Screen Reduction in Treatment of Young Children with Autism 

Connecting Theory, Evidence, and Practice

This web page provides contacts and background information for the hypothesis, for which evidence is quickly growing, that early childhood viewing of television and other electronic screens is an environmental trigger for autism and that eliminating such viewing improves treatment outcomes.

People to Contact


Related Studies


1. Waldman, M., S. Nicholson, and N. Adilov, “Does Television Cause Autism?,” National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No, 12632, Revised December 2006.

 - The most recent version is available here and the original version is available here (NBER)


2. Waldman, M., S. Nicholson, N. Adilov, and J. Williams, “Autism Prevalence and Precipitation Rates in California, Oregon, and Washington Counties,” Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 162, November 2008, pp. 1026-1034.

 - The paper is available here

3. Chonchaiya, W., P. Nuntnaraumit, and C. Pruksananonda, “Comparison of Television Viewing Between Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Controls,” Acta Paediatrica, 100, 2011, pp. 1033-1037.

 - The paper is available here

4. Heffler, K. F. and L.M. Oestreicher, “Causation Model of Autism: Audiovisual Brain Specialization in Infancy Competes with Social Brain Network,” Medical Hypotheses, 91, 2016, pp. 114-122.

 - The paper is available here


5. Waldman, M., S. Nicholson, and N. Adilov, “Positive and Negative Mental Health Consequences of Early Childhood Television Watching,” National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 17786, revised February 2017.

  - The most recent version is available here, and the original version is available here


6. Marius-Teodor Zamfir, "Stunning STUDY: Kidnapping the Child through the TV"

Ortodox INFO, February 2017

 - The article is available here

Selected Videos


Professor Michael Waldman on his Autism Research

Published on Dec 10, 2008

Professor Michael Waldman discusses his research, recently published by the American Medical Association, on possible environmental triggers for childhood autism-spectrum disorders.

Video Virtual Autism

Published on Jun 27, 2017

Romanian television coverage of the work of Dr. Marius-Teodor Zamfir concerning how screen exposure can trigger “virtual autism” and how screen removal can improve treatment outcomes.

Screens: danger for the 0 to 4-year-olds

Published on Mar 1, 2017

Dr. Anne-Lise Ducanda discusses the role of screen removal in treating autism which is based on many years treating autistic children.

Autism and Digital Screens

Published on Apr 6, 2016

Lori Frome, M. Ed., discusses her personal experiences, her experiences as an autism therapist, and theory related to the role of screen removal in the treatment of autism.

Selected Media Coverage and Blog Entries


1. In Search of the Cause of Autism: How About Television? 

SLATE, September 5, 2006

By Gregg Easterbrook


2. TV Really Might Cause Autism

SLATE, October 16, 2006

By Gregg Easterbrook


3. Is an Economist Qualified to Solve Puzzle of Autism?

Wall Street Journal, February 27, 2007

By Mark Whitehouse

(subscription-free version available here)

4. Does Infant Video Dependence Cause Autism?

Psychology Today, October 24, 2009

By Stanton Peele

5. Master’s Candidate Studies Relationship Between Autism and Screen Time

McDaniel College Newsletter, April 14, 2015

6. Autistic Light – A New Neurological Illness in Children Who Watch More than One Hour on Television

InfoAlert, January 14, 2016


7. An Ophthalmologist’s View: Early TV Viewing May be Linked to Autism

Drexel University News Blog, June 9, 2016

By Lauren Ingeno


8. Is there Really a Link Between Autism and Screen Time?

HARKLA Blog, December 23, 2016

By Casey Ames


9. Autism and Screen Time: Special Brains, Special Risks

Psychology Today, December 31, 2016

By Victoria L. Dunckley, M.D.


10. A Romanian Doctor Says He’s Found a Link Between Screen-Time and Autism

Huffington Post, July 8, 2017

By Richard E. Cytowic


11.“Virtual Autism” May Explain Explosive Rise in ASD Diagnoses

Mad in American, August 18, 2017

By Marilyn Wedge, Ph.D.

12. Virtual Autism

Stirile ProTV, April 30, 2017


13. Addiction to Screens, Serious Illness in Children 0 to 4 Years

SLATE France, June 6, 2017

By Jean-Yves Nau


14. Alert to Screens for Children

Le Monde, June 26, 2017

By Sandrine Cabut and Pascale Santi


15. Alert to Nanny Screens

France Culture, June 30, 2017

By Tara Schlegel

Michael Waldman, Ph.D.

Charles H. Dyson Professor of Management and Professor of Economics

Johnson Graduate School of Management

Editor, Journal of Labor Economics

Cornell University, Sage Hall

Ithaca, NY 14853

Tel: (607) 255-8631


Faculty web page here


Sean Nicholson, Ph.D.

Professor and Director of the Sloan Program in Health Administration

Weiss Presidential Fellow

Department of Policy Analysis and Management, Cornell University

Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research

2307 MVR Hall

Ithaca, NY 14853

Tel: 607-254-6498


Faculty web page here

Karen F. Heffler, MD

Researcher, Autism Spectrum Disorder

Associate Professor and Director of Research, Ophthalmology

Drexel University College of Medicine

219 N Broad Street, 3rd Floor

Philadelphia, PA 19107


Lori Frome, M.Ed. 

Early Interventionist/Special Instructor

South Central Pennsylvania 


Marius-Teodor Zamfir, M.D.

Expert psychologist- Clinical psychology and judicial psychology Member of the Panel of Expert Psychologists Psychologist & Coordinator Saint Michael's Center for Children with Autism Children in Distress Foundation - Romania

Tel: +40216676433, Mobile +40762818124


Web sites:



Zamfir Ana-Maria, M.D.

Principal Psychologist- Clinical psychology and judicial psychology Member of the Panel of Expert Psychologists Executive Director and Vice-President Association for Child Mental Health

Tel: +40728643414




Mrs. Anne-Lise Ducanda, M.D.

Physician expert of Child’s Health and Development, French


Médecin de PMI (Essone)

Email: ​


Bruno Harlé, M.D.

Child and adolescent psychiatrist and family therapist, French


Pédopsychiatre (centre MGEN pour adolescents Chanay 01420)



Sabine Duflo, M.D.

Clinical psychologist and family therapist, French


Psychologue et thérapeute familial (centre médico psychologique enfants/ados EPS Ville-Evrard)