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UK Advertising Standards Authority Rules on Options Institute

3 Mar

The Kaufmans ran an Ad in the regional press over here which read:

AUTISM RECOVERY 2 Hours to change your child’s life With American Autism expert Raun K. Kaufman, himself fully recovered from Autism. Free Public Lectures

ASA recieved 2 complaints on the adverts (no, neither were me) and investigated based on the following:

1. Two readers believed the ad was misleading because it implied that autism was a temporary condition, which was curable.

2. One of the readers also believed the ad was misleading because it implied The Autism Treatment Center of America’s programme would be effective within two hours.

3. The ASA challenged whether the testimonials were genuine.

Points 2 and 3 were not upheld which meant ASA were satisfied that point 2 referred to the length of time the lectures went on for and that the testimonials in point 3 were genuine.

However, point 1 was upheld:

The ASA noted the ad referred to “AUTISM RECOVERY” and considered that the word recovery was likely to be understood by readers to mean that OIF were offering a treatment or “cure” for autism. We also noted OIF’s acknowledgment that results of the programme varied.

We noted we had not seen full copies of the three earlier studies on The Son-Rise Program to which OIF had referred. However, we understood from the summaries provided that none of those studies assessed whether the programme could cure Autism. We noted the discussion paper described how the principles of The Son-Rise Program were compatible with a more general understanding of autism and autistic behaviour, established through research carried out over the last 50 years. We also noted, however, that that paper did not assess the efficacy of The Son-Rise Program itself, but suggested that further independent research into the programme was needed. We therefore considered that the studies and discussion paper were not sufficient to support the efficacy claim made for The Son-Rise Program.

We noted two studies were currently being conducted on The Son-Rise Program, but considered that, whatever the initial observations might be, because the results of the studies were as yet unknown, unpublished research did not substantiate the claim. Because we had not seen robust scientific evidence to support the claim of recovery from autism, we concluded that the ad was misleading.

On this point, the ad breached CAP Code clauses 3.1 (Substantiation), 7.1 (Truthfulness) and 50.1 (Health and beauty products and therapies – general).