Maybe I am naive but I guess I just dont see why a parent of an autistic child would lie about what has help their child. What would they get out of it?
I agree with Alexsmom here, I don't think anyone is intentionally lying, but in those first 2 years or so after diagnosis, it is difficult to tell sometimes exactly what is helping. Unfortunately, most parents don't realize this until after the fact. Once you start scaling back on some of the treatments/therapies, and you realize that your child is still making progress, is when you see that children with autism, just like other children, do develop without intervention as well. When we first start out we examine each day, and even each moment, of our child's lives to try to figure out what is helping. But, you really need to look at the big picture, not day to day improvements and regressions to truly see what has helped and what hasn't. Also, I think taking away some of the therpies and seeing what happens can be important at times.
Parents are in a difficult position, we don't know exactly what treatment helps autism, if any, and that is further complicated by not knowing what treatments will help any individual child. I know I have tried some things that other parents said helped their child, and those treatments seemed to make my son worse. (That goes for alternative and traditional meds.)
This is even further complicated by the pressure to do something while the child is still very young. So we research and decide what treatments we would like to try, then throw a bunch of treatments at these kids, and they improve, or don't, but we really don't know what would have happened if we hadn't treated them. And I'm not saying we should try to find out, I'm not advocating non-treatment, I'm just saying there are factors that cloud our perception of what is working and what isn't.
For example, my own son who is 6 and severely autistic, from the ages of 2-5 we did many treatments, alternative and traditional. None of these treatments seemed to make much difference for him, although at the time I was giving them I examined every little blip up and down and at times I thought they were helping. After the age of 5, we scaled way back on therapy, and suppliments. We did do some trials of traditional meds for behavior issues, none of which "worked" for him either. However, in the past year or so, he has gone from understanding 3 words, to understanding about 10 words, and is even following some directions when in context. This has made a huge improvement for him functionally. (BTW, these improvements also came after he received his 5 yo vaccinations.) And I have no idea why he made this improvement.
There is just so much we don't know about autism, and about our children's individual biochemistry and brain functioning. This just makes it really difficult to tease out what treatment is actually improving the brain functioning. These kids will also make inexplicable improvements and "regressions" as well.