Recently my attention was drawn to the website of the Oral Motor Institute. We have featured posts on oral motor therapy in our pseudoscience series some weeks ago. The OMI publishes occasional monographs on this topic. The site lays great stress on the fact that all their publications are double blind peer reviewed. The impression given is that the publication policy follows best scientific practice and that, therefore, findings both for and against the use of this approach could be included as long as they contribute to evidence based practice. Indeed, they quote ASHA’s EBP policy: “The goal of EBP is the integration of: (a) clinical expertise, (b) best current evidence, and (c) client values to provide high-quality services reflecting the interests, values, needs, and choices of the individuals we serve”.
However, presuppositions can even come from the lowly preposition. When we turn to the section entitled ‘Topics’, we find the following: “The OMI will publish monographs on a wide variety of topics designed to provide information to individuals seeking evidence of the validity of the sensory and motor techniques…”. Notice the choice of “of the validity” rather than “for the validity”. If this passage had used “for the validity” the presupposition would be that evidence for the efficacy of OME is still being looked for; by using “of the validity” the clear suggestion is that there is such evidence.
Due to the large amount of published material arguing the lack of such evidence, one would have hoped that the OMI’s publication policy would be more directed to finding if such evidence does exist rather than assuming that it does. Looking at the publications list, find that the current four monographs are authored by just two researchers: the two Co-Chairs of the Institute.
This topic clearly needs to be researched through accepted channels of scientific discussion: open conferences and independent peer-reviewed journals, and monographs and collections of papers published by respected publishing houses. Publications controlled and authored by a small coterie of people already convinced of one side of a controversial issue will never impress the wider academic community.