People are buying hyperbaric chambers for their autistic kids.
The thing that bothers me about this is not that some parents are unable to sort out fact from fiction regarding their kid's disease, or that they might be just desperate enough to try anything, or that they look elsewhere when the doctors can't give them the answers they want.
I'm a parent, and I teach self-defense to special-needs kids. I know these parents, and I know the time and effort and expense that they go to in order to give their children every possible leg-up to having the fullest life possible.
I understand doing the best you can, but sometimes not knowing what to do, or how to even find out what the best thing to do is.
The problem is that Autism is a slippery diagnosis, and what works for one kid isn't that helpful for another. It's a hodge-podge of symptoms that vary in incidence and severity from person to person, and parents can often feel like the experts are just groping in the dark with no more of a clue than the parents themselves.
Many of the things that help kids on the Autism Spectrum take a lot of time, and effort and money for small, incremental gains that can sometimes seem like consolation victories.
There is a special place in heaven for the dedicated parent of a special-needs child. Parenting takes a lot of dedication, and a lot of self-awareness, and frankly, most people have days when they just aren't up to the challenge as much as they would like to be. The more individual issues your child has that separate him or her from peers, the more days like that you are going to have.
Enter the snakes in the garden: People who exploit parents and children for profit.
OK, you've got your herb sellers and your special diet people...well, Im not equipped to say if they do any good, but some parents swear by them and I haven't heard of them doing too much harm. Whatever, can't get too excited about it one way or another. I actually take Glucosamine and Chondroitin myself, for example as well as fish oil and flax oil. I gave Glucosamine and Chondroitin to my dog when she started getting arthritic and it seemed to help for a couple of years. Probably subjective, but no big deal. I started taking it when it was fairly new. As the years have gone by, the evidence is mounting that it's effectiveness is minimal if anything. A few years ago, I used to swear by this stuff.
Why? Well, because of assurances that I would certainly develop arthritis fairly young. This was due to some fairly severe injuries to the joints (The worst of which was; both of my knees were run over by a hay wagon. Long story that involves me being embarrassingly reckless), running and martial arts as hobbies, a family history of arthritis, and the extra weight I carry. The best recommendation of doctors was to save on my knees by doing something other than running and martial arts for exercise. They recommended walking and swimming. Walking is boring, and I didn't have the money to join a gym at the time, so swimming was a summer-only activity. Plus, I LOVE running and martial arts.
So I looked elsewhere and found "joint supplements" the doctor shrugged, said the science wasn't in but it probably wouldn't hurt anything to try it.
So in other words, I didn’t like what the doctors told me and went desperately searching for an alternative solution. I thought I'd found it, and I would have SWORN to you that it was the reason my knees stopped aching and my mobility increased, and I haven’t been crippled up with arthritis even though I probably should be. But the more evidence mounts up, the more it looks like I'm wrong, and it had nothing to do with joint supplements. So I wasted some money.
But then you've got your Chelatean Therapy people and people who encourage parents to put their kids in freaking hyperbaric chambers and to not immunize their kids against potentially fatal and disfiguring illnesses, and I suddenly realize that the loop-hole that lets people sell Glucosamine and Condroitin as a treatment for arthritis, (as long as they say it's not a real treatment) is being used to market hyperbaric chambers to the parents of autistic kids.
And I say close the loop-hole. I mean it. As good as I feel after my occasional chiropractic treatments for sports injuries...close it up. When I put something out of joint, I usually go get it put back in joint and have them hit it with the EMS machine and assign me some exercises to keep it from getting thrown out again...but I'll settle for some Ibuprophin and walking it off for a couple of weeks if that's what it takes to keep predatory assholes from convincing vulnerable parents to put their kids in fucking hyperbaric chambers without any understanding of the mechanics behind if it works or how.
The wink-and-a-nod "These claims have not been evaluated by the FDA" is just not good enough as a reality check, obviously, if people are going to go to this sort of expense to put their kids in that kind of danger.
And if people actually believe the treatment works, let them come with the science to prove it. If a science-based theory is established, and the results are proved, then maybe we can find a way to get the results without such a dangerous process. And if not, the parents can get a doctor's help in evaluating if the risks are worth the results.