true relationship,” says Bulifant. “That makes me very sad.”

The elf on the shelf

Bulifant is no stranger to Hollywood. The Virginia native has been acting for more than 50 years, and is well known for playing Murray Slaughter’s wife, Marie, on the Mary Tyler Moore Show. She was also a regular on The Match Game, and appeared in Airplane! (1980). She lives in Palm Springs with her fourth husband, actor and composer Roger Perry. Joyce has 15 grandchildren, and they all call her LaLa. When she speaks of Evan, who was born in May, 2002, it’s easy to imagine he is the favorite.

“Evan was here for Thanksgiving, and he left a note on my fridge that I just can’t take down. It reads ‘Dear LaLa, I hope that you love me so much. Thanks, Evan. I love you to the moon and back.

P.S., the Elf is in the freezer with turkey.”

The elf is a small, felt doll that sits on a shelf.

“He used to be afraid of the Elf on the Shelf, but last year he started moving it around the house, hiding it in different places and making it reappear. He said it had magical powers,” says Bulifant. “I love playing magic with him. He’s so very dear. It’s like he has a sixth sense that I don’t have.”

That sixth sense sparks her sense of wonder. “I am dyslexic and so is my son (Evan’s father, John),” she says. “We do compensate when we don’t have all the typical skills. The compensation part fascinates me. T

o me Evan is magical and wonderful and I love him to death.”

Bulifant’s conversation is sprinkled with sweet and simple stories about the boy she loves.  One time at L.A.’s Getty Museum, she said, Bulifant and Evan were throwing quarters into a fountain to make a wish

“I wish you would always love me,” said Evan.

“I wish you would always love me,” she said.

“LaLa, that’s my wish!”

Bulifant said she was concerned about Evan’s months before his first birthday.

As “Marie” on The Mary Tyler Moore Show

“I remember Christmas, 2002 (age seven months). I was bathing him in the sink, and trying to get him to giggle and respond to me, but he seemed detached. My family was a little concerned but I didn’t say anything to Jenny because I know children develop at different times. But I was concerned.”

And then there was the incident in the park, another example of how difficult it is to see autism in a loved one.

“We took him to the park, an

d he started running away from us. We called, but he didn’t even turn around. We wondered if his hearing was impaired,” she says. “That didn’t seem right. So I was testing him in the car seat on the way home. ‘Where is your nose? Where are your ears?’ I asked Evan. He didn’t respond, and I wondered what was going on. Then, when we pulled up in the driveway, Evan suddenly pointed to his mouth and said ‘mouth’, and then he pointed to his ears and said ‘ears.’ It was like he was saying ‘Silly gramma, I know where my mouth and my ears are!’”

Joyce has been active in dyslexia education and advocacy for years, and she called on her research contacts for help. “By the time Evan was 18 months old, I was c

onvinced he had autism,” she says.

Bulifant was wary of approaching McCarthy, who had written two books by that time that made it clear she didn’t appreciate parenting advice from others.

“She wrote ‘I don’t want anyone telling me what to do as a mother,’” says Bulifant. “I was trying to be a good mother-in-law and a good grandmother at the same time. I don’t think I even said anything to John. Everything I read pointed to autism.”

One day, while John was off directing in North Carolina, and Bulifant was staying at Jenny’s Los Angeles home, the “Good Grandmother” spoke up, and asked the nanny about Evan’s development. The nanny reacted defensively.

“I want to ask you something. Have you noticed that Evan doesn’t always connect with me?“ asked Bulifant.

“Jenny is a wonderful mother and he always connects with me.”

“He does watch a lot of television, ” said Bulifant, “and I’m wondering if that means he’s not used to interacting.”

“Evan is fine and always interacts with me. “

Bulifant retreated. “I thought maybe I was just me being a silly grandmother.”

She and her husband left the house for a few hours, and when they came back nobody was home.

“I was terrified that something had happened to Evan.” Then John called, and said that Jenny was “very upset “about the conversation with the nanny.

