Lovaas Applied Behavioural Analysis

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Lovaas Applied Behavioural Analysis

An Autistic View

Therapies are calling themselves ABA in order to get paid by insurance companies that will only fund ABA.

So we have Feeding therapy, Play therapy and Music Therapy masquerading as ABA.

True ABA was invented by Lovaas who believed a harsh repetitive regime would force children to blend in with neurotypical society.

Parents are told as soon as their child is diagnosed as autistic that the automatic next step is ABA in the US and many other countries. Along with the Autism Speaks mentality of Autism being something to be feared and eradicated parents are keen to try helping their child to fit in with neurotypical peers in the mistaken belief that this is the only option.

In an attached interview by Paul Crane  with Lovaas he is quoted as saying he recommends spanking, screaming no, binding to beds, slapping and cracks round the ears.

“ After you hit a child, you can’t just get up and leave him, you are hooked to that kid.” Lovaas .

The damage inflicted and pain felt is palpable.

Shock treatment and withholding of basic human rights enforcing compliance has damaged many autistics who have been keen to be heard since childhood and ABA silenced their voices with a gag of ‘normality’.

So here you will read them along with a neurotypical point of view.

Monique Crane, Autistic.

“ABA is Dog training for autistics. Punishing behaviour NEVER aids learning, it works on the assumption that we (the autistic population) are wrong in the way we function, that we are less than human. Because we are valued as less than human we can be manipulated by medical professionals without our consent.

They can justify this because apparently teaching us how to appear ‘normal’ so we don’t embarrass those around us with our outlandish and unexpected behaviours is ‘in our best interest’. ABA is the outcome of a sick system that does not value our lives and our right to a different neurology”.

Brandy McBride, neurotypical.

“ He was diagnosed at 18 months. CMH said this was the only known therapy for autism and sent us to ABA….us being new to this we went….they put him with the best people while we were there at the beginning more like floor time play. After a couple weeks they didn’t want us parents in there…said we was distracting him.

Said we could watch him threw  the mirror….but they never put him in the room with the mirror so we could watch…..all we could do was listen to him begging for momma and crying and having non stop melt downs….teasing him with candy and then because he didn’t do it to the exact way they wanted him to do it they wouldn’t give it to him….they also used his cup as a “reinforcer” which just really upset me and him as as long as he was made to go there they would with hold fluids from him due to him not doing what they want him to do….they started this ignore thing with him….if he didn’t do what they asked they would turn their back on him and with hold attention from him. Now Damian had a horrible back ground with neglect from his bio parents so this just sent him over the edge. He went so far down hill while on ABA….he started biting himself and everyone else he was pulling his hair  out….as they only cared what he could physically do they didn’t care how they was mentally torturing him….the state wouldn’t let me take him out.

They forced us to continue something that was doing so much more damage than good…..i had multiple meetings and they just said i was a problem parent. . that i didn’t want him “better” in their words….once i went in and he was almost  naked…..their reasoning was he was messing with his clothes instead of listening so they took his clothes…..at that point i had had enough….and poor Damian….my heart broke for him….is last day their he ended up getting a concussion because “they gave him the option  to move and he choose not to move” in their words so they sat and watched him get trampled by a bunch of older kids….

ABA is nothing but child abuse and they are just out for more hours for more money….its not about the children and should be outlawed “.

Matthew Poutney, autistic.

“ ABA for many years as been as the “golden standard” of so called, autism intervention by the medical community and by the community of “autism parents”. This has not been helped by organisations like Autism speaks in the United states of America, which openly advocate for ABA treatment to be used on autistic children.

To explain what ABA is, watch the documentary “Black fish”. You may think; what does a documentary about killer whales in captivity have anything to do with ABA? Well, whales were and are still being used by theme park chains like Sea world to perform “tricks” to entertain an audience of people. They are “trained” to do this tricks out are outside of our natural capabilities. And what happens when the these wonderful creatures in an amusement park environment that is not build for them, and they are being forced one way or the other to perform stunts and tricks? They become scared. And because they are scared they lash out and become aggressive.

This is what happens when you force compliance on a living intelligent being and humans are no exception to this. The difference between ABA and whale training is that whale training is done in the name of “entertainment” and ABA is done in the name of “therapy”

ABA is largely based the psychological process of classical and operant conditioning, founded by famous faces of medical world like, pavlov (Yes, the guy who did the famous dog experiment).

And Lovass, the guy who invented, ABA therapy. Within the field of “compliance training” and ABA there as been a large history of unethical treatment such a electric shocks, withholding food and restraining. Sadly a lot of these methods are still used today to wean out “undesired behaviours” such as Stimming, not giving eye contact, playing with toys in the “incorrect” way. After the treatment, you child may look and act like a Neurotycial person, but in time, that child will “burnout” and/or lash out at others. Your child becomes a ticking time bomb.

The medical community will argue that ABA does work because there is a lot of evidence to support it. But the problem is this, the evidence only takes into consideration what the Neurotypical therapist is seeing, not on how the autistic child is feeling.

