Travolta's family comments...

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by witzend, Jan 9, 2009.

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  1. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I am deeply disturbed by the comments the Travolta family have made regarding the possibility that their son Jett had autism. I understand that they say that Jett had Kawasaki disease, and that it may (in incredibly rare cases) cause seizures. I honestly had never given it a thought until they started showing Jett's picture since his death, and he seemed to have so many of the features I see in friends' autistic children.

    I understand that as Scientologists they believe that mental health issues are "psychosomatic" and should be treated with "spiritual healing." Here I get a bit confused. Isn't autism a physical disorder? Since when is it a psychological disease? And even if Jett's seizures were from Kawasaki disease and not Autism, were they not treating the seizure from the Kawasaki that they blamed on carpet cleaning products? Jett had a "caretaker". How did he hit his head on the tub so hard that he died immediately, or conversely, how long was he injured and alone in the bathroom? Why did he need a caretaker if the caretaker didn't need to supervise him?

    But most of all, what bothers me, is the comment from the family spokesman when it was suggested that Jett was autistic.
    The couple's lawyer Marty Singer bluntly rejected the claims. "The Travoltas are wonderful, loving parents, and their priority is their children," he said. "They have (taken) and they continue to take the best possible care of their children. To suggest anything to the contrary is very hurtful to a loving family and also would be false and defamatory."
    That's just confusing. Was he physically ill and they were treating him with medicine? Or was he "mentally ill" and "Spritual guidance" wasn't working out? I mean, I don't want to judge anyone's spiritual beliefs, but that's convoluted, isn't it? Isn't Autism a medical condition?

    We have a small religious sect here in Oregon that believes only in prayer for treatment of illness. Their children die at an alarming rate from very treatable illnesses. Last year a 16 year old died from a kidney infection. It was a horrible death. His nephew had died of a throat infection a few years earlier. There were several deaths in the 1990s. All of these things started with a small discomfort that could have been treated with antibiotics.

    We're beginning to prosecute these deaths as manslaughter. The law is being tested and verdicts will be appealed. I mean, obviously sometimes autistic people act out in ways that are difficult to watch and that we would expect healthy people to keep under control. But people with autism aren't healthy. Deaf people make funny noises that a goofy kid might make, but that doesn't make them a goofy kid. That makes them deaf. Since when does having a child with autism mean that you are not a wonderul loving parent whose top priority is your children?

  2. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It's actually not that uncommon for someone to die from a blow to the head, if you hit it just the right way. Youngest had a friend who ended up in a coma after a similar accident. Luckily, she ended up ok.

    I've not seen any refernce to possible autism, that's news to me. I have seen several Scientologists come on and make it quite clear that they do not hesitate to follow medical advice and treat with appropriate medications if their child is sick (Tom Cruise's rant re depression notwithstanding). I read that Jett was taking medication (I think depakote?) for the seizures, but that he had recently stopped taking it because of side effects. We all know how that is, that's for sure.

    It's all very sad, and the fact that the Travoltas grief is shoved into the public eye has got to be even harder for them. Watching the reports trying to get a shot of the private memorial service, made me sick.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My own opinion? Jett is autistic (he was non-verbal) and Scientology doesn't recognize autism so they blamed it on Kawasaki's Disease, which, if it was that, is usually in kids under 5 and is 100% curable. Jett was NOT on anti-seizure medication when he died. I have heard Scientologists don't believe in that either. Whatever happened, if they had been Joe Average big questions would have been raised.
    I heard that Jett was autistic when Jett was just very young, and that the family refused to even consider it.
  4. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm sorry, but I find this whole topic in extreme distaste. This family has tragically lost their beloved son. Who are we to sit in judgement of their "family spokesman" or anyone else who is protecting the famiy's privacy during this time of deep sorrow and loss. I believe they should be left to grieve and support and love each other without our judgement, questions, accusations, or intrudement into their loss.

    Were I to loose my beloved difficult child, the last thing I would want is others questioning whether he had this or that or what type of parent I was. I would want understanding and support.

    Additionally, I don't believe it is for us to question their personal spiritual beliefs because we don't know them or the actual opinions of the church.

  5. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    I agree, Sharon. Having lost a son many years ago, I just wanted to be alone. I think that perhaps that's exactly the way the Travoltas are feeling. SHAME on those who are intruding on them! SHAME on the media! They will have years of grieving....this is only the beginning. I'm so sorry for them.
  6. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    CVA, I agree that the public eye at the funeral is in very poor taste. And I think that to a certain extent if you live your life in a fishbowl you shouldn't be surprised if someone peers in at your from time to time.

