Oregon Health Commission
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
July 17, 2008
David Pass, M.D.
Director, Health Resources Commission
Office for Oregon Health Policy & Research
1225 Ferry Street, SE
Salem, Oregon 97301
Dear Dr. Pass,
The Association for Science in Autism Treatment (ASAT) is a nonprofit organization with the mission to inform the public about science-based autism treatments and to increase access to effective intervention for those affected by ASD. As such we are interested in the Health Resources Commission's efforts in your state to provide a position on effective autism treatments and commend your commission and the Mental Health/ASD subcommittee for taking on this noteworthy task. This is directly in line with our mission, and thus we offer our support and guidance in providing the most up to date information, inclusive of peer-reviewed journals and findings of multidisciplinary task forces with this same mission.
In reviewing the Commission's draft report on "Effective Autism Treatments for ASD, we find incomplete and inaccurate information on the current state of our field. State task forces (e.g., New York State Department of Health, Maine Administrators of Services for Children with Disabilities) who have comprehensively reviewed the autism treatment literature and the U.S. Surgeon General's report on autism unanimously found overwhelming and clear evidence that Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the most effective autism intervention, and went so far as to recommend it as a primary treatment modality. Hundreds of research articles in peer-reviewed journals also substantiate the effectiveness of ABA as a treatment for this population. Mention of these sources and their findings is omitted from your review of the literature. While we agree that there is insufficient or no empirical evidence to support the majority of the treatments you reviewed, we also find your assertion that ABA/EIBI has limited support to be clearly inaccurate.
Though not an easy or inexpensive approach, and certainly not a cure for autism, ABA deserves better review and accurate representation in a document of this scope and significance. Also noteworthy is that ABA has been shown to increase independence, offering a cost savings over a lifetime of care. I urge you to engage your subcommittee, committee and independent review agency in more in-depth, current study of the autism treatment field so that your document can guide Oregon residents more effectively, with real effort to alleviate the suffering and outcome of those affected by this growing disorder. The first step is to provide accurate information that leads to real hope.
Jane M. Barbin, PhD, BCBA
Public Relations Committee