It only benefits the Neurotypcial person and the Neurotypcial society so that the autistic child will learn to pass off as a neurotypcial person. It does nothing to help the autistic when it comes to managing meltdowns and overloads, because ABA teaches that you must suppress these in order to be a “good boy” or “girl”.

People have gone on to develop metal health problems, such as depression, anxiety and PTSD as a result of ABA therapy. I can tell you that ABA is not the “golden standard” of autism intervention, if one exists. Love and acceptance from what I’ve heard is pretty good form of therapy!”.

Amanda Jane Hargreaves, autistic.

“ I wish to let other people who encounter autism in any shape or form within their lives (whether it is their own autism or that of someone else) be aware of the dangers of ABA therapy.

I have first hand experience of ABA.

My bedroom was stripped of all but one solitary mattress. The house I lived in had no central heating nor a fire within my bedroom. I wasn’t allowed a sheet or a blanket. Despite being completely toilet trained I would sometimes wet the bed as I was so cold and it was the only way I could think of to warm myself up.

I was clicker trained and the sound hurt my ears. I have major sensory issues and every time I did not make eye contact off went the clicker inflicting the terrible pain in my ears.

I started to get migraines from the stress of being forced to behave in a way that wasn’t natural to the point of feeling alien to me. I could not make sense of why they were doing this. I was told I had to obey and punished for asking why. I started to get worse migraines and to have fits due to all the actress of ABA as the so called therapy continued.

I started to have sleep issues as I became terrified of going to bed. I was cold and shivering lying there in the dark with not even my teddy bear collection to keep me company. Now a so called disability rights worker wants me to put my own daughter through the same torture. No thank you. Child abuse is illegal in this country and ABA should be placed under the abuse umbrella.

I have issues every single day of my life because of ABA. I have low self esteem and get taken advantage of so often I can hardly trust myself anymore. My mother was promised it would change me and it has. But not for the better.

It has stolen my self respect and I long for my pre ABA self back “.

Bill Appleton, autistic.

” I’m 43 and I’m still fucking angry and humiliated. Who the fuck was anyone to try and change who I am? All it did was leave me messed up when I could have been being productive and happy.”

Attached is the original interview with Lovaas and tapes that show the ABA that older autistics would have been subjected to.

Not a lot has changed even today with the way Lovaas methods are practised.

They are a crime against humanity, and as far as I can see a deprivation of identity.

Links:

Original Lovaas Journal Article

1974 Interview Psychology Today with Lovaas – Paul Chance

Early Interview with Dr Ivar Lovaas:

Lovaas Tapes:

Tape 1 Part 1:

Tape 1 Part 2:

Tape 2 Part 1

Tape 2 Part 2

TV Special on ABA

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Comments

  1. Niall  November 15, 2015

    Hi Emma,

    Thanks for sharing this post on ABA Ireland. As noted there, the association between modern ABA and aversive procedures is not justified:

    “Views of ABA in the UK are blinkered by a period in the history of autism treatment around the use of aversives. Interestingly, Lorna Wing (1966) recommended a ‘smack, a loud firm “no” or putting the child out of the room’ (p.272) for children with autism. Schopler et al. (1980) described the use of ‘aversive and painful procedures’ such as meal deprivation (p.121), ‘slaps or spanks on the bottom’ (p.121), and ‘electric shock, unpleasant tasting or smelling substances’ (p.122) as methods that could be used if other methods do not work. For some unknown reason, it has been Lovaas who was much more heavily criticised for using these methods than Wing or Schopler (see tinyurl.com/mdr8h8r).

    The aversive consequences to manage behaviour should be viewed in historical perspective. In the UK the ‘cane’ was used to inflict corporal punishment in mainstream education for all children, until it was finally outlawed in 1987! In private schools corporal punishment was not banned until as recently as 1999 in England and Wales, 2000 in Scotland, and 2003 in Northern Ireland. This is by no means a justification for the use of aversives, nor can it be used to justify a blinkered view of general education, but it helps to put into context the allegations that the use of aversives was a feature peculiar to behavioural interventions in the 1960s. Sadly, corporal punishment was generally part of life then. Corporal punishment and the widespread use of aversives are no more advocated in ABA than they are accepted anywhere else in modern-day society (Sidman, 2000).

    The focus of ABA is to help facilitate behavioural growth and skill development to enhance the quality of life. Within the UK, misrepresentations of ABA abound and these are replicated in the media and social media”.

    https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-27/edition-11/end-autism

    It’s great that you included the views of some people with autism within the article as they are often left out of discussions with regard to interventions. Here are 5 other autistics who also have views on ABA:

    https://abaireland.wordpress.com/2014/11/19/autism-self-advocates-for-aba/

    reply
  2. FlutistPride  November 21, 2015

    I was forced to change my handedness due to ABA.

    reply
  3. Karen  May 18, 2016

    Niall,
    Thanks for explaining the difference between Pavlovian, Lovaas classic conditioning and modern ABA supported therapies and pointing out that the examples given are outdated. It is sad to think that the same mind set that was caused by the anti-vaccine mentality, may cause many people to forgo this type of support for their child. As with any type of practice you have the good practitioners and the quacks. I do not know of anyone who uses strict ABA as described in the 60s anymore.

    reply

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