“You just can’t say anything about Evan,” John continued. “She gets very upset.” He said McCarthy would not come back home until Bulifant and her husband left the house.

Which they did.

Back home, Bulifant wrote a letter of apology to McCarthy. “Jenny wrote back saying ‘You shouldn’t have said anything to the nanny. You should have said it to me.’ And she was right, I should have. I was just afraid. I didn’t want to be the interfering mother-in-law.

“It was very wrong, and that is something I have to live with,” says Bulifant.

McCarthy has told a similar story:

Others had noticed something different about Evan, too. “My mother-in-law said, ‘He doesn’t really show affection,’ and I threw her out of the house,” Jenny says. “I went to a play gym, and the woman [there] said, ‘Does your son have a brain problem?’ … [I said], ‘How dare you say something about my child? I love him. He’s perfect. You can’t say that about a child.’ I just had no idea.”

Bulifant says that after being “thrown out of the house,” she and McCarthy have only spoken a few times, and for the last two years have communicated only through occasional texts.

Seizures and celebrity

Evan’s autism, and Bulifant’s collision with McCarthy’s “strong personality” created another issue. It’s what she calls her “moral problem” for not speaking up sooner about McCarthy’s well-publicized anti-vaccine views. “I know enough about Evan that if I spoke up sooner, more kids would be vaccinated, and fewer would have died or gotten very sick. We’ve seen cases of measles in Texas, and whooping cough killed ten children in California. It breaks my heart. That’s the biggest moral issue in my whole life,” she says.

Vaccines are at the center of McCarthy’s shifting narrative. In one version she says “the soul was gone from Evan’s eyes” shortly after the boy’s MMR vaccine. Here is what she told Oprah in September, 2007:

“Right before his MMR shot, I said to the doctor, ‘I have a very bad feeling about this shot. This is the autism shot, isn’t it?’ And he said, ‘No, that is ridiculous. It is a mother’s desperate attempt to blame something,’ and he swore at me, and then the nurse gave [Evan] the shot,” she says. “And I remember going, ‘Oh, God, I hope he’s right.’ And soon thereafter—boom—the soul’s gone from his eyes.”

McCarthy’s narrative also includes two seizure episodes suffered by Evan, leading to an autism diagnosis. In Belly Laughs, she wrote Evan was diagnosed with a febrile seizure at 2 ½, and three weeks later, he suffered seizures which led to a cardiac arrest, and a diagnosis of epilepsy. By this telling, stereotypical autistic behaviors followed.

Bulifant says the first seizure came in the spring of 2004. Oddly, the news triggered in her a sense of relief.

“I knew that seizures are associated with autism, and that Evan would finally get the diagnosis he needed and finally get help. I wasn’t alarmed.”

The second seizure occurred the evening before Easter Sunday, in Bulifant’s home. “I had an Easter basket for Evan,” she says.

“It was the night before Easter. Evan was so tired that he fell into my arms. I laid him on his bed and took off his shoes and when I looked at him I saw his little eyes rolled into the back of his head. I yelled for John to come quickly. We called 911. John held Evan’s hand and said ‘Don’t worry, you are in a safe place.”

Paramedics arrived. “Jenny was a mess. I now know what ‘wringing you hands mean’, because that’s what I was doing.” The EMTs “bagged” the boy because his breathing was shallow, says Bulifant, then took him to the local emergency room. Jenny rode in the ambulance. Anxious hours followed in the waiting room while doctors stabilized Evan and then allowed family to visit.

Evan’s first words were “Look at that air conditioning vent.”

Jenny and John left Palm Springs with Evan and drove straight to Cedars Sinai Hospital in LA, where he was diagnosed with epilepsy. Joyce felt like screaming – “No, it’s autism!” She had had enough.

“I said to John ‘I now insist that you go to UCLA to see a neurologist.’” By McCarthy’s telling, it took the neurologist 20 minutes to arrive at a diagnosis.

