Tuesday 19 September 2017

Homeopath who claimed to treat symptoms of autism has been forced to remove advertisement

(Stock image)
(Stock image)

Daniel O'Connor

A homeopath who said that she could alleviate the "symptoms" of autism has fallen foul of advertising standards after claiming to help children diagnosed on the spectrum with alternative therapies.

The Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) received a complaint after Dublin-based Almond Homeopathy published a Facebook post claiming it could help children on the Autism spectrum with their symptoms.

A complaint was made to the ASAI after Dublin-based Almond Homeopathy published a Facebook post concerning helping children on the Autism spectrum.

The post read: “I have the pleasure of meeting and working with many children diagnosed with ASD and the greater pleasure and joy of helping them overcome many of their symptoms that were holding them and their families back from getting the most out of life.

“Christian is one of those children, to find out more about him and how his learning, relationships and speech improved have a read of my new blog.”

A link to the blog post was also provided, which was headlined “Big Autism Improvement.”

A complaint was made to the ASAI, with the complainant saying that the advertiser “was not professionally qualified to treat such a condition".

Under Section 11 of the ASAI Code, “marketing communications should not suggest that a product or treatment will achieve success in every case or that the outcome can be other than dependent on the particular circumstances of the individual person.”

It also states that advertisers who invite consumers to diagnose minor ailments should not make claims that may lead to a mistaken diagnosis.

The homeopath responsible for this advertisement said in response to the complaint that she was not diagnosing conditions, but simply determined what remedy would help a person best when they came to her with a set of symptoms.

She also added that did not claim to be able to cure anything or anybody, but that she did use previous cases to illustrate what symptoms could be helped.

While the ASAI acknowledged that the woman was qualified and registered with the Irish Society of Homeopaths, they ultimately found that the advertisement was in breach of the ASAI code.

In their conclusion, the ASAI noted that they “considered that the wording of her post and the heading of the blog post would give readers the impression that she could treat the symptoms of Autism.”

Almond Homeopathy was forced to remove the advertisement, and it must not reappear in its current format again.

A spokesperson for the Irish Progressive Association for Autism has warned the parents of children with autism of searching for information from sources that aren’t credible.

“The parents of children with autism can be emotionally vulnerable in the weeks and months following diagnosis and should be very careful in what they view online about autism,” the spokesperson said.

“The reality is that autism in a life enduring condition, there is no cure for autism and any person or organisation that is offering a so called “cure” should be avoided.”

“There are literally millions of pieces of information online about autism and it is very difficult to figure out what is real and what is not.”

“We would urge parents to look at established and credible sources of information online and be very weary of sites that offer cures or make other unsubstantiated claims.”

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