Communicating With Parents of Children With Autism About Vaccines and Complementary and Alternative Approaches

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Despite incontrovertible evidence that vaccines do not cause autism, some parents continue to refuse them and many parents of children with autism seek hope in unproven and potentially harmful complementary and alternative (CAM) approaches. This commentary explores the reasons for such behaviors and proposes that pediatricians may support parents in their pursuit of hope in unproven treatments as long as these are not potentially harmful to the child or prohibitively expensive. While respecting parental autonomy and hope the pediatricians should share with parents their concerns about lack of scientific evidence about CAM and potential for harm by some approaches.

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