A September, 2007 People Magazine article is typical of how McCarthy tells the story:

This was another seizure, she thought, “but this one is different. He’s not convulsing.” Instead, “foam was coming out of his mouth, (and) and after a few minutes, I felt his heart stop,” she said.

When the paramedics arrived, she told them about Evan’s heart. “They looked at me like I was crazy. I don’t know why,” she said. Only, as they discovered for themselves, the child’s heart was no longer beating, so they administered CPR.

“Why, God? Why me … Why? Why? Why?” McCarthy recalled thinking in those desperate moments, but then, she said, an inner voice came over her. “Everything’s going to come out okay.”

Because there was no pediatric hospital near her parents’ home, Evan and McCarthy drove three hours back to Los Angeles, during which time Evan suffered several more seizures.

Dramatic effect

Another unfortunate dimension to McCarthy’s assault on children’s health is her endorsement of unproven, costly, and potentially harmful alternative therapies for autism. She is front and center at the annual AutismOne conference, where speakers have recommended bleach enemas and chemical castration. Her charitable foundation, Generation Rescue, actively promotes  “a wealth of biomedical therapies that treat the underlying issues of autism inside the body.” These include chelation, hyperbaric oxygen, anti-fungals, anti-virals, and cannabis.

When asked what she thinks of the autism cure industry that Jenny has captained, Bulifant demurs. “I think there is value in eating right and exercise for all children,” she says, her voice trailing off.

But what about telling autistic children they are vaccine injured, or that the soul has been sucked from their eyes? Jenny and her angry mob, as she has called her followers, regularly describe their children as train wrecks, zombies, and worse.

“Jenny says things for dramatic effect,” says Bulifant “I don’t understand that type of thinking. Evan is incredible. One of our favorite things to do is to go looking for lizards. He spots them where I can never see them. I ask him ‘How did you even begin to see that?’”

Still, Bulifant doesn’t hesitate to describe McCarthy as “a very good mother, very caring and trying to do the best for Evan,” adding “I don’t know why she says those things.” She describes her son as good father, and regrets how John has been portrayed as distant and uncaring.

“John never spoke up when Jenny said unkind things about him. I asked him why, and he said it would turn into another ‘Hollywood he said – she said’, and that he wanted to be a gentleman about it, and didn’t want to hurt Evan.”

Does she worry that Evan may one day think he lost his soul to autism?

“I hope that Evan never realizes the things have been said about him. I just don’t want him to ever be hurt. I don’t know if he will ever realize what has been said about him. I hope not.”

Bulifant tries to expose her magical grandson to the arts whenever possible. “I took him to see Billy Elliot, and he loved that. His little mind is working all the time. ”But those bonding opportunities have dwindled since McCarthy moved to the Chicago suburb of Geneva last year. Now, Bulifant watches The View to see new pictures of Evan, and to hear the latest stories.

“Jenny is doing well on The View,” she says.

- by Ken Reibel

_____________________

Update from Joyce Bulifant:
I understand and have great empathy for parents of autistic children who want to know the reason for their children’s autism. They understandably latch onto anything they can find as a reason. That might be what Jenny did when Dr. Wakefield gave incorrect information about vaccines. I don’t think she did this maliciously. She just needed a reason.
If people know Evan showed signs of autism before his MMR vaccine, parents wouldn’t be afraid to vaccinate their children, thereby saving lives and much suffering.
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33 responses so far ↓

  • 1 MelodyRN // Jan 12, 2014 at 11:33 am

    This was a very interesting perspective about Evan’s early childhood. I’m glad fhat his grandmother is speaking up and sharing her experiences which demonstrate that autistic tendencies are visible during infancy and not related to vaccines. Will be sharing- Thanks.

