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Controversial Therapies for Developmental Disabilities: Fad, Fashion, and Science in Professional Practice

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Controversial Therapies for Developmental Disabilities: Fad, Fashion, and Science in Professional Practice.pdf | Language: ENGLISH

One of the largest and most complex human services systems in Western nations has evolved to address the needs of people with developmental disabilities. In the U.S., for example, school budgets are stretched thin by legally mandated special education, and billions of Medicaid dollars annually are consumed by residential and professional services to this population.

The temptation of a quick fix is strong. Many parents desperately seek the latest ideas and place pressure on program administrators, who often are not trained to think critically about the evidence base for intervention efforts. The problems of people with developmental disabilities have historically been targeted by a wide range of professionals who rely on clinical experience and intuition and do not submit their claims to the tests of scientific research. Professional entrepreneurs have energetically promoted their treatments to a public perhaps too trustful of those with credentials.

Thus, families and their children are buffeted by reforms founded on belief and ideologically driven management. Services fluctuate with the currents of social movements and rapidly shifting philosophies of care as policymakers and providers strive for increased responsiveness and individualization. These forces affect not only where and how, but how well people are served. Too often, services are less effective than they could be, or worse, damaging to personal growth and quality of life. Many treatments are based on poorly understood or even disproven approaches.

What approaches to early intervention, education, therapy, and remediation really help those with mental retardation and developmental disabilities improve their functioning and adaptation? And what approaches represent wastes of time, effort, and resources?

This book brings together leading behavioral scientists and practitioners to focus light on the major controversies surrounding these questions. The authors review the origins, perpetuation, and resistance to scrutiny of questionable practices, and offer a clear rationale for appraising the quality of services.

In an era of increasing accountability, no one with a professional stake in services to individuals with mental retardation and developmental disabilities can afford not to read this book.

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Book details

  • PDF | 528 pages
  • Routledge; 1 edition (December 2, 2004)
  • English
  • 4
  • New, Used & Rental Textbooks

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Review Text

  • By SoDak Thriver on July 31, 2008

    This is a must-have for your autism library. The book begins with a brief history of modern medicine and then defines what separates science from fad and anecdote. Other reviewers here have discussed the way this book debunks modern fads and pseudoscience so I will focus on two other areas that really impressed me.First, the editors concisely describe how to go about determining whether or not a treatment suggested for your child is based in science or not. After reading Controversial Therapies, I now have red flags that go up when someone suggests chelation or brush therapy or other therapies based in anecdote. Also I learned to expect specific goals from therapies and not the vague improvements usually promised.Second, the authors debunk many fad treatments for developmental disorders, but doesn't discount all of them. Instead, the authors teach the reader how to set up a scientific trial of one for your child based on facts. For instance, if your occupational therapist prescribes brush therapy to help overcome a certain behavior, you must define the behavior, measure the behavior without brushing, then measure it with brushing. In my son's case, like the case given in the book, my son's violent behaviors increased after brushing. I have since performed a trial on the effect of small doses of caffeine on his self-stimulatory behaviors (it helped).This book is an important work in developmental disability literature and I highly recommend it. I also wish you strength, laughter, and success on the way to recovery for your loved one with a disability.

  • By Leslie D. Mozulay on June 19, 2012

    How can one possibly sift through the myriad claims regarding treatments for those with developmental disabilities and Autism? Certainly this text, Controversial Therapies for Developmental Disabilities: Fad, Fashion, and Science in Professional Practice, is a place to start! With the text addressing General Issues in Part I, the reader is able to understand the nature of fads, the need for sound practice, and the importance of evidence obtained through scientifically based procedures. Knowing the history of prescientific treatments and how the fields of medicine, education, and psychology developed and addressed the needs of those with disabilities is the focus of Part II- Historical, Cultural and Psychological Issues. Part III targets fads and issues relative to general education and special education. Part IV-Disorder- and Symptom-Specific Issues gives the reader reason to weigh interventions claiming to be valid Autism treatments. Emphasis is placed on whether or not there is enough evidence that these treatments are scientifically based. Part IV also provides the reader with an opportunity to compare beliefs regarding the cause for severe aggressive and self-destructive behavior. Is it due to the environment or from something that happens from within the individual? In addition, this section looks at research and mythical premises regarding treatment of severe aggression and self-destructive behavior. Part V calls to question Intervention-Specific Issues, such as Sensory Integration Therapy, Facilitated Communication, and Gentle Teaching for instance. In Part V the text addresses ethical, legal and political concerns with a focus on the need for therapies to be based on sound scientific principles to demonstrate effectiveness. With treatment supported by strong empirical studies, then our legal system can protect clients from fads, fraudulent practices and phony phenomenon. No matter what your role is with regard to working with those with developmental disabilities, maintaining a focus on the fact that we are dealing with people's lives is first and foremost in making the right decisions to address their needs. This text sets sights on establishing standards and the expectation that professionals must strive to improve the quality of life through the utilization of treatments that are backed by quantitative empirical evidence.

  • By Amy on December 13, 2012

    My professor used this book as a textbook for our master's level ethics class in special education. The blunt discussion of the empirically unvalidated treatments covered in this book was thorough and unforgiving. I found this approach to the topic to be effective and entirely appropriate. Some of my classmates felt the writing style was a little harsh or over the top, but I don't see any reason to sugarcoat valid criticism of treatments that have killed or injured people with disabilities, wasted their critical time and valuable resources, and failed to serve any therapeutic purpose.I count this as an important resource in my arsenal of literature in support of evidence-based practices. I have used this book as a reference both in academic work and in the elementary classroom where I work on more than one occasion; the chapter on sensory integration has been especially useful in my discussions with other school professionals. (I only wish I could un-see the typo on the front cover!)

  • By armine on March 26, 2016

    It was very interesting

  • By Rebecca on February 17, 2015

    Awesome! Thank you!

  • By NDE on October 19, 2007

    Finally, a book that takes an objective view on the current "quick fix" and "miracle" treatments that are seen in developmental disabilities, specifically in autism.


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