What is AutismOne and why does it need to be exposed?
To an unsuspecting parent, AutismOne seems to be a gathering to teach parents of autistic children how to help their kids. In reality, AutismOne is a fake scientific conference full of anti-vaccine, anti-science, and most importantly, anti-autistic speakers. AutismOne is notorious for vilifying vaccines, framing autism as a tragedy, and proposing horrific treatments for autism.
This conference is organized around two ideas: 1) vaccines cause autism and 2) that autism can and must be cured. Just to be clear, vaccines don’t cause autism (this has been studied in response to parental concerns ad nauseum and no link has been found) and autism is a primarily genetic disorder that begins in utero and cannot be cured.
Speakers at AutismOne do not generally represent cutting-edge knowledge and research, or even basic established knowledge. They do not represent the autistic community nor the scientific community. They represent a group of people taking advantage of parents struggling to help their children who don’t fit the narrow mold of “normal”.
We understand why parents turn to these “alternative” strategies to help their children. There are no easy answers about autism and navigating through the information and misinformation can be relentlessly exhausting.
However, for speakers to present these treatments as proven is a violation of informed consent, the cornerstone of medical practice. Medical practitioners are required to disclose all risks and benefits of a treatment.
The treatments promoted at AutismOne are either implausible (no likely hypothesis exists for how it would work), disproven (studies have shown that they are not effective or pose too many risks to justify their use) or unproven (plausible things that might work but haven’t been adequately tested). Those who promote these treatments are either true believers who have thrown science and evidence in the trash or they are con artists who know they are full of it but sell nonsense to struggling parents anyway.
Everyone deserves access to accurate information to make informed choices. Speakers at AutismOne have a history of making promises without evidence or without acknowledging the limitations of evidence. This is manipulation and does not allow people to make truly informed choices.
On this site, we have gathered evidence-based resources exposing the pseudoscience, funding sources and fraud that is the AutismOne conference.