Saturday, June 2, 2012

On Things That Won't "Cure" Autism

One of the tendencies of the assorted parents' groups which I find most annoying is the tendency for many of them to promote an attitude of desperation towards autism -- and, with it, the idea that a parent should try anything and everything which could help their child "recover". In practicality, of course, this means anything or everything that someone somewhere claims will help.

The fact that people get swindled as a result is among the least appalling aspects of this.

The list of things which have been promoted as such -- and which parents have tried -- is absurdly long and often just plain absurd. Seriously, it almost mocks itself at times. If it wasn't for the fact that parents are actually doing these things to their kids (which I cannot emphasize enough) out of desperation to "cure" or "recover" their children, it would actually be comedic.

Among other things, the horrific list of things which parents have done includes (but is by no means limited to):

  •  Feeding their kids massive overdoses of vitamins to the point that they suffer from or risk vitamin poisoning.
  • Putting their kids into a potentially explosive tube full of compressed air for a prolonged period of time (usually around an hour per session).
  • Getting their kids high on marijuana.
  • Forgoing protection against potentially deadly diseases.
  • Strapping their kids down for several hours while they pump an irritant into said child's veins.
  • Deliberately infesting their children with intestinal parasites.
  • Chemically castrating their children.
  • Feeding their kids an industrial chemical which has never been subjected to proper safety testing.
  • Making their children drink an industrial bleaching agent.
  • Giving their children bleach enemas.
 This is a highly incomplete list.

When I say that the stigmatization and panic-mongering that organizations like Autism Speaks engage in has real consequences for autistic people... the above is just one of the things I'm talking about.

Take this as you will.

Edit: Was corrected on a relatively minor point.


  1. That is a truly horrific list. But it is not the sort of thing you find on show at quack feasts like Autism One. They refer to things like MMS, chelation and HBOT. Any chance of a list of which "therapies" do what on your list?

  2. Actually, they're all _from_ quackfests like Autism One, DAN! groups, and so on. In order, they're referring to:

    -- Megavitamin "therapy" (or some forms of it, anyway)
    -- HBOT
    -- Marijuana (as an autism treatment)
    -- IV chelation
    -- Helminthic "therapy"
    -- The Lupron protocol
    -- OSR#1
    -- MMS (drunken)
    -- MMS (enema)

  3. Great list!

    It's amazing what people will do while searching for "a cure".


  4. I was not aware that "helminthic therapy" was a thing.

    I am morbidly amused that they have to call it that --- I suppose if you just said "worms" you wouldn't get any customers?

    You laugh so you won't cry.

    (Seriously, it's a major humanitarian cause to try and GET RID of parasites in the developing world, because of all the suffering and disability they cause! So some people in the developed world, who do not know this, are deliberately introducing those same critters into their own children's bodies? I don't have words.)

  5. Also: my mom was a nurse before she had children, and was pretty active in the Autism Society of Iowa when we lived there. She once told me about a time someone came up to her and told her about how they were chelating their son, and my mom knew enough to be horrified. The woman told her something like, she had seen images of her son's liver and how "active" it was now, and my mom --- in her head at least --- was like, "Yeah, that's not good. His liver is active because THAT IS THE ORGAN RESPONSIBLE FOR REMOVING POISON, ya moron!" This would've been either late '80s or early '90s, probably early '90s. Her son is a grown man now, if he's still alive.