Letter from David Celiberti, Ph.D., BCBA, President of the Association for Science in Autism Treatment
Thursday, May 18, 2006
In the May 15, 2006 issue, the article "A Tale of Two Schools" by Claudia Wallis perpetuated a number of myths, biases, and misrepresentations about the two autism treatment approaches depicted. Critical information regarding the effectiveness of applied behavior analysis ( ABA) was unfortunately left out and led readers to view ABA as somewhat questionable in effectiveness. In fact, ABA has an over 40-year track record of peer-reviewed research studies demonstrating its effectiveness across a diverse range of skills and techniques, including genuine social interactions. Furthermore, there are hundreds of researchers worldwide publishing research on the treatment of autism using ABA. Although Floortime has been highly visible in the media for many years there are STILL no peer-reviewed empirical studies supporting the claim of "impressive results." Sadly, your readers likely remain unaware of that fact. Rather than providing parents with an opportunity to make an informed decision and to positively affect the lives of thousands of children with autism, Wallis's misrepresentation of the two autism treatment options actually serves to perpetuate the "dizzying world" of autism treatment that you acknowledged in your article. Moving forward, when developing articles about topics as important as the treatment of autism, I encourage your writers to conduct a more careful review of the existing scientific research prior to publication. Perhaps then you would not need to reference a work of fiction in titling your articles.
David Celiberti, Ph.D., BCBA
President of the Association for Science in Autism Treatment