Questions to ask prior to receiving “Alternative Treatments”
Recently Wayne Robb spoke at a Family Care Council-Area 15 meeting that I was lucky enough to attend. Mr. Robb has worked for more than 20 years with many Human Service Organizations and has provided services in diverse settings to children and adults with developmental disabilities, mental illness, learning disabilities and severe behavior problems. He has conducted trainings and workshops in cities across the U.S. helping parents, staff and administrators to improve the quality of services to individuals with developmental disabilities. In this talk, Mr. Robb shared a lot of important information on topics such as the “Medication Merry go Round”, What is Behavior Analysis?, Bribery verses Reinforcement, Things in the environment that can affect behavior, and questions to ask when selecting among potential alternative treatments. Since I knew this issue would be covering alternative treatments, I asked Mr. Robb to share his information and questions in this area with our readers.
If you were to do a Google Web Search for Autism Cures you would get the following figures:
Autism Cures: 193,000 hits
Autism Treatments: 356,000 hits
The amount of information on Treatments and “Cures” for Persons with Developmental Disabilities is Overwhelming it’s every where.
Talk shows • The TV “News” & print media • Magazine shows • Direct mailings • Invitations to local workshops • Celebrity endorsements • Blogs, websites, newsgroups • “This is my story” books
- New organizations pop up almost daily
Important Questions to ask when Selecting Among Potential Treatment Options
*Who is and who is not a candidate for this treatment?
*What are your success and failure rates?
*How do you define and measure success and failure?
*Have you published the results of your therapy in a peer-reviewed scientific journal?
*Which accreditation agencies (or anyone outside of your org.) validate the effectiveness of your treatment?
*What do you do when an individual does not respond positively to your treatment?
*Describe the worst treatment failure you’ve had thus far
*Talk to professionals in that field (e.g., dietician) who has no affiliation with the treatment
*Look for scientific evidence that supports or does not support the treatment
*Talk to people who were using the treatment and stopped using it. Find out why they stopped
When you decide to try a treatment do the following:
*Decide on specific measurable outcomes
*Decide on what objective measures you will use to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment (e.g., # of hours of sleep, # of tantrums, minutes spent doing a task without wandering
*Stay away from questionnaires, checklists and rating scales as they are subject to observer bias
*Stop the treatment for a while and continue to collect data
*Decide whether to reintroduce the treatment comparing the data “with and without treatment”
Remember, as the Parents and caregivers to our children, we have every right to ask the above questions in order to protect and ensure the best possible care for our children.
Thank you Mr. Robb for sharing and we look forward to hopefully hearing more from you in future issues.
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