Ad description

A paid-for Facebook ad for Spectrum Awakening, a food supplement supplier, seen in March 2024 featured text that stated, "My 5 yr old son Scout is diagnosed with receptive expressive language disorder and sensory disorder. Until I found Spectrum Awakening he could barely put a sentence together with very limited speech and words and lots of jargon. I was told by his pediatrician [sic] there is nothing we could do except for OT and speech therapy. The first supplement we tried was Power & Focus and within the first three days he started using way more words. Within a week he was speaking sentences. I'm absolutely amazed that I can't wait to order more”.

An accompanying video showed a young boy and on-screen text stated, “Before”. The boy spoke but formed no words. He was then shown again with on screen text that stated, “SO THIS HAPPENED” and “A week later taking Power and Focus”. The boy audibly spoke a full sentence and responded to a question. Text at the bottom of the ad stated, “Natural Nutritional Supplements for Autism & ADHD…”.


The ASA challenged whether the claims that the supplement, or substances in it, could help to prevent, treat or cure developmental language disorder, autism and ADHD were in breach of the Code.


Spectrum Awakening did not respond to the ASA enquiries.


The ASA was concerned by Spectrum Awakening’s lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was in breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a response to our enquiries and told them to do so in the future.


The CAP Code prohibited claims which stated or implied a food could prevent, treat or cure human disease.

Text in the ad described how a boy, who had receptive expressive language disorder and sensory disorder, had limited speech, but within a week of taking the advertised supplement, had formed full sentences. That was supported by the accompanying video that showed the child clearly articulating.

The ASA considered that some consumers would understand “receptive expressive language disorder and sensory disorder” as being more commonly known in the UK as developmental language disorder (DLD), where a child had difficulty using and understanding language, and sensory processing disorder (SPD), a neurological condition in children that affected the way the brain processed information from the senses. We understood DLD was a distinct condition in its own right. We understood SPD was not (in 2024) categorised as a standalone condition, but was one that overlapped with a number of other conditions, including autism and ADHD.

We considered that the depiction of a child with DLD, and the crediting of the supplement with the sudden improvement in the speech of that child, was likely to be interpreted as a claim to treat or cure that condition.

Further to that, we understood that SPD and other language difficulties were often associated with autism and ADHD. The depiction of a child with those traits, in conjunction with the claims that the supplements were “Natural Nutritional Supplements for Autism & ADHD” and that the supplement improved the child’s speech, were therefore also likely to be interpreted as a claim to treat or cure autism and ADHD.

Finally the ad included the brand name “Spectrum Awakening”. The full medical term for autism was autism spectrum disorder. We understood that ADHD was also sometimes described as a spectrum disorder.

We considered that in the context of the explicit and inferred claims to assist with autism and ADHD, the name “Spectrum Awakening” would therefore also be interpreted as a claim that the products sold under that brand name could help with those conditions.

The ad claimed that Spectrum Awakening products could help with DLD, autism and ADHD, which for the purposes of the Code fell within the definition of claims to prevent, treat or cure human disease. On that basis we therefore concluded the ad breached the Code

The ads breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 15.6 and 15.6.2 (Food, food supplements and associated health or nutrition claims).


The ad must not appear again in the form complained of. We told Spectrum Awakening to ensure their future advertising did not make claims that food could prevent, treat or cure human disease. We referred the matter to CAP’s Compliance team.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

15.6     15.6.2    

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