Buyer Beware: Choosing New Products or Treatments We’ve all seen ads on television or the Internet, or heard something on the radio, that makes us think, “Really?” Can something really help you drop 30 pounds in two weeks or increase your child’s academic skills by three grade levels after a few online sessions? Usually our initial gut ... Make It Work
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Make It Work  |   August 01, 2011
Buyer Beware: Choosing New Products or Treatments
Author Notes
  • Amy Hasselkus, MA, CCC-SLP, associate director of health care services in speech-language pathology, can be reached at ahasselkus@asha.org.
    Amy Hasselkus, MA, CCC-SLP, associate director of health care services in speech-language pathology, can be reached at ahasselkus@asha.org.×
Article Information
Professional Issues & Training / Telepractice & Computer-Based Approaches / ASHA News & Member Stories / Make It Work
Make It Work   |   August 01, 2011
Buyer Beware: Choosing New Products or Treatments
The ASHA Leader, August 2011, Vol. 16, 30. doi:10.1044/leader.MIW.16082011.30
The ASHA Leader, August 2011, Vol. 16, 30. doi:10.1044/leader.MIW.16082011.30
We’ve all seen ads on television or the Internet, or heard something on the radio, that makes us think, “Really?” Can something really help you drop 30 pounds in two weeks or increase your child’s academic skills by three grade levels after a few online sessions? Usually our initial gut reaction tells us—correctly—the product or program is too good to be true and we don’t pursue it. But other times, the claims, testimonials, and evidence make us think twice—is it really as good as it looks?
It seems there are as many audiology and speech-language pathology products, programs, and treatments as there are ASHA members. In our quest to help clients improve their skills, functioning, and quality of life, we are always looking for the newest and best treatments. And our clients and families often ask our opinion of a new treatment that they have heard about. Although many of these treatments are valid and have potential use, many others advertised may not live up to their promised result. In some cases, the assurance of marked improvement or even a cure for a communication or related disorder may actually be a scam—designed to obtain money or personal information.
ASHA neither investigates nor endorses advertised products, programs, or treatments. The association does not have the infrastructure required or the enormous amount of time and resources needed to undertake such investigation. And, as many products and programs are developed by ASHA members, it would be inappropriate for ASHA to support some members and not others.
What ASHA can do is provide members with the tools to determine the value and efficacy of treatments. These tools include access to evidence-based systematic reviews and guidelines, studies published in ASHA journals, ASHA policy documents and professional issues statements, and opportunities to network with colleagues to ascertain others’ experiences with the treatment in question.
A good starting point is “What to Ask When Evaluating Any Treatment Procedure, Product, or Program.” Members can use this tool to help make decisions or to respond to client and family questions. There is another comparable tool for consumers; it covers the same issues but is designed to help a non-professional navigate information about new treatment options.
As speech-language pathologists and audiologists, we have a professional responsibility to provide services that benefit our clients. This responsibility includes not only using the best available and most appropriate treatments, but also educating clients about the advantages and disadvantages of the treatments we use—and those we don’t.
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August 2011
Volume 16, Issue 8