Letter: Hope for sufferers of autism

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AS AN able person with autism and an author on the subject, what surprised me about your article "The lost boy" (Review, 21 January) was the absence of talk about alternative therapies.

Many have been referred to conventional therapies; psychiatry, psychotherapy, drug treatments. But where's the mention of therapeutic approaches to things such as severe sensory-perceptual problems, "brain allergies" caused by multiple food and/or chemical allergies, or severe vitamin B/zinc/magnesium/amino acid deficiencies and imbalances often found in people with autism? These so often underlie autism-related problems such as obsessive-compulsive behaviours, emotional hypersensitivity, infor- mation processing problems and mood, behavioural, communication and social interaction problems.

Conventional therapists generally don't point carers down these paths. Unless they have read some of the (international) newsletters and research, they may never even have heard of these approaches, let alone understand how they work.

Autism is constantly being reinforced as an enigmatic, incurable condition and yet some even severely affected people have been helped dramatically by alternative therapies. What works for some will not be successful with all but there are many avenues to explore before conceding there is no "cure" for autism.

Donna Williams

London W11