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>Irresponsible, Dishonest House

January 29, 2010

>Thoughtful House would have you think that psychologists think that autism is a sentence of doom with nothing to be done about it. They’d also have you believe a lot of other inaccurate things about autism, what it is, what are responsible ways to treat the symptoms and behaviors causing problems in functionality:

“If your child is diagnosed on the autism spectrum, the next thing to know is that autism is treatable. If your child’s psychologist or pediatrician tells you that nothing much can be done to change things, it’s only because they lack information.”

I’ll freely admit you run across psychologists who know very little about autism or whose biases get in the way. Pediatricians are not qualified to “treat” autism. Developmental pediatricians are. Huge difference.
This sounds lovely: folk who’ve walked the walk and offer a comprehensive treatment protocol:

“Many of the staff and clinicians working at Thoughtful House are parents that have children on the autism spectrum. Our many years of researching effective therapies have resulted in a comprehensive approach, so that a child receiving care will be consulting with a team of clinicians encompassing these areas:”

But then we get to the woo and the unproven theories of autism:

“Medical Treatment: Children with childhood developmental disorders (CDDs) have dysregulated immune systems, a finding supported by many studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals. Treatment directed at correcting immune system abnormalities is imperative, and includes supplying nutrients key in normal immune function, supporting the detoxification pathways, and breaking the inflammatory cycle.”

And while I do not deny the seriousness with which gastrointestinal issues complicate a person’s life (as it’s something I deal with on a daily basis personally), I do, based on the current state of science today, decry the idea that autism and GI issues are co-linked. There is no good evidence showing a causal relationship between the two:

“Gastrointestinal Diagnosis and Treatment: Many children with CDDs have GI symptoms that precede, coincide, with, or appear after the onset of neurological symptoms or regression. A child should produce one formed stool per day – anything else may merit attention. GI symptoms common in children with autism include constipation, diarrhea (often described as mushy or grainy, not watery), abdominal pain, abnormal posturing, malodorous stool, undigested food in stool, abdominal distention, and failure to thrive (not growing). Many children don’t present obvious symptoms until they are older, and because of communication and pain-response deficits, the GI symptoms of many children with autism are overlooked. There is also a subgroup of children with autism that appear to lack GI symptoms, but without evaluation the question of an occult (hidden) GI inflammation remains answered.”

Look, he’s telling you that your kid may have issues but they’re not showing yet, but they will. And then he notes that there’s a subgroup who “appear to lack” the issues, but without the colonoscopy, who can really say? I’ve had a colonoscopy and will do another one this year, so I say this knowing absolutely what is involved in that prep. If you put your child through this procedure with no signs or symptoms to suggest there’s any reason to believe there is a problem, you’re probably one of the dumbasses who thinks shoving a laxative up your child’s ass a couple hours before you shove a chelating suppository up there is hunky-dinky-dory.
Moving on to frakking with their food:

“Clinical Nutrition Treatment: Because of abnormal permeability in an autistic child’s inflamed gut, and weakened digestive enzyme function, before some food proteins are fully digested they ‘re able to leak into the bloodstream. The immune system responds by making antibodies against these proteins, further contributing to inflammation. Particular proteins also can act as false neurotransmitters and detrimental drug analogs, affecting brain function adversely; gluten and casein proteins (from grains and milk products) are two examples. Counseling can be key in determining which foods a child might be reacting against. When offending proteins are removed from the diet, it can profoundly improve both gastrointestinal and neurological functioning in some children. Furthermore, because many affected children have bowel disease they may not be absorbing enough nutrients from their food, making supplementation and a well-designed nutritious diet even more important. In addition, unless properly supervised, various dietary interventions employed that are ostensibly helpful might result in protein, nutrient, and caloric deficiency. The poor metabolic, immune system, and methylation pathway functions in affected children mean that they require individualized supplementation.”

From there, though, they’ve got a good cash cow, since full ABA therapy can run upwards of 50 grand and Thoughful House is thoughtfully a cash based industry:

“How is Thoughtful House funded?

Thoughtful House is a non-profit organization that is funded through private donations (both individual and corporate), and foundation grants. Clinical services are offered through collaborations with specialized clinics that operate on a fee-for-service model.”

Continuing with the last therapy provided:

“ABA Therapy, provided by C.A.R.D.: Behavior Analysis is the science of behavior; Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the systematic approach to assessment and evaluation of behavior, and the supervised application of interventions based on the principles of learning theory. ABA focuses on the development of adaptive social behavior and the reduction of maladaptive behavior. “Social behaviors” include academics, communication, social skills, and adaptive living skills. C.A.R.D. is recognized as the most caring and productive approach to behavior modification in children on the autism spectrum.”

Who do they serve?

“Thoughtful House currently serves families that come from 48 states and 31 countries. While there is a lot of information and support that may be provided through phone consultations with various staff and collaborative clinicians, patients must be seen by the clinicians at least once per year (individual treatment plans vary). The limits imposed by location mean that our entire staff make every effort to support and communicate with families who choose this profoundly rewarding if arduous journey toward filling their child’s potential.”

Gotta love this last line: “support and communicate with families who choose this profoundly rewarding if arduous journey toward filling their child’s potential.” In other words, don’t go down this route, and you obviously don’t love your child and want what’s best for him. Right. Gotcha.

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3 Comments
  1. January 29, 2010 12:31 pm

    >It must be profoundly rewarding-for the folks at thoughtless house. Which will probably see a surge in business-how many people will actually read the Wakefield transcript in entirety? No, he'll be seen as the martyr for the cure cause, the man who risked it all..No, he's a renegade and a maverick..he's there for the kids! Not.

  2. January 30, 2010 1:10 am

    >"Many children don’t present obvious symptoms until they are older, and because of communication and pain-response deficits, the GI symptoms of many children with autism are overlooked. There is also a subgroup of children with autism that appear to lack GI symptoms, but without evaluation the question of an occult (hidden) GI inflammation remains answered." I'll also bet that only Thoughtful House's "Specially Designed for Autism" evaluation can find those unseen GI issues in non-symptom showing autistics. I mean, they're the only ones who TRULY KNOW THE TRUTH, right? It's the Secret that doctors don't want you to know, or aren't telling you. Right. "Thoughtful House is a non-profit organization that is funded through private donations (both individual and corporate), and foundation grants. Clinical services are offered through collaborations with specialized clinics that operate on a fee-for-service model."I'm sorry, but how can it be a non-profit organization funded by donations and grants when they CHARGE $290 to $390 per hour for consultations and follow-ups? To me, that's about as non-profit as Scientology, and boy, are THEY in a hell of a lot of trouble. Actually, now that I think about it, Scientologists have this thing against science-based medicine and psychiatrists, insisting that all problems can be cured with saunas and vitamins (at least, in the beginning)…. hmmm…. interesting….

  3. February 4, 2010 7:12 pm

    >Clinical Nutrition Treatment: Because of abnormal permeability in an autistic child's inflamed gut, and weakened digestive enzyme function, before some food proteins are fully digested they're able to leak into the bloodstream….Furthermore, because many affected children have bowel disease they may not be absorbing enough nutrients from their food, making supplementation and a well-designed nutritious diet even more important. WTF??? I always thought the "leaky gut" thing was nonsense, since real cases of celiac sprue are often diagnosed primarily by failure to thrive due to malnutrition. (My cousin's case was more dramatic; she developed an ileus.) But here they confirm the truth — that real bowel problems result in insufficient absorption — within the same paragraph as the leaky gut nonsense!I have to wonder how they are able to survive with such a massive cognitive dissonance.

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