How do you feel about Toni Braxton claiming her son is no longer Autistic? 

​I don’t get why people are so defensive of Toni Braxton’s announcement that her son is no longer on the Autism Spectrum. Autism cannot be cured. That’s not just my opinion but instead a medical fact.

I don’t really care if she actually said he was cured or if she simply said he’s off the spectrum.  The only two ways off the Autism Spectrum is a cure, which doesn’t exist or death. Not to sound too dramatic but there’s a reason they say Autism is a lifelong condition.  

If the reality is that Autism cannot be cured, then how is her son no longer Autistic? Either she simply no longer considers him to be on the spectrum, which is her biased opinion or he was misdiagnosed in the first place.  
There’s not a whole lot of wiggle room with scientific fact… 

The problem I have with all of this is the message it sends. The reality of the world we live in is such that celebrities carry more klout with the public than actual doctors and scientists, who’ve dedicated their lives to the study of things like Autism. 

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When someone like Toni Braxton makes a claim like this or even insinuates that her son has been cured, it’s dangerous because people believe her. It’s things like this that harm the Autism community by spreading misinformation. 

Let’s say she didn’t mean he was cured. Every press article I’ve read is talking about her son being cured, so the message is being delivered, regardless of the original intent.  

My stance is this.  By saying her son was no longer Autistic, what did she expect the world the think? If you say that someone no longer has cancer, what do you assume? They’ve been cured or maybe remission right?

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Her general statement sent a very powerful message, whether it was intended or not.  When you are in a position of influence, whether you should be or not, you have to be very careful what you say because your words can be very powerful.  

That’s my point.  

I feel statements like this just contradict all the efforts we put into things like Autism Awareness Month.  We educate the public about Autism and in one breath, a celebrity comes along and completely contradicts one of the most basic, fundamental facts about Autism and people believe it.  

I would like to know what you think about her statements..  Please be respectful of everyone’s opinion and let’s have a productive discussion about this very hot topic…. 


  1. Dawn

    Explain to me how she’s hurting anything or anyone? So she believes her son is cured… I say good for her! She’s not exactly telling people to give their children bleach enemas or set their hair on fire as a cure, is she? Maybe her stating that her son is no longer on the spectrum gave someone hope when they desperately needed it.

    1. I’m glad her son is doing better but if saying her son is no longer on the spectrum is giving anyone hope, it’s false hope.

      She could have that with lots of hard word, love, therapy and patience, her son is doing much better now. That’s how you give someone hope. Stating the impossible is not helpful and it’s sends the message that Autism is curable, when it isn’t.

        1. Can false hope ever be good? Filling someone with hope of having something happen that can’t possibly happen, seems horribly irresponsible.

          That’s just my opinion. I prefer to deal with reality because it’s true and you know what to expect…

          Maybe other people feel differently…

    2. Hopeismyname

      It does hurt people when these celebrities claim these miraculous cures….it hurts me to the core. I am living deep in the pit of autism land and I have been for 19 years. I have tried every diet, every medication that the doctor would give me….and begged for therapies that in my small rural town no one provides…I’ve traveled to bigger cities looking for help. Typically I get answers like “there are no ABA providers in your area” or “severe meltdowns are unfortunately a part of autism, you need to call the police if you think your child is out of control”….True or not my imagination leads me to believe that Toni Braxton and Jenny McCarthy and any other celebrity never heard these kind of doors being slammed in their faces. I picture them having private chefs that create all kinds of gluten free meals for their child with only organic material while I’m cooking like crazy just trying to keep my family full and happy….I picture these rich stars with doctors handing them therapists like halloween candy- true or not that is what my very jealous, tired brain pictures. I picture them having a nanny and a full-time ABA team and a baby sitter and child rearing coach all hanging around waiting for him to need something or her to ask a question while they are caring for her child. This while I’m changing the sheets and doing loads of laundry and washing dishes and still getting my son his brushing and his compressions, while getting him ready for school, while writing out the goals I want seen on his IEP, while taking an on-line course about ABA because they simply don’t offer it in my neck of the woods, while still trying to give my son’s twin sister a normal life. It may be wrong of me to picture it this way but I don’t look any way near as good as she does when someone wants to ask me a question about my son and autism. I don’t have manicures, and hairdressers….I didn’t perform on TV last night and look like that ….I’ve never in life had clothes lke that…so although I may be showing a judgemental side I am also telling you a realistic side and there is no cure hanging in our near future….let’s just be honest here…it isn’t going to happen and everyone knows it. So if her son was indeed “cured” then it was because he had acess to so many privileges that he can now function in a way that doesn’t show his anxieties or his needs and that is great but I would guess that if something suddenly changed in his life and he was stressed there would still be signs. If not hey I’m happy for you….but I would be happier if you were honest and simply said he’s doing so well because we’ve been blessed because of our good fortune and used all the tools available out there to make him as successful as we possibly could.

