The Politics of Autism: from Hong Kong to London

If I were part of a group of parents of autistic children organizing an international conference costing in the region of 200,000 US dollars, I would want the best speakers in the world.  My top ten, out of all the speakers I have listened to at autism conferences, in alphabetical order are Tony Attwood, Simon Baron-Cohen, Gunilla Gerland, Chris Gillberg, Judy Gould, Temple Grandin, Wendy Lawson, Gary Mesibov, Clare Sainsbury, Lorna Wing. I can think of dozens of others who, in my opinion, would grace any international conference on autism, including old friends like Larry Arnold, Luke Beardon, Leneh Molton, Dennis Debbaudt and those I only know via the internet like Michelle Dawson, Roy Grinker, Mike Fitzpatrick, Dinah Murray and Estee Klar Wolfond. Then there are all the others whom I have never heard speak, never met and never swapped emails with, like Eric Fombonne and Donna Williams.

So who have the Autism Parent Network lined up for the Asian Autism Conference in Hong Kong this September? Here is the official list with their authorized biographies. There is not one internationally acclaimed authority on autism. And they have also studiously ignored the local talent. The authors of this paper and this paper who all found no connection between mercury and autism have not been invited to speak. But there are plenty of snake oil salesmen, faith healers, exorcists and nutty professors who still cling to the mercury hypothesis.

Dr Ken Bock

Dr Ken Bock received his medical degree with honors from the University of Rochester. He is an experienced DAN clinician, whose expertise lies in bringing a comprehensive integrative medicine approach to complex medical problems. Utilizing this patient-centered approach he has helped thousands of children on the road to recovery. In this lecture he will explain why the gut and diet are the first step on this road to recovery.

Dr Jeff Bradstreet

Dr. Bradstreet is the founder of the International Child Development Resource Center in Florida. He is an Adjunct Professor of Neurosciences at Stetson University, Florida and the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, Phoenix, Arizona. Dr. Bradstreet serves as an active collaborator on research projects at numerous medical schools. His interests in autism include metal detoxification, hyperbarics and immunological management of gastrointestinal problems. Dr Bradstreet will review the favorable clinical observations and research outcomes regarding the use of Hyperbaric Oxygen in autism spectrum disorders and outline common protocols.

Dr Stephanie Cave

The years between 1991 and 2002 will probably go down in history as the most controversial for the vaccine program. Many children were given vaccines containing toxic amounts of ethyl mercury and aluminum, as well as live viral contaminants. Dr. Cave will discuss the impact that this has had on the pediatric population, and will give some information about the numerous new vaccines that are being recommended. She will explain how important it is to get vaccinated, but safely.

Dr Doreen Granpeesheh

Dr. Granpeesheh founded The Center for Autism and Related Disorders and through its 17 offices worldwide, she has provided diagnosis, assessment and behavioral treatment for over 5,000 children with autism and related disorders.

Dr Martha Herbert

Dr Martha Herbert is a Pediatric Neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital (Harvard Medical School) and is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School. She specializes in children with learning and developmental disorders. In this lecture she discusses the growing body of research demonstrating biomedical problems like inflammation and oxidative stress in Autism which suggests that the brain may not be the prime target but rather caught in the crossfire of system-wide abnormalities whose treatment can lead to improved brain function

Dr Andrew Levinson

Dr. Levinson is an Advanced DAN!R Practitioner and has been working with children on the spectrum and their parents since 2000. He is an orthomolecular psychiatrist, a yoga master and the founder of Vitality Health & Wellness, a center committed to reversing the symptoms of Autism and related disorders and the AMRIT Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises monies to help families seeking biomedical interventions.

Dr Liz Mumper

Dr. Mumper is a general pediatrician who treats children with autism spectrum disorders and attention deficits and conducts clinical research in her Virginia practice, Advocates for Children. She is Medical Director of the Clinicians Training for Defeat Autism Now! and co-chair of the DAN! Advisory Board.

Dr James Neubrander

Dr Neubrander is board-certified in Environmental Medicine with special interests in heavy metals and folate/B12 chemistry. He has pioneered the use of Vitamin Methyl B12 in the treatment of Autism and evaluated over 75,000 injections of Methyl B12. It is his opinion that there are certain factors that must be in place, or avoided, for clinicians and parents to realize optimal benefits.

Dr James Partington

Director of the Star School in California on Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA), an important part of the overall treatment of ASD

Dr David Quiq

Dr. Quig received his PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of Illinois. He is currently Vice President, Scientific Support for Doctor’s Data, and has recently co-authored and facilitated several studies pertaining to toxic and essential elements in children with autism and learning/behavioral disorders.

Mr Stephen Shore

Mr Stephen Shore was diagnosed to have autism at young age. He obtained a Special Education degree from the Boston University. He actively participates in work relating to the education, social aspects, employment and rights of autistic persons. Mr Shore will be receiving his PhD in Special Education in September

I have no idea what Stephen Shore is doing in such company, nor why he, Temple Grandin, Valerie Paradiz and her son Elijah Wapner appeared at the recent

US Autism & Asperger Association Conference

Treating Autism as a Medical Disorder;
Bringing Biomedical Treatments and Behavioral & Developmental Therapies Together

Temple is probably the most famous autistic person in the world. When autistic people and their advocates appear at conferences like this they are not providing a countervailing view. They are giving tacit approval and validation to the quack remedies being espoused by their fellow speakers. who ask “If we are so off the wall why is Temple happy to share a platform with us?” Why indeed.

