Association for Science in Autism Treatment
I am delighted to represent the Association for Science in Autism Treatment (ASAT) as a board member and as the lead of the initiative that was awarded a SABA International Development Grant. ASAT, as an international nonprofit organization, reaches 12,000 people in more than 100 countries through its quarterly newsletter, Science in Autism Treatment, and another of its initiatives is Media Watch.
Members of the mass media can be some of our most important allies in the fight against pseudoscience, misinformation, and sensationalistic reporting. ASAT’s Media Watch team closely monitors media outlets and responds to the dissemination of information about autism treatment, with an emphasis on behavior analytic treatment. The team attempts to correct inaccurate claims of causes and treatment effectiveness, and also praises writers for accurate depictions of evidence-based interventions for individuals with autism (http://www.asatonline.org/media-watch/colbertreport/).
In addition to letters in response to American media, ASAT’s Media Watch team has responded to articles from Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia (http://www.asatonline.org/media-watch/asat-responds-to-irish-times-french-film-ban-raises-autism-issue/). But we want to do more to educate the global community about effective autism treatment through proactive contact with the media. To this end, we are delighted to accept SABA’s International Development Grant to develop a resource booklet for journalists around the globe.
Many parts of the world lack resources to support evidence-based practice (e.g., fewer graduate programs in behavior analysis, fewer BCBAs, fewer ABA schools and centers). Furthermore, many countries are still influenced by psychodynamic models of autism treatment. As a result, there may be a dearth of information for international journalists to understand the relevance of evidence-based treatments and behavior analysis and the implications this has for reporting stories about autism treatment. Any and all education about evidence-based practice will point individuals to applied behavior analysis.
We hope that our booklet, which we will make downloadable from ASAT’s website free, will help journalists from around the world more accurately inform their readers and increase awareness of science-based treatment that can lead to real hope for those impacted by autism. And we look forward to their feedback!
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