There is little hope given to parents of children with autism.
Mainstream medicine offers no explanation for the cause of this life-long learning disability, thought to affect one in 100, and there are no effective treatments.
The doctors I visited are all linked to the highly controversial US-based Defeat Autism Now! (DAN!) group – a collection of fringe academics and doctors. DAN! practitioners often recommend chelation therapy – injections intended to detoxify the blood of heavy metals, the treatment that led to the death of autistic five-year-old Abubakar Nadama, a doctor’s son from Batheaston, Somerset, in 2005. By speaking to autism experts and GPs, I was able to identify five key players in the DAN! movement in the UK and Ireland.