ABA vs. Non-Evidence Based Interventions
What is Evidence Based?
Procedures and interventions have been studied scientifically (using
experimental research methods) to determine their effectiveness.
Scientific evaluations do not rely on speculation, opinions, personal
beliefs, or hunches. Evidence based interventions demonstrate facts with
objective data to support the claims that are made. The data-supported
results appear in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
What are Controversial Treatments?
Controversial treatments for autism are not evidenced-based and are
usually untested and rely on testimonials, personal reports of success,
and anecdotes to convince consumers (i.e., parents and teachers of
children with autism) to use their products or methods. They are typically
"advertised" as cures for autism or breakthrough interventions and often
claim high success rates or dramatic results. Unfortunately, controversial
treatments are often expensive with respect to money and time, and are
sometimes dangerous, unhealthy, or even life-threatening.
Here is a list of some red flags to be aware of when evaluating or
considering various interventions claiming to be effective for the
treatment of autism.
- Lack of peer-review
- Lack of a connection with other scientific fields
- Overreliance or frequent use of success story testimonials and anecdotes
- Use of highly technical scientific terminology to explain processes
- Lack of boundaries of effectiveness (e.g., a procedure applies to everyone, everywhere, and in every situation)
- Other grand claims (e.g., a procedure works 100% of the time; can cure ASD; results in overnight changes)
- Backed by inappropriate authority figures (e.g., celebrity with no background in the disorder/treatment of the disorder)
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