Sunday, January 08, 2012
Thank you, Chris Cuomo, for your report, From Miracle to Nightmare, and for shedding light on a travesty
that continues to hijack the conversation about autism treatment. Those guided
by scientific evidence in the treatment of autism have been appalled by the
amount of positive media attention that facilitated communication has garnered
over the years. Your story will hopefully go a long way in undoing many of the
faulty assumptions about autism and facilitated communication that have been
promulgated in the media.
Sadly, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Every day parents of individuals with autism are bombarded with false information about autism and its treatments. This runs the gamut from misguided professionals who truly believe that their particular treatment holds the key to unlocking the potential of people with autism to individuals who seek to profit by exploiting desperate families through false promises of recovery. This situation will continue until there becomes a shared commitment to science in the treatment of autism.
The media plays an essential role: they can help educate the public by looking at autism treatment carefully with an appreciation of scientific evidence, or they can participate in sensational reporting which only serves to distract the public and families from seeking empirically documented treatment for their loved ones with autism.
This tragic story should be a wake up call to all journalists. Thank you for covering this topic with honesty and sound scientific evidence.
David Celiberti, Ph.D., BCBA-D and Bridget Taylor, Psy.D, BCBA-D
Association for Science in Autism Treatment