Westminster Commission on Autism reports on harmful interventions

The Westminster Commission on Autism has looked at the issue of fake cures/therapies for autism and has published the findings in a short report: "A Spectrum of Harmful Interventions for Autism"
The Commission is a group of parliamentarians, autistic people, parents/carers, charities, academics and health professionals. Although the Commission was unable to establish the prevalence of the use of harmful interventions, it heard from autistic people that they or someone they knew had been offered harmful or unsubstantiated interventions. 
The Commission makes recommendations which include calling on the UK Government to bring together the different agencies with regulatory responsibility to:
  • identify any gaps in current regulation
  • reconsider the agencies’ remits to ensure they cover and can respond to all harmful interventions or treatments.
It also recommends that the UK Government investigates the benefits and drawbacks of introducing legislation, similar to the Cancer Act 1939.
Date added: 29 March 2018


Sat, 17/11/2018 - 14:48

Very important article to challenge the existing theraputic alternatives for people with autism. Having counselled people with autism for many years now, I still feel alarmed by the continued stories recounted to me by my clients of some of the ethically questionable practices out there.


One client once told me that in a previous counselling session before coming to see me the counsellor told him he was stupid.


Equality diversity and inclusion are extremely important considerations to have within my practice.  I am currently doing a social science research course at UCL. Actually the main reason I am doing this course is so I can work towards a better awareness of psychotherapists/councillor's understanding of autism. It is very important to be able to hear the client as an atypical person in their own right


My in-depth understanding is from my awareness of having high functioning autism and associated learning difficulties.


 Sometimes we need to wear more than one hat within the therapeutic environment. So as well as providing a counselling service it is also important to consider the role of a mentor as well. As an integrative counsellor I am able to tailor the counselling individually to each client that I see. This works really well as I interact with them  first and foremost as a human being, rather than obsessing or over focusing on the person sitting in front of me as a dysfunctional person, a person with impairments, or somebody with a disorder. Every human being has their own set of unique challenges, to that end it is important to try and be as non-judgemental as possible. This allows very important work to be negotiated between client and counsellor to do with coping strategies, recognising the trigger points towards being overwhelmed, to help foster a better understanding of social interaction and to work with the skills and attributes of that individual. I've seen many examples of clients with autism been able to change their neurological conditioning from birth through the counselling practices that they have with me. I guess it's because they feel positively received in an autistic friendly non-judgemental environment.

 Leslie Stanbury.