Friday, September 25, 2009

Celebs who have kids with special needs

I'm just catching up on this week's events, and read an article detailing what John Travolta revealed during this week's trial against the two so-called human beings accused of trying to extort $25 million dollars from him (doesn't that make your blood BOIL?!).

This part got to me:

"The actor testified that his son Jett, 16, was autistic and suffered seizures every five to 10 days. He said the seizures would last 45 seconds to a minute and Jett typically slept for 12 hours after each one. "He was autistic. He suffered from a seizure disorder," Travolta told the jury when asked about his son's condition."

I know how hard it must have been for Travolta to have to reveal that his son had autism; he reportedly hasn't done so until now. While part of me wishes he had—celebrities can do so much for raising awareness about a disability—I also respect his decision not to have told the world about that.

Colin Farrell has talked about his son, James, having Angelman Syndrome. Neil Young has gone public about his son, Zeke, and his cerebral palsy. And Nashville songwriter Craig Bickhardt, who's written for Ray Charles and Johnny Cash, has a little boy, Jake, with CP. He penned a song for him called "Giant Steps," and it's beautiful. Here's a snippet:

Taking giant steps, giant steps
A leap and a bound barely touching the ground
Time to stretch those wings, try new things
Learning to reach for your best
Taking giant steps

You can download it free here.

Have a gorgeous weekend with your little ones.



  1. I hadn't heard that John had "admitted" that Jett had Autism. Sad, even, that it's thought of that way. I have to say, I openly announce that my children have Down syndrome. Nothing to be ashamed of or to hide. Acceptance of their diagnosis (and that's all it is) begins with me... in my heart. I guess being a huge celebrity would make it harder... more public. Still, I think it would have been very helpful to every one else whose child has autism if he'd openly announced it and then boldly went about his private life privately... the way he does in every other area of his private life.

    There will always be a stigma if it is something people feel they need to hide.

  2. I remember years ago, that his wife was doing a TV interview saying chemicals from the carpet cleaning caused Jett to have problems. I don't think they chose to keep it private for a "noble" reason. He is a scientologist. They do not believe in mental/neuro disorders. It is being said they always referred to his ASD as something else. There is also talk that he will be reprimanded by the church for publicly coming out & admitting it was Autism.

    ITA with Maggie, there will always be a stigma if it is hidden.

  3. I have to admit that ole Colin Farrell spurs me on some days. . . I ask myself, "would Colin Farrell want this for his kid?" Crazy, I know, but it helps me remember to dream big.

  4. Ah, yes, scientology. That may be one reason for the nondisclosure. But, still. I think parents and celebs reserve the right to keep their children's diagnoses public, as much as we'd like them to destigmatize special needs. I've very much chosen not to keep Max's situation private, but that choice doesn't feel right for everyone.

  5. I dont think people need to come out and tell everyone...I would say , dont cover it up like there is something bad about it...but I dont think you need to tell the world either. With austism or cognitive delays there is such a stigma...I know I had a hard time telling some people that my son has autism....especially after having another child with cognitive delays. I know I have my blog and talk to others about it...but at the same time I dont go around and tell everyone I meet he has autism.

  6. I've always thought for celebs, that above all they are parents, and quite often they need to protect their children from the paparazzi if they are to have anything of a normal childhood.

    Colin Farrell did have an opportunity to talk about his son and the special olympics in an interview which didn't involve the paparazzi etc, called The Meaning of Life which was a good interview - he also explained why he didn't want to play a larger role in advocacy (it's on youtube).

    I don't really understand why scientology don't accept autism, it's a different neurology - but there you go, scientology is a mystery to me anyway.

    John Travolta lost his son and is now having to deal with the media's manipulation of events - thats tragic.

  7. John Travolta and his wife are Scientologists. They don't "believe in" autism or any sort of "mental" (as in, having to do with the brain) illness. That cult's attitude, from what I understand, is "If you're sick/disabled/delayed, it's YOUR FAULT." That's why the disclosure is such a big deal. Of course, it could also be that he's battling MORE than just blackmail--it could be that the blackmailers threatened to disclose a less-than-optimal treatment protocol for the dead child that may have not helped him stay alive. We don't have access to autopsy reports and prescription records and so on, so we just don't know what the deal was, there or why he suddenly went against his cult leaders at this trial and actually admitted to the "A" word.

    There were rumors swirling about at the time of death that the young man wasn't always given his medicine because of the family "faith." I don't know if that's true or not--honestly, I have enough to worry about in my own life.

    What parents want to do with/about their kids is pretty much up to them. I agree that people should do what feels right for THEM, and to hell with what others think, so long as the children aren't endangered or suffering in any way. Deliberately withholding medical treatment (using religion as an excuse) is a serious no-no in my book, right up there with starvation and failure to educate.

    I personally don't see any shame or stigma in dealing with/accepting/acknowledging/explaining reality, myself, but that's just me. I also feel that the people who are to be pitied are the closed-minded jerks who want to live in the dark ages, where anyone who was disabled was locked in an asylum or up in the attic--out of sight, out of mind. Anyone who wants to "look askance" at our reality can just stick their askance where the sun don't shine. They're the ones with the real serious problem, in my opinion--and I wouldn't want to associate myself with those sorts of closed-minded bigots, anyway!

  8. Ahhhh, I am sure that it must have been hard for him, dealing with the mass hysteria and fame. But I agree that they could have alot of influence in the media and government.

  9. I understood with the Travolta case that they were calling it kawasaki disease which is symtoms related to exposure to chemicals. They purposely called it this because of their beliefs.

    I am glad to hear that Mr Travolta did indeed come forward with the truth, but I ouwld be horrified to find out they that the mis diagnosis led to improper treatments over the course of his sons life. I cannot even imagine as a parent not wanting to do what is best for my child.

  10. I totally respect a person's right to divulge their child's special needs, but at the same time, like you said, celebrities have SO much power to do good and raise awareness. I worry that there are other celebrities out there who have a child that suffered a prenatal stroke, and yet keep quiet. Think how much farther we could be with the help and support of a celebrity advocate who is going through the same thing we are with our kids.


Thanks for sharing!

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