There’s a story going around about a preschooler in Guangzhou, China who died after experiencing Xia Dejun’s unique treatment for autism: sweating it out.
I asked some friends who are fluent in Chinese to help me interpret the treatment center’s website because Google Translate just left me with more questions than answers (like, what is the “cerebral palsy buffet network” and what does it have to do with treating autistic behaviors?).
Xia Dejun says autism is a disease for the rich and lazy, so the cure is to un-spoil the children and take a significant payment from the parents. His treatment requires parents to leave their child at his facility 24/7 for two years and cut off all contact. The child is put into a “right living environment,” undergoing “militarization management” to “strengthen the constitution.” The child is put through a vigorous regimen of exercises, including weightlifting and walking 10-20 km per day while wearing heavy clothes to promote sweating “to increase the body’s energy, eliminating toxins.” They also spend time lying in incubators, to further promote sweating.
Mr. Xia has no medical training, and there is no scientific evidence backing up this sweat-out-the-autism treatment. The center is currently under investigation.
Exercise is a terrific treatment for just about everything; dehydration and heat stroke are not.