On 27 May, I took part in a panel discussion at Autistic UK's 'The Future is Gold' event. One question panellists were asked was 'What can be done to stop the increasing use of pseudoscience on autistic children?' Fellow panellist Emma Dalmayne gave a detailed answer about her work to expose and oppose the use of abusive 'treatments'. I added the followiung supplementary answer. [audio and video format to follow]
One major problem is the involvement of private companies - and therefore the profit motive - in healthcare. On the one hand, you get companies that will tout any so-called 'treatment' for money. On the other hand, you get people who, knowing that, reject legitimate medical interventions such as vaccinations. It is no coincidence that opposition to vaccinations (anti-vax) is a bigger problem in the USA, with its private healthcare system, than in the UK with our NHS.
So part of the answer to this question is to bring healthcare - including the pharmaceutical industry - into public ownership and under public control, and to democratise science and medicine: educate people about it and open it to public scrutiny.
Also, this battle takes place in the context of the need to defend science in a world that seems to be increasingly in the thrall of conspiracy theories and superstition. So we need to challenge that too, which includes promoting a rational worldview and a secular society.