On conflicts of interest in autism research: Interview with Kristen Bottema-Beutel and Micheal Sandbank

In this episode, I talk with Professors Kristen Bottema-Beutel and Micheal Sandbank, who have done a systematic review and meta-analysis of 151 group design studies of interventions for young autistic children. For this work, Dr. Sandbank was awarded the Young Investigator Award in 2021 from the International Society of Autism Research. Drs Bottema-Beutel and Sandbank have also done further studies into conflicts of interest (COIs) in autism research. Among their findings are that COIs are prevalent in several areas of autism research. They also found that ABA researchers, who frequently had conflicts of interest, reported these conflicts as rarely as 2 percent of the time.

We discuss what conflicts of interest are, the teams’ findings and some of the implications for autism research going forward.

Listen to the audio at the link below or on Stitcher here or iTunes here.
Read the transcript, below audio file.

.
Transcribed by Julie-Ann Lee: Transcript_Noncompliant_Bottema-Beutel and Sandbank

Bios

Photographed for Boston College by Caitlin Cunningham

Kristen Bottema-Beutel is an Associate Professor in the Lynch School of Education and Human Development at Boston College. Her research focuses on social and language development, and social interaction dynamics in autistic children and youth. She is interested in pairing qualitative and quantitative methods to better characterize autistic communication and sociality, and in developing community-based strategies to support meaningful engagement of autistic students. More recently, she has explored metascience topics such as researcher ethics and research quality in intervention research for autistic children. Dr. Bottema-Beutel is the director of the autism specialization at LSEHD, a program that prepares future special educators to support autistic students.

Micheal Sandbank is an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Special Education at The University of Texas at Austin. She researches social communication and language interventions for young children with disabilities. Dr. Sandbank is the lead researcher on Project AIM , a scoping systematic review and meta-analysis of group design studies of interventions for young children on the autism spectrum. She was awarded the Young Investigator Award in 2021 for this work, from the International Society of Autism Research.

Links

Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Sandbank, et al. Research Review: Conflicts of Interest (COIs) in autism early intervention research – a meta‐analysis of COI influences on intervention effects

Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Bottema-Beutel, et al. Adverse event reporting in intervention research for young autistic children.

Journal of American Medical Association-Pediatrics. Sandbank, et al. IBI Intervention Recommendations for Children With Autism in Light of a Changing Evidence Base