Autism TreatmentAutism Information for Parents, Practitioners & Professionals…

Autism Information for Parents, Practitioners & Professionals…

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The Not so Good, Bad and the Uglier in Autism News
this Week

This week the popular news media coverage continues to focus on folic acid with great enthusiasm. We’ll wait and see whether the Norweigian study is replicated to see whether it holds up. We have seen the return of excitement about therapy dogs. I really do like dogs, but they don’t appear to do anything specifically to reduce autism symptoms. Inflammation is always good for a few fake science stories, and of course the inevitable, toxic metals has popped up again. Let me say here and now, that if you have a sudden urge to eat lead, cadmium or mercury, call TEA (for Toxin Eaters Anonymous) for help resisting your intense craving. [You know the drill, “Good morning, my name is George and I’m a compulsive Toxin Eater!] You really shouldn’t eat heavy metals nor should your children. Do heavy metals cause autism? Not specifically as far as anyone can tell, but what the heck, why not speculate that they DO cause autism, and claim it’s a fact?
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Music therapy has returned for another round this week. Let’s just talk for a minute about the latest music therapy “study.” The article reporting this finding appeared in the Journal of Pertanika, a newly published periodical, in fact the first issue appeared this past month from the Technology Center, Universiti Putra Malaysia. The Universiti Putra Malaysia is not accredited by any international body, nor are articles submitted to the journal subject to the same kind of peer review as other scientific journals. According to the article’s author, an S.C. Lee, over a ten month period 41 children who it was claimed had autism (no one knows whether they actually did have autism and how they were diagnosed), sessions of music therapy (how many times per day or week isn’t clear) and the target behavior of the children was rated by parents on a checklist once a month. The unvalidated checklist was made up by the researcher. The article reports that “more than half of the children of each group” (that would be 11 of 20 kids) improved by one or two points on the made-up scale. If you run the math, 10 kids were 1.5 points better on average, which means averaged across all 20 kids in the entire group, the average improvement would have been 0.75 scale points on the unvalidated autism behavior rating scale. We’re talking really exciting results, right?sad smiley copy

The outcome of this “study” is being publicized in a variety of outlets claiming that it scientifically demonstrates the efficacy of music therapy in autism. Publication outlets include The Stir.CafeMom.Com an online informal newsletter about parenting and daily life published by CMI Marketing, and by the widely read Science Daily, which unfortunately many people assume is legitimate, which it is not. Science Daily is a commercial advertiser supported pay for play newsletter

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One last entry in this week’s autism science follies. A truly new entry this week is shitake mushrooms, as in “there’s a fungus among us.” I first saw this report in the On-Line version of the San Francisco Chronicle, a formerly reputable publication. After reading the article I noticed at the bottom of the page, the SFC had reproduced the piece verbatim from another source, and simply reprinted it. So I tracked down the original source, PRWEB, which belongs to a marketing company called Vocus in Herndon, VA, which helps businesses reach and influence buyers across social networks, online and through media. Got it? A marketing company is reporting the benefits of shitake mushrooms for kids with autism, no doubt an entirely reliable scientific information source (notice tongue in cheek). The article was submitted from Perkins, OK home of Lost Creek Mushroom Farms February 28, 2013. It turns out that companies send PRWEB “news releases,” and for a fee, PRWEB publicizes them. Cool, huh? According to PRWEB, “Lost Creek Mushroom Farm’s owner, Sandra Williams, PhD*, speaking for The Voice of the Mushroom Foundation, [heavens knows mushrooms are reticient and need a voice], is calling for a greater appreciation and understanding of the health and medicinal benefits of shiitake mushrooms.

For Williams, these studies ‘take us a couple of steps further in the existing contemporary medical research and applications for shiitakes: in treating AIDS and arthritis; gastrointestinal, breast, lung, liver, stomach, sarcoma 180 cancers, and melanoma; tuberculosis; yeast and mold; macular degeneration of the eyes. Shiitakes can improve wound healing. And list is not complete.’ Williams, who presented on medicinal mushrooms for the magazine Autism Spectrum Disorder at the 2011
Autism One Conference, is adamant about promoting shiitakes as a successful treatment for yeast and fungal diseases. ‘Children with autism are especially prone to Candida albicans infections because of the need for antibiotics and because their immune systems are compromised.’ There is virtually no evidence this is the case, but does that matter? Not to Dr. Sandra or Ms. Sondra Williams, whichever, doesn't seem to matter to PRWEB.

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[*Sandra L. Williams, PhD is a consultant and professional trainer on ethics, corporate values, and building trust in the workplace. Dr. Williams is a former Senior Vice President with Bank of America, while on the Lost Creek Mushroom Farm website, Sondra Williams co-owner of Lost Creek Mushroom farms is self-described as “primarily a writer and speaker, a theatre artist….”]

So there you have it. A news release from a mushroom company in Oklahoma was published by a PR Company for a fee, which was picked up and publicized by the
San Francisco Chronicle, and dummies like me read it and began to think there may be something to it. So if you are a parent of a child with autism, as always, Caveat emptor!

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Welcome to visitors to the Autism Treament website. This site is updated regularly and provides reliable information regarding Autism in a easily digestible form. From time to time visitors will find surveys of timely issues in this section. This helps provide visitors with dependable, practical information.

March 3, 2010: The Social Care Policy and Innovation Department of Health of Her Majesty's Screen Shot 2013-03-02 at 6.13.56 AMSecretary of State for Health (UK) issued “Fulfilling and rewarding lives,” a strategy for adults with autism in England” (2010) to promote provision of appropriate services at the local level throughout England and Wales of support service to adults with autism.

Travis Thompson, PhD, LP is a licensed psychologist in the State of Minnesota in the USA, specializing in autism and related disability issues and services. His services can be accessed through this site.


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