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Who Has the Corner on Autism Treatment?

A most interesting article by Dr. Mulick, a well respected autism professional. He touches on the fact that most educational treatment models that have some success actually incorporate ABA. The "red envelop pushers" out there are the ones that say "my model will recover your child" or "you must come to us to learn our model." The issue at hand is not which model, but what principals and science driven procedures do you use. Those can be had for free through the field of ABA.

Who Has the Corner on Autism Treatment?
By Dr. James A. Mulick

I have always been aware that frank opinions about issues in behavior analysis or autism treatment will risk retaliation from people who make a living from pushing a particular point of view. That has never stopped me.

Take the North Carolina TEACCH Program. Their Structured Teaching is nothing more than behavior modification -- when it works it has to be because that is how the science of behavior works. But the core TEACCH leaders will never admit that because it would force them to admit that systematic analysis of what they do can let anybody recreate their work without "training".

Exactly the same can be said of some people who speak for the LIFE Institute when they say that you can't do the UCLA Program without 9 months of training by somebody who has had the 9 months of training and been anointed by somebody who has been there even longer as a trainer. This is hogwash, because if there is anything effective about the UCLA program at all it is empirically demonstrable and repeatable and reverse engineerable. Sure, a technique or a method is more easily conveyed if both described verbally or in writing and observed and performed by a practiced instructor, not to mention the additional value of corrective feedback from an expert. But if the technique is truly effective, it is independently discoverable if you follow a similar path to those who made the discovery first.

When people act as if this is not so, they are trying to sell you something. Of course, buying in to their pitch is always an option as long as the price is right. However, value differs for different people, and some of us don't need "products" that add no value over what we already have.

Then too, some "new and improved" products have had features added that actually detract from their effectiveness and would not be a bargain at any price, including in the case that they were being given away for free. PBS, in my view and given my values, falls in the latter category