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, August 02, 2013
Sadly, Ms. McCarthy uses her celebrity status to propagate false information to the exclusion of educating families about scientifically supported treatment options...
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Adults with autism are frequently marginalized in our society and often receive little support once they age out of the education system...
Parents should be encouraged to be wary of “miracle cures” and treatments that are not based in scientific evidence...
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Attention to post-graduation employment should be begun early, carried out extensively, and planned meaningfully...
Monday, April 22, 2013
The latest CDC report is drawn from the results of a telephone survey administered to the parents of children ages 6 to 17 who opted to provide answers. These results, which suggest that one in 50 school-aged children have ASD, were collected in such a way that there is a potential for sampling bias...
ASAT Responds to FoxPhilly.com’s "Parents Of Autistic Children Worry What Life Will Bring When They're Adults"
Monday, April 01, 2013
Our country is currently being confronted with a mounting crisis due to lack of resources such as funding and qualified service providers for these individuals...
ASAT Responds to Texas Observer’s "Autism Inc.: The Discredited Science, Shady Treatments and Rising Profits Behind Alternative Autism Treatments"
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
You describe the journey of several duped parents -- once amazed by the gamut of so-called “miracle cures,” such as chelation therapy, dietary supplements and other alternative remedies -- now informed, and able to draw the line between quackery and science...
Monday, March 04, 2013
Overall, your article sheds light on an interesting concept that certain parasites may have beneficial effects for some individuals with autism...
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
It is important for readers to be wary of the term “recovery.”
Sunday, February 03, 2013
The clock is ticking for children with autism, and every moment and dollar spent on a questionable approach is time and money that could have been allocated toward an effective treatment...