A mum has told of the heartbreaking moment her new friends tried to make her “cure” her son’s autism with “bleach therapy” – a fake treatment considered harmful by most health authorities.
When Katie Emde learned of her son’s severe non-verbal autism, she admitted to feeling alone – and was desperate for friends who understood what she was going through.
Before her son’s diagnosis, Katie said she “knew nothing about autism” and upon learning of her son’s condition, her life became a “fragile state of exhaustion”.
Desperate for some help, and hoping to find a way to manage, the defeated mum reached out to other mums online.
“I was sitting in the grey and I didn’t know who I could reach out to,” she wrote in a personal essay on her Facebook page A Journey For Avery.
“I needed to vent, I needed to talk to someone who understood our hard and my grey.”
But she explained that an entire day had passed with no response on her post, and she continued to feel alone “like no one cared”.
It wasn’t long before another like-minded mum reached out to Katie and the pair became what seemed like friends.
Katie wrote: “Let me tell you, my guard was completely down and I was on cloud nine that I had gained a friend who knew, who understood what this life looked like.”
Eventually, her new friend invited her to meet some other mums for “tea” and Katie was “so happy” to be “included in the mums’ group”.
But what she thought was a chance to make more friends, ended up being something else entirely.
Katie explained that not long after arriving at the “beautiful suburban style home” books and ” pads of sticky notes and pens” were handed out to all of the mums.
She “froze” and realised “this wasn’t your regular mums get together tea”.
“I remember hearing, ‘What do you have to lose? It was directed at me. I was frozen, I felt like I couldn’t say words. If I did, they were coming out in no rhyme or reason and definitely without control,” she wrote.
“I remember hearing just before I could answer anything and get up to leave, ‘Bleach Therapy can cure anything Katie, don’t you want to cure Avery?’”
Bleach therapy involves administering chlorine dioxide, a compound the US Food and Drug Administration has declared basically industrial bleach. Believers give it to their children orally, through enemas and in baths, but there is no science to suggest it works, with many medical bodies saying it is tantamount to poisoning.
Katie admitted the “day I got included and invited to a mum’s tea” was “the same day I learned about the underground hidden world of bleach and autism”.
Admitting “it will haunt me forever”, Katie has since found the courage to speak out about her son’s autism, and the time she ”was almost a part of a bleach cult”.
It took this experience for Katie to realise that she “never needed mum friends” – and all she needed was to ”leave the grey and see the beauty in my son and the autism journey we are on.”
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced here with permission