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, February 23, 2011
It is important that the media take responsibility to get the facts straight. You are correct in your assessment of the potential danger of wildly misleading stories such as this one. ..
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
As you effectively pointed out in your article, the suggested (but now discredited) link between the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism has had far reaching negative effects by putting the health of scores of children at risk...
ASAT Responds to Star-Ledger Article 'Apple iPad, iPod Touch Might Help People with Autism Take Steps toward Independence'
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
I want to commend you for balancing the potential utility of this technology to promote independence...
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
In addition, you reported that "...a wide range of therapeutic approaches give (sic) children with autism a chance at a better life." This claim is actually contrary to current scientific evidence...
ASAT Responds to Fort Worth Star-Telegram's 'Applied Behavior Analysis Is Autism Treatment of Choice"
Friday, December 10, 2010
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is used successfully with many groups of people (not just persons with autism)...
Saturday, December 04, 2010
Although we agree in principle with most of the points in your article, it was a bit disconcerting that you described the evidence for behavioral therapy as "somewhat effective..."
ASAT Responds to Stamford Advocate's "Phony Autism Specialist Sentenced to Three Years in Prison" Story
Friday, October 29, 2010
When you entrust your child into the care of "professionals," you should not have to worry about whether they are truthful about their credentials...
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Chelation is a very serious treatment that should be given only to those with documented heavy metal toxicity, given the risks and side effects..
Saturday, October 23, 2010
There is a misconception that services in the United States are superior to that of our neighbors to the north. I can assure you...
ASAT Responds to Atlanta Journal-Constitution's 'Tech Hopes to Develop Early Warning Tools and Treatments for Autism'
Thursday, September 30, 2010
As you mention in your article, there is a critical period during which intervention is at its most effective…