Hydra Oil: Careless Therapy Labels

A Discussion of

Quackery and Our Duty of Care


There is value in identifying and changing careless therapy labels.

Accuracy in naming reflects a caring dedication of one’s understanding.

When therapists don’t know what they’re doing, they inflict harm.

Some are surprised to discover how wrong they have been.

Others intentionally fake expertise for personal gain.

We need to care for people better than this.


I believe this tutorial to be safe in tone.

That said…

To unequivocally identify quackery, sometimes I will be sharp and firm.

But I will not be not harsh, even in fun, just in case.

Except when calling out intentional quacks.

In such cases, I will sometimes be less reserved (and more amused with myself).

At the very least, the clarification of terms in The Imitation Family should be useful on its own, and that section is devoid of any intensely editorializing voice.


[This will be created after the entire tutorial is done.]


This outline will be updated as the remainder of the tutorial is integrated from the original report. This is what exists so far:



What you  Call Something Matters

A Plea for Open-Mindedness in the Beforemath

Recipe for Snake Oil

The Slick Pitch

It’s Still a Duck

Purpose of this Tutorial

Respecting What you Don’t Know

Guideline #1: Consorting with Wizards

Guideline #2: Invite Criticism

Cautious Reiteration

Nothing to Do with It

The Imitation Family of Concepts


This Point


Nothing to Do with It

What you Call Something Matters

I have some significant concerns about quackery in the therapeutic products that are developed by some practitioners who serve the special education community.

While there is identifiable value to be found in some of the therapeutic components associated with “gestalt language processing” [GLP], the foundation itself is nonsense (including the fiction called “delayed echolalia”), and the consequently harmful parts should be repaired. I will offer a taxonomy to help clarify such notions as imitation, repetition (scripting and automatizing), and the various echophenomena… mahna mahna…

Furthermore, in special education (particularly as student needs become increasingly intense), substantial competence around interoception (and its related concepts) is vital to the design and implementation of therapy; unfortunately, the term “interoception” has come to be used as little more than a marketing buzzword in some therapy products (some of which make an appeal to GLP). I will offer some clarity around that set of concepts as well.

We can and should care for people better than this.

Now we’re ready to look at some disturbing (and familiar) therapies that have nothing to do with the conditions that they are designed to therapize, no matter how much they are argued to be grounded in common sense.

Common sense isn’t automatically right; in fact, common sense is often just plain wrong, and imagination can extrapolate that error into a procedure that harms one whole hell of a lot of people. It can take centuries (if not millennia) for the quackery to be exposed.

We don’t want communication disorder quackeries to plague us for that long.

The Imitation Family of Concepts

It’s pretty easy to be incompetent about the “echolalia” network of concepts, as the literature and the research are clustered messes. (I blithely wallowed in unexamined ignorance for years.) I’m going to suggest a taxonomy here for the purposes of clarity of discussion, but keep in mind that your understanding might vary from what I describe (given your individual path to this knowledge).


Given the tutorial foundation that we have built up to this point, we can move on to solidly support the contention that “delayed echolalia” is quackery, and then discuss the effect that this misunderstanding has had on the products that are based upon it.

This Point

This is a good place to raise our (collective and respective) heads for a moment so that we can take a look around and get our bearings.


The rest of the material from the Hydra Oil report hasn’t been integrated into this site yet; in the meantime, you can read it here.

Head to the next stage of the tutorial.

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