    It was the public reply to a person that reached out to them that their child might be autistic is "defamatory" that I found disturbing, along with the suggestion that autism is a mental illness. They have much more of an opportunity to show the world what Autism is than all of us here have together. If my child doesn't have Autism, which they don't, and someone says "Well, L is autistic" I don't say "How dare you call me a bad parent!" I say "No, she's not. Here's why you think that and be wrong" or "No, she's not, and this is none of your business." I don't say so that the entire world can hear "How dare you call me a bad parent! Autistic children are the children of bad parents."

    It's a shame that whether their son had autism or not they entertain the suggestion that he might be Autistic as labeling them as bad parents who don't care for their children and is therefore "hurtful" and "defamatory". They let a lot of people down with that, whatever physical ailment Jett had.
  7. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Oh for crying out loud delete it already! I wouldn't want to talk about anything that might upset anyone. We all know that I am not allowed to do that.
  8. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I have never responded negatively to someone on this board. I will break that 5.5 year committment with this post.

    Your insinuation that you (and by the italics I take your meaning to be you and you alone and no other member of this board) are not allowed to upset anyone is absolutely absurd to the point of laughability. You didn't upset me in the least with your post. Rather, as I said, I found it in bad taste. Had it been another poster who started this thread, I would have posted the same. You are not the center of the universe on this board.

    If the goal of this board was to lock a post or delete a post every time someone was upset, then moderattion would be a highly paid full-time job and not a volunteer position of love, help, and support to other parents who struggle daily with their difficult children and all the baggage that tags along. Members are upset by opinions and situations every day.

    I find it curious that you would be so upset by my opinion but find it easy to pass judgement on someone else.

    If another moderator on this forum, TM, or Cheryl believe this thread should be locked or deleted, I will bow to their wisdom as I am now personally imbedded within it.

  9. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    I was really hoping this topic would not be brought up, simply because there's not a single person who knows what this family has been through, though some of us can empathize with the pain they're feeling now.

    If we simply go by news "reports", we're all going to get it wrong. I may not agree with- choices that they made (based on those "reports") but.... who am I to question their parenting? The only thing I'm quite certain of is that they, like all of us, did what they felt was best for their son. Period.

    Please let this go, at least on the public board. It's not relative to the mission of this board.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2009
  10. Jena

    Jena New Member


    maybe we can turn this around?? :) I, for one am saddened at their loss, regardless of what his ailment was, it is a horrible thing to have to bury a child. I cannot even begin to imagine.

    Freak accidents do happen all the time to people who do not even have physical disabilities or mental illness. Happens everyday and so so sad at a loss of a person.
  11. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    As a parent, I'm am deeply sorry that for what happened to Jett. I know that his parents loved him deeply.

    But this I cannot let pass:

    The "church" (actually, wacky psuedo-cult) is quite clear in their stance. They believe in "medical conditions" only. Autism is not a medical condition according to their beliefs. Heck, mental illness doesn't even exist in their world! So, why treat it?
  12. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    I don't know why I am posting here because my gut feeling is that I should keep my mouth shut. However...when have I ever done that!?!?

    In the first place, I think that a lot of us here are super-sensitive to anything we perceive as a psychological problem with our kids. Most of us have fought the fight and know that it is a difficult one. We know that we and our kids are misunderstood and misjudged and we become ready to take offense at the drop of the proverbial hat. Probably not a good thing.

    I did not know Jett Travolta or his parents so I don't feel that I can say that he was or was not one thing or the other. I am not a Scientologist so I cannot defend or attack the religion. As somebody who is trying to be a good Christian, it sounds a little weird to me, but then I suppose my religion sounds a little weird to a Hindu or a Buddhist or anybody who is not familiar with it.

    I am willing to give the Travolta family a pass on this. While it is not readily apparent what his problem was, it is readily apparent that they loved their child and that they are in mourning. It would be horrendous to lose a child under ANY circumstances. To do so in the public eye, with people finding fault and blaming you for your beloved child's death is beyond anything I can imagine.

    Whatever I might think in my gut, I think we should let them mourn in peace.
  13. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    "The "church" (actually, wacky psuedo-cult) is quite clear in their stance".

    Ya may want to tread lightly. Religious beliefs are a pretty inflammatory topic - and who knows. There may even be a few Scientology members among our ranks.

  14. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Thank you GG, I was about to post the same sentiment, but you beat me to it. There are plenty of places to discuss religious views and opinions. This is not the place.
  15. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    I'm gonna go ahead and lock this, now.
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