The Internet: Parents, Advocacy & Health Information for Neurodevelopmental Disorders


Many parents of children affected by neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) such as autism, rely on information found on well-known advocacy websites to make decisions regarding their child’s treatment.  However, previous work has shown that advocacy websites tend to encourage a variety of treatments rather than objectively evaluate the plethora of available options.  Using journalistic methods, this project looks at the extent to which parents rely on, and are influenced by information published on these websites.  The results of this research will be the basis of a 2000-2500 word feature to appear in the Vancouver Sun at the end of summer 2011.  Additionally, on a weekly basis, 500-800 word articles about NDDs (including autism, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and cerebral palsy) will be published in the newspaper, in order to familiarize its readership about relevant and current scientific and neuroethical issues.  Ultimately, this work will benefit the Vancouver Sun’s readership by distilling complex ethical and scientific concepts into terms the general public can appreciate.

Faculty Supervisor:

Dr. Judy Illes


Rebecca Cheung


Vancouver Sun


Journalism / Media studies and communication


Media and communications


University of British Columbia



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