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.