There are lots of scams out there targeting parents of autistic kids. A desperate parent can be lured into trying all sorts of quackery and questionable treatments in an effort to help her child - hyperbaric oxygen therapy, mercury chelation, cycles of intravenous immunoglobulin.*
But let me tell you about a simple treatment we swear by: a weighted blanket.
Individuals with sensory integration issues often have trouble feeling where they are in space. Applying extra deep pressure touch stimulation releases serotonin in the brain, resulting in a natural feeling of calm.
When Ryan is having an inconsolable meltdown at home and all my usual tricks fail, I lay a five-pound lap-size blanket over him, and he quiets down instantly. He could be wailing, screaming, dripping with snot, completely unresponsive to reason, and as soon as the blanket touches him, he can breathe. He has been known to go from manic to asleep in five minutes flat because of this blanket.
The blanket is magical. All hail the power of the blanket!
* For more information on discredited treatments, please see Autism Watch.