Media Watch (a subcommittee of the Public Relations Committee) has three primary initiatives:
- Educating the public about effective autism treatment through proactive contact with the media;
- Responding to inaccurate information or proposed treatments described by the media (as it relates to scientific findings about their effectiveness); and
- Supporting accurate media depictions of empirically–sound interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorders.
We seek to increase awareness of the scientific underpinnings surrounding autism treatment that can lead to real hope for those touched by this disorder.
Top 10 Questions Journalists Should Ask Before Writing the Next Autism Story
- Are there any published research articles in peer-reviewed journals documenting the efficacy of the intervention method featured in my article or I am just finding hopeful testimonials? If not, why not, and how should I pitch my article given the absence of supporting research? If so, are the studies well designed?
- Who am I interviewing for this story and what are his/her qualifications? What does (s)he stand to gain by this interview? Is (s)he making claims of efficacy or effectiveness that are not supported by scientific data?
- Is there any evidence of harm associated with this intervention? What are the risks?
- How much does the intervention cost? Is the cost reasonable? How is it paid?
- What kind of training and supervision do treatment providers need to have before implementing the intervention? If none or little, have I explored the ethics involved and asked if there is adequate consumer protection?
- What position statements from respected professional organizations support or do not support this?
- Are already science-based interventions (such as applied behavior analysis) recommended by these organizations?
- Have I consulted with an unbiased entity for their input?
- As described or discussed in this article, "Does the intervention encourage false hope or suggest un-realistic benefits for a family coping with a pervasive developmental disability?"
- Have I provided readers with related resources and references that are objective, science-based, and minimize the risk of coercion or manipulation?
Below are some recent letters showcasing our Media Watch efforts.
Friday, March 06, 2009
Source [ http://discovermagazine.com/.../04-can-a-dvd-teach-kids-with-autism-to-understand-emotions
While I am grateful for the attention paid to autism and the focus on Baron-Cohen's promising direction in the field, I wanted to draw your attention to a misleading statement which might be either a typographical error or possible confusion of the author…
Monday, February 16, 2009
Far too often treatments that lack any scientific support are given extensive attention in the media, leading families to pursue a laundry list of interventions with a lot of promises but very little results…
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Jane Brody's "Trying Anything and Everything for Autism" accurately described behavioral intervention as an effective autism treatment while outlining a family's struggle with repeated attempts at dangerous and unproven "bio-medical" interventions to address their child's autism…
Friday, December 19, 2008
The article, "Parents Press States for Autism Insurance Laws" quotes me as saying that the evidence for applied behavior analysis (ABA) after the age of 6 or 7 years is "sparse." Actually, I said there are many studies showing that ABA is effective for children for autism at all ages…
Thursday, October 23, 2008
In general, this article corrected many misconceptions related to the condition of autism; however, the information about autism treatment was scant…
Thursday, October 23, 2008
The information presented in the article is both incomplete and inaccurate in light of published empirical data on autism treatment effectiveness…
Monday, October 13, 2008
While we appreciate your efforts to educate the public, it is important to point out there are no peer-reviewed studies showing that dairy consumption has any role in causing autism…
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Though not an easy or inexpensive approach, and certainly not a cure for autism, ABA deserves better review and accurate representation. Also noteworthy is that ABA has been shown to increase independence…
Monday, August 11, 2008
Though not an easy or inexpensive approach, and certainly not a cure for autism, ABA has been shown to offer a cost savings over a lifetime of care…
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
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…