Sometimes researchers find an association between something people do – like seeing a speech and language therapist – and something that happens to them – like having communication problems. This does not mean that what they did caused what happened to them. For example, it is more likely that people saw an SLT because they had a communication problem than going to the SLT caused the communication problem.
When there is a link between people seeing an SLT and their speech, swallowing or language improving the treatment may or may not be the cause. The link may have happened by chance or people might be improving or getting worse because of something else.
For example, in some countries ice cream sales and drowning are linked. When more ice-cream is sold, more people drown. That does not mean that eating ice cream causes people to drown. A more likely explanation is that people eat more ice cream when it is hot and they swim more when it is hot. So telling people to stop eating ice cream (a treatment) is very unlikely to reduce the number of people who drown!
REMEMBER: Think about whether you can be sure that there aren’t other reasons for the association.