Rory McCarthy writes the blog Rory Reckons
Applied Behavioral Analysis is a shapeshifter. The important part to remember about the methodology is that it’s based on B.F. Skinner’s ideas of behaviorism and is used to alter the Autistic person’s environment through either reward or punishment to bring about “desired” social norms. It denies the autonomy of Autistic children and adults, and treats them like rats in a cage pulling a level to get a reward – just as Skinner did in their experiments.
It’s unethical and abusive in whatever form it takes on. The biggest giveaways is where it mentions teaching “social skills” and has a focus on making allistic methods of communication the absolute goal.
It denies the autonomy of the child and fundamentally doesn’t understand how the Autistic brain works – this ethical dilemma has been covered in this paper: Autism, autonomy, and authenticity
If the child is not the centre of the therapy based on their needs, wants, and sensory issues – all therapy like this is torture.
ABA can be disguised or incorporated under many acronyms or names, or it’s parts can be in the core of various forced or coercive ‘treatments’:
-Anything mentioning Skinner or Lovaas or Operant Conditioning or Extinguishing
Adaptive Modular ABA
Applied Behavioural Analysis / Verbal Behaviour Therapy
Verbal Behavior Intervention
A to Z ABA (Orange County)
University of California LA Lovaas Intervention or Method
Pivot(al) Response Treatment or Training
Early Start Denver Model Therapy
Social Cognitive Training
School-based Communication Therapy
Behavioral Management Therapy
Discrete Trial Training
Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention
Relationship Development Intervention
Errorless Learning / Precision Teaching
Adaptive ABA Treatment for Children with Autism
Extended Pivot(al) Response Treatment
Intensive Behavioral Intervention
Friend 2 Friend – Integrated Play Groups
Positive Behaviour Support
Picture Exchange Communication System
Using pictures, minus the ideology, is OK
Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication Handicapped Children
Radical Behaviorism Approach (Florida Inst. of Tech)
Functional Behavior Assessment
Enhanced Milieu Teaching
Natural Environment Teaching
Judge Rotenberg Centre Aversion Therapy (skin shocking)
A discipline that also uses beeping devices to bring about control.
There will be more – any time your child is being denied their autonomy as long as it does not hurt other people through harm – you will be doing psychological damage to your child and reducing their capacity to think for themselves.
I never had ABA – I had Applied Bullying Analysis – I was systematically abused out of being an Autistic person. It ended up with me trying to please everyone in my life till I had Autistic Burnout – when I discovered that I am Autistic. I nearly died due to it.
I just need people to understand we can think for ourselves and have empathy, I am beginning to think that we might be the only ones to truly have empathy for others.