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.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Parents eager to help their children often spend money on interventions which claim to be effective when unfortunately they are not...
Monday, January 14, 2013
ASAT agrees that it is potentially detrimental to individuals with autism (and their families) to associate a horrific event such as a mass shooting with an autism diagnosis...
Thursday, January 10, 2013
When reporting on a possible intervention for autism, it important to inform your readers as to whether or not the approach is science-based...
Monday, November 26, 2012
Sensory integration is not a new proposition; indeed, it has been marketed in various forms by practitioners for decades...
Monday, October 15, 2012
Unfortunately, in addition to asking for (often significant) outlays of cash and time, some peddlers ask much more – the suspense of disbelief...
Monday, October 08, 2012
"...you may be providing false hope for those parents who want to “heal” their children’s autism...
ASAT Responds to The Daytona Beach News-Journal's “Surf event serves as therapy for kids with autism”
Thursday, September 20, 2012
The implication of the use of the term “therapy” is that the person receiving the therapy will be cured or that symptoms will lessen in clinically measurable ways...
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Although research supports its use in cases of carbon monoxide intoxication, in relation to autism there is no such empirical support, and still much skepticism exists...
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
At a time when there are 400+ treatments for autism, journalists must be very careful how they pitch their message, however touching and seemingly benign an intervention may appear...
Friday, August 03, 2012
"...in the absence of guidance from their primary care providers, parents are left to navigate treatment options on their own..."