The Association for Science in Autism Treatment (ASAT) is a not-for-profit organization run by an all-volunteer board of 22 professionals, many of whom are parents of children and adolescents with autism. ASAT is committed to improving the education, treatment, and care of people with autism. Since autism was first identified, there has been a long history of failed treatments and fads levied on vulnerable families. ASAT was the first autism advocacy group to explicitly embrace an empirical, science-based approach to any statements made about the causes and proposed treatments for autism. Before ASAT was formed in 1998, the major autism advocacy groups considered themselves to be “the leading source of trusted and reliable information about autism.” In reality, they were not evaluating or offering any guidance about the array of treatment options being introduced year after year. It has always been ASAT’s hope to work toward the adoption of higher standards of accountability in the way that people with autism are cared for, educated, and treated. It remains our goal to assure that the family of every person with autism has access to information that will help them access the best intervention that science can provide, delivered with competence and compassion.
The first issue of ASAT’s newsletter, Science in Autism Treatment, was published in 1999. Since initial publication, the newsletter has provided consumers with accurate information about science-based autism treatments in a language that is easy to understand. The newsletter was published free-of-charge for three years to ensure that everyone had access to accurate, helpful information. In 2001, ASAT’s website (www.asatonline.org) was launched to increase the reach of our information through suggested reading lists, web-based links, and key articles on autism and its treatments.
The last few years have been particularly important for ASAT. We are now comprised of six committees, each with their own distinct yet complementary purpose and goals. We resumed publication of our quarterly newsletter in the summer of 2009 and continue to distribute to over 10,000 recipients in all 50 states and 95 countries around the world. In many respects the newsletter has become more comprehensive and multifaceted than the original publication format. We have also continued to expand and upgrade our website with resources that are more accessible and user-friendly. ASAT is currently developing specific pages for distinct groups including the media, pediatricians, and parents of newly-diagnosed children. We have developed mechanisms to productively engage more than 50 volunteers within our organizational structure. ASAT remains one of the foremost voices for the dissemination of science-based information about autism and its treatment, while promoting greater access to credible, effective, and safe treatments.