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Autism and Denial

Posted Jan 07 2009 6:52pm

The New York Post has been the next media source to focus on the concern that John Travolta and Kelly Preston's son, Jett Travolta age 15, has Autism.

For many years now, there have been rumors about the Travolta's being in denial about their son's Autism, relying on their religion to address the situation. According to Scientology teachings, Jett has been given the status of "degraded" where the church says he can cure himself by working harder on the church's teachings. The Travoltas deny that Jett has Autism, claiming that their son's condition is Kawasaki syndrome, a disease characterized by high fever, skin rash and swelling of the lymph nodes.

I feel sad about this because there are some treatments for Autism that would not involve medication - something Scientology disdains. For example, Applied Behavior Analysis would be helpful. But the religion denies the existence of any mental/neurological disorders, so it seems that nothing will be done for this boy.

Of interest, is that Travolta's older brother, Joey Travolta, produced the widely acclaimed documentary Normal People Scare Me - a film about how Autistic people see the rest of the world. The documentary was directed by Taylor Cross, an Autistic 17 year old film-maker.

There are many high profile individuals who have brought light to Autism. Actors like Sylvester Stallone, Laura San Giacomo, Joe Mantegna, Gary Cole, Holly Robinson, Ed Asner, Aidan Quinn and Jenny McCarthy have spoken openly about their own children who have Autism. Famous athletes Doug Flutie and Dan Marino have Autism foundations. The Australian band The Vines singer, Craig Nicholls, has brought light to Asperger's - and singer Toni Braxton, who has a son with Autism, was just named the National Celebrity Spokesperson for the advocacy organization Autism Speaks

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