I'm not a psychