About this blog.

My son was diagnosed with PDD-NOS at 24 months. I created this blog to bring meaning to the often-confusing label. Sometimes I have answers. Other times, just more questions.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Update: Recovery

Just a quick update to this post on recovery. I'm not the only one calling bullshit on this one.

Michelle Dawson, who attended the conference at which Deborah Fein presented, similarly notes the disconnect between the media reports and the actual study [via The Autism Crisis]:

...But in her presentation, as in her abstract, Dr Fein did not associate the findings she reported with any kind or quantity of autism intervention or treatment. When
speaking at IMFAR, she expressed doubt that this in fact could be done.

Dr Fein clearly added more information when speaking with the media. She expressed her view that recovery from autism, what Dr Fein calls "optimal outcome," was associated with early intensive ABA-based autism interventions. Like all researchers, she is free to say what she wishes to the media. However, her statements relating kinds and amounts of intervention to outcomes in autistic children are not supported by any of the data she chose to present at IMFAR 2009, either in her oral presentation or in a series of related posters.

Indeed her study design does not permit any conclusions about effectiveness of interventions, no matter how "effectiveness" is defined. She has not conducted a true experimental design in which well-known sources of bias can to some degree be accounted for and therefore the effects of interventions, their benefits and harms, can usefully be assessed.

Taking creative liberties with the media. What the heck right? There's no harm to bandying about the term "recovery" and linking it to a therapy when that link is unsupported. It's not like parents are looking for hope or anything, are they?

People are starting to realize that the emporer has no clothes. Even mommyblog "ParentDish" expressed skepticism. Ditto for a popular professional association newsource I read. Deborah Fein does a disservice to her patients/subjects and the cause of promoting ABA mandates. You don't gain credibility with hyperbolic claims based on fantasy.


Queenbuv3 said...

It is upsetting to me that because ABA has all this data it collects that it is put forward as scientifically proven. There is no program for my son to go into in his age group that is not ABA in my area. I have never been a fan of ABA because of my own experience with it. Do you know what "proof" they use to promote it's effectiveness? Why is TEACCH not available to more parents as an option?

Laura said...

The basis for the claim that ABA is the only evidence based treatment is the "Lovaas Study", which, unlike the Fein studies, followed children with ABA and a controlled sample without ABA. The result: the ABA group's IQ mean increased by a statistically significant amount. The Lovaas study has been criticized and has not been replicated, in spite of efforts to do so. See, e.g, http://alyric.blogspot.com/2007_03_01_archive.html