AUTISM. DENIAL. The death of John Travolta’s son.

John Travolta’s tragic denial of ASD /Celebrities who embrace it.

The Travolta’s, 56 and 48, enjoy photo shoots and a People Magazine interview celebrating the birth of baby ‘Ben.’ January was also the 2nd anniversary of the controversial death of their son, Jett. Jett Travolta was affected by Autistic Spectrum Disorders, ASD. 

There are numerous celebrities today with family members affected by ASD. (see below). Denial for any reason should no longer exist. That’s what makes this all the more tragic. It shouldn’t have happened.

John Travolta’s recent article announcing his son’s birth was recently featured in People Magazine, January 12, 2011. Benjamin Travolta entered this world as his father, John and sister, Ella Blue watched on. Long time close family friend, Kirstie Alley waited in the waiting room.

While many might look at this picture seeing a happy Hollywood family, this writer is left wondering about the future of baby ‘Ben.’ If the Travolta’s are going to remain in the Church of Scientology, then Ben needs to be as ‘perfect’ as his sister.

Just two years ago, the Travolta’s tragically lost their 16 year old son, Jett while vacationing in the Bahamas on January 2, 2009. Jett, who had a long history of seizures, was discovered by a caretaker. The boy lifeless body was found at 10 a.m.,  some time after hitting his head on a bathtub during one of his seizures at The Grand Bahama Hotel.

A child who has a history of seizures should never be left alone, away from the hearing distance of a caretaker and above all, in a bathroom. As every parent/ caregiver knows, the prolonged sound of silence is the most frightening sound of all. Jett Travolta was completely alone during his last breath. He was only a child…with unanswered special needs.

Jett was suspected as having Autism since he showed numerous red flags at the age of 2. John Travolta has been a long time member of The Church of Scientology, founded by L. Ron Hubbard. Scientology does not acknowledge Autism as an ‘acceptable’ or pre-disposed condition. They state that Spectrum disorders are brought on by the person themselves and are therefore seen as an ‘unworthy person.’ This being said, the Travolta’s quickly labeled their son as having Kawasaki Disease, a curable disorder more acceptable to their church. I cannot imagine any act a 2 year old can do to bring anything but love upon himself.

Causes of Kawasaki Disease as stated By Mayo Clinic staff;

No one knows what causes Kawasaki disease, but scientists don’t believe the disease is contagious from person to person. A number of theories link the disease to bacteria, viruses or other environmental factors, but none has been proved. Certain genes may increase your child’s susceptibility to Kawasaki disease.

This definition should serve as a slap to the Travolta’s and the Church of Scientology as they blamed Jett’s condition solely on bathroom floor cleaners. Jett’s mother, Kelly Preston, went so far in her efforts to lend their ‘Kawasaki’ story credibility and please their church, she become a spokesperson for ‘green’ cleansers.

Since it is suspect that Kawasaki Disease is linked to genetics, then perhaps the Travolta’s should have just labeled their son’s  pre-disposed condition forwhat it really was, AUTISM. But then there was the church…

The Travolta’s put Scientology before the best interests of their own child.

The denial, brought on by the shame of the church and a convenient myth about floor cleansers was noticed by the world. There are numerous celebrity parents with children diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorders, ASD. In an article published in Hollywood, Interrupted, a cry to the Travolta’s concerning the denial and lack of treatments for their son appeared.

A PLEA FROM HOLLYWOOD: JOHN TRAVOLTA – OPEN YOUR HEART! – April 10, 2006

On Friday, April 7th, Hollywood, Interrupted was treated to the Los Angeles premiere of “Normal People Scare Me” – a feature-length documentary about autism, co-directed by the high functioning autistic teenager Taylor Cross and his mother, Keri Bowers. The event was sponsored by an organization called Cure Autism Now (CAN) and the new magazine, The Autism Perspective (TAP).