  • 2 Kristin laporte // Jan 12, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    I think this is a sad article coming out a bit late.. I, too, have a son who was diagnosed with autism and can relate to Jenny. I saw little glimpses of autism prior to his MMR vaccine but still could have been typical during early development. I saw more dramatic characteristics soon after my sons MMR shot. I am yet to believe that vaccinations are the cause, but as a mother every possible cause has to be investigated. Something is to blame, and we are all just searching for answers. I honestly believe that Jenny is genuine in her search for the truth. She is a mother who loves her son and has tried to pass on HER understanding of Autism to help others. Autism is about hope and I think Jenny has only tried to bring awareness-not pain. I have found great determination and unwavering passion in my understanding of Autism and although I’ve chosen to vaccinate my son I am thankful Jenny has brought about awareness and I completely understand her journey. I chose to consider and make decisions for my child only because I believe the risks of not vaccinating my son outweigh the benefits, but believe our vaccinations are far from safe. It is a hopeless, difficult situation that we as parents are troubled by every time we vaccinate. How can we ignore whether something is unsafe for our children. If we chose to ignore we would seem ignorant. For example, look at what is being found in our foods( GMO’s) Are we smarter for being ignorant or the opposite? I do not think Jenny has ever been inconsistent and understand completely about seeing signs earlier than vaccinations and I also believe that the symptoms might just be exasperated after the MMR. I found this to be true in my case. Jenny might seem to tell a different story during interviews, but I think it was more about time and being able to tell her story entirely. I think this grandmother is wrong in publicly speaking on a mothers determination and fight for her son! Why can’t everyone realize that its simply about love and determination of a desperate mother who might just believe things that are not true as we all do at some time or another. I also believe there is something that needs to be looked at very seriously here. I think Jenny’s mother-in- law is sadly very insensitive and should look more at Jenny’s brave soul and admire the love she has for her son. I believe that Jenny’s intentions came from a place of love, and until you are in someone’s shoes you shouldn’t judge especially when it is a family member. Jenny has helped many people and if she did nothing and turned a blind eye she would be criticized for that!

  • 3 Last Sane Man On Earth // Jan 12, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Vaccines do not cause autism, not ever.
    GMO foods have never caused a single death. Not one.
    Starvation has caused many deaths, so have preventable childhood diseases.
    This mother has not helped a single person with her hysteria, quite the opposite in fact.

  • 4 Colin // Jan 12, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    When a mothers misguided public stance causes real harm to other children through the spread of misinformation then it ceases to be just about her and her child.

  • 5 Paula Helm Murray // Jan 12, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Jenny McCarthy, through her ignorance and publicity, has probably killed hundreds of children and harmed many many more. She is stupid, she is ignorant and at the very least should be cut off from her celebrity and ignored forever by the public.

    In a just world, she’d go to trial and then to prison for murdering children.

  • 6 Joyce Bulifant // Jan 12, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    I understand and have great empathy for parents of autistic children who want to know the reason for their children’s autism. They understandably latch onto anything they can find as a reason. That might be what Jenny did when Dr. Wakefield gave incorrect information about vaccines. I don’t think she did this maliciously. She just needed a reason.

    If people know Evan showed signs of autism before his MMR vaccine, parents wouldn’t be afraid to vaccinate their children, thereby saving lives and much suffering.

  • 7 ZsMom // Jan 12, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Have not vaccinated my son. He currently has a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum issues. My older sister has severe Aspergers. My son has significant sensory processing and speech (stuttering and clear letter sound formation) challenges, as well as, ASD social and behavioral challenges. He receives various support services educationally, as well as, therapies to improve the sensory, speech, and social challenges. Many things are improving for him, I believe due to these support services.

    I wonder how much worse it would be if he had received the shots. I wonder how much better the children who showed early signs would be if they had not. We cannot know without controlled double-blind studies. When there are independent studies (not influenced by the pharmaceuticals) comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated children in terms of disease acquisition and complications, and autism, sensory, and gut health, then I will be convinced that the question of connection between vaccine, disease, and neurological issues is settled. Until then, the pharmaceuticals have too much power and money invested to allow it to be settled independently. No, I am not a crazy, uneducated mom, but have not seen the independent, double-blind studies that would prove beyond a doubt.

  • 8 Todd W. // Jan 12, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Very enlightening article. Joyce, you showed great courage telling your story and putting yourself out there like this. I hope that the details you have added to this narrative will help others understand how Evan really developed and allay their fears.

