Healing Autism – the Rise of False Claims

Autism is a healer’s market. Claims about healing autism are rife. I often get emails from parents with links to various treatments, videos, or research articles asking me to “please explain”. The latest email included a video heralding amazing scores for before/after treatment, and claiming children with autism were healed by virtue of a “TEAC” score as proof. Firstly, autism is not a disease that requires healing.  Secondly, renaming opinion as a measure, and promoting that as evidence is fraud. Here is my reply to the parent about a specific nutritional product that supposedly cures autism:

Any nutritional product can certainly help with things like sleep, reduced anxiety, increased energy, alertness, and the like. The only way to reduce socially dysfunctional behaviour is to teach alternative behaviour. You cannot do this with nutrition.TEAC scores – the thing that the promoters [in the video forwarded to me] use to prove healing, simply mean parent/carer reported approval of a treatment. In other words, after treatment, the parent or carer will say if their child is “better” than they were before treatment. It does not reverse diagnosis – I have never seen a “reversed” diagnosis. Diagnosis is problematic as children with mild developmental delay are being labelled autistic. The American Psychiatric Association is responsible for that debacle through their latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (V5).

By sweeping all categories such as Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, and Autistic Disorder, into a single category and labelling it a  “spectrum”,  all diagnoses now mean the same thing: Autism Spectrum Disorder. Everyone in that category is now equal. Nothing could be further from the truth. It leaves the door wide open for anyone to make claims about healing. Children with mild developmental delay can “catch up” without any intervention at all, but a miracle product is given credit. This is not evidence of “reversed” diagnosis – it only proves misdiagnosis.
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