More Weak Autism Intervention Journalism from the New York Times
Posted Dec 22 2009 11:49am
The New York Times is not exactly a "go to" resource for well informed, objective discussion of autism interventions.
In October 2008 it presented a slanted article on DIR/Floortime. In that article the guest author praised DIR/Floortime as a new modern improved form of autism intervention without mentioning the lack of scientific evidence in support of of the DIR/Floortime approach. The article also made unsubstantiated derogatory comments about ABA as "rote learning".
With its coverage of the recent ESDM study the NYT has done it again. In an article today Raising I.Q. in Toddlers With Autism Tara Parker-Pope praises the results of the Denver ESDM study of a group of 48 autistic toddlers "showing substantial gains in I.Q. and in listening skills after two years of therapy". This time the NYT makes no derogatory reference to ABA. Instead while praising the ESDM approach the NYT fails to mention that the approach employs principles of Applied Behavior Analysis as set out in the AAP journal Pediatrics article:
"Forty-eight children diagnosed with ASD between 18 and 30 months of age were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups: (1) ESDM intervention,which is based on developmental and applied behavioral analytic principles and delivered by trained therapists and parents for 2 years"
For reasons that are not clear the NYT simply has a hard time when it comes to being objective about ABA as an autism intervention. Given the large readership and influence of the NYT that is most unfortunate.