 
 

This enlightening film was produced by b-movie actor/director/producer and former special education teacher, Joey Travolta. Joey’s brother and sister-in-law, “Battlefield Earth” co-stars John Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston, were not present. Too bad…

…Had John and Kelly been at the screening, they might have a better understanding of the disorder reportedly affecting their 14 year-old son, Jett. Sadly, the Scientology couple cannot even publicly admit that their son is afflicted with a neurological disorder, lest – according to the incontrovertible doctrine of Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard – he be labeled a “degraded being” that brought his affliction onto himself. Instead, the Travoltas have long blamed their son’s disability on Kawasaki Syndrome-related “environmental toxins,” specifically carpet cleaning chemicals.

Sylvester Stallone, who’s son Seargeoh, affected with ASD was said to be behind the article as well as opera singer, Pheobe Snow, whose daughter also has ASD.

The award-winning documentary taught people about autism, which can cause violent seizures. Joey also formed the group Actors for Autism, which helps autism sufferers make films about their lives and experiences. 

According to Hollywood Elsewhere, John and his wife Kelly Preston did not attend a 2006 autism event, Cure Autism Now, at which his Joey’s documentary was screened.

The friend told the Mirror: “Joey could see Jett in every one of those 65 kids he spoke to (for the film.) It was so obvious Jett was autistic just from spending five minutes with him, but the cruel fact of their religion meant his parents simply did not accept it.”

Since Joey Travolta was a Special Education Teacher we can only believe that the entire Travolta family knew the signs of ASD well. They were exercising deadly denial in an effort to please the church. Joey was frequently known to argue with his brother about their denial concerning Jett who obviously had ASD. The combination of Joey stating that he saw Jett in every child he interviewed before making his movie, and his degree in Special Education, clearly made Joey capable of a weighty, believable,  pre-screening diagnosis of Autism.

There are rumors that Joey produced this movie in an effort to save his nephew. What an incredible slap in Joey’s face that his brother and sister in law did not even attend his films debut. Perhaps if the movie had been about inconsequential high school kids from the 50’s, dancing on top of cars and table tops, or an ignorant high school boy with a Brooklyn accent, John would have made an appearance. My opinions about this actor and his wife have changed immeasurably.

The Church mandates that no interventions allowed; that any afflicted person must let prayer God alone heal a condition.

Scientology doesn’t recognize psychology or psychiatry as being valid (remember when Tom Cruise blasted Brooke Shields for using anti-depressants for her PPD?) DSM diagnostics are not used by scientologists.

Scientology critics predicted Jett’s death as remembered in a 2009 article; http://blog.zap2it.com/pop2it/2009/01/avid-critics-of.html

The many times that Kelly Preston-Travolta was seen in public, it was normally with their daughter, Ella Blue. Talk shows with John and/or Kelly regularly heard them boasting about their “perfect princess”, Ella, but rarely mentioning their first born, Jett. Paparazzi photos showed any shots of Jett with a hoodie on, listening to music to drown out ‘unfiltered noises’ or in numerous cases, showing another typical symptom of ASD,  making poor eye contact. Reportedly, John would not stop for interviews when accompanied by his iPod distracted son, Jett.

Kelly often showed clips of herself and daughter Ella Bleu, or “princess” as she was called.  In comparison to endless photo opps taken with Ella, there are few shots of mom with Jett after he turned 6. Sad.

There are numerous therapy interventions that could have dramatically improved and/ or prevented Jett’s seizures. Nutritional, behavioral and pharmeceutical interventions can not only lessen or completely eliminate seizures, but also show long term improvement in EEG results.

The contention that prayer alone would have cured Jett Travolta puts the blame of his death purely in his parent’s hands. Sadly too is the fact that a child, Jett Travolta, was completely alone in a closed bathroom when his death occurred. I feel it safe to say that being alone and terrified at the moment of our demise would be the saddest and scariest moment of all. He was still just a child.

As well as there being no proven link to ‘floor cleaners,’ the Travolta’s diagnosis of Kawasaki’s Disease, when accounting for their son’s seizures has been disqualified. According to the Telegraph:

…”some health experts say there is no link between Kawasaki and seizures. However, it’s reportedly common for sufferers of autism to have seizures if they are left untreated.

