Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Do you copy? Autism advocacy standards strike again (a brief note in passing)

Doreen Granpeesheh is a well-respected Board Certified Behavior Analyst who "serves on the Defeat Autism Now (DAN!) Executive Council," works at Andrew Wakefield's Thoughtful House, is on Autism Society of America's Board of Directors, and has won ASA's highest award. ASA is part of a collaboration of organizations which agree that there has been an epidemic of autism caused at least in part by vaccines.

Dr Granpeesheh is executive director of CARD (Center for Autism and Related Disorders), a high-profile organization which provides ABA services. CARD has recently started a blog, which apparently has gotten rave reviews from leading Canadian autism advocates (you know where to find them...). Of the few CARD blog posts I read, two gave me déja vu.

One is about ABA (see also the CARD website), and the other is about autism (see also the CARD website). Just at a glance, chunks of this writing are taken, without attribution, from the unrefereed MADSEC report, published in 2000. I also spotted an unattributed piece from the US Surgeon General's report, released in 1999. And that's only at a glance, which is all the time this is worth.

As I briefly showed in a presentation this year, pieces of the MADSEC report have often been copied without attribution, including by behaviour analysts--a practice that continues up to the present. So it seems those frequently copied, but infrequently attributed, "30 years" and "several thousand published research studies" that have "documented the effectiveness of ABA" haven't budged an iota in a decade. The MADSEC report covers papers published up to 1998; among those "several thousand published research studies," which sadly are not listed, not one single RCT of ABA-based autism interventions is cited.

Failing to attribute copied chunks of text may result in applause from leading autism advocates, and for all I know it may be good for business. But in my view, if you are going to copy someone else's writing, and put it on your website or blog, it's a very good idea to provide the source for this writing rather than passing it off as your own. This is true even if copyright is not an issue, and even if you have permission to copy someone else's work.

(This brief note is more like a TMoB message, but the TMoB board has gotten cranky about posts with more than a few links. If I've made any factual errors, I hope someone corrects me.)

4 comments:

Socrates said...

"it may be good for business"

Autism is good business for a lot of people.

We are the raw materials for their industrial processes and value creation.

In Elimination, Profit.

Roger Kulp said...

Socrates said...
"it may be good for business"

Autism is good business for a lot of people.

We are the raw materials for their industrial processes and value creation.


And nothing creates more profit from autism,than the so-called "doctors",who push chelation,and other dangerous "protocols" as a "cure" for autism,and actually harm,or kill children in the process.
http://photoninthedarkness.com/?p=157

Michelle Dawson said...

Something to note, as I wrote in the original post, is that Dr Granpeesheh is a renowned BCBA (as a major service provider, not as a researcher) who also widely and prominently promotes DAN!-level standards of science and ethics for autistics.

I find this interesting, to say the least, and informative about the science and ethics of ABA. I wonder if anyone else does.

And if behaviour analysts are not concerned by this--I've seen no evidence that they are, and you can find many behaviour analysts among ASA's professional advisors--what does this say about the science and ethics of ABA?

Michelle Dawson said...

In this week's Bad Science column, Ben Goldacre reports on another instance of a service provider (this time a company called "Detoxinabox") using copied chunks of text written by other people and passing this off as their own.