A terrible tragedy hit the Travoltas this week this week when they lost their 16-year-old son Jett. There is a lot of speculation going on right now, and the general public will never fully understand what happened. Nor should we. It’s none of our business. And I would like to put forth my condolences to the family. However, I’m also seeing a lot of misinformation flying around out there, so thought I would take to my blog to clear a few things up. I am not a neurologist or a physician of any sort, nor am I claiming to be an expert. I am just claiming to be the mother of a child who had seizures. I have published several articles on seizure disorders and developmental disorders, have done hundreds of hours of research on the subject, and quite frankly, lived it.
My oldest has a form of autism, which Jett Travolta may or may not have had. In scientology, autism is seen as a form of mental illness that should be treated with religious counseling. I can assure you it is not a mental condition. Jenny McCarthy can claim all day that you can “fix” autism with diet, but that’s not true either. It is a pervasive disorder that makes the brain function differently than the norm. There are therapies that can help an individual learn to function better in the everyday world, but it is a lifelong condition for which, at least now, there is no “cure.”
Until he was five, my oldest also had a seizure disorder. Thankfully he grew out of it, but we’re in adolescence now, when he has a chance to start seizing again. We have to watch him like a hawk. He did not have tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizures, but instead would “zone out” in an absence (pettit mal) seizures up to 200 times a day. So as soon as we figured out what was going on with him, we started him on medication.
It is reported that Jett had also taken medication, but it failed to work, so they removed him from it. This may or may not be true, but I can tell you from experience and research that it is very rare to get the medication right on the first try. Seizure medications most often need to be given in combination to work properly, and sometimes an individual can build up a tolerance and medications need to be changed. Some people take quite awhile to get the combinations right. Just like anti-depressants (which scientologists claim are bunk) it takes time to build up a therapeutic level of anti-seizure medication. In fact, some anti-seizure meds are also used to treat depression and visa versa. Which is what makes me suspect of what happened to poor Jett.
In the end, though, a life is lost, which is a tragedy. I hope all was done for that child that was possible.
Okay, off my soapbox and back to the fun stuff – writing!