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Fear is the world’s greatest salesman. Fear is used by governments and corporations to deprive us of our rights and our money, and when our government wants to sell us a war they first instil fear of the ‘enemy’ in us; when this has happened, we will pay any price and make any sacrifice to see the other country (or countries) defeated.
The greatest fear of all is the fear of the unknown and ununderstood, and it is vital for the merchant to nourish this ignorance and discourage any attempts at understanding the other side.
The majority of mankind live within very strict parameters which are considered the ‘norm’. Anybody acting outside these parameters is observed with suspicion and mistrust and often subjected to ridicule and dehumanisation – and it only takes a slight insinuation to cause them to be perceived as a threat and therefore to fear them and call for their elimination.
And fear means plenty of business opportunities for unscrupulous profiteers; the fear of the different will always lead ruthless individuals and organisations to provide expensive and mostly harmful ‘solutions’, or to make money by exploiting this fear in other ways. Believe it or not, until three hundred years ago left-handed people were feared as witches and burnt at the stake ; afterwards the Catholic Church subjected them to expensive exorcisms to cast out their demons, and witch doctors concocted dubious and often toxic mixtures they sold for a fortune as cures for left-handedness.
Now the charlatans have found a new market niche: autism.
Even though autism has provided mankind with original thought from the invention of the wheel to the development of the Internet, the fact that we function differently from the average human alienates others who consider our condition a disability or a disorder, and a lot of organisations and businesses realised that with some scaremongering and preying on the concerns of desperate parents they are able to make a killing by promising research into ways of getting rid of it altogether or offering absurd (and in most cases dangerous and even life-threatening) ‘cures’. The recent autismophobia epidemic has sparked a quackfest unprecedented in human history.
The largest piece of the cake goes to Autism Speaks, an anti-autism hate group that, contrary to their name, refuses to let autistics speak. Taking advantage of the fact that autism was only recently identified and that, due to the growing knowledge and awareness of the condition, the number of diagnoses keeps increasing, they continue spreading panic about a supposed ‘autism epidemic’ and urge frightened parents and educators to donate to them for research into how the condition can be eliminated. While it claims to be a non-profit organisation 19% of donations go into salaries (mostly to highly overpaid CEOs) while 4% are spent on services and 13% on research (compared to 43% spent on advertising). 
One particularly popular (and cruel) method to make a quick buck is offering Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) or other behavioural interventions to parents of autistic children. ABA is a personality-altering treatment based on dog training and has been used in the past to ‘convert’ homosexuals. Through the use of positive (and in many cases still negative) reinforcements children are pressured into displaying desired behaviours without any consideration for their feelings, needs, desires, abilities and emotional safety. While in many cases the child can later be presented as ‘more normal’ by copying others, the trauma of being broken more often than not results in lasting damage such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder (OCD). (Read more at Why Applied Behaviour Analysis Harms Your Autistic Child).
One of the greatest dangers these days, and not only for autistic but for all children, is the myth that vaccines cause autism. Apart from the notion that it’s better to have a child dying of measles than living with autism, it is one of the most nonsensical claims ever.
In 1993 Dr. Andrew Wakefield published a report in which he suggested that MMR vaccines cause Crohn’s Disease, a claim which was soon disproved.
However, his activities attracted the attention of a group of lawyers who were preparing a lawsuit against MMR manufacturers and who offered him funding to prove the elusive vaccine/autism link in 1996.
At that time Wakefield was working on his own measles vaccine, so he was quite delighted at getting a second shot at discrediting the existing one while being funded for a project that could secure his future wealth. Over the coming years Wakefield was paid £439,553 for his efforts.
In February 1998 he published his infamous report of 12 supposedly randomly picked case studies of children in which he lied about their medical history and condition in order to establish the proposed vaccination/autism link, and in June 1998 he applied for a patent for his rival vaccine .
In the wake of the publication a multitude of other scientific studies were carried out, none of which managed to establish any connection between vaccines and autism. It was only in 2004 that his fraudulent paper and his conflicts of interest were exposed by reporter Brian Deer. And it took yet another six years until the General Medical Council struck Wakefield off the register for ‘multiple separate instances of serious professional misconduct’ such as unprofessional and unethical behaviour, conflicts of interest and child abuse (by performing unnecessary and unauthorised invasive tests, including spinal taps, on the children and injuring one in the process).    
Unfortunately this has not put an end to the myth, and more and more children die each year of preventable diseases. One of the most prominent advocates of this anti-science movement is Playboy's Miss October 1993, Jenny McCarthy, with her foundation ‘Generation Rescue’ which makes millions by spreading fear of autism and vaccines and promoting some of the quack 'treatments’ discussed below, as do multiple other organisations such as the ‘National Vaccine Information Center’, ‘Autism One’ and ‘SafeMinds’.