Autism is often associated with epilepsy. Nearly half of autistic children in the U.S. are prescribed anti-convulsion drugs. About a third develops epilepsy. Many suffer from seizures that can begin in adolescence.

And, according to many experts, there are dozens of drugs designed to help…”

Again, Jett did not have Kawasaki’s Disease, in fact, his seizures were only further evidence that he had ASD, which would shame him and his prideful parents in the eyes of Scientology

Were Jett’s seizures treatable?, YES.  Is ASD treatable? YES! Should Jett have been left alone with a history of seizures? NO! Are the Travoltas to blame for his death? You decide.

How ironic that the couple just happened to be in the Bahamas, and were not even close by to hear the fatal sound of a head crashing onto the side of a bathtub or at the very least, to discover their son’s dead body. Gross negligence resulting in the death of a child carries severe penalties in the US. Celebrities often skirt sanctions typical citizens of the US are sentenced to. In short, John and Kelly could have been writing their memoirs from their cells. In this country, there is no statute of limitations on such a negligent crime.

John, 56 and Kelly, 48, are celebrating the birth of Benjamin. I wonder if John knows that once you have had a child with ASD, the likelihood of having another is greater than 20%. (This estimate is based upon the global reports of 1 in 68 with less than half of all persons screened.). Further considerations should be given to their mid-life ages. Autism is more prevalent in older (25-35), and more affluent parents. Delaying childbirth increases the risk of having a child with ASD 50%. Autism is genetic and pre-disposed. The same affected genes that made Jett are MUCH OLDER and now present in Benjamin.

John and Kelley are batting one in less than 30 that Benjamin will have at least some form of ASD. I can only hope that the Church of Scientology’s shame will not keep them from saving their second little boy’s life should ASD occur.

There is no shame in having ASD or a child with ASD. Reports of present day Autism, with less than half of all persons screened is greater than 86 million. No other disability in the history of life as we know it has reached these numbers, and it continues to grow.

Those of us struggling to get therapy for our children would be remiss if we did not acknowlege that with the amount of money John has, accommodating services including OT, PT, SLP, Sensory Integration and most importantly, ABA, (Applied Behavior Analysis), could have easily been paid for privately within their home.

No one should be able to use religious teachings as a justification for denial. Whether it be a fire crew responding, medics rushing to the scene of a car accident, or a seizure resulting in a deadly head injury, the knowledge of a person’s diagnosis is essential in saving and treating lives. Denial is deadly.

Yes, there have been uncountable diseases and conditions put upon this earth, but there are also the sciences and materials to treat them. Whoever you deem your creator to be has provided BOTH. We all have the same passport.

I recently provided in my article, Embracing the Label of Autism, February 7, 20011, a list of innumerable and ‘shocking’ famous persons affected with ASD. Here is a partial list of famous persons with family members and children affected by ASD. I am in great hopes that as these people come forward for diagnosis and treatment, so will you. Not one single Jett Travolta needs to die needlessly left alone again!

These deliberate pictures, (in an attempt to dispell rumors of ‘Autism’ about Jett), though certainly posed, at least give us the face of a boy with his dad, mom and sis that we’d like to believe in and remember. This last picture is the most touching of all…Jett comforting his father.

I’m sure I speak on behalf of so many.  Jett, we hardly knew you; never having  heard your voice, and only now really memorizing your beautiful face. We pray that your dark world is now bright, your scared heart filled with everlasting, comforting love,  your tortured body is flying with downy wings and your silenced voice replaced by the singing of angels. Jett Travolta, we promise you now, you have stolen our hearts. You are never forgotten.

God Bless and Keep you. -Amen

Isn’t it ironic that John lost out of the male lead in Splash to Tom Hanks. Tom Hanks is also Autistic.

