Autism Inclusive Meets protested a seminar organised by charity Thinking Autism this week which featured speakers who advocate casein- and gluten-free diets and the controversial massage therapy Tui Na as treatments for autism behaviours, which AIM calls “quackery.”
The event, which took place in Maidstone, Kent, on Tuesday, advertised itself as featuring “wonderful professional and parent speakers sharing their knowledge, experience, and simple nutritional tools to help improve negative autism behaviours and symptoms and make a positive difference to your child’s health and quality of life.”
Attended by 30 parents, it was set to feature nutritionist Diana Wright and Tui Na massage advocate Leonid Rozman.
Speaking to Kent Online, protester and founder of AIM Emma Dalmayne said: “We’ve no objection to parents following nutritional advice from a professional clinician, but the treatments they are promoting, including heavy metal detox chelation, killed a child in 2005.”
Nutritionist Diana Wright, who was a featured speaker at the event, promotes the elimination of heavy metals from the diet on her website. The child Dalmayne refers to is Abubakar Tariq Nadama, a British boy who died in the USA in 2005 after undergoing three rounds of chelation therapy – a treatment designed to remove heavy metals from the body, which some believe to be a “cause” of autism relating back to mercury alleged to be in childhood vaccines.
Dalmayne continued: “There is no cure for autism. Parents need to accept that and instead seek to help their children through speech and occupational therapy.”
There is little evidence to support the use of casein- and gluten-free diets in scientific journals, with a scientific review by Salvador Mari-Bauset et al concluding that all evidence published between 1970 and 2014 proving limited and inconclusive in its support for the diet’s use.
AIM also criticised the promotion of Tui Na, which they called a form of “restraint,” and has also not been proven to provide any benefit for children with autism. The Tui Na massage therapists who were set to speak at the event cancelled before it went ahead.
Speaking to Kent Online, Irina Porter from Thinking Autism said: “The protest at our autism information event in Maidstone today was organised by a group of people who are making false allegations about our charity, claiming that we promote harmful treatments.
“We absolutely refute these allegations. In fact, Thinking Autism does not promote any treatments for autism. We share information, including the latest scientific and medical research, we support families affected by autism, and we advocate for the removal of barriers to appropriate health care for people with autism.”Get your copy of UNITE Magazine