Tag Archive for 'intervention'

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Bad Astronomy on bad TV programming

Phil Plait, who is known for his “Bad Astronomy” Web presence (and let’s not confuse that with astrology, which is bad, forsooth!), hit the Internet with a critique of Jennifer “Jenny” McCarthy’s appointment to host a television show. Over on his Slate blog, Mr. Plait (he has a Ph.D. from the university where I teach, so I could say “Dr.” but we refer to each other as “Ms.” or “Mr.” in this neighborhood) provides what I might describe as something close to a blistering indictment of the appointment:

I was hoping I wouldn’t have to write this post, but here we are: The daytime talk show The View has indeed hired Jenny McCarthy as a co-host. I wrote about this last week, alerting people to the possibility, and now it’s now been confirmed. She’ll find her spot on the program this fall.

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Insurance woes ahead?

Will changes in California’s insurance system cause children to lose their access to therapies based on applied behavior analysis? According to a story by Chris Megerian in the Los Angeles Times, families could no longer have insurance to help pay costs as the state transitions from its Children in Healthy Families insurance program to one using Medi-Cal. Earlier, Ryder Diaz of KQED had reported similar findings in “Despite Promises, Key Autism Therapy Cut from Medi-Cal.” The children who are served by the Children in Healthy Families program and are therefore at risk for losing their insurance come primarily from families who can least afford the cost of intensive behavioral therapy.

These news reports are supported by documents from the Web site of the Autism Health Insurance Project. On the page MediCal & Healthy Families, the Autism Health Insurance site reported that MediCal was excluded from California’s SB 946, legislation that and California’s Mental Health Parity Act.

Are insurers dragging their feet?

Are some insurance companies slow in providing coverage for behavioral therapies that families deserve for their children with Autism? According to a report by Alan Zarembo in the Los Angeles (CA, US) Times, the problem is great enough in California that a government agency is considering emergency regulations to force insurers to comply with their obligation to provide coverage.

Insurers have been skirting their obligation under recently enacted state law to provide costly behavioral therapies for autism, according to the Department of Insurance, which is proposing emergency regulations aimed at enforcing the law.
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Autism, recovery, CAM, placebo, and research

Thought experiment: Suppose that scientists want to compare a new therapy for children with Autism. They’ll need to compare the New Therapy to a control condition and evaluate it over time using multiple different outcome measures. I’m going to describe this because I want to talk about the effects of “recovery” in Autism in the control group, the perception of the effectiveness of complimentary and alternative therapies, and the placebo effect.

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US ED resource on restraint and seclusion

The US Department of Education (ED) published Restraint and Seclusion: Resource Document today. After the extensive discussions the last few years about abuses of management procedures (see , especially those used with children and youths with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, ED contracted with an agency to create this document that provides guidelines for the appropriate use of restraints and seclusion.

The foundation of any discussion about the use of restraint and seclusion is that every effort should be made to structure environments and provide supports so that restraint and seclusion are unnecessary. As many reports have documented, the use of restraint and seclusion can, in some cases, have very serious consequences, including, most tragically, death. There is no evidence that using restraint or seclusion is effective in reducing the occurrence of the problem behaviors that frequently precipitate the use of such techniques.

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Toilet training Webinar

My colleague, Annie McLaughlin, who is the Outreach Supervisor for the Virginia Institute of Autism (VIA), will be hosting a Webinar on toilet training 15 May 2012. Annie—who completed teacher education work at the University of Virginia’s Curry School and Ph.D. studies at the University of Washington and has doctoral-level certification from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board—told me that the focus won’t be on rapid toilet training a la Azrin and Foxx, but more on a data-based, schedule training that increases the likelihood that the individual will learn that the toilet is the stimulus for voiding.

Dr. Annie McLaughlin will lead an online, interactive parenting workshop on toilet training individuals of all ages with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other related disabilities. Learn how to recognize if your child is ready for toilet training, design a toilet training plan for your child, and learn practical tips for overcoming common problems. Cost $65. Limit space. After registering, participants will receive instructions on how to view the online lecture and live chat.

Registration for the Webinar is available on the Web as is a contact for additional information. Here’s a link to an antique post about toilet training

Addressing bullying via PBIS


Tim Lewis

Do you want to learn how to do something about bullying in schools? Here’s a way to get started.

Under the auspices of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), Tim Lewis will present an online seminar (“Webinar”) entitled “Addressing Bullying Behavior Through Schoolwide Positive Behavior Supports” on Thursday 20 October 2011 from 4:00 to 5:00 PM (Eastern Time, US). Professor Lewis, who teaches and conducts research at the University of Missouri, has a wealth of experience and expertise in the area of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders and positive behavior interventions and supports (PBIS), so this an excellent opportunity to get a good grounding in how to use the features of PBIS to help a school manage bullying problems. Follow this link to learn more about the event and how to register for it; it is one in a series of Webinars on the topic of PBIS that Professor Lewis is providing via CEC. (I don’t have a financial interest in them.)

Denny Reid in C’ville!

Dennis Reid, a renowned researcher and clinician who for more than 35 years has worked with individuals who have Autism, will speak on 22 September 2011 on “Evidence-Based Strategies for Promoting Enjoyment among People with Autism” in Charlottesville (VA, US). The talk by Mr. Reid, which is free and open to the public (but registration is required), is part of the Virginia Institute of Autism (VIA) Autism Speaker Series and is sponsored by VIA and the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital. It is scheduled for 5:30-6:30 at St. Anne’s-Belfield Greenway Rise Campus, Randolph Hall Auditorium. To register, go to VIA’s Web site viaschool.org or call (434) 923-8252.

For those who are unfamiliar with Mr. Reid’s research, he has an extensive record of work in behavior analysis, having published repeatedly in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. He’s based at the Carolina Behavior Analysis and Support Center in Mogantown (NC, US) which, oddly, doesn’t seem to have a Web site.