For this activity, you will review a clinical treatment. The treatment may be based on valid scientific research, or it may be “junk science.” Your task will be to determine whether it is valid resear

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For this activity, you will review a clinical treatment. The treatment may be based on valid scientific research, or it may be “junk science.” Your task will be to determine whether it is valid research or not, by looking for “red flags” that are warnings of junk science.

You will prepare in advance and write your findings in this document. Your lab report will be this completed document, which should be uploaded to the Lab 1 link on Brightspace by the end of the day of the lab. You need to have this sheet available during the lab session as you will be discussing the treatment with other students in your group.  There are computers in the lab that you can use to open and view your “red flag” worksheet, or you can open it on your own device, or bring a printed copy.

Research one of the therapies listed below using web sources.(Specific assignments will be posted on Brightspace.) You can look for peer-reviewed journal articles, but you may or may not find any. One way to search is to use the databases through the library, but these days you can search google scholar and find rigorous, peer-reviewed articles on the web in full text. For some of the treatments, you might only find web sites created by the purveyors of the treatment. Attempt to find evidence of scientific validation, or disconfirmation.  Please do your research on your own without discussing your sources with your group on advance. This will assure the broadest range of material on the treatment.  Bring your findings to lab. During the lab, you will share the evidence you each have found, debate it, and reach a conclusion within your group about the degree of scientific legitimacy of the therapy.  You will then share your group’s findings with the rest of the class and explain the rationale for your group’s decision.

2. Auditory integration therapy, also known as Tomatis method

Some key points to consider:

If the originator has a website, are there claims about the treatment working for a wide variety of disorders, or working extremely rapidly, or that otherwise sound too good to be true?

Does the originator post research results?  If so, do these consist of data, or just claims about the results, or testimonials from individual patients? Are there peer-reviewed journal articles about the treatment that show its efficacy or lack thereof?  (If so, you may obtain one or more articles through the eb and/orlibrary if you know how – or just save the abstracts) -or can you only find websites that make claims with no scientific evidence?

Can you find a systematic review of the treatment?  This will summarize the results of multiple studies, some of which mightbe contradictory. Complete the worksheet below and BRING IT TO LAB. Please do not discuss your findings in advance of lab with other students in our group.

Worksheet: Real Science or Junk Science

Treatment name:

Website URL:

Relevant material from the website (you can copy and paste it here)

If there are journal articles about the treatment, you can copy and paste the citation(s) here.  If there is a lot of literature, you can just cite an example or two.

Calculate the “Red Flag” score.  Score the treatment one point for each of the “red flags” below.  A scientifically validated treatment should have a score of zero.

 The website claims that the treatment is effective or desirable for every person with the disorder.  The website claims the treatment will “cure” what typically are lifetime conditions such as Autism. The website claims that this is the only effective treatment for the disorder. The treatment is recommended without regard to individualized assessment of the person who would receive it. There is no way to test whether it is the right treatment for an individual.  There is no way to test whether the treatment is working for the individual. There is no peer-reviewed research literature showing scientific validation of the treatment. The website claims that there is scientific validation, but the only evidence is “anecdotal” (testimonials from customers, patient profiles or stories claiming successful treatment).


Worksheet adapted from Freeman, BJ, Principles for Revaluating New Treatments of Autism, The Advocate, Summer 1993, and Fields, V. Autism Adovcacy in Lane County; A Handbook for Parent and Professionals, Masters Thesis, 1994.

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