Mailbag

UPDATED 10/22/2007 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 10/22/2007 at 01:00 AM EDT

JENNY McCARTHY

"I applaud Jenny for being so candid about the challenges and joys of having a child with autism"
Kim Ledoux
Westport, Mass.

Thanks, Jenny McCarthy, for spreading the word that autism is not hopeless. After getting the devastating news that our 3-year-old son had autism, we didn't listen to the doctors who said there was nothing we could do. After five months on a gluten- and-casein-free diet, vitamin supplements and in-home therapy, our son has made tremendous gains. The prognosis for each child is different, but as Jenny's story illustrates, early treatment—and a mom who just won't give up—can make all the difference.
Robin Broyles
Summerville, S.C.

As the mother of a 3-year-old with autism, I have to say that it was irresponsible of Jenny McCarthy to imply that the GF/CF diet cured her son. This diet has helped many children with autism improve. However, just as many children, my son included, see no improvement on that diet. There is no cure for autism, diet or otherwise. Ms. McCarthy really should be ashamed of herself.
Michelle Takarewicz-Fitzpatrick
St. Petersburg, Fla.

When speaking of people with disabilities, it's best to use "people-first language." For example, Jenny's son is a "child with autism" not an "autistic child." With "people first," a person is not defined by their disability or the associated negative stereotypes. It's not about being politically correct; it's about showing respect.
Keri Shreffler
Falls Church, Va.

JIM STEVENSON

I have been rehabilitating colonies of feral cats for three years by using a method known as TNR (trap/neuter/return). These stray cats are the result of our society's practice of dumping unwanted animals. Left to fend for themselves, they—and their offspring—quickly revert to a wild state and are often the target of abuse. Mr. Stevenson would better serve society if he were to choose to help these survivors instead of destroying them.
Jenene M. Justice
Dallas, Texas

It is painfully obvious that wildlife expert Jim Stevenson is using the premise of protecting birds as an excuse to use his .22 to kill innocent cats. A rational person would come up with a humane solution to the problem. How about relocating the cats to a local animal shelter? The people of Galveston County need to band together against this creep.
Kathleen J. Cobb
Laramie, Wyo.

BRAD AND ANGELINA

It is totally refreshing to see a Hollywood couple so in love with their family. I have a large family with adopted and biological kids, so I understand that part of their lives. But dealing with the paparazzi and screaming fans—how do they do it?
Lydia Benham
Redding, Calif.

THE JENA 6
The racially charged controversy over the Jena 6 elicited strong opinions from readers. "Red flags, if we are willing to see them, are always there," writes Linda Rice-Mandigo of Clinton Corners, N.Y. "Why didn't teachers stop jokes about the nooses and remind students what they really represented? There are some things that will never be funny." Despite the discord, Jennifer Hudson of London, Ont., sees hope for reconciliation: "Our differences are what make us interesting, but we all think, hope, bleed and dream. It's time to focus on what brings us together: our humanity." Mychal Bell, the black teen whose incarceration helped draw thousands of protesters to Jena, La., last month, was released from jail on Sept. 27 after a court ruled that he was wrongly tried as an adult. However, Bell, who spent more than nine months behind bars, still faces charges in juvenile court.

Correction
In our Oct. 15 story on Jeri Thompson, wife of GOP presidential contender Fred Thompson, we said this was her first interview. The Tennessean ran an interview with Mrs. Thompson about the campaign in September.

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