Thoughtful House Center for Children – The Johnson Centre, now known as Johnson Center for Child Health and Development is an organization dedicated to promoting anti-vaccination conspiracies and cures for autism that are not medically supported. It is based in Austin, Texas and it was founded by a group of medics led by discredited researcher Andrew Wakefield in 2005. This organization offered alternative treatments that included chelation therapy and gluten-free/casein-free diets. Thoughtful House Center For Children – The Johnson Center is now led by Laura Hewitson after the founder and executive director Andrew Wakefield left the organization. The name of the organization is derived from its benefactor Betty Wold Johnson.
History of Thoughtful House Center For Children – The Johnson Centre
Thoughtful House, which is a predecessor of Johnson’s Center, was established in 2004 by a group of medics which included the likes of Troy and Charlie Ball, Kelly Barnhill, Bryan Jepson, Jane Johnson, Andrew Wakefield, and many others. Charlie and Troy are the parents of an autistic boy, and they were the first donors of money to this organization. The director of Thoughtful House Center For Children – The Johnson Center Andrew Wakefield, left his position in 2010 after his research was ruled dishonest by UK General Medical Council and called an ‘elaborate fraud’ by British Medical Journal. The study published by Thoughtful House was a clinical one on the subject of the effect of hyperbaric oxygen on children with autism. They found out that this treatment had no consistent impact on patients.
One of the most amazing things that this organization did was to establish a wing specifically designed for children with autism in cooperation with Wyndham Garden Austin Hotel. The hotel rooms were equipped in order to fit the needs of autistic patients, and the staff was educated on what they can expect and how to behave. The article from National Geographic states: “These rooms have made a huge difference for families that usually have to do so much extra planning to get to a destination.” Executive vice president for Autism Speaks, Peter Bell said in an interview with USA Today that he hopes that other hotels will accept and implement this idea on the national level.
The most significant controversy regarding Thoughtful House Center For Children – The Johnson Centre occurred in 2010 when Andrew Wakefield left the organization he founded in 2005 after his research which connected MMR vaccine with autism was retracted by The Lancet. His medical license was stripped, and he was sanctioned by the UK General Medical Council.
Bryan Jepson, another member of this organization, advocates the use of chelation therapy in his book Changing the Course of Autism, although no research proved that this therapy could cure anything else than heavy metal poisoning.