Fads in Special Education: An Overview

Report
Chapter 12
By Meg Lipper
ABA 553 Assessing Autism Interventions
Author: Thomas Zane, Ph.D, BCBA
Founder and director of the Center for Applied
behavior Analysis at The Sage Colleges in Troy, NY
Masters in Psychology at Western Michigan University
Doctorate in Applied behavior Analysis at West
Virginia University
Licensed psychologist in NY and MA



Teacher training
Staff development
*Evidence based practice in Autism
Introduction
 Parents of children with autism and other developmental
and learning disabilities are often confronted by an
overwhelming selection of treatment options, most of
which are not scientifically validated.
Fads Can Be Harmful
o
o
o
o
Waste Time
Waste Money
Falsely raises hope and expectations
Distract from effective treatments
Concerns About
Pseudoscience
 Set of ideas based on theories put forth as scientific when they
are not scientific
-The Skeptic’s Dictionary (http://skepdic.com/pseudosc.html)
 Not actively promoted, but it is tolerated
 Consistent : “revolving door” of Fad Treatments
 “Wacky” or Novel
 Often fail to effectively educate children with developmental
disabilities
Why are Fads Adopted as
Treatments?
Consumers in the field may lack
Education
o Have lower criterion for what they consider
a valid treatment
o
Why are Fads Adopted as
Treatments?
Recommendation by pediatrician or other doctor
 School
Other parents
Media – Positive Public Recognition: Internet, Books,
Television
Do you think these sources reliably recommend
interventions based on the objectivity of the evidence?
Why are Fads Adopted as
Treatments?
Parents are in a vulnerable position
-Doing Something is better than doing nothing
-When parents are dedicated and enthusiastic they
except claims without validation.
Worrall (1990) suggested that because of the need to
help students with learning and behavioral problems,
there is a pressure to try any technique or strategy for
which there is even minimal proof or logic to suggest
effectiveness.
The Cost of Special Education
Fads
Waste money that could be put towards instructional
programs that have been proven effective with empirical
evidence
1968 -$1,200 per pupil
1999-2000 school year $12,474 per pupil
2012-2013 NJ, $15,000
o
NJ Coalition for Special Education Funding Reform
o Not updated nationwide due to funding
The Cost of Special Education
Fads
I'm afraid the most current national SE expenditure data is what you have
so at least you can say with confidence that it is the latest available. The
reason that the data have not been updated is that we don't have the funding
from the government that we had for the 1999-2000 study. I have developed
a personnel-based index to provide an estimate of comparative special
education resource allocations across states. It does not provide a dollar
amount, as in 99/00, but is a basis for comparing states. If this is of possible
interest, I can send it - Tom
Tom Parrish, Ed.D.
Managing Research Scientist
American Institutes for Research
2800 Campus Drive, Suite 200
San Mateo, CA 94403
650 843 8119
The Cost of Special Education
Fads
IDEA – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
o
Federal law established 1974
o
Regardless of Federal and State funding, public schools are
obligated and must provide a free and appropriate education for
every child with a disability.
This law states that all educational treatments must be empirically
validated.
o
o
Law requires schools to create IEP’s to meet the needs of each
student classified as disabled.
Popular Un-validated
Treatments
Cognitive Skills and Academics
o Irlen lenses
Reading Recovery
Whole Language
Autism
o CST (Craniosacral Therapy)
o FC (Facilitated Communication)
o AIT (Auditory Integration Therapy)
Cognitive Skills & Academics
US department of education (2000) states more than
½ of students labeled with a learning disability have
serious reading deficiencies.
“Irlen lenses” -also known as “The Irlen Method”
o Founded by Helen Irlen 1980
www.irlen.com
Use of colored overlays and filters to improve the
brains ability to process visual information.
Irlen lenses
There is skepticism that scotopic sensitivity syndrom (The
Irlen Syndrom) even exists (weiss 1990).
Lack of comprehensive research data
Reading Recovery
Short term intervention of one on one tutoring for first
graders with an under developed reading skill repertoire.
 “lowest – achieving” first graders
 30 minute lesson each school day
o
o
12-20 weeks
“Trained reading recovery teacher”
Whole Language
Non-traditional
Non-phonics based
o
Does not focus on specific skills
Children need direct instruction
Whole language is “learner-centered” (Goodman, 1989),
in that the student is the focus, not the content of the
instruction.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8d-Ho_QRy2w
Autism
ASD –including Asperger, Autism, and PDD
o
o
o
CST (Craniosacral Therapy)
FC (Facilitated Communication)
AIT (Auditory Integration Therapy)
 Other Treatments
o
o
o
Educational - ABA, Developmental Education
Medical - Sensory Diet, Secretin
Physical - Sensory Integration
Craniosacral Therapy
Also known as:
o
o
o
Cranial Manipulative Therapy
Neural Organizational Technique
Craniopathy
“Gentle” strategy that focuses on changing, through
physical manipulation, the “craniosacral” system of the
body, consisting of the cerebrospinal fluid that envelopes
the brain and is contained in the spinal cord.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHLm9knl0vE
Craniosacral Therapy
CST apparently can “do it all.”
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
Autism
Learning disabilities, dyslexia
ADHD, emotional difficulties
Infantile disorders, colic, bedwetting
Post-traumatic stress disorders
Orthopedic problems
Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries
Color blindness.
(Ferreri &Wainwright, 1985: Upledger, n.d.)
Craniosacral Therapy
Any method related to chiropractic therapy is considered
to be lacking a strong research base regarding
effectiveness and should be judged as potentially harmful
to children with autism (Gleberzon & RosenbergGleberzon, 2001).
Communication and
Language
Augmentative & Alternative Communication Intervention
(e.g.; light,1999)
 Uses procedures which include:
o Sign language
o Computers and other electronic speaking devices
o Facilitated Communication
o PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System)
Communication and
Language
Facilitated Communication
o Augmentative communication fad
o Little empirical evidence to support effectiveness
o No Benefit, doesn’t work
Consists of individuals tapping on a keyboard with a
facilitator holding their arm, shoulder, or wrist.
Auditory Integration Therapy
Listen to music through headphones
Digitally modified
Eliminate sound frequencies
o 20 Sessions
o 30 Minutes each
http://www.aitinstitute.org/Video_Player/videos.htm
Auditory Integration Therapy
Gravel (1994) pointed out that there is in fact, no
difference in hearing sensitivities between children with
and without autism.
Researchers have used placebo treatment along with AIT
and showed that AIT is no more effective than listening to
regular music or no music at all (Yencer, 1998; Zollweg,
Vance, & Palm, 1997).
Minimizing Fads in the
Future
Everyone in the Field
o Special Education Teachers
o Teacher Trainers
o Psychologists
o Therapists
o All other Professionals
Training
o Need to be trained in the scientific method, and how to use
educational strategies that have empirical basis.
Questions or
Comments?
Reference
Jacobson, J.W., Foxx, R.M., & Mulick, J.A., (2005).
Controversial therapies for developmental disabilities,
fad, fashion, and science in professional practice.
Lawrence Erlbaum.

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