In Katie Couric Apologizes for Anti-Vax Episode, but It’s Not Enough, Phil Plait (DBA “Bad Astronomer”) explains why Ms. Couric’s mea culpa for her giving excessive credibility to the incredible, post-hoc-ergo-propter-hoc stories of parents claiming vaccinations caused problems for their children. Mr. Plait, who branches out beyond astronomy to cover scientific matters in general from time to time, comes to essentially the same conclusion as Michael Hiltzik: No matter how strong her disclaimer, and Ms. Couric’s falls a bit short of being an abject retraction, she can’t take back the effect of having provided the highly visible stage for the anti-vaccination advocates.
It’s coverage like this, the embrace of facilitated communication, and even the pervasive endorsement of learning styles that makes it hard for reason and evidence to make headway in providing services for individuals with disabilities. Those of us who champion evidence-based approaches sometimes feel like were swimming upstream in sewer.
The Little Keswick Foundation for Special Education, a philanthropic group associated with the Little Keswick School in central Virginia, announced that Ross Greene, author of The Explosive Child and Lost at School, will speak at its 16th Annual Education Symposium scheduled for 10 October 2013 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM at Piedmont Virginia Community College’s V. Earl Dickinson Center. The session, entitled “Collaborative & Proactive Solutions: Understanding and Helping Behaviorally Challenging Kids (and their Caregivers),” is open to the public and there is no admission fee.
A child psychologist, Ross Greene has taught courses for the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the Department of Psychology at Virginia Tech. He is founder of Lives in the Balance, a non-profit devoted to explaining and supporting his theraputic approach, called “Collaborative Problem Solving.” In addition to his books, Professor Greene has published research articles in well-respected journals such as Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, American Journal of Psychiatry, and Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders.
Continue reading ‘Little Keswick to feature talk by Ross Greene’
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a advisory statement warning the public against the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) for Autism 22 August 2013. The action, which also notes concern about other unproven uses of HBOT, apparently was predicated on the FDA’s receipt of multiple complaints from consumers, and it is consistent with long-standing concerns about this therapy that I have raised here on EBD Blog: 17 October 2008, 21 March 2009, 17 August 2009, 12 November 2009, 18 November 2009, 21 November 2009.
Continue reading ‘US health agency warns against use of HBOT for Autism’
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 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.
Continue reading ‘Are insurers dragging their feet?’
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.
Continue reading ‘Autism, recovery, CAM, placebo, and research’
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.
Continue reading ‘US ED resource on restraint and seclusion’
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