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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

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Chapter 2 sifting sound practice from snake oil l.jpg

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

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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

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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

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  • 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

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The Rules and Rewards of Science

Chapter 2

Sifting sound practice from snake oil

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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

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  • 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)

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  • Requires:

    • Quantitative, direct measures of observable events

    • Analysis of whether the intervention functionally caused the obtained effects

    • Replication to assess reliability

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  • 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

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The Distrust and Disdain of Science

Chapter 2

Sifting sound practice from snake oil

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Reasons for Disdain and Distrust

  • Process appears arduous and slow

  • Requires time to:

    • Conduct investigations

    • Arrive at conclusions

    • Disseminate results

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Reasons for Disdain and Distrust

  • Sometimes seems to defy logic

  • Does not conform to conventional wisdom

  • Does not conform to common sense

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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The Care and Feeding of Fads

Chapter 2

Sifting sound practice from snake oil

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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Applied Behavior Analysis: An Example of the Fruits of Science and the Foundation of Fads

Chapter 2

Sifting sound practice from snake oil

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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

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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

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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

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Essential Steps Toward Sound Practice

Chapter 2

Sifting sound practice from snake oil

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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

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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

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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

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Individual Cases

  • Cannot confirm a proposed strategy

  • Can identify nonfunctional or harmful methods

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  • 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

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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

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Chapter 2

Sifting sound practice from snake oil

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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Questions and Comments

Chapter 2

Sifting sound practice from snake oil

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