Hey, thanks for your response. Let’s break apart what you’ve mentioned bit by bit.

  1. Great, google searches do reference that ABA is used for individuals with autism. If you would have dug deeper, you would have found articles like this: https://www.appliedbehavioranalysisedu.org/10-things-you-can-do-with-an-aba-degree-other-than-work-with-kids-with-asd/ , which mention other ways ABA can be use.
  2. I did learn about behaviorism in my undergraduate, graduate studies, and doctoral studies and that included learning about operant conditioning. So what you write here is an inaccurate assumption relating to my studies. Thanks for the ad hominem fallacy.
  3. It’s unfortunate but many psychological practices cause PTSD when implemented by unknowledgeable, horrible professionals. I’ve had PTSD from a couple cognitive behavioral therapists, but I’ve had some decent experiences. I’m not out there claiming that the entire field of cognitive behavioral therapy is awful and causes PTSD. I don’t deny that there may be people out there who are abusing behavioral sciences, including ABA.
  4. What if there is a conflict of interest between what the guardian wants and what the learner wants? Honestly, it would depend on the situation. If a guardian doesn’t want ABA it’s not going to happen. If a learner doesn’t want it, no practitioner is going to force them. It’s all based on consent. If you go to the doctor and tell them you don’t want them to treat you, they won’t. It’s the same with ABA. It is not ethical to force it without the consent of the individual in therapy. If you further read the code, that is explained.
  5. What kind of ethics code does not discriminate between the organization that hired you and your student? I’m not entirely sure what you mean here. There are many times the code references consent. The individual always comes first.
  6. Okay… so you can’t reward the kid with too much candy? No. It’s not about candy and food. It is recommended to use non-food reinforcement strategies over food reinforcement. Token economy, group positive reinforcement, individual positive reinforcement. If food is used, it’s faded out as fast as possible. And honestly you know what should come first? Rearranging variables in the environment. Maybe the florescent lights are buzzing and LED lights would be better instead. Maybe that student isn’t able to pay attention in the back of the classroom, how about simply moving his desk somewhere else? The least restrictive, non tangible reinforcement options should always come first. How does this prove that your ethics code prohibits electric shocks, ignoring the child and other abusive tactics? None of us use shock therapy. LEAST RESTRICTIVE AND INTRUSIVE THERAPIES SHOULD ALWAYS COME FIRST. If research is being conducted and someone wanted to use shock therapy, they would have to submit their research proposal to an ethic board and follow other procedures. An ethics board is not going to approve shock therapy for a variety of reasons, and I don’t see where the connection is between ABA and shock therapy, as I’ve been in the field nearly 10 years and it’s not an intervention out there in practice.
  7. Behavior Analysts act ONLY with the best interest of their client in mind at all times.” But you said that the emotional wellbeing of your student it outside your scope. So which is it? — Best interest means that the intervention is effective, measurable and both the parent and student consent. Interventions are safe for everyone involved. If you are concerned about emotions, see a specialist in cognitive behavioral or other types of therapy.
  8. I met a therapist that had a good explanation regarding the quality of life argument and why people often choose to seek treatment for mental health conditions. She told me that everyone experiences anxiety, sadness, anger, etc. during their lives, and many people don't seek cognitive therapy because these feelings are just part of the human condition. However, when anxiety, sadness and anger start to become hindrances that impede someone’s quality of life, that’s when people seek treatment (or sometimes they don’t).

I dated a guy who wanted to attend social gatherings, but then he’d exit the car, go up to the door, be ready to knock. His anxiety it kept him from knocking on the door. He went back to his car and drove home. His anxiety impeded his life, and it frequently missed out on social situations.

It’s the same for autism. If not making eye contact isn’t affecting your life in a negative way, don’t change it. If yelling at a job interview isn’t affecting your ability to get the job, or maintain your job in the workplace, don’t change.

“Our behaviours HELP us reduce our anxiety. Stims, avoiding eye contact, covering our ears, preferring written communication over verbal — all of these things improve our quality of life, make life more enjoyable. Yet because they are considered “socially significant” — ie they seem weird to NT people — we need to be trained to stop?

No. If those behaviors do not impact your life, and they help you, don’t change. If you spend life miserable because you are missing out on opportunities that you would otherwise be able to if your behaviors were different, and then ABA may be a way to break down learned behaviors into manageable steps. I’ll continue in a new comment.

I am very passionate about teaching, dancing, and making a difference in the world. Enjoy my philosophical and entertaining musings!

I am very passionate about teaching, dancing, and making a difference in the world. Enjoy my philosophical and entertaining musings!