Since her son was diagnosed with autism in 2004, actress Jenny McCarthy has become an outspoken advocate for parents fighting the same battle. She's marched on Washington, made dozens of speeches to concerned moms and dads and spoken about the neurological disorder on The Oprah Show
Jenny has also written about her experiences in Louder Than Words: A Mother's Journey in Healing Autism
and in her latest book, Mother Warriors
. Since she last spoke with Oprah in September 2007, Jenny says her son, Evan, has made great strides. "He's doing amazing," she says. "He's considered recovered."
When Evan was first diagnosed, Jenny says he stopped speaking and began ignoring the world around him. As with most autistic children, she says Evan's personality seemed to be locked inside him—and she was determined to help him break through. "I made a pact with God the day Evan got his autism diagnosis," she says. "I said, 'God, show me the way to heal my boy, and I will teach the world how I did it.'"
Jenny searched the Internet for recovery stories and treatment options. There, she says she found a menu of possibilities. One treatment she implemented at home was a change in eating habits. She eliminated gluten and casein, found in wheat and dairy products, from Evan's diet. To help her son learn to play with toys as other children do, Jenny tried another approach—video modeling and play therapy.
"[I thought,] 'If this didn't work. I'm going to the next one.' That's a warrior," she says. "We're not talking about crazy things. It's organic food. It's vitamins. These [are] things that moms are sharing with each other."