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, July 13, 2012
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...
Wednesday, July 04, 2012
Your accurate summary of high unemployment...is exemplified by the personal stories that describe a very real and terrifying prospect for the parents of these young adults...
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Researchers have the duty and the expertise to test treatments for children with autism and thus, only those methods demonstrated to be safe and effective should be endorsed amid the myriad of choices a parent has to make...
Monday, June 11, 2012
The testimonials you highlighted are ... very dangerous if those responsible for the education and treatment of children with autism make treatment and funding decisions based on these "feel good" unsubstantiated stories...
Thursday, June 07, 2012
Teaching first responders about autism and the complexities involved in interacting with individuals with social and communication delays is an incredibly worthwhile effort...
Tuesday, June 05, 2012
"...consider that a child who spends 15 minutes per school day engaged in ineffective sensory therapies will lose 50 hours per year or more of school time that could be spent on programming related to the promotion of independence..."
Monday, May 28, 2012
Treatment outcome is not black and white, and an exclusive focus on "cure" cheapens the incredible gains that are made by children and adults with autism every day...
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
...The fact that only 20% of French children with autism attend school, and that psychiatric placement is prevalent, likely has to do with which has been the treatment of choice in France over the last several decades...
Thursday, April 12, 2012
While we understand that you were summarizing the comments and opinions of others, the story unfortunately contains some misleading information...
Thursday, April 05, 2012
Although your report underscores the ineffectiveness of HBOT, it also would have helpful if science-based treatment options had been offered...