A second area of criticism is that ABA focuses on reducing/removing behaviours that cause no harm for the child and in fact are functional for them (especially stimulatory behaviours – “stims”).
In summary, ABA approaches in autism do not “decide” which behaviours to focus on in terms of developing new skills or reducing existing problematic behaviours.
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I’ve written extensively, and in the public domain on this blog, to help people get a better understanding of the use of ABA methods as an educational approach for children with autism.
To be fair, the Guardian article does (I think) a pretty good job of giving a picture of how ABA is used flexibly to work on a number of key areas for children, is individualized, reward-focused, and has pretty good outcomes.
The aspect that makes my heart sink is to see quotes from autism experts that, again in my view, just aren’t accurate.
It is a real shame to see the ‘normalising’ issue coming up yet again, especially in the quote from Liz Pellicano (who I think is fantastic, btw) suggesting that the “underlying ideology of ABA” is “to make them indistinguishable from their peers".
This is a criticism of ABA about which I have a very clear view.
Here’s a full quote from my earlier blog on criticisms of ABA (see the full blog at criticisms here focus on a number of related points.
The first is that ABA approaches are focused on taking away something of the child’s autism – trying to make the child “normal” in some way.
Critics argue that this also leads to proponents of ABA approaches trying to convince parents and others that they can “cure” a child of autism, or more generally that “ABA can lead to recovery” from autism.
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