  • 9 autblog // Jan 12, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    ZsMom, is it fair to say that your views have been influenced by McCarthy’s anti-vaccine advocacy?

  • 10 Fergus Mason // Jan 12, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    “I wonder how much worse it would be if he had received the shots.”

    It wouldn’t, and he wouldn’t be at risk of dying of measles either. Get him vaccinated.

  • 11 Autismum // Jan 12, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Thank you for this post. Evan sounds like quite a boy just like my perfect autistic son. Kristin, Jenny McCarthy’s words and deeds have caused great suffering not just to those who contracted vaccine preventable illness but to every child whos parents are fighting to change their very being. Every autistic person whose humanity has been questioned by talk of soulless zombies and every autistic adult whose identity has been denied because their very existence does not fit in with the “epidemic” propaganda. Sadly, the voices of autistic people are seldom heard and those of us parents who absolutely love and respect and acceptour autistic children are drowned out by those desperate to ascribe blame.

  • 12 ZsMom // Jan 12, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    autblog, no – determined long before I even knew who she was.

    Fergus Mason, prove it. Why are the vaccinated part of those contracting measles if it’s so effective?

  • 13 autblog // Jan 12, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    “Why are the vaccinated part of those contracting measles if it’s so effective?”

    Because the vaccine is only about 98% effective, and there are more vaccinated persons than unvaccinated. Unvaccinated persons are still more likely to contract the disease than vaccinated. You need to do the math. Don’t just tell us you are not a crazy, uneducated mom. Show us.

  • 14 ChrisKid // Jan 12, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    As admirable as Jenny’s motives might be, she has done great harm with her misinformation about vaccines and her promotion of dangerous and possibly deadly so-called treatments for autism. We’ll never really be able to know how many parents she might have influenced to make harmful decisions for their children, but there’s nothing she has done on the positive side that makes up for that.
    She doesn’t help parents to love and fight for their children. She tells them to fix the damage and that it’s okay to take extreme action in that effort. She teaches them to see their children as damaged and broken, and the harm from just that can’t be measured.

  • 15 ChrisKid // Jan 12, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    ” We cannot know without controlled double-blind studies. ”
    Does that mean you’d be willing to volunteer your children for this study? A study in which you could not know whether they were vaccinated or not, for the rest of their lives?
    Controlled, random, double-blind studies are the gold standard for much of science, but they don’t work for everything, in every situation. Studies have been done, over and over, in many different countries, showing that vaccines do not have a causal effect for autism. It makes no sense whatsoever to believe that every one of those studies was paid for, or manipulated by the few pharmaceutical companies that make vaccines.

  • 16 LAWaghorn // Jan 12, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    So often forgotten in the Jenny McCarthy debate is the person at the center of it: her son. A boy that will one day be able to read all that has been written about him.

    Science has been certain, beyond a reasonable doubt, for 15 years that there is not a connection between autism spectrum disorders and vaccination. Below is a link to a list of peer review studies that support this hypothesis.

    http://www2.aap.org/immunization/families/faq/vaccinestudies.pdf

    What I hear in Ms. Bulifant’s words are genuine concern for the well being of the grandson she loves so much. While the McCarthy anti-science debate has raged for years, at the center of it is a beautiful little boy she has held out as “damaged” and a “bad outcome” of a vaccine. As a child it has to hurt to know that’s how your mother views you (or viewed you at one point).

    One day Evan will be old enough to read what his mother has written about him, and I hear Ms. Bulifant’s fears for that day. I can only hope that Ms. Bulifant will be there to explain to Evan that just because he’s not neurotypical, that doesn’t mean he’s broken.

  • 17 Matt Carey // Jan 12, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Joyce Bulifant,

    this took a lot of courage. I wish you well in the days and weeks ahead.

    Just yesterday I met the grandmother of a 3.5 year old boy with developmental delay. Nonverbal. The grandmother is a special ed teacher. And she’s scared to talk frankly with her daughter.

