Tutorial  |   August 2005
Science and Pseudoscience in Communication Disorders
 
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Language Disorders / Tutorial
Tutorial   |   August 2005
Science and Pseudoscience in Communication Disorders
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2005, Vol. 14, 172-186. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2005/018)
History: Received March 17, 2005 , Accepted May 23, 2005
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2005, Vol. 14, 172-186. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2005/018)
History: Received March 17, 2005; Accepted May 23, 2005
Web of Science® Times Cited: 21

Purpose: The purpose of this tutorial is to describe 10 criteria that may help clinicians distinguish between scientific and pseudoscientific treatment claims. The criteria are illustrated, first for considering whether to use a newly developed treatment and second for attempting to understand arguments about controversial treatments.

Method: Pseudoscience refers to claims that appear to be based on the scientific method but are not. Ten criteria for distinguishing between scientific and pseudoscientific treatment claims are described. These criteria are illustrated by using them to assess a current treatment for stuttering, the SpeechEasy device. The authors read the available literature about the device and developed a consensus set of decisions about the 10 criteria. To minimize any bias, a second set of independent judges evaluated a sample of the same literature. The criteria are also illustrated by using them to assess controversies surrounding 2 treatment approaches: Fast ForWord and facilitated communication.

Conclusions: Clinicians are increasingly being held responsible for the evidence base that supports their practice. The power of these 10 criteria lies in their ability to help clinicians focus their attention on the credibility of that base and to guide their decisions for recommending or using a treatment.

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