If your child stopped speaking, wouldn't look you in the eye and completely ignored the world around them, what would you do? In her new book, Louder Than Words: A Mother's Journey in Healing Autism, actress Jenny McCarthy shares her emotional story of diagnosis, hope, faith and recovery—a journey many thousands of parents now face.
In 2002, Jenny gave birth to a beautiful baby boy she named Evan. As an infant, Evan was full of life, making eye contact and smiling, but soon things started to change. "God was giving me many hints about my son, and I didn't quite see them," she says. "So I know that he had to wake me up with two really big ones."
Jenny says the first of those "big hints" came on a typical morning when Evan was 2 1/2 years old. When Evan, who usually got up at 7 a.m., wasn't stirring by 7:45 a.m. Jenny knew something was wrong. She ran to the nursery. "I open the door and run to his crib and I find him in his crib, convulsing, struggling to breathe, his eyeballs rolled to the back of his head," she says. "I picked him up and I started screaming at the top of my lungs … the paramedics came, and it took about 20 minutes for the seizure to stop."
When they arrived at the hospital, Jenny says doctors told her that her son had a febrile seizure, caused by a fever. "I said to the doctor, 'Well, you know, he doesn't really have a fever, so how does that play in this scenario?'" Jenny says. "[The doctor said], 'Well, he could have been getting one.' That was the response I got. … I went home with my baby going, 'You know what? Something's wrong and I don't know what it is, but I feel it."