Meanwhile, a much less spectacular, but probably more important meeting is scheduled to be held in London next month. it features two of my friends, Larry Arnold and Dinah Murray.




7 pm September 2007

@ City Hall,

off Tower Bridge, London SE1 


Dinah Murray (University of Birmingham)

Larry Arnold (Member, NAS Board of Trustees)

David Morris (Disability advisor, Mayor of London) 

All speakers  currently provisional 

To register for the meeting please phone/ text 07875838968 or 020 79835773 or email or 

Owing to circumstances beyond our control we cannot guarantee a personal response to any or all enquiries, but all requests for registration will be added to the attendance list. 


Anyone wishing to attend this meeting MUST register in advance. No registration = No Admission.


11 thoughts on “The Politics of Autism: from Hong Kong to London

  1. I can’t understand why Shore, Grandin and Pardiz and her son attend the quackery spreading conferences, either. I agree that they give a gloss of approval from autistic adults, in general by appearing at those conferences.

    It’s sad to think of how many parents are snared by conferences like the one in Hong Kong. I hope the one upcoming in London will go well for everyone.

  2. ^ breaks out the sledgehammer to demolish the pedestal he had under Temple.

    Only two reasons I can think of for selling out on reality based approaches $Travel and enchancing ones Fame$. (Oh well, maybe there was a third $ idea in there.)

  3. Ms Clark – It’ll go well if people turn up! That’s a big hint to everyone who visits this page. Thanks for putting this up Mike.

  4. One thing to keep in mind here–

    The Asian meeting is mislabeled. It is a “convention” not a “conference”.

    Conferences have invited speakers and other speakers presenting results of studies. People discuss ideas and show results which may refute previous findings. Other people can ask rather pointed questions about the topics discussed–pointing out weaknesses in methodology or interpretation. Papers are generally published in some form of proceedings.

    Conventions are gatherings of people with a similar interest to hear more general talks. No one submits talks. People ask questions like, “where can my kid get this treatment.” Nothing is published.

    Calling these Autism conventions by the name conferences is PR. It is the same people who call “Alternative Medicine” the “Biomedical” aproach.


  5. I live in Hong Kong and whilst this “conference” attended by approximately 500 people( mostly parents) I am told, I was attending the Autism- Europe conference in Oslo. No quackery in sight. Inspiring talks by people with autism who celebrate their difference! Some great work being done on rights for people with autism and the social arena. I want to organize a real conference in HOng KOng on Autism – I am just a teacher, I need help to do that! Anybody out there?

  6. As a parent of a 4-year old autistic boy who attended the Asian conference this year and last, I have to say I disagree with your characterisation of the conference.

    The conference is very much aimed at parents of autistic children. It did not cover anything related to adults with autism, which Temple and Stephen typically focus on. It was organized by parents who are looking to help their kids connect with the world. Most of us had 2 years olds who never looked anyone in the eye, didn’t speak and never smiled. It covered the biomedical approaches to autism which, while still relatively new, have had profound positive effects for my son and his friends. Only one of the speakers could have been characterized as a “snake oil salesman” but that came down to his delivery manner rather than the underlying medical validity of his topic.

    Stephen Shore was supposed to attend but pulled out at the last minute. He has spoken in Hong Kong before and was very enlightening.

    As for not including local specialists, all the local autism specialists were in attendance. Only one spoke (versus several last year) because they are not as expert (haven’t done to published research) as the speakers invited from the USA. I know because I have consulted with all of them, as have most of the English-speaking parents in the same situation. I’d also say that most of the speakers were either parents or close relatives of autistic children themselves. There was nothing self-serving in the talks, and the attendance fee was not high.

    If you lived in this region you would be familiar with our high levels of pollutants in the atmosphere from immature industrial processes. There is a huge need for this type of conference here, with its focus on healing the body to help the brain function.

    In fact in Asia, there are large numbers of undiagnosed autistic adults since there is not the awareness here of the condition. It is only my generation that is starting to understand it and spot the signs in our kids for the first time.

  7. I agree entirely with MC. Why does the psychiatric/psychological profession refuse to accept the science behind the biomedical approach when such respected scientists and doctors (many of whom have autistic children themselves)are working so hard to get to the fundamentals of autism which clearly reside in faulty biochemistry. Psychiatrists are prepared to make use of drugs to treat schizophrenia and many other neurological disorders, but for some strange reason they refuse to see that nutritional supplementation and detoxification can and do have a significant impact on the quality of life of autistic children and their families. It is not simply a matter of either/or when it comes to treating autistic children with ABA or biomedical means, but a judicious combination of both methods which works the best.
    Clearly it is easier for parents to understand the requirements of ABA type therapy compared to the complex biochemical issues at the heart of autism, but this is no excuse for assuming that ABA is always the best approach. It is well known that autistic characteristics are (co)related to low zinc and selenium, low glutathione, exposure to toxic metals, (epi)genetic and other environmental factors. Perhaps some of the above correspondents have just not bothered reading about them? If so, then I strongly recommend Richard Lathe’s book, Autism Brain and Environment published in 2006 which has some 59 pages of original references to scientific papers on the enormous progress that has been made in the last 10 years or so on the subject.

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