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In social media groups, thousands are suggesting that using chlorine dioxide -- an industrial-strength bleach solution -- can act as an autism detox and expel parasites which they believe are the cause of autism. The FDA warns this bleach enema can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and severe dehydration if ingested.
Attorney and autism advocate Areva Martin joins the panel to discuss this sham procedure.
"This is child abuse... if you are injecting bleach, industrial-strength bleach, into a child, via an enema, thinking you're somehow changing a neurological condition by using this non-medical, non-FDA-approved procedure, you are torturing your child," she says.
The Doctors explain that this treatment is shared and discussed in closed social media groups which instruct the members to not discuss the treatment with anyone.
"If it's not something I can comfortably talk about with my doctor, I know it's not something I should be doing to my child," Areva continues. Areva has a son with autism and she explains that when he was first diagnosed, she went to a lot of doctors and tried a variety of approaches including supplements and shots.
"I was trying to change Marty, but when I stopped trying to change Marty and I started changing [mysellf] and loving Marty for the beautiful, wonderful kid that he is. Everything changed for us," she shares.
The Doctors explain that many people in these groups believe parasites and worms are responsible for the autism and think the bleach enema treatment will somehow expel them from their child's body -- a concept that The Doctors cannot stress strongly enough is not backed by any science, evidence or research.
We are also joined by a parent, Karen, who secretly joined one of these private groups and said what she witnessed in the group was "disturbing" and "alarming." She explains that she saw parents post that their kids were experiencing many of the things that the FDA warned against (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration), but they continued giving their children the bleach enemas.
We are also joined by Shannon Des Roches Rosa, author of the book, "Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism," whose son was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2. Like Areva, she tried a variety of alternative approaches initially like supplements and vitamin injections.
"Every step of it perpetuating the fear and the stigma and the misunderstanding that autism is treatable and curable when autism is how your brain works," she states.
Clinical psychologist Dr. B.J. Freeman also joins the discussion, explaining that approaches like applied behavior analysis and individualized intensive behavior programs have the best results in teaching autistic kids the skills they need.
The Doctors reached out to the woman who was pushing this bleach enema treatment and she would not answer our request for comment. She has left America and is now peddling this treatment in Mexico.