Is treatment Evidence-Based?
The profession of Occupational Therapy is regulated, which means we are bound to high professional standards. One of those is to choose the most evidence-based treatment available. Therefore, we do base our judgements, where ever possible, on best-practice research. However, our literature on treatment approaches in Occupational Therapy is limited, and also generally follows a drug-treatment model, which averages effect sizes across a number of children. We really need more research that focusses on predictors of success with a particular treatment approach. Some of our approaches are based on well understood brain function – such as visual perceptual skills progression, Handwriting without Tears, or Cognitive-Behaviour therapy. Others are based on training with experts in the field, such as Social Thinking, Wilbarger Brushing Protocol, Therapeutic Listeninf, or Reflex Integration. When using these techniques that are less well researched, the therapist will always explain the level of research to parents. It is best to utilize these approaches on a ‘case study’ basis, where variables are measured before treatment and watched as treatment progresses, to see if we are seeing changes in the individual. At CATS, we pride ourselves in being open and knowledgeable of both standard approaches (well researched) and cutting-edge treatment approaches (which may not have a lot of research yet), in being upfront with clients about these options and giving choice to the client.