Celebrities with children or relatives diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorders, ASD.
 Richard Burton, deceased actor – oftentimes talked about his daughter by his first wife, William Christopher, Father Mulcahy of the TV show M*A*S*H – speaks about his son, Ned, Myron Cope, Pittsburgh sportscaster – talks about his son, Joe Mantegna, actor – is a father of daughter with autism, Mark McEwen, TV weatherman on CBS Morning News – speaks about his brother, Sean, Tracy Rowlett, Dallas anchorperson – has an autistic son, Jonathan Shestak, movie producer – talks about his son, Dov, Sylvester Stallone, movie actor – speaks about his son, Seargeoh. He hopes that before he dies his son will recognize him as his father. David Tomlinson, actor who starred in Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, the Love Bug – had an autistic son whose diagnosis and education is mentioned in some detail in Mr. Tomlinson’s autobiography, Luckier Than Most, Will Clark, Baseball player – speaks about his son, Tom Henke, Toronto baseball pitcher – talks about his son, Doug Flutie, football player – speaks about his son, Doug Jr.,  Merton Hanks, football player – about his daughter, Milan, Scott Mellanby, hockey player – about his son, BJ Surhoff, Baltimore baseball player (1996) – about his son, Mason, Dan Marino, football player – about his son, Wynton and Brandford Marsalis, jazz/classical musicians – talks about their brother, Beverly Sills, opera singer – about her son, Bucky,  Phoebe Snow, singer – is a mother of daughter with autism, Toni Braxton, singer – has a son recently diagnosed with autism, Paul Collins, writer – about his son, Audrey Flack, sculptor and photographer – mother of an adult with autism, Stephen J. Gould, scientist and writer – about his son, Jesse, Jenny McCarthy’s 4 year old son, Evan- was initially thought to be autistic, (Landau-Kleffner Disease), Gary Cole’s daughter is Autistic, Aidan Quinn’s daughter is Autistic, Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas son, Dylan- has delays characteristically ASD, and finally this writer wishes to end on my devastating discovery that on January 6, 2007, Burt Bacharach and Angie Dickinson’s daughter, Nikki, 40,diagnosed with ASD, took her own life.

According to a statement about Lea Nikki Bacharach, or ‘Nikki’, by Linda Dozoretz, a spokesperson for the family, “she quietly and peacefully committed suicide to escape the ravages to her brain brought on by Asperger’s.”  Nikki Bacharach died of suffocation using a plastic bag and helium according to Mike Feiler of the Ventura County Coroner’s office.

Nikki’s January suicide anniversary was followed just 2 years later by the controversial death of Jett Travolta. I cannot  imagine what Burt, Angie and all parents think and feel, whether their children are affected by ASD or not, about the tragic and unnecessary passing of any  child…after they have lost one of their own. 

 Nikki Bacharach worked in movies and also sang with her father. This song was written by one of the world’s greatest composers, the loving father of a daughter affected with ASD. Burt Bacharach’s music has sung to the hearts of us all forhalf a century.

The song is entitled, “Nikki.” Though it was recorded for a Movie of The Week and became a hit without it’s lyrics, I was finally able to find them. I am also the mother of a child with ASD. I have dear friends who have lost a child unnecessarily. I know that mom, and countless others,  will join me in tears for the words put down for Nikki, from her daddy 

 “Somewhere there is sunshine.
Somewhere days are warm.

Somewhere there’s a happy harbor
far from the storm.

Out where the sun shines there is someone
I’m meant to adore,
and I know the day I find her,
I’ll smile once more.

Nikki, it’s you.
Nikki, where can you be?
It’s you, no one but you for me
I’ve been so lonely since you went away.
I won’t spend a happy day
’til you’re back in my arms.”

 

With January 2011behind us, the Bacharach’s and the Travolta’s, have just made it through another anniversary of their children’s passing. Our hearts go out to all parents who have out lived their children, and especially to those who have lost a special child affected with ASD. 

Share+Care=AWARE.

This article is the result of countless hours of research and tears. It did not start out to be, nor is it meant to be an attack on John or his family. It is written with great reserve and remorse. However, as I made my discoveries and searched for facts and pictures, the realization of the injustices in this huge tragedy presented itself upon me like being smashed into a concrete wall. “I got chills…”

Like everything, I ask you, my readers, to do your own homework and draw your own conclusions.

This writer is finished contributing to John Travolta’s career.

I can never feel the same, never.

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