      1. Amen. That’s what I’m talking about. Thank you for your real, honest and emotional confession. You aren’t wrong or selfish. While money doesn’t fix everything, it certainly buys privilege, support and medical care.

        Therapy for children with Autism and support for their parents, shouldn’t be a privilege….

        1. Braden

          I responded above….sorry it didn’t follow the path.

          If we are going down the money path here….who pays for all of it? I don’t begrudge someone for working hard and trying new therapies that might or might not work.

          I don’t know anyway that would offer up unlimited access to anyone that wanted to try every experimental or non traditional therapy. Especially not with a community as large as the autism spectrum.

      2. Dawn

        I’m sorry that your life is difficult, I really am. However, everything you assume celebrities have or don’t have is your perception. And I don’t think Toni Braxton used the word ‘cured’, that was the media. My impression is that her son has dropped off the spectrum. I don’t see why that is so unbelievable when you consider that the goalposts for what behaviors are and are not ‘autism’ are constantly being moved.

          1. Dawn

            I think that’s where we will have to disagree. As an outsider, when I hear that he is no longer autistic I think he has dropped off of the spectrum, not been cured. I agree with you and others that there is no cure, but I think you can come off the spectrum and no longer be considered ‘autistic’. That was my point about the goalposts always being moved. There are very few other illnesses or conditions which change like autism does, e.g., asperger’s no longer being a diagnosis.

            1. You bring up an interesting point. That being said, under the current criteria, assuming he was correctly diagnosed in the first place, can she really honestly and accurately say that he’s no longer Autistic? Maybe he’s just doing really, really well but if there’s no cure, how is it possible that he’s no longer Autistic?

              That’s my thing. I wish she would clarify this because all it does is get picked up by the media and misinformation is spread.

              On the other hand, if she does believe he was cured and that’s what she was eluding to, that’s a problem.

              She also is the one who believes that having a child with Autism was God punishing her for having an abortion. That’s pretty out there and so it wouldn’t surprise me if she does believe he was cured and there is no misunderstanding…

              Having said that, I agree that the only way to fall off the spectrum would be if the criteria for being Autistic has changed.

              I will also say that removing Aspergers seems to have been pointless because I don’t know anyone who’s diagnosis was changed and there are people still being diagnosed…

              1. Jimmy Rock

                You’re right as to that last point, Rob. Asperger’s was merely removed from the DSM when they updated from IV to 5 (and yes, they also stopped using Roman numerals) – doesn’t mean that Asperger’s doesn’t exist anymore. But it’s not necessarily about changing criteria. On to the more general points:
                Keep in mind- autism can be diagnosed if enough symptoms from Column A and enough from Column B can be checked off. I’m being a little facetious, but that’s sort of how it works. So it is possible that an individual diagnosed as autistic can make enough improvements in certain areas that (s)he no longer fits the diagnosis of autism under the standards used. In other words, in my example, the individual, not the standards, have changed. But that doesn’t mean that the individual’s brain functionality, or how his or her brain is “hard-wired”, has changed one bit. It just means that the individual has learned to manage, mitigate, cope, adapt, etc. in such a way that, when checking off the symptoms from Column A and Column B, not enough symptoms can still be checked off to warrant the autism diagnosis.
                On the flip side, you can certainly also have a neurotypical individual who maybe is a little bit “quirky”, who also can check off enough symptoms to be diagnosed with autism. Perhaps that individual, as they age, lose some of the symptoms which could justify the diagnosis.
                But regardless of symptoms, diagnoses, or definitions, there’s a big difference in how the brain works in a quirky neurotypical individual and an autistic individual, even if they share common symptoms, and even if their symptoms improve.
                These aren’t just semantics– this is important stuff in understanding how autism works, how it should be diagnosed and treated, and also in trying to understand what life truly is like for someone who happens to be autistic.
                So if someone gets a little bent out of shape when the suggestion that an individual has been “cured” is floated, it’s because it’s not really considering any of the above…

                1. Fair points Jimmy. This is true and I get that. Again, my concern is that by promoting a child is no longer get Autistic, people assume he was cured. Just look at how the media has approached this. All that does is confuse an already confused public into think that Autism is curable.

