Monday, March 28, 2011

Hi-Fi Pseudo-Sci, Occupational Therapy, and Making Some Lemonade

Hi-Fi Pseudo-Sci, Occupational Therapy, and Making Some Lemonade

Science-Based Parenting

Being involved parents of an autistic child, my wife and I go to many different groups and meet lots of other parents of children with PDD (Persistent Developmental Delay) or ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). I am used to the barrage of pseudoscience and misinformation from well-meaning parents (e.g, anti-vaccination, chelation, gluten-free diets, etc), but I have always expected that professional Occupational Therapists (OTs) would steer us towards evidence-based treatments. They have certainly been critical of many of the common autism myths, like the vaccines and autism non-connection. Unfortunately, my expectations were overly ambitious, and I let my skeptical guard down.

Our older son is very sensitive to loud noises and gets upset quite easily. He seems to have a lot of sensory issues both tactile and auditory, and addressing sensory issues is a large part of what his OT therapies work to alleviate. Our OTs recommended that we try some Therapeutic ListeningΠtherapy, which plays somewhat dissonant synthesized music that sounds like back-masked music rapidly oscillating in volume. I was a bit skeptical, but we tried it anyway because:

  1. they lent us the special headphones and CDs,
  3. I didn't think it would hurt,
  5. I didn't have the time or expertise to look into the research, and
  7. multiple OTs told us to try it.
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