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Toby Henderson Trust Autism News Round Up 30 September 2016

Autism News Round-Up: September 30 2016

Firm selling abusive autism cures linked to Scientology

Rogue trader in London offering quack autism cures uncovered by BBC Inside Out September 2016BBC’s London news programme Inside Out has uncovered a rogue Hungarian firm selling autism cures in London. Their undercover reporter was subjected to hours of abuse that his ‘trainer’ claimed would remove autism. In the sessions, the reporter was ordered to make prolonged eye contact with the trainer. This is something many autistic people struggle with. The trainer also verbally abused the reporter and threatened him with physical violence.

After the program aired, some people noticed that the techniques used by the firm are similar to the ‘bullbaiting’ technique used in Scientology. A little digging showed that the man behind the firm is indeed a Scientologist. The Church of Scientology strongly opposes any form of psychiatric treatment and believes that secular perceptions of what is mentally normal are not based on science.

Prominent speaker pulls out of autism conference over bleach cure

Chlorine dioxide, sold as a cure for autism.It seems that there are still plenty of people pushing – and buying – unconventional ‘cures’ for autism. An upcoming Autism Conference was the news this week after one of its most prominent speakers pulled out.

GP Amy Herlihy decided not to speak at the Cork Autism Conference after she discovered that she would be sharing the bill with a proponent of the bleach cure for autism. Anne Darcy, a nutritional therapist, advises parents of children with autism to give them chlorine dioxide. She claims this kills parasites that cause a host of conditions including autism. Darcy has since been removed from the list of speakers.

(The Times articles are behind a paywall – you can register to read two free articles a week –  but you can read the text on the Autistic Rights Together Facebook page.)

Firms in the UK looking to employ more people on the autism spectrum

Broker Willis Towers Watson plans to employ people with autismMajor broker Willis Towers Watson is planning to hire people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in the UK. The company is extending their employment programme to the UK after it was piloted in its New Jersey and Philadelphia offices.The company plans to create roles within the specialist data teams. They believe that people with ASD can thrive in data analytics work. CEO John Haley gave an interesting and encouraging talk, “Employment: The Autism Advantage”, to the UN World on Autism Awareness Day in 2015.

German firm Auticon is expanding to the UK and is looking to employ people on the spectrum as IT consultants and specialists.  Dirk Müller-Remus launched Auticon in 2011. His own son was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. He was dismayed by the employment prospects available to some autistic adults and set up Auticon in response. He says,

“Our consultants bring a unique skillset to clients’ IT projects, including pattern recognition, logic, precision, sustained concentration and an ability to intuitively spot errors, to name a few.” 

Auticon currently employs 103 people across Germany, France and the UK, including 78 autistic IT consultants.

Father’s viral post about lonely autistic son results in thousands of gifts and cards

Christoper Cornelius receives thousands of cards and gifts after his dad's post about how lonely life can be for children on the autistic spectrum.When Bob Cornelius shared a photo of his son’s schoolwork with Facebook he used it to ask people to talk to their children about compassion. The photo showed a fact sheet that his 11 year old son Christoper had filled in about himself. Where the sheet asked who his friends were, Christopher had written ‘no one’.

Bob remembered the recent viral story about the Florida State football player who sat next to a lonely autistic boy to eat his lunch. Afterwards, that boy had lots of kids sitting next to him. But Cornelius wondered, “Where were those kids prior to this child being thrust into the spotlight?”

He reminded people that,

“children with special needs understand far more than we give them credit for. They notice when others exclude them. They notice when they are teased behind their back. But mostly they are very much in tune when they are treated differently from everyone else.”

Cornelius says that he doesn’t blame the classmates who avoid Christopher. They haven’t been taught how to understand the the challenges his son faces. They also don’t understand how his behaviour is affected by being on the autistic spectrum. He hoped his original Facebook post could help to change that. Bob’s original post went viral for its message about friendship and compassion. Then Christopher received thousands of gifts and cards from all over the world.