    I wish I had had a more open mind to what my father tried to tell me about my kid, years back.

    You’d think it would be easy for us to listen to our parents. But when our kids are involved it just isn’t always so.

    That said–
    Your grandson is lucky to have such a loving family.

  • 18 lilady // Jan 12, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    Ms. Bulifant/Joyce, thank you so much for providing us with some information about Evan.

    Evan is a very lucky child to have you and his father in his life and you are a very compassionate advocate for him and all children.

    Sincerely, lilady

  • 19 Todd W. // Jan 12, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    @ZsMom

    Here are some thoughts on your question regarding vaccinated individuals getting the disease: http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com/2011/12/vaccine-awareness-week-if-vaccines-work.html

    Also, regarding the controlled, randomised, double-blind trial, here’s the first of a series of four posts looking at the feasibility, ethics and legality of doing such a study: http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com/2011/03/vaccinated-vs-unvaccinated-rct-overview.html

    I hope they can help answer some of the questions you might have.

  • 20 Chris // Jan 12, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    ZsMom: “Fergus Mason, prove it. Why are the vaccinated part of those contracting measles if it’s so effective?”

    First how do you protect babies from measles when they are too young for the MMR vaccine. See Measles Outbreak in a Highly Vaccinated Population, San Diego, 2008: Role of the Intentionally Undervaccinated, which says:

    No respiratory precautions were taken, 6 children were exposed, 5 were unvaccinated, and 4 were infected (3 infants too young for vaccination and a 2-year-old whose parents had intentionally delayed measles vaccination).

    What do you notice about the portion of that sentenced that I put into bold? What would be your proven plan to protect the infants?

    And another question: The MMR vaccine has been used in the USA since 1971. Can you please provide us the verifiable data dated before 1990 that there was a huge increase of autism in the USA during the 1970s and 1980s? Thank you.

  • 21 Geraldine Robertson // Jan 12, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    I feel that although Jenny is wrong in promoting such harmful practices. As parents, we do the best we can on the day, even if sometimes that is terrible, and in fear and an avalanche of misinformation on the internet, that is easy to do. It is also very easy to demonize Jenny, but every person who supports her and even follows her as some kind of autism messiah, has a personal responsibility for the harm being done to children. Demonising one individual for a collective responsibility can have terrible consequences. Please take the situation, understand it as a group “hysteria” and understand the lack of societal support for families who need help to live successfully with autism. Use the knowledge to make a difference, rather than sitting at computers, smugly typing.

  • 22 Chris // Jan 12, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    Quoting Ms. McCarthy:

    Others had noticed something different about Evan, too. “My mother-in-law said, ‘He doesn’t really show affection,’ and I threw her out of the house,” Jenny says. “I went to a play gym, and the woman [there] said, ‘Does your son have a brain problem?’ … [I said], ‘How dare you say something about my child? I love him. He’s perfect. You can’t say that about a child.’ I just had no idea.”

    She is not the only mother to react like that when someone notices that something might be wrong.

    I guess we were “lucky” in that our oldest seizures first started when he was a newborn at the hospital, and then again when he was very sick with a now vaccine preventable disease as a toddler (just after he was weaned off of the phenobarbitol). We were expecting some kind of developmental issues.

    So after he was diagnosed with a severe speech/language disorder, which included testing for LKS I became more aware of how kids develop. At least two times I noticed kids at younger child’s preschool, etc that were not speaking as three year olds. Both mothers said that their child was fine!

    Then I found out when both tried to enter school that they would need therapy. The saddest was the one who bragged about the private school her older son was going to. She was devastated when they rejected her younger child. She told me exactly how angry she was at that private school when I ran into in the hallway as she was taking him the speech therapist, the same one my oldest was seeing.

  • 23 Matt Carey // Jan 12, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    Geraldine Robertson,

    I’m not sure how being so judgmental (e.g. “smugly typing”) fits with your purported message.

