Eleven years ago, a group of parents and relatives of children with autism, disappointed by the lack of adequate support and help for their children, came together to start a charity called Action Against Autism, later renamed Autism Treatment Trust (ATT), to serve as a voice and bring attention to healthcare professionals of the need for help and support in bringing up a child diagnosed with autism.
In 2006, a clinic was set up in Edinburgh to provide a diagnostic service, and access to biomedical, nutritional, and behavioural interventions to tackle the various medical and behavioural issues observed in children with autism. It has always been believed at ATT, that the earlier an intervention is started the better the chance of alleviating some, if not most of the problems seen in these children.
Over the past seven years, with the help of a dedicated team of scientists, medical doctors, behaviourists, and a large number of volunteers, ably supported by many who have served on its board of trustees, ATT has provided access to diagnostic services, and dietary, nutritional and behavioural advice and support to over 500 families in the UK and from overseas.
ATT has organised a number of public events, including workshops, training of professionals in the use of diagnostic tools (ADOS and ADI-R), and a number of international conferences, the last of which was the highly successful international conference held in Edinburgh on the 12th and 13thof June 2013. We have also sought to bring the realities of the condition and the possible courses of intervention to the attention of healthcare professionals and public policy makers with mixed results.
In all the years that ATT has been in existence, it has received no financial support from central or local government, instead relying on income from small grants and donations from generous benefactors. There have been several occasions in the past when ATT has come close to running out of money, only to be kept afloat with support from its senior trustees and other generous backers.
However, it has become increasingly difficult to continue to run the charity on this basis. With the charity running a considerable deficit in its finances, it is with much regret that the trustees have made the difficult decision to close the charity. This decision was not taken lightly and came after various avenues were explored in an effort to keep the charity going. Autism Treatment Trust will close its clinic at the end of August and thereafter the charity will wind up completely over the following weeks.The pain of taking this decision has been lightened by the knowledge that a number of other charities now appreciate that early biomedical and nutritional interventions can positively change the course of autism and provide some of the services provided by ATT. Our approach to Autism, that it is not wholly or mainly genetic in origin and as such can be treated, has moved some distance from the periphery of scientific thought and although it is not yet accepted by the mainstream there is far greater awareness of this view and evidence that demands it to be taken seriously. Whilst the Clinic is closing we will persevere through different avenues to get this message across where it matters.One of the practical issues arising from the decision to close relates to the information that the charity holds on you or your child. Under data protection regulations, reports and results generated by ATT have been kept securely in an electronic format. Hard copies personal data has been destroyed securely by authorised companies. If you would like soft copies of your ATT-generated data, please contact us on 0131 558 7444.
Dr Lorene Amet, Principal Scientist at ATT, has started a new enterprise Autism Treatment Plus (AT+), which will continue to provide services to children with autism. She can be contacted by e-mail:
& through AT+ web site.
The charity Treating Autism (http://treatingautism.co.uk) has similar aims to ATT and can be contacted for advice and guidance if required. Through these and other practitioners it should be possible to access the support required and so advance the core elements of our mission.
Finally, I would like to thank you for your support and confidence in the charity’s services over the years. ATT would not have achieved what it has without you. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I would like to wish you and your families the very best for the future.
Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Prof Mike Snape, Autism Therapeutics Ltd.
NNZ-2566 in Rett Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorders – Role and Update: Treating Autism Autism Treatment Trust June 2013 Conference NNZ-2566 in Rett Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorders – Role and Update v2