As a parent you are constantly confronted with services and therapies for your
child. You pursue informed decisions based on fact but this is often difficult.
You want your child to have the best chance of success and so you look for
proven and innovative educational or medical therapies. This blending of the old
with the new is a challenge for scientists, pediatricians and for parents. Every
parent wants to be part of the first wave of a new successful therapy. You love
your child and desire every opportunity for success. You want to be part of this
discovery process rather than fearful you will be too late. You want to be an
early acquirer not a latecomer. Do not let this fear overwhelm you or force you
into making unhealthy decisions for yourself, your family and your child. Seek
reasonable and evidence based interventions to avoid unwarranted social,
emotional, financial or physical risk. There are several steps to follow to
accomplish this goal.
Learn to analyze studies and original data in collaboration with a pediatrician and developmental specialist. The goal to find and initiate innovative care for your child is a fantastic trait. Tend this desire and allow this drive to flourish and grow. By developing and pursuing a collaborative relationship with your pediatrician and other specialists you will position yourself to find the best care for your child. You can be a part of the
discovery process. Your first step is to find a pediatrician you are comfortable
with. A pediatrician who listens and responds to your questions with compassion,
care and understanding. Parents often ask how will I know if I am seeing the
right person? The answer is simple. If your pediatrician listens and is willing
to collaborate with you to find the right answers for you and your child you
will both succeed.
The next step is to learn how to evaluate studies and reports. There are various levels of evidence. Parents will often hear the term evidence based. Unfortunately, there are many levels of evidence based interventions. The lowest level is based on expert opinion and the highest is a high quality meta-analyses with a systematic review of randomised control studies or randomised control studies with a very low risk of bias. The key words here are expert opinion and bias. Beware of expert statements without
documentation of the data upon which the opinion is based. Similarly, always
look for bias which can skew the results of any study. Finally, there must there
be a clear link between cause and effect and the methodology used to measure the
outcome and results of the study must be free of personal interpretation. It is
vital for all results to support a causal relationship between what is being
recommended and what problem is being studied.
Many case control or cohort studies have a high risk of bias and an associated risk that the relationship being studied is not causal. This can cause the findings to be
inaccurate. Intervention options that document comparison studies providing a
systematic review and statistical analysis limit the chance of inaccurate or
misleading results and recommendations. As a parent seek treatments that are
supported by a body of evidence that meet the above criteria and are directly
applicable to the same target population and show an overall consistency of