Why Science?
• A definition: science is the process of
establishing cause and effect
• Not 100% foolproof
• At its best it...
Smart people can misread cause
and effect:
• Severe sore throat and cough
• Patient (US academic) seen at Beijing hospital...
What’s wrong with above picture?
• Majority of respiratory complaints like
that described by the author are viral,
not bac...
What should we look for?
• Instructional techniques and programs
that correspond with established
understanding of FASD
• ...
What should we look for? (2)
• If a program claims to be supported by
research, check that research and desired
effect mat...
A little more about peer review
• Good science assumes possibilities of
error, bias, statistical fumbles,
contamination of...
DO NOT MAKE MAJOR LIFE
DECISIONS ON THE BASIS
OF THE FINDINGS OF ONE
STUDY!!!!
Testimonials
• 1. Authorities:
– Really smart people: Jarvik
– Celebrities: Oprah
– Moral Authorities: Floyd Redcrow
Weste...
Testimonials:
• Consider the logic:
• How many testimonials would it take to show
effectiveness?
– What can you infer from...
Science is only part of the
picture.
• What else do you need to think about if
the program you’re looking at is
supported ...
Does it really match your child’s
needs?
• Beware the program that fixes:
“Autism, LD, NLD, FASD, and ADHD,
and CP.”
– How...
IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD
TO BE TRUE,
…
IT PROBABLY IS.
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Science

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Science

  1. 1. Why Science? • A definition: science is the process of establishing cause and effect • Not 100% foolproof • At its best it recognises and addresses the possibility of error and incompleteness • A community of communicating practitioners • The concept of peer-review
  2. 2. Smart people can misread cause and effect: • Severe sore throat and cough • Patient (US academic) seen at Beijing hospital • Offered choice of treatments: – Erythromycin – "Chuanbeiye," with the chief ingredients listed as "snake bile, tendril-leafed fritillary bulb, and almond, etc." • Patient chose erythromycin despite assurances from translator that Chuanbeiye always worked for her. • Patient got better, continued to put his faith in antiobiotics over traditional Chinese medicine.
  3. 3. What’s wrong with above picture? • Majority of respiratory complaints like that described by the author are viral, not bacteriological • Neither treatment was likely to work • Moral: skeptical scientific minds, with incomplete information, can get it wrong, too.
  4. 4. What should we look for? • Instructional techniques and programs that correspond with established understanding of FASD • Assessment of effects that actually measure what is being addressed. • Duration and applicability of effect (not just the result of cramming a bunch of information)
  5. 5. What should we look for? (2) • If a program claims to be supported by research, check that research and desired effect match. • If “analog skills” are addressed, look for research that they have direct bearing on disability. – Real analog skill for reading: phonological processing – Unsubstantiated analog skill: eye movement • Program tested by independent research, and replicated.
  6. 6. A little more about peer review • Good science assumes possibilities of error, bias, statistical fumbles, contamination of effect, etc. etc. • Findings, even if apparently very compelling, must be subjected to peer review before submitted to media. (e.g. “cold fusion”) • Even with peer review, one study doth not a conclusion make.
  7. 7. DO NOT MAKE MAJOR LIFE DECISIONS ON THE BASIS OF THE FINDINGS OF ONE STUDY!!!!
  8. 8. Testimonials • 1. Authorities: – Really smart people: Jarvik – Celebrities: Oprah – Moral Authorities: Floyd Redcrow Westerman (?!) • 2. People just like you… – really? – In what respects?
  9. 9. Testimonials: • Consider the logic: • How many testimonials would it take to show effectiveness? – What can you infer from number of testimonial regarding the ratio of successes to failures – What worked? • Can the described effect be compared to that of other approaches? • Consider the single-case phenomenon. – My “argument from Tylenol…”
  10. 10. Science is only part of the picture. • What else do you need to think about if the program you’re looking at is supported by legitimate research evidence?
  11. 11. Does it really match your child’s needs? • Beware the program that fixes: “Autism, LD, NLD, FASD, and ADHD, and CP.” – How do you know what your child’s problem is? – Assessment (not baseline, but diagnostic) should be independent of organisation offering treatment.
  12. 12. IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, … IT PROBABLY IS.

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