By Hans Dekkers, Dynaread CEO/Founder.
In the field of Special Education, these terms surface for dyslexia treatment programs all the time. What do they stand for? This first table (directly below) will define them. The second table will demonstrate the breadth of interpretation.
Science-based - Parts or components of the program or method are based on Science.
Research-based - Parts or components of the program or method are based on practices demonstrated effective through Research.
Evidence-based - The entire program or method has been demonstrated by independent research to be effective.
Dynaread encourages a focus on Evidence-based approaches. But we also want to point out that Evidence-based is not always fool-proof. For starters, there is no regulatory authority that guards the integrity of this term. If independent research establishes that a treatment group of children outperformed a control group by 1%, technically the researched method could claim and market them as "Evidence-based." And this happens.
Example: Scientific evidence has demonstrated that wheels on axles are the preferred means to move a vehicle. On this premise, the following table will illustrate this point.
Both means of transportation move a vehicle from A to B. But the Horse and Wagon, in this example, is the only one independently researched as an effective means of getting from A to B, as the BMW concept car is a prototype. In this example (silly as it is), if you are strictly driven by the "Evidence-based" criteria, the Horse and Wagon would be your vehicle of choice.
What about Dynaread? Dynaread is thoroughly Science- and Research-based, but not (yet) Evidence-based. The University of British Columbia (UBC) is scheduled to perform research into the effectiveness of Dynaread as a Learn to Read remediation method in school season 2012-2013. Obviously, the hope and expectation of UBC and us is that this research will result in Evidence-based status. We at Dynaread reasonably expect this to be the outcome. UBC is sufficiently interested in what we do to be willing to spend their time and reputation on this research. Obviously, if we sold snake-oil to cure Dyslexia, UBC would not engage in research to establish its effectiveness. Dynaread has also been invited to a two year fMRI research.
There is safety in the wisdom of the masses, in the forces of the market place, and in pursuing Evidence-based approaches. However, the claim Evidence-based is not always water tight, as the Horse and Wagon example illustrates. Further, following this approach too legalistically would limit you to methods which have been established for a number of years—whilst scientific insights grow and mature every month.
There is one tool that I have found highly reliable in many applications: From identifying reputable suppliers to identifying project or business partners. Namely: Focus on the people behind it. I had the privilege to work with a wonderful man who managed profound responsibilities for third parties. He did not pay a lot of attention to contracts. Instead, he focused on the character of the persons he was dealing with. For contracts with individuals of low integrity still get you into heavy weather, where weak contracts with people of integrity never give you problems.
On that note...
Do you know who is behind the method you are considering for your child? Or are they hiding behind a contact form and a web site without names and faces? Do you smell passion? Do they care about children? How is their pricing? Is it reasonable, or too heavy to carry for most? Are they making wild claims: Do this, and have your child read in three months? In short: Do you smell the fragrance of integrity or of deception and marketing techniques?
At Dynaread we believe in what we have built: A dyslexia treatment program for older struggling readers. We strive to walk the higher road, and have research evidence behind all we do. We approach you—our prospect client—in full day light: You have our names, photos, backgrounds. Dynaread is not snake-oil: We have all the reasons and field experience to believe that it is an effective method to help older struggling readers: Our web site explains why. Actually—to return to our examples of means of transportation—we believe we have built a pretty neat car, and we are grateful for it. Talk to us! We love to hear from you.
Our Dynaread team members are required to hold themselves accountable for serving our clients in adherence with our core values...
Dynaread has been developed in the trenches of actual remediation, with our feet firmly planted on the ground. Scientific research is essential (and we consistently use it), but we also understand the realities at home and in school. Not all homes have two parents, not all Dad's or Mom's are always home, there is oftentimes no money, schools lack staff or funding. We listen, we observe, we discuss, and we build the best solutions we can for older (ages 7+) struggling readers.