                  You’re absolutely right when you say that a child can simply learn to better navigate and interact with their world but that doesn’t amount to a cure.

                  That amounts to a parent, child and therapists working very hard, sometimes for a very long time. Other times, progress is never really achieved.

                  I wish when people have the ear of the media, they would be more responsible about how they make announcements like this.

                  We’ll said Jimmy.

              2. Dawn

                I searched for her claim that her son was given autism as a punishment, and how I read it was “I took a life, and my son has been punished because of it”. I feel that was parental guilt and also abortion guilt. I know more than one woman who made the right choice at the time, yet felt guilty about their abortion later (usually after having a child). While you might take exception to the word ‘punished’, I don’t think it’s as nefarious as you might. I think this might be another example of you and I seeing it differently because I am in the outside looking in while you are in the inside looking out.
                On another subject… there is a very aggressive and annoying info link popup on your site. It’s new and is causing me lots of aggrivation any time I come to the site and again when I go to a new page.

                1. As for the popup, I’ll take a look because I’m seeing the same thing.

                  As for the rest. I totally agree. I’m not saying that any of this is out of malice. She may truly believe these things and just be excited and wanting to share.

                  However, someone in her position needs to be care how they approach things like this. If she had just talked about how much progress her son has made and how proud of him she was, that wouldn’t have upset anyone and frankly, would have even been inspiring.

                  Instead it was handled In a way that the media took off with it and it’s now all over theinternet that her son has been cured.

                  Kids can outgrow juvenile epilepsy, ADHD and even things like oppositional defiance but you don’t outgrow Autism.

                  Thank you for the your well thought out words. I enjoy being able to have a discussion like this because it helps to get a better understanding of how the community feels. ☺

  2. I’m really happy that her son is doing better and I’m not trying to be a dick. That said, there’s a reason why so many people are so upset with her making this statement.

    I talk to countless families from all across the world and I hear their struggles. I know how hopeless some people feel and when someone provides false hope, that does hurt people.

    We have to be very careful how we present things when we have the ear of the public. I would never in a million years make a statement that my kids were no longer on the spectrum because then people cling to the hope that they will have the same experience.

    I have said before that with therapy, lots of patience, hardworking and unconditional love, we’ve seen significant progress but my kids will always be Autistic. We still face major challenges but positive forward movement is possible.

    That’s how you provide people with hope. It’s real, tangible and while everyone is different, these things go are proven to have a positive impact on kids with Autism…

      1. I’m not saying anything about attitude. I’m simply saying that there is no cure…period. Giving people hope that there is, just fills them with false hope. A huge number of people believe vaccines cause Autism because of Jenny McCarthy. Are they right? No but no matter how much proof is provided, people don’t listen.

        I work very hard to present Autism in a realistic manner. Everyone’s mileage will vary and I’m very clear about that. I’m also very careful about how I present things because I never want to provide people with false hope.

        It’s one thing to talk about something that’s actually possible but to use one’s platform to spread information that cannot possibly be true, is irresponsible. Talk about how well he’s doing because that can provide people with hope but saying he’s no longer Autistic is simply not possible. Maybe he was misdiagnosed but be clear about that. Don’t give desperate parents hope that the impossible can happen.

        I’m not trying to be a dick. I’m very invested in this community and things like this make big waves, whether those waves hit you personally or not.

  3. Jimmy Rock

    I think some confusion may lie in the use of the word “cured.” If one is autistic, one’s brain is hard-wired differently from neurotypical individuals. While the resulting symptoms and challenges that the difference in brain function causes can often be minimized through various therapies, that difference in hard-wiring remains. Some diagnosed autistic school age children, who have been classified as autistic for IEP purposes, may ultimately become “declassified”, however, their diagnosis of autism remains. This declassification is not equivalent to a cure, and the minimization of symptoms, and/or the increased ability to manage the symptoms, does not change how the brain is hard-wired. You just can’t go from being autistic to neurotypical.

    The hope is that an autistic person will have an easier time in life as they learn to adapt and cope, but there’s a big distinction between that and a true “cure.”

    1. That’s exactly my point. It’s one thing to say how much better a child is doing. That’s awesome and something we can all relate to and appreciate.

      Saying that a child is no longer Autistic sends the message that the child has been cured.

      The media runs with it and it becomes a huge deal. People get confused and misinformation is spread.

      That’s my issue with this whole thing. I’m not insensitive at all, in fact my concern is how statements like this impact desperate families….

