Media Watch (a subcommittee of the Public Relations Committee) has three primary initiatives:
- Educating the public about effective autism treatment through proactive contact with the media;
- Responding to inaccurate information or proposed treatments described by the media (as it relates to scientific findings about their effectiveness); and
- Supporting accurate media depictions of empirically–sound interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorders.
We seek to increase awareness of the scientific underpinnings surrounding autism treatment that can lead to real hope for those touched by this disorder.
Top 10 Questions Journalists Should Ask Before Writing the Next Autism Story
- Are there any published research articles in peer-reviewed journals documenting the efficacy of the intervention method featured in my article or I am just finding hopeful testimonials? If not, why not, and how should I pitch my article given the absence of supporting research? If so, are the studies well designed?
- Who am I interviewing for this story and what are his/her qualifications? What does (s)he stand to gain by this interview? Is (s)he making claims of efficacy or effectiveness that are not supported by scientific data?
- Is there any evidence of harm associated with this intervention? What are the risks?
- How much does the intervention cost? Is the cost reasonable? How is it paid?
- What kind of training and supervision do treatment providers need to have before implementing the intervention? If none or little, have I explored the ethics involved and asked if there is adequate consumer protection?
- What position statements from respected professional organizations support or do not support this?
- Are already science-based interventions (such as applied behavior analysis) recommended by these organizations?
- Have I consulted with an unbiased entity for their input?
- As described or discussed in this article, "Does the intervention encourage false hope or suggest un-realistic benefits for a family coping with a pervasive developmental disability?"
- Have I provided readers with related resources and references that are objective, science-based, and minimize the risk of coercion or manipulation?
Below are some recent letters showcasing our Media Watch efforts.
ASAT Responds to HuffingtonPost.com's "Complementary And Alternative Medicine Use Common In Children With Autism, Study Says"
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
The burden of proof should fall on CAM proponents to scientifically demonstrate their claims and to share those findings accurately...
Monday, January 27, 2014
What is most concerning is the “assumption” piece: the promotion of “therapies” which have little-to-no scientific evidence to support them...
ASAT Responds to TheBlaze.com's "Parents set up hidden camera to monitor autistic son’s therapy sessions – what they saw happing in real-time is gut-wrenching"
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
This story is disturbing and disheartening, yet shares an essential message: the importance of identifying qualified individuals to deliver autism intervention...
Wednesday, January 08, 2014
Although early intensive behavior treatment (EIBT) may seem onerous, the alternative is a life of dependency and misery as a ward of the state – an outcome in which no dignity lies...
ASAT Responds to DigitalJournal.com's "Journal of Communication Disorders Releases First Autism Study of the Son-Rise Program"
Thursday, January 02, 2014
Scientific researchers across a wide array of disciplines know that one study "does not remove doubt"...
Sunday, December 15, 2013
It was helpful that you included the results of a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics, which found that 49% of children with autism had at least one attempted elopement after age 4 as reported by their caregivers...
Friday, December 13, 2013
Your response article serves as an excellent model for journalists across media outlets, as it demonstrates the importance of taking time to investigate and report responsibly about critically vital topics, such as childhood vaccinations and autism...
Saturday, December 07, 2013
As a scientist, I am always excited to see new studies examine treatment for autism with scientific rigor. It is very important that the results of each are conveyed in a manner that tempers the hope for a breakthrough with the reality of each study’s limitations...
ASAT Responds to AutismDailyNewscast.com's "Limitations Apparent in Applied Behavior Analysis Research"
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
By highlighting the limitations of ABA you may inadvertently mislead the wary reader to assume that ABA-based interventions for individuals with ASD are wholly ineffective due to “limited research...”
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
It is important that your readers understand that there has been no published research demonstrating the effectiveness of agriculture as a therapy modality for autism...