Doctor's Sued Over 'Dangerous' Autism Treatment

By Suzanne Oshinsky

The main thing that struck me after reading the article "Doctors Sued Over 'Dangerous' Autism Treatment" in the Chicago Breaking News was the difference in perspective over what is considered desperate and what is considered proactive when treating autism.

The delineating line seems to be fear or hope, depending on a person’s outlook in handling the diagnosis. While working on the Center for Autism and Related Disorders' (CARD) second documentary on autism, I interviewed many families, and found something in common with all of them. After receiving their pediatrician's diagnosis, regardless of whether their children were recovered or still in treatment, they all agreed that Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) should be part of a multifaceted treatment plan. This meant figuring out what combinations of treatments were most effective, that each child is unique, and that there isn’t a blanket approach to treating autistic children. Since there isn’t a clear path to recovery there is an overwhelming amount of different treatments available that may or may not help. Deciding what treatments are worth and not worth trying is a difficult decision.

As with any part of parenting, whether the child is typical or a-typical, there should be unity in all decisions. It’s a difficult period because it requires constant communication and strength between the parental figures. Unfortunately, parents of children with autism have a high, 80% divorce rate. Part of that has to do with the fact that each parent must have the same conviction in treating the child.

It’s saddening to see in this article that two parents who love their child have such a staggering difference in opinion as to what is helpful or detrimental.

Again it seems like it has to do with outlook. The lens we use to see the world. What motivates a person, a parent; hope or despair?

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