A major obstacle in autism research in order to treat autism has been the lack of a valid means of measuring the effectiveness of various treatments. Over the years, researchers have published hundreds of studies attempting to evaluate different biomedical and psycho-educational interventions intended to treat autism in children.
Much of this research has produced inconclusive or, worse, misleading results, because there are no useful tests or scales designed to measure autism treatment effectiveness. Lacking such a scale, researchers have resorted to using scales such as the –
- Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS),
- Gilliam Autism Rating Scale (GARS), or the
- Autism Behavior Checklist (ABC), all of which were designed to diagnose autism- to tell whether or not a child is autistic–and not to measure treatment effectiveness.
Two recent reviews on autism treatment have commented on the problem: “Often, investigators have to use diagnostic instruments to measure changes in response to treatment. . .this approach has not been very successful. . .because most diagnostic instruments. . .are not sufficiently sensitive to changes within an individual.
The Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC) was developed by Bernard Rimland and Stephen M. Edelson of the Autism Research Institute, to fill this need, which is especially urgent right now because of the 20 or more studies starting soon to evaluate secretin.
The ATEC is a one-page form designed to be completed by parents, teachers, or caretakers. It consists of 4 subtests:
- Speech/Language Communication (14 items);
- Sociability (20 items);
- Sensory/ Cognitive Awareness (18 items); and
- Health/Physical/Behavior (25 items).
Unlike most of the scales, it is not copyrighted and may be used free of charge by any researcher. Copies are available on request from the Autism Research Institute or at the ARI web site, www.autism.com.
Source – autism dot com.