Friday, March 26, 2010
On behalf of the Association for Science in Autism Treatment (ASAT), we would like to commend Carla K. Johnson for her recent article entitled, "Evidence lacking for special diets in autism" (January 3, 2010).
Parents of children with autism are presented with a bewildering number of treatment options, often to the point of great confusion. Unfortunately, many of these options have little or no scientific evidence to support their use for the core or associated features of autism. To make matters worse, these "treatments" are often very costly for parents and potentially distract from focus upon more beneficial options. Sly marketing strategies that include dramatic testimonials, bold treatment claims and science-like terminology contribute to the confusion parents experience.
It is in this context that Ms. Johnson correctly informs readers that an association between "leaky gut" ("autistic enterocolitis") and autism is hypothetical, and "treatments" based on this hypothetical association remain unsubstantiated.
Ms. Johnson's report helps parents to recognize that treatment options based on the "leaky gut" hypothesis are not scientifically validated and may very well not be an effective use of time, money or effort. This article underscores the importance of selecting treatments that have numerous peer-reviewed research studies to support their efficacy, such as interventions grounded in applied behavior analysis (ABA). For more information on autism treatments, check out http://www.asatonline.org.
Geoffrey DeBery, M.A., BCBA
Media Review Committee, Association for Science in Autism Treatment
Daniel W. Mruzek, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Board Member, Association for Science in Autism Treatment