Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Panel #401
PDS: Fact Versus Fad: How to Help Teachers and Practitioners Differentiate Between Science and Pseudoscience
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
8:00 AM–8:50 AM
Columbus Hall CD, Hyatt Regency, Gold East
Area: PRA/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Marnie Nicole Shapiro (The Ohio State University)
WILLIAM L. HEWARD (The Ohio State University)
KENNETH F. REEVE (Caldwell College)
KIMBERLY A. SCHRECK (Penn State Harrisburg)

It is important for educators to select efficacious treatments so that children meet the goals on which they are working. This progress occurs with the selection of evidence-based practices. With the increase in the number of children diagnosed with a developmental disability (e.g., autism), however, there has been a corresponding increase in the number fad treatments disseminated to the public. Given the rapid proliferation of alternative unproven treatments, teachers and practitioners face serious challenges in identifying empirically-validated treatments models. Unfortunately, far too many well-meaning professionals continue to incorporate pseudoscientific strategies into their daily practice. Fad treatments, popularized in the media and often endorsed by celebrities, waste money that can be used in providing effective treatments to children with developmental disabilities, and whereas some fad treatments may be ineffective, others may be out right dangerous. In this panel, we will discuss (1) strategies to help teachers and practitioners differentiate between science and pseudoscience, (2) some of the questionable interventions that have been promoted in the media, and (3) potential reasons why behavioral professionals may choose to implement alternative unsupported treatments.




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