Review by Frank Kou, Special Educator & Hunter College Graduate Student
A child has just received a diagnosis of Autism or Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Bewildered parents have many questions and worries about their child, but where do they begin? Questions that they have may include: What is Autism? What are treatments for Autism? What treatment works? What treatments are fads? How effective are these treatments?
The Association for Science in Autism Treatment (ASAT) [www.asatonline.org] is a website that is geared towards both parents as well as professionals who are interested in other areas of Autism besides their own areas of expertise. ASAT’s mission is to “educate parents, professionals, and consumers by disseminating accurate, scientifically-sound information about autism and its treatment and by combating inaccurate or unsubstantiated information. In doing so, promoting the use of effective, science-based treatments for all people with autism, regardless of age, severity of condition, income or place of residence” (Mission Statement, Association for Science in Autism Treatment).
The ASAT website has many positive qualities that makes it a good site for people who are interested in information about Autism. First, the information is neatly organized into seven clearly labeled major tabs (About ASAT, About Autism, Treatment, Conferences, Resources, Media Watch, and Free Newsletters). Upon selecting a tab, there are articles and some videos relating to a topic within the main tab. Second, the articles and information are written in a jargon free way that people new to Autism could understand. If people are interested in a particular topic, there are links included within the article page that provides further information. Another positive quality about this website is the relevance it has with the current trends of Autism and Autism research today. There is a group in the Media Watch section that keeps watch over anything in the media that relates to Autism. They provide a comment on the article, news clip, etc. based on ASAT mission and the current research on the topic.
A major flaw with the ASAT website is the appearance of the website. Unlike other Autism websites that has many pictures, videos, ads, huge sponsored events, merchandise, etc. the ASAT website has a plain look to it. It is unfortunate that the appearance of the website does not attract as many people as it could because the information provided within is very beneficial and priceless.