      1. Jimmy Rock

        Yeah I’m sort of surprised at the backlash that you’re getting. Not to stir anything up, but it’s like those conspiracy theorists that say we never landed on the moon. They don’t have a legitimate leg to stand on, as science and reality prove otherwise, but anytime that issue is “debated” is ridiculous, because somehow a preposterous position can get legitimized in the process.

        Look what some people do in hopes of an autism cure. Ever talk to someone about how they’re doing chelation therapy for their autistic child in hopes for a cure? Yikes.

        1. Braden

          my issue was that I didn’t think her statements were imflammatory or harmful. I thought it was a mom that was excited at the improvements in her child.

          I truly don’t believe that thinking there is a cure (or could be) is bad.

          1. Jimmy Rock

            Depends what you have to do for that alleged “cure”. Some people actually do harm to their child in the mistaken (and in some cases, scientifically disproven) belief that a certain treatment will “cure” autism. Just my opinion, but a parent should be aware of the facts behind any issue that his or her child may have, what the available treatments are, etc. as well as have a general understanding of how such issue works.

            1. mindfulmom

              I would agree, but there are allot of parent advocates who stand on their soap boxes and extrapolate about beneficial treatment/therapeutic interventions which are often only backed by anctedotal evidence of things they have witnessed first hand in their own children.
              That is not new to autism. It simply is more evident due to social media and the validation and positive reinforcement that these parents receive from followers when they post on social media or speak in public and they then engage in cognitive biasis by remembering the supports and shaming the dissenters. Pretty standard and not exactly rocket science….
              Cures for illnesses have been being sold as long as illnesses have been being diagnosed.
              And the autism diagnosis has evolved and will likely evolve again….remember all those people who used to be aspergers?

              1. I hear what you’re saying and I get it. I also agree with you. Again, my only issue is concern over giving desperate parents false hope.

                I don’t dispute her son may be doing better and for that I’m grateful, as we all should be because someones life is better.

                Stating that he’s no longer Autistic, clearly gives the impression that she believes he’s been cured. Perhaps it was a poor choice of words and the media just ran with it.

                I would never say my kids have been cured of Autism, no matter how well they’re doing because it sends the wrong message. I would openly celebrate how well my kids are doing. Autism isn’t a death sentence. Lives can be improved and struggles overcome but at the end of the day, Autism is a life long neurodevelopmental issue and can’t be cured.

                I’ve sat at the Cleveland Clinic and spoken to the top experts there in regards to my oldest, when he was admitted. I’ve asked these very questions and the answer is always the same. Progress can be made but there is no cure for Autism.

                This isn’t a keyboard warrior thing either. We work very hard to help the world better understand the mystery that is Autism. Autism is amongst the most perplexing of the human conditions but there are certain things go we know for sure. There’s a genetic link, vaccines are not the cause of Autism and there is no cure.

                When a celebrity makes a statement like Toni Braxton did, it send misinformation, even if it’s just her opinion or a poor choice of words.

                I have parents reaching out to express their frustration with the comments made because it confuses the public and just when they are getting people to understand that their child will not outgrow Autism, it’s hot of the presses that Toni Braxton’s son is cured, whether she used those words or not.

                Doctors, actual medical experts in Autism have said repeatedly that they cannot seem to undo or correct the misinformation put out by people like Jenny McCarthy. It’s to the point that people no longer trust their child’s doctors and rely on what popular people think. It’s sad and it’s scary..

                Sorry for the long winded response but this is something I feel very strongly about this.

                On a side note, may I ask what it is that you do? You’ve made reference to being a professional and you convey your thoughts very well.. I’m just curious.. ☺

  4. mindfulmom

    Rob you, like Toni Braxton, are neither a medical doctor nor a mental health professional. You are a parent of three children with various diagnosis that have changed and evolved over time. Some diagnosis have been added and some discarded (antisocial/psychopathic was tossed around a while back regarding Gavin, it has since been discarded). Clinical diagnosis can change and evolve for various reasons. It is not black and white, I would think you would be more sensitive to that as you have likely experienced misdiagnosis, changing diagnosis and evolving diagnosis over time with your children and are likely to in the future.
    As professionals we actually know very little regarding the epidemiology of psychiatric and neurodevelopmentsl conditions. More than we did a decade ago? Definitely, but allot or even close to the whole picture? No.

  5. Braden

    Sorry for your struggles, but what you wrote is nothing but jealously. I feel like this entire topic is a question of semantics and discussion on the ‘haves and have nots’

    She never said ‘cured’, the media did…she was happy with the results and responded in kind. People are either pissed at her not using the terminology they would prefer or because of her implied wealth…that is all I have seen. Everything else has been smoke and mirrors to those two points

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