Intricacies, Complexities, and Limitations of Research on Autism Treatments: An Examination of Seven Treatment Approaches

Seitler, Burton Norman
July 2011
Ethical Human Psychology & Psychiatry;2011, Vol. 13 Issue 2, p155
Academic Journal
Part 1 of this article, published in Volume 12, Issue 2, probed factors associated with autism. Many of those factors had to do with how toxic substances are polluting our environment. Investigative chicanery involving one neurotoxic agent in particular (thimerosal) was uncovered. The controversy surrounding this neurotoxic agent was examined in some detail, and questions were raised whether information about the degree of toxicity of thimerosal was being minimized, distorted, or covered up by authorities and agencies in positions of influence. Other potentially harmful sources that might differentially contribute to what some might regard as an autism epidemic were listed and described as well. In this section, science and scientific investigation are described, with particular reference to the complexities, intricacies, and difficulties inherent in conducting research on autistic children, and how these intricacies complicate drawing definitive conclusions about if, how, or why a treatment method did or did not work. In addition, seven treatment approaches to autism are listed, along with concise descriptions of these methods and a general rationale underpinning each method. Considerable attention is paid to applied behavior analysis (ABA) because most behavioral treatments derive from it. Commentary on other treatments is provided, such as psychoanalysis, special diets, and chelation. In particular, aftereffects associated with medication tactics are noted.


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