Moms Go After Parents Using Unproven Autism Treatments
Two mothers have gone undercover to weed out misinformed parents sharing dangerous and false autism remedies on Facebook.
Melissa Eaton and Amanda Seigler, both of whom have children with autism, tell NBC News they decided to team up after coming across private online groups where families are encouraging one another to feed their kids bleach, turpentine or even the children’s own urine to counter autism.
Once they locate those parents, Eaton, 39 and Seigler, 38, notify child protection agencies in the areas where those abuses are taking place. The two women, from North Carolina and Florida respectively, claim to have brought more than 100 parents to the attention of authorities since starting their campaign three years ago.
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“You have the choice of doing something about it or letting it go,” Eaton told NBC.
Eaton and Seigler reportedly became aware of these radical chat groups while seeking to better inform their efforts in raising children with autism. Alarmed, they decided to infiltrate the cliques by posing as desperate parents looking for alternative remedies to cure their kids of autism, for which no elixir has been found.
Some of their discoveries were terrifying.
One mom in Kansas reportedly told her online community “My son is constantly making a gasping sound,” after trying to treat the boy with chlorine dioxide, which is akin to bleach. Eaton and Seigler told NBC they have screenshots of that exchange. A Canadian mother reportedly wrote that her son was refusing to drink his poison.
“He won’t open his mouth,” she wrote. “He screams. Spits. Flips over.”
A Georgia mom was targeted by Eaton and Seigler when she posted online that her child with autism was resisting enemas and the instrument she was using to administer chlorine dioxide “broke in half when Jojo trying to escape.”
Seigler said the misguided parents she encountered were “like a cult.”
In addition to working with law enforcement, the crusading moms have reportedly made social media platforms that host these conversations aware of what was going on.
NBC blames the origins of this particular misinformation campaign on authors and evangelists with no known medical training writing books and preaching about alternative cures.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network reports that autism has been on the rise over the past decade, and that 1 in 59 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder.
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