Actress Jenny McCarthy speaks openly about her role as an advocate for children with autism and her family life.

When Jenny’s son Evan was diagnosed with autism at age two, McCarthy decided that she needed to do more to promote autism awareness. She is the author of a book about autism, ‘Louder Than Words’ and president of Generation Rescue which is a non-profit foundation that is dedicated to helping families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. While she may be known for her former role as a Playboy Model, or as an actress, it’s her new role as an autism spokesperson which gives her the most pleasure.

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a disorder that affects how the brain develops. People can be affected to varying degrees, which is why it is known as a spectrum. It can be an extremely challenging disorder characterized by behavioral issues that affect not only the person with autism but also family members. Up to 1 – 59 children are diagnosed with autism. The number of children affected has grown over the last decade, but this could be because of increased awareness and better recognition of autism.

One study found that it could cost as much as $2 million to support a child with autism. Not to mention the stress and emotional toll it can take on family members, both parents, and siblings. I wake up every day and not only fear for my own child but for all of these kids,” McCarthy, 45, said. McCarthy has had her own fair share of controversy by promoting the idea that vaccines could be linked to children developing autism.

Trading firm BTIG recently raised $5 million for charity, with money going to a variety of different causes. We already have the gratitude of having a blessed life for doing what we love so why not be more of service in this lifetime and find something that people desperately need and fill it,” she said. Don’t wait to have the cause happen to you in your life, go ahead and pay it forward.

McCarthy is planning on spending Mother’s Day with her now teenage son Evan. My son thinks that Mother’s Day means that he gets to tell me whatever he wants to do so I let him have that rule, she said. “I make it his day too.