As late as just a few months ago, The Autism Research Institute (ARI), promoted their upcoming Fall 2010 Defeat Autism Now! conference in a monthly newsletter. Note the name of the conference:
“Fall 2010 ARI/Defeat Autism Now! Conference”
Now look at ARI’s promotion of their Spring 2011 conference.
“Spring 2011 ARI Conference
(formerly known as Defeat Autism Now!)”
Do you see the difference? It’s pretty hard to miss. What about all those practitioners (physicians, nurses, chiropractors, nutritionists, naturopaths, and homeopaths, etc.) who want to participate in the “DAN! Physician Training”, you know, become “DAN! Practitioners”? How does one become a DAN! doctor, if Defeat Autism Now! is a former identity?
A quick look at the ARI Conference website answers that right away.
The practitioner seminars are still part of the conference. But there’s something potentially newsworthy here too.
As of 12/31/11, ARI will no longer be maintaining a clinician registry (a.k.a “the DAN list”). No new names will be added to the registry in 2011.
You read that correctly – no new names in 2011, and at the end of this year, it’s over. No more list of DAN! Doctors.
According to ARI’s website, one is best served in finding a “talented clinician” by way a support group – local, or you know, out there on the interwebs.
As recently as 10 years ago it was nearly impossible for parents to find clinicians who approached treating patients with autism from a medical point of view, so ARI started keeping a clinician registry (the “DAN list”). We tried a number of measures to ensure that every clinician on our list provided high-quality care, but we are a small non-profit with limited resources. We have determined that those seeking a talented clinician are best served by connecting with support groups—either locally or online—instead of choosing from a list that cannot be vetted.
I’m not sure what they mean by having tried “a number of measures to ensure that every clinician on our list provided high-quality care”. I understand that there were special “clinician training” sessions at DAN! conferences in the past, but as far as I understood it in the past, becoming a listed DAN! practitioner might have required little more than attend a conference, sign a statement pledging to “conduct their practice in accordance with DAN! philosophy”, and ask to be listed. Although I could be wrong, I find it incredibly difficult to believe that there were in fact any significant measures taken by ARI to ensure the provision of high quality care by clinicians on its list. I seem to recall that Roy Kerry was added to ARI’s list of DAN! practitioners in 2006 after the death of Tariq Nadma in 2005.
ARI’s notes and disclaimers for the remaining year of life for the list of DAN! doctors seem pretty careful:
If someone claims to be “DAN-certified,” they’re overstating; neither ARI nor Defeat Autism Now! has ever had a certification program.
The following are practitioners who have asked to be listed as providing Defeat Autism Now!®- based interventions for patients with autism. Most are physicians, others are licensed health-care professionals in related fields.
ARI has no means of certifying the competence nor quality of practice of any practitioner. The lists are provided as a community service. The Autism Research Institute disclaims and does not endorse or support any individual or entity listed; makes no representations, warranties, guarantees or promises on behalf of or for those listed, and assumes no liability nor responsibility for any service or product provided. ARI does not ‘certify’ practitioners or guarantee competence, skill, knowledge, or experience.
So is that it? Is this really the end of DAN! doctors in less than a year? Isn’t there a D-List celebrity with apparent anti-vaccine leanings , who can save (or may have already saved) the day for all the poor physicians, nurses, chiropractors, nutritionists, naturopaths, and homeopaths who need be available to all those parents who are desperate to recover an “epidemic” of kids from autism, mercury poisoning, or “vaccine-induced” whatever?
Aha! Jenny McCarthy’s Generation Rescue! Where, from the home page, a parent can click on “Find A Doctor” and learn about the NGMD’s.
What’s an NGMD according to Jenny McCarthy’s Generation Rescue?
Answer: According to Jenny McCarthy’s Generation Rescue website, an NGMD is a “New Generation Medical Doctor”, and “These clinicians share Generation Rescue’s ideologies, practices, and philosophies of treating the underlying medical issues of individuals with autism.”
I think this is potentially an interesting development, because in the past, a parent brand-new to an autism diagnosis might have assumed scientific credibility from a movement’s (Defeat Autism Now!) list of practitioners associated with a name like “Autism Research Institute”. If nothing, ARI is a scientific sounding name. I don’t think that’s as likely to be the case for the “NGMD’s”, who could be seen by many as simply associated with a fringe anti-vaccine group promoted by Jenny McCarthy.
What do you think?