Further Developments in the Panel of Psychological Inquiry Method of Case Study Research: The Case of "Ronan"
Keywords:clinical case study validity, quasi-judicial methodology, autism spectrum child, clinical case study, case study
In 2011 our research group published a pilot study—the Case of "Anna"—employing the Panel of Psychological Inquiry (PPI) Clinical Case Study Method. The present study—the Case of "Ronan"—is a second example of the PPI method in action. The Case of Ronan has a number of modifications in method compared to the Case of Anna. First, the Case of Ronan involves the evaluation of a more complex and controversial written case study of a 20-month old boy who was diagnosed with moderate to severe autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and who was treated in a comprehensive therapeutic daycare center program where the core approach was based upon Greenspan’s (2009) "Developmental, Individual-differences, Relationship-based" ("DIR"/ "Floortime") model. DIR/Floortime was originally developed for use by parents in their own homes, and the Case of Ronan demonstrates how a therapeutic pre-school environment can use DIR/Floortime as a model for most adult-child interactions in a pre-school therapeutic environment. In addition to the application of the PPI model to a radically different clinical diagnosis, there were modifications to the methodology itself including: (a) reduction in the number of judges from five to three; (b) having a key witness in the case testify remotely before the Panel; (c) the writing of a much more detailed judges’ opinion on the aspects of the case that most influenced their decisions; and (d) a further development of the logic of a quasi-judicial approach to clinical case studies in psychology. By examining how the civil law’s basic framework for proving causality in cases of personal injury (who did what harm to whom), the process by which knowledge claims that emerge out of clinical practice (who provided what benefit to whom) is further explicated.
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