    People like Ken (author of this blog), Kev Leitch (parent and author of another blog), numerous autistics and other parents *have* made a difference by countering the irresponsible messages put forth by Jenny McCarthy and her community.

  • 24 Chris Hickie // Jan 12, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Imagine that–someone posts here that their child wasn’t vaccinated and still has an ASD diagnosis.

    What are the odds of that happening in a vaccinated child?

    Answer: The same, as there is no linkage between vaccination and autism.

    Zsmom-you do understand that measles, meningitis, mumps and polio all can cause permanent, severe damage to the human nervous system? Does your child deserve to have a much greater chance of contracting these vaccine-preventable diseases simply to quell your incorrect fears of vaccines?

  • 25 WMcCreery // Jan 12, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    She believes ,somewhere in her heart of hearts, that her party girl lifestyle is the cause and she is looking for something else to blame!

  • 26 Lisa Jo Rudy // Jan 13, 2014 at 5:47 am

    I’m not sure I understand how a lay parent can look at an infant and see clear signs of a significant developmental issue.

    MANY typical kids develop more slowly; MANY are shy around grandparents they only see rarely; MANY develop speech later than others.

    It seems to me that outside of the physical symptoms (seizures) there was no good way for Grandma to KNOW something was wrong.

    Couple that with the mom, who knows him best, insisting strongly that he’s really FINE … well, I am sure many grandmas would have done exactly what this one did. And then to publicly come forth and argue with Jenny based on feelings which can’t even be illustrated through family videos? That would be a most unusual thing to do, and probably wouldn’t have been productive.

    Lisa

  • 27 autblog // Jan 13, 2014 at 8:52 am

    Here is a clip of Joyce in a classic scene from Airplane!

  • 28 Matt Carey // Jan 13, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    “I’m not sure I understand how a lay parent can look at an infant and see clear signs of a significant developmental issue. ”

    I do. My father saw the signs in my kid. And, looking back, I wonder why I didn’t listen to him. They were clear.

    Ms. Bulifant says she “knew” (no capital letters) at 18 months, if I understand the above. She saw clear signs much earlier, but knew by 18 months.

    “And then to publicly come forth and argue with Jenny based on feelings which can’t even be illustrated through family videos? That would be a most unusual thing to do, and probably wouldn’t have been productive.”

    This isn’t an argument. I’m not sure where you get the idea that this couldn’t be illustrated through family videos. Recall that family videos showed clear signs of autism in at least one case in the autism vaccine court hearings. Signs the family didn’t pick up upon.

    It was “most unusual” for Ms. McCarthy to step forward and repeatedly call vaccines unsafe and toxic based on her “google ph.d.” If it took something highly unusual to counter her misinformation, it would have been unusual but appropriate.

  • 29 Evan’s grandmother performs this Friday for CSU autism program | Autism News Beat // Jan 14, 2014 at 8:34 am

    […] Marie Slaughter, Murray’s wife, on the Mary Tyler Moore show. Or you might know her as grandmother to Evan Asher,  Jenny McCarthy’s 11-year-old […]

  • 30 Autismus: Evans Großmutter widerspricht Jenny McCarthy @ gwup | die skeptiker // Jan 14, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    […] einem Interview mit dem Autism News Beat erinnert sich Bulifant daran, dass Evan bereits vor der Impfung […]

  • 31 Chris // Jan 19, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Anonymous: “Do some research, act like an adult, make your own decisions and make those consequences your own.”

    We have. And it is not by reading what someone with an education from the University of Google. Here is one list of actual research: Vaccine Safety: Examine the Evidence.

    How do you know she is doing what is right for her child? Especially when she changes her stories.

  • 32 Steve Kirk // Apr 25, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    It is indeed unfortunate that so many parents inaccurately report the coincindental occcurrence of a diagnosis of autism with the MMR vaccination. As a result we have a major outbreak of ( potentially life threatening) measles in North America. There is no ( saving anecdotal ) concrete evidence that supports this belief. I can appreciate the desperation of the parents of children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis but it’s crucially important in the research of this disorder to not label incorrect causes.

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