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 autistic children, 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.
“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 autistic children. 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.
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 her autistic child 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 one in 59 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder.