Friday, February 1, 2008

Eli Stone and Autism: New Show Explores Vaccine Issue

Eli Stone, a brand new television show on ABC debuted this evening. My husband and I were surprised that autism was a central focus on tonight's show. The new series is about a lawyer, Eli Stone, who is diagnosed with an aneurysm in his brain. Apparently the aneurysm causes him to have hallucinations. But is it the aneurysm causing hallucinations? Or has God chosen the main character to be a prophet? That's the larger arc that will most likely be carried on throughout the series.

The question is: what is motivating Eli Stone to take on certain cases? Tonight the featured story was about a woman (who Stone happened to have lost his virginity to years before the present) who has a son with autism. The woman is convinced that her son became autistic after getting injected with the flu vaccine. Sound familiar? Yep, she believed that a preservative similar to what we know as thimerosal caused the autism in her son.

What's interesting here is that the boy is the one who convinced Stone to take the case. He spelled out a phrase which was related to George Michael who was featured during Stone's first hallucination which had the singer performing the key song. That clinched it for Stone. He took on the case and won without presenting a whole lot of evidence. The mom was awarded a couple of million dollars and the company agreed to remove the substance in question.

It's very possible the mom and son will be back because the mom was established as Stone's former flame. Will the flame be lit again? Who knows? But it's very possible that autism and the issues surrounding this disorder will reappear on this series.

This has the potential to be a very controversial show in the autism community. Stay tuned...

P.S. Yep, the controversary has begun. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is furious and maybe rightly so.
One news article titled "ABC series may perpetuate autism myths:
A medical group wants to pull the plug on Eli Stone, saying the show's storyline feeds vaccine fears"
discusses the wrath that Eli Stone has attracted from the AAP.

Further, other bloggers are unhappy with Eli Stones' treatment of autism in general. I say wait and see. Maybe things will get better on this show in regards to the treatment of autism.


Marla said...

Is it true the autistic child is played by a child who is autistic? We missed the show.

J said...

I couldn't find anything about the child for certain but here's a cut and paste from a new blog called Hollywood Spectrum that may answer your question:

Dear Colleagues and Families:

I was recently contacted by [ ], a casting director. She is looking for a male child aged 7-9 years diagnosed with autism to play a part in an upcoming T.V. pilot. There is a chance this may become a recurring role. If you have/know of a child and think this may be a good opportunity for him, please contact her or her assistant directly by email or by calling the number [provided].

Best wishes,
Bruce M. Gale, PhD

That's the best I could do. --jml

Elissa - Managing Autism said...

I'll be following the story from others... I haven't heard anything of it here in Aus.

Hopefully you can keep me up to date!

J said...

I'll try. I stumbled onto Eli Stone quite by accident. I'm a Lost fan and was not tempted by the teasers for new, next show. There wasn't any mention of autism in the commericals and I thought the show looked pretty bad. My husband, however, was intrigued by the spiritual element of the show. All he had to do was say that the episode was about autism...