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Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism 2010-2011 Paperback – April 1, 2010
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“Parents and teachers seeking innovative ways to assist children with autism will find this a very useful resource.” (Library Journal)
About the Author
Ken Siri is a freelance writer living in New York City and is the parent of a boy with autism. He is the author of 1,001 Tips for the Parents of Autistic Boys and co-author of Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism.
Tony Lyons is the president and publisher of Skyhorse Publishing. He is the author of The Little Red Book of Dad's Wisdom and Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism.
Dr. Mark Freilich is the founder and medical director of TOTAL KIDS Developmental Pediatric Resources, which provides a holistic and integrated approach to the evaluation and management of children with developmental and learning differences.
is the executive director of AutismOne and has served as the editor-in-chief of Autism Science Digest. Teri has also been an annual contributor to Skyhorse Publishing’s Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism. She is a radio host and serves as the vice president of the Global Autism Collaboration. Teri lives in Fullerton, California.
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The authors cut through autism politics by allowing practitioners of these therapies to present their approach in their own words. The book is arranged with each treatment having a single essay/article ranging anywhere from 2 to 8 pages compiled in alphabetical order. This may be unhelpful to some parents first investigating autism treatments simply because there is no overall voice telling them which treatments are more effective, widespread, researched, or recommended. There is also no voice to counter any one of these treatments by describing any dangers or adverse effects, relying on the contributors to critique their own approaches. Clearly, there can be a downside to this. But I believe that Siri and Lyons calculated that it was more important to avoid the controversies and politics so common in autism circles which can sink any autism treatment book from the beginning. Instead, they felt that parents were better served by having the compendium with comprehensive information in a single place. Think of this book as a starting point for investigation. When an approach seems worth investigating, do further research on that approach than what is found in the book.
The only other possible criticism I have is about the contributors themselves. In some instances, a therapeutic approach is described by a founder or key practitioner of that particular approach. Some articles are authored simply by a certified therapist. But a problem with either of these is that while the therapeutic approach may be very highly recommended, the author may not have adequately explained its methodology, may not fully engage the reader, or poorly represent its benefits and/or shortcomings. In essence, it may be that a certified practitioner or even the founder of a methodology is not the best salesman for that same methodology. I found some of the essays were more compelling or more accessible/easily readable than others. I urge that readers keep this in mind when reading this book--try to glean the information and not necessarily reject an article because it may not have been the most effective author who wrote it. For instance, I personally found the ABA therapy article a bit boring -- though ABA is the most widely recommended approach and we've had much success with it for our daughter. On the other hand, I found the marijuana article very compelling, but I am unsure about whether or not it is appropriate for my own daughter.
I am so grateful that this book is available. The sheer volume of information out there is overwhelming. Siri and Lyons have done a tremendous service for parents like me.
If you found this review helpful, please let me know.
Now, in fairness to those who espouse other non-traditional treatments, the "60 Minutes" reporter used the phrase "unproven." I'm not a fan of the word "unproven" to describe non-traditional treatments, because to many, it sounds the same as "disproven" or "false" - when such is not the case. To consider a treatment to be "proven", it must pass multiple rigorous double-blind, placebo controlled, cross-over studies. Such studies cost millions of dollars. But, because there is no profit to be made from treatments such as vitamin therapies, the studies to prove their effectiveness will never be done. That does not mean, however, that such treatments are ineffective. It only means that such treatments have not been proven to the degree necessary to satisfy the scientific community. Because such treatments will never be subjected to such studies, they will always remain "unproven", though to thousands, the proof is in the results that have been achieved in their children.
When considering whether to do treatments such as stem cell therapy vs. vitamin therapy, we need to always consider one important question: who stands to benefit financially from this treatment? In the case of stem cell therapy, "Dr." Frank Morales was charging $125,000 per treatment. But with vitamins, however, the ease of manufacture and the variety of manufacturers keeps prices - and profits - very low. And this, to me, endows such treatments - and those who espouse them - with an added layer of credibility that is not present in those offering treatments that cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Just a little food for thought.