Therapy is more art than science. Be suspicious of people who claim that their approach is strictly evidence based. […]

Ruti Regan


I’m finding myself increasingly annoyed by the emphasis on evidence-based practice in the autism world. This is not because I don’t see the value in responsible intervention practices that are consistent with research and theory.

However, I’m not convinced that championing ‘evidence-based practices’ is the most useful way of confronting quackery.

Having a randomized-controlled trial showing that your intervention does what it is supposed to is great, but there are some areas where quantitative evidence runs into limitations.

  • There are many outcomes we can measure, but are all of them the right outcomes to measure?
  • How good are we at measuring things?
  • Some interventions are harder to study than others.
  • Even if it is easy to study a given intervention or measure a given outcome, researchers might not be interested in doing so.
  • Evidence-based practice is something that typically comes at the group level.
  • There seem to be many areas where quantitative evidence alone is insufficient.
  • Realistically, we’re not going to ever be able to develop the sort of evidence base for all the things we think work that we would like.

Based on a post by Patrick Dwyer