Thursday, October 09, 2014
Investigation into the Mendability program
On a professional occupational therapy forum some participants were asking for more information about the Mendability program, which is a 'sensory enrichment' therapy for autism. I decided to post my response here for broader distribution.
Here are some additional resources so people can learn more about Mendability.
Kim Pomares and Eyal Aronoff are the co-founders of Mendability. Pomares is a Social Media and Content Development Creator and Aronoff is co-Founder of Quest Software. It does not appear that they have any clinical training in autism or any kind of therapies that I could find.
Pomares' mother reportedly has the "clinical" ideas behind the program:
"The theory behind Mendability originated out of France by Pomares’ mother. He said she came to Canada to train nurses in hospitals to do this therapy, but she only had an idea and needed scientific evidence for validation. After extensive research efforts, he secured the money and scientific backing to be able to validate his mother’s theory and created an inexpensive version to make it accessible to everyone."
Claudie Gordon-Pomares is Kim Pomares mother and is currently the Director of Mendability.
According to her Linked In profile she has a BA in English and an MEd in psychology.
Aronoff's clinical connections are that his daughter had autism and was cured through the Mendability program. See their TedX talk.
Aronoff made substantial financial contributions to UC Irvine, specifically to researchers Cynthia Woo and Michael Leon in their department of Neurobiology and Behavior. The researchers did not receive any financial compensation from Aronoff, but they did produce a paper that was supportive of sensory enrichment therapy. Mendability is not mentioned in the research study directly.
The Mendability website now cites the UC Irvine study as evidence of how the program works.
These are the facts. Draw your own conclusions.