An especially grisly method is the oral and anal application of sodium chlorite (industrial-strength bleach) to autistic victims. Called ‘Mineral Miracle Solution’ (MMS) or Chlorine Dioxide Solution (CD), it was the idea of Jim Humble who created the ‘Genesis II Church of Health and Healing’ for the sole purpose of promoting his ‘cure’, hoping that church status would let him get away with more than the average person (‘Look at the Catholics. Their priests have been molesting women and children for centuries and the governments have not been able to stop it. If handled properly a church can protect us from vaccinations that we don't want, from forced insurance, and from many things that a government might want to use to oppress us.’ - )
Naturally, like any other bleach, this bleach causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. These are considered to be healing indicators by Humble and his flock, and clients are told to continue the ‘treatment’.
Many parents take pictures of the bowel linings of their children when they come out with their stool, proudly announcing that one of the ‘parasitic worms’ that caused their child’s autism has been removed.
And of course the application of MMS, like that of any other bleach, can be fatal, even for adults.
Since MMS has been banned in Ireland, Great Britain and Canada Humble and his sidekick Kerri Rivera also offer the bleach as a ‘water purifier’.
Chelation therapy is a method to detoxicate the body after heavy metal poisoning and has no other approved purpose. Based on the vaccine myth proponents of using it against autistic children claim that autism is caused by mercury in the vaccines and that chelation ‘heals’ their condition. Chelation depletes the body of minerals and can lead to fatal cases of kidney and liver damage.  
Also based on the vaccine myth the protein GcMAF (under the brand name of ‘First Immune’) has been claimed to ‘cure’ autism. The product is unauthorised in the United States, and a study on its safety is ongoing; however, in Switzerland (where it is banned) five children died after having been injected with it.
One of its main proponents, Dr. James Jeff Bradstreet, illegally administered and peddled the drug in the United States. One day after FDA and the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency had raided his office (and on the day the deaths became public) he committed suicide, but its illegal use and trade continues. .
Following a crackdown by authorities it is now also peddled under the name of ‘MAF Active’.
Electroconvulsive ‘therapy’ (ECT), formerly called ‘electroshock therapy’, is a last line of intervention for major depressive disorder, mania and catatonia. While the long-term success rate for these conditions is quite low there is absolutely no indication of any benefits to autistic people, or even for any comorbid conditions; on the contrary, ECT can cause brain damage and memory loss.  
One of the many victims of ECT is autism advocate Carly Fleischmann who, after she was talked into undergoing ECT for her ABA-induced OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), lost her ability to communicate for two years.
Probably the most famous victim of ECT was novelist Ernest Hemingway who, having used it to treat his depression, regretted not only the loss of his creativity and his memory but also that of his identity. ‘Well, what is the sense of ruining my head and erasing my memory, which is my capital, and putting me out of business? It was a brilliant cure but we lost the patient,’ he told his biographer and put a gun to his head.
Actress Judy Garland (The Wizard of Oz) also made several suicide attempts after she was subjected to ECT.
Using stem cells against autism does not make sense.  The idea that the release of stem cells into the blood stream will change somebody’s neurology is as laughable as trying to cure sore feet with a new hairdo; furthermore, the cells are administered by spinal injection which is a dangerous procedure that can cause, amongst other things, paralysis and nerve damage. 
Only recently a ‘cure’ called ‘Applied Intentional Epigenetics’ has emerged on the Internet. While very little is known about the procedure itself the advertisers claim to ‘reprogramme DNA’ which should set everybody’s eugenics alarm bells off at once!
Another new way of milking desperate parents and demeaning autistic children has been developed by a quack in London. Based on the techniques of the Scientology cult the child is verbally abused in the most extreme fashion, supposedly to ‘locate their inner trauma.’ 
Initially used to 'treat' autistic enterocolitis (a disease ex-doctor Wakefield had made up), secretin (a gut hormone of pigs) is injected into the child. There is no documented proof that this bizarre method has any benefits; a child’s death has been linked to it, and a doctor in the UK has been suspended for using it. 
Autism can’t be medicated, although carefully considered medications may be beneficial for treating comorbid conditions like anxiety. 
The most cost-effective and effective treatment for autism is acceptance. If you want to help your autistic child develop their potential and learn to deal with their environment instead of breaking them the most important step is to understand autism - not from the medical but from the autistic point of view. A good starting point is my article Understanding Autism.
This list is not exhaustive and only contains the utmost dangerous and deplorable organisations and quack ‘treatments’. Some others, such as snake, coconut or essential oil, may be ridiculous but harmless in themselves, yet they still enforce the child’s belief that they are dysfunctional. Besides, even ‘alternative medicine’ can put a child’s life at risk. 
If you are aware of any other harmful organisations or ‘treatments’, please contact me at