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Lisa Jo Rudy

A Free Instant Cure for Autism? Keep Your Guard Up!

By August 9, 2013

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Wouldn't it be great if someone invented a free, instant cure for autism?  And wouldn't it be cool if humans could sprout wings and fly to the moon?  Of course, we're all out there looking for the tools to help our children live with and manage their autistic symptoms -- but so far the free, instant cure is pretty darned elusive.  But hat simple truth hasn't stopped plenty of people from getting out there and selling the ultimate product to unsuspecting parents who will do just about anything if they believe it is likely to help their child.

worried parentsI was reminded of just how intense the pressure on parents can be when I received a call today from a fellow who wanted me to promote his product -- a set of "unique" teaching tools which, according to his website (which offers "anti-autism training"), can't fail: "When suggested coaching procedures are followed, outstanding results are unconditionally guaranteed."

Uh huh.  Unconditionally guaranteed. If you buy that one, I have this bridge in New York to sell you...

No, he told me, he hadn't worked with experts to develop his materials.  And no, he hadn't tested it.  But this was the ONLY free product for children with autism on the web.  And no, he didn't want to hear about the many, many, other high quality videos and therapeutic tools available to parents at either no charge or a very modest charge. Nor did he want to explain the basis on which he made his claims.

Oh -- and by the way -- he's also figured out the cause of autism: video games and the Internet.  Or perhaps (another possibility he's come up with) -- it's electromagnetism.  Or too much daycare.

This particular product really is free, and while it's probably pretty close to useless, it isn't likely to hurt anyone.  But as most parents already know, there are plenty of products available that are intended, not to teach, but to be injected, swallowed, or added to your child's food -- with no more guarantee of safety or effectiveness than an online testimonial.

Have you been the victim of autism-related fraud?  Share your story!

August 12, 2013 at 1:32 pm
(1) vmgillen says:

You’d better not be offering one of MY bridges! bad enough PANY/NJ is making our lives miserable…

We have never been “taken” by any of the shams/scans/overly-wishful thinking scenarios… but we have, indeed, suffered from them. People, ranging from others in the supermarket to social workers in IEP conferences have told us that ‘Johnny Doe’s parents used the bat-guano dip therapy, and Johnny is SO much better than your child’ The implication was we were remiss as parents for not using the therapeutic flavor du-jour. Blame the mother, updated.

Autism does not have a clear etiology (yet) – which means we don’t really know what causes it, so how do you treat it? ‘Treating’ symptoms is not the same thing at all – because those symptoms may be springing from different causes. . . something that worked wonderfully well for some not only did not work for my guy, they made things worse!

August 19, 2013 at 4:47 pm
(2) Rainbow says:

“Wouldn’t it be great if someone invented a free, instant cure for autism? ”

No, it would not. Autism brings diversity to the population. Autistic people have made great contributions to society, especially in the areas of math, science and computer science. Curing autism means that people like me and my friends would no longer exist.

Certainly, many autistic people, both adults and children, need help with things like sensory issues. Some need more help than others. Some need educational assistance. But curing people like me would rob the population of some of its most talented and gifted individuals all in the name of making us more “normal.”

August 19, 2013 at 4:50 pm
(3) Iris Gray says:

“Wouldn’t it be great if someone invented a free, instant cure for autism?”

No, it would not. Curing autism would rob the world of some of its most talented, gifted individuals who have made great contributions to math, science, computers, art and music. It would kill the creativity expressed by autistic individuals all in the name of making us more “normal” and more like everyone else.

Certainly, many autistic people need help with certain autism symptoms, such as sensory issues and learning difficulties and emotional regulation, whether they are adults and children. But surely we can learn how to manage autism symptoms without ridding the world of people like me and my friends, all of whom are on the autism spectrum.

August 20, 2013 at 9:10 am
(4) Richard says:

Having lived my entire life as a ‘high functioning’ Asperger’s human, I found I had an “insight” into those similarly affected. I have worked one-on-one with some and found we have a sort of gestaltic language we share. My point is, I believe there has to exist a ‘psychic bridge’ with them, and with me, to ‘gain access’, as it were. I can see it as a sort of crystalline structure for lack of a better term. This ability has been very strong in me since birth, which I remember to this day (being born).
There are still social phenomena that I do not understand, and believe me, I try. My granddaughter and two of my children are similarly affected; we all have very high IQs which made us all quite precocious and difficult to “manage”; particularly the way we ‘saw’ others. Anyway, I’m just rambling as I am wont to do; it’s just good to have a forum of expression.

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