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Chapter 2 Sifting Sound Practice From Snake Oil. AMANDA sawma Ps553 assessing autism interventions Caldwell college . Jacobson, J. W., Foxx, R. M., & Mulick, J. A. (Eds.). (2005)

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chapter 2 sifting sound practice from snake oil

Chapter 2Sifting Sound Practice From Snake Oil

AMANDA sawma

Ps553 assessing autism interventions

Caldwell college

Jacobson, J. W., Foxx, R. M., & Mulick, J. A. (Eds.). (2005)

Controversial therapies for developmental disabilities: Fad, fashion, and science in professional practice. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum

progress in developmental disabilities
Progress in Developmental Disabilities
  • Teaching of adaptive skills
    • Independence
    • Functional skills
  • Treatment of behavior problems
    • Allows for less-restrictive environments
  • Overall quality of life
    • Reduction in the need for institutionalization
fads in developmental disabilities
Fads in Developmental Disabilities
  • Vulnerable to questionable ideas and movements
    • Auditory integration
    • Greenspan’s Floor Time
    • RDI
    • Son-Rise
    • The Miller Method
    • Diets
      • Gluten-Free, Casein-Free
      • OSR#1 Dietary Supplement
slide4
Fads
  • Claim to produce results that are:
    • More rapid
    • More beneficial
    • Easier to achieve
      • No stress or challenges on the individual
  • Promise outcomes that are less:
    • Intrusive
    • Costly
    • Stressful
    • Labor intensive
    • Risky
  • Often denounce all previous treatments
    • Example: views regarding institutions after community movement
the rules and rewards of science
The Rules and Rewards of Science

Chapter 2

Sifting sound practice from snake oil

what is science
What is Science?
  • “Used properly, the word science refers to a systematic approach for seeking and organizing knowledge about the natural world.”

(Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007)

  • Levels of understanding:
    • Description, prediction, and control
  • Attitudes of science:
    • Determinism
    • Empiricism
    • Experimentation
    • Replication
    • Parsimony
    • Philosophical doubt
science
Science
  • Can test the effects of a treatment
    • Establishes or disconfirms its value
    • Determines whether it is a beneficial part of services and supports
  • “Science separates sound practice from snake oil.”

(Jacobson, Foxx, & Mulick, 2005)

science8
Science
  • Requires:
    • Quantitative, direct measures of observable events
    • Analysis of whether the intervention functionally caused the obtained effects
    • Replication to assess reliability
science9
Science
  • Has established knowledge and technology to teach individuals with developmental disabilities
  • Enabled an emphasis on:
    • Growth in people with developmental disabilities
    • Supports to facilitate their development
    • Greater independence and enjoyment of life
    • Community-living among family and friends
    • Reduced use of drugs
    • Reduction in stigmatizing behavior problem
    • Improvements in functional skills
the distrust and disdain of science
The Distrust and Disdain of Science

Chapter 2

Sifting sound practice from snake oil

reasons for disdain and distrust
Reasons for Disdain and Distrust
  • Process appears arduous and slow
  • Requires time to:
    • Conduct investigations
    • Arrive at conclusions
    • Disseminate results
reasons for disdain and distrust12
Reasons for Disdain and Distrust
  • Sometimes seems to defy logic
  • Does not conform to conventional wisdom
  • Does not conform to common sense
reasons for disdain and distrust13
Reasons for Disdain and Distrust
  • Process appears:
    • Arcane
    • Complex
    • Confusing
  • This is true for:
    • The developmental disabilities community
    • The general public
    • Professionals not trained in the values, method, and logic of science
reasons for disdain and distrust14
Reasons for Disdain and Distrust
  • Not widely taught, even in graduate level courses in education, medicine, psychology, or other professional human service areas
  • Highly-trained professionals may be:
    • Well-versed in their discipline
    • Unfamiliar with the scientific method
      • Prevents effective evaluation of new developments
      • Relies on popular beliefs
reasons for disdain and distrust15
Reasons for Disdain and Distrust
  • Appears preoccupied with methodology, not meaningfulness of results
  • Media coverage:
    • Elaborate and costly research
    • “Trivial” or “obvious” results
  • Perceived as:
    • Self-serving
    • Detached from and unresponsive to real issues
reasons for disdain and distrust16
Reasons for Disdain and Distrust
  • May deliver unexpected or unwanted results
  • Science is “value-neutral”
  • Results may not be consistent with beliefs, wisdom, or treatment and instructional philosophy
    • Promising or hopeful approach may be disconfirmed
    • Painful to families
    • Implications for professionals
    • Example: vaccines and autism
reasons for disdain and distrust17
Reasons for Disdain and Distrust
  • The scientific approach is not explained to:
    • Consumers
    • The public
    • Human service professionals
  • Scientists communicate:
    • With other scientists and professionals within their field
    • Via scientific journals
    • Via professional meetings
reasons for disdain and distrust18
Reasons for Disdain and Distrust
  • Dissemination usually focuses on results, not experimental rigor
    • Consuming audiences cannot evaluate the scientific method
    • Families and professionals are left vulnerable to fads and promises
the care and feeding of fads
The Care and Feeding of Fads

Chapter 2

Sifting sound practice from snake oil

slide20
Fads
  • Are easy to promote and popularize
  • Dissemination is easy
    • Families are in search of help
    • Press is in search of hype
  • Critical evaluations often begin after the fad has wasted resources and financial investments
slide21
Fads
  • The field of developmental disabilities is especially vulnerable to fads
  • Lead to false observations and conclusions
    • Variability in behavior
    • Superstitious behavior
    • Focus on salient environmental events
  • The use of multiple and frequent interventions
slide22
Fads
  • Variables affecting individual promoting a method or movement
    • Be forgiving to those whose ideas are proven misguided or wrong
    • Be less forgiving to those who reject efforts to test ideas, or continue claims despite evidence against them
slide23
Fads
  • Philosophical and political pressure on the field
    • Positive impact on field
      • Example: early intervention in autism
    • Negative impact on field
      • Example: restraint for problem behaviors
applied behavior analysis an example of the fruits of science and the foundation of fads
Applied Behavior Analysis: An Example of the Fruits of Science and the Foundation of Fads

Chapter 2

Sifting sound practice from snake oil

behavior analysis
Behavior Analysis
  • Vital in the treatment and training in developmental disabilities
    • Developed community-based supports
    • Effective treatments
    • Training strategies
  • Based on solid research
  • Subject of major criticism from the public and other professionals
behavior analysis26
Behavior Analysis
  • Behavior analytic processes are:
    • Slow and methodical
    • Difficult and expensive
    • Empirical, not values based
    • Not as dramatic or fun as some fads
    • Different from popular culture and sometimes common sense
  • Became popular after psychiatric and medical communities could not help individuals with developmental disabilities
contrasts against behavior analysis
Contrasts Against Behavior Analysis
  • “Positive Behavioral Support”
    • Viewed as alternative to, not derivative of behavior analysis
  • “Person-centered planning”
    • Builds support plan based on strengths, preferences and personal desires
    • Viewed as opposite of behavioral approaches
    • Ignores foundation of behavior analysis
      • Focuses on preferences, reinforcers, strengths, and needs
essential steps toward sound practice
Essential Steps Toward Sound Practice

Chapter 2

Sifting sound practice from snake oil

new ideas
New Ideas
  • “The way to have a good idea is to have lots of them”
  • Encourage new models, methods, and movements
  • Emphasize systematic evaluation and analysis of new ideas
  • Empirically evaluate ideas if agreed upon by the individual’s family and supporting professionals
    • Must be ethical, and not likely to cause harm
scientific research
Scientific Research
  • Optimal way to test new models and methods
  • Empirical analysis is the best way to measure effectiveness
  • Measures conducted on ABA programs
    • Data collection
    • Treatment outcomes
single subject research designs
Single-Subject Research Designs
  • Focus on the analyses of effects with a small number of individuals
  • New level of sensitivity and relevance to research in developmental disabilities
  • Allow evaluation of unique adjustments and effects with individuals
  • Incorporate information gained into conclusions drawn
  • Combine research and practice
  • Yield the most convincing data on the efficacy of a new approach
individual cases
Individual Cases
  • Cannot confirm a proposed strategy
  • Can identify nonfunctional or harmful methods
measurement
Measurement
  • Reliable and valid measurement can address many debatable issues
  • Should include multiple dimensions
    • Example: the reduction of demand-induced self-injury should be measured with skill acquisition
  • Should include measures of:
    • Practicality
    • Cost
    • Social acceptability
decision making
Decision Making
  • Someone must decide what is appropriate for individuals who cannot decide for themselves
  • Decision making can be conducted by:
    • Broader agencies
      • Can raise issues and offer alternatives
    • Families
      • Closest to the issues
      • Will experience consequences of decisions
summary
Summary

Chapter 2

Sifting sound practice from snake oil

science vs fads
Science vs. Fads
  • Scientific method is the only real means of sifting sound practice from snake oil
  • The principles and processes of the scientific method are not yet embraced
  • Science is viewed as arcane, especially by the public and professionals not trained in the scientific method
  • Fads and movements are easily advertised and promoted by families, the public, and the media
developmental disabilities
Developmental Disabilities
  • We must encourage new ideas
    • Use empirical tests
    • Measure the full effects of intervention
    • Analyze functional relationship between the dependent and independent variables
  • There are no substitutes or short cuts to empirical validation
  • If proponents refuse to use empirical validation their motives and methods must be questioned
  • Consumers and professionals should refuse approaches if they are denied data
the individual
The Individual
  • Science and ideology cannot make value-based decisions in individual cases
  • No idea, model, method, or movement should dictate what is right or wrong for an individual
  • Decisions regarding the issues should be made by those closest to the individual
  • The field of developmental disabilities must provide sound options to those making such decisions
references
References

Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied Behavior Analysis. 2nd Edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson.

Jacobson, J. W., Foxx, R. M., & Mulick, J. A. (Eds.). (2005) Controversial therapies for developmental disabilities: Fad, fashion, and science in professional practice. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

questions and comments
Questions and Comments

Chapter 2

Sifting sound practice from snake oil

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