Autism Research Controversy: A Response to Howard et Al.'s (2005) Defenders

By Schoneberger, Ted | The Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Applied Behavior Analysis, Summer 2007 | Go to article overview

Autism Research Controversy: A Response to Howard et Al.'s (2005) Defenders


Schoneberger, Ted, The Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Applied Behavior Analysis


Two years ago Jane Howard and colleagues published their quasi-experimental study "A comparison of intensive behavior analytic and eclectic treatments for young children with autism" (Howard, Sparkman, Cohen, Green, & Stanislaw, 2005). A year later my paper (Schoneberger, 2006)-which, in part, raised some serious questions about the methodology of their study--appeared in this journal. Since it publication, my paper has received a number of positive appraisals--some from local public school employees, some from members of local agencies serving special needs children (e.g., Valley Mountain Regional Center, an agency which played a role in Howard et al.'s research), and some from other professionals across the nation. As an example of the latter, consider the comments of Andy Bondy, a prominent behavior analyst and co-founder of the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). With regard to the issue of "how to best describe" Howard et al.'s methodology and results, Bondy found my paper (2006) "astute and helpful" (personal communication, September 27, 2006). However, others have attempted to counter my criticisms. Specifically, this journal recently published two letters to the editor offering spirited defenses of Howard et al. (2005): one by the researchers themselves (Howard, Sparkman, Cohen, Green, & Stanislaw, 2007) and the other by Tristram Smith (2007). Further, this current issue contains a third letter (Wright, 2007) which also offers a defense of Howard et al. In what follows I respond to all three letters, beginning with the more substantive of the three (Smith, 2007), and then concluding with Howard et al. (2007) and Wright (2007).

Response to Smith (2007)

Drawing largely on a paper by Tristram Smith and colleagues (Smith, Groen, & Wynn, 2000), my paper (2007) identified three guidelines to be followed by studies assessing the treatment efficacy of behavior analytic approaches to young children with autism. These guidelines are: "(1) random assignment of participants to treatment conditions; (2) use of uniform assessment protocols across all participants; and (3) documentation of sufficient methodological detail to allow for independent replication" (Schoneberger, 2006, p. 208). Further, in my paper I reported Tristram Smith's (personal communication, July 25, 2005) critical commentary on Howard et al.'s (2005) study; namely, that the study's "limitations" included (a) its use of nonrandom assignment and (b) its providing "limited information about the interventions." The logical implications of Smith's criticisms are that Howard et al. (2005) failed to adhere to the first and third guidelines.

In his letter to the editor defending Howard et al.'s (2005) study, Smith (2007) does not dispute the accuracy of my citations of his personal communication to me. However, Smith (2007) does assert that "this characterization of our correspondence is quite one-sided and misleading" (p.146), apparently because I did not include his favorable comments about Howard et al.'s study that were contained in his personal correspondence to me. Indeed, in my paper I did not report Smith's statement to me that Howard et al.'s study "is a very useful contribution to the literature." Further, I did not include his comments that "the groups appear fairly comparable prior to treatment, and the comprehensive assessments and use of independent examiners are strengths. Also, the results are impressive" (T. Smith, personal communication, July 25, 2005). Thus, to the charge that my characterization of his correspondence was "one-sided" I plead guilty with an explanation. However, I disagree that I was thereby misleading. Consider the following explanations of my "guilty" plea.

In selectively quoting Smith's correspondence with me, I was arguing for a particular point of view. So, of course it was one-sided. Smith's criticizing me for being one-sided is like criticizing a participant in a formal debate for being one-sided. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Autism Research Controversy: A Response to Howard et Al.'s (2005) Defenders
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.