Friday, July 13, 2012
Dear Ms. McKenna,
We would like to applaud you for writing your recent piece on “The Economic Impact of Autism on Families.” It is true that families raising individuals with autism often spend precious time and a significant amount of money accessing treatment services for their loved ones. It is a course requiring persistence, tolerance for the myriad distractions that abound on the Internet and in the media, and navigation through insurance companies, medical doctors and therapists. Many of these service delivery systems are uncharted waters (e.g., insurance reimbursement is new in many states throughout the US).
Countless families drain bank accounts and life savings in order to secure what they perceive as the best possible course of treatment. We appreciate that you shared recent research with your readers detailing the loss of income that often accompanies raising a child with autism. Now more than ever, in these difficult financial times and uncertain economy, it is imperative that families allocate their resources toward treatments demonstrated to be the most effective for teaching individuals with autism to reach their full potential. It is the responsibility of all members involved in the individual’s healthcare and educational team to commit to science, rely on data published in peer-reviewed journals, and be guided by data in making their decisions. Applied behavior analysis enjoys decades of research support and should be given full consideration when teaching individuals with autism. Time and time again, behavior analytic procedures have been proven as an effective course of treatment in addressing social, play, communication and academic skills, as well as in responding to challenging behavior.
Clearly, as is the case with all medical care, we need to develop service delivery that is efficient and cost effective; however, a shared commitment to science, by both parents and the interdisciplinary team, allows families of individuals diagnosed with autism to benefit and makes certain that necessary resources be spent on interventions which are scientifically proven. This commitment would prevent families from wasting both time and money and increase the likelihood that their loved ones receive the best possible outcomes.
Lauren Schnell MEd., BCBA and David Celiberti, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Association for Science in Autism Treatment
Read More at http://www.theatlantic.com/.../257892