When it comes to alternative interventions, there’s a seemingly endless array of diets, supplements, high-tech therapies and other options. This abundance is a reflection of both the huge spike in autism diagnoses in recent years and the lack of good treatment options.
“It’s a cottage industry of false hope,” says Paul Offit, professor of pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and author of “Autism’s False Prophets,” a book about dubious causes and cures. “To me, taking advantage of parents’ desperate desire to do anything to help their children is the lowest form of quackery.”
To an expert, dismissing pseudo-scientific alternatives or weighing the risks of potentially promising yet unproven treatments may be second nature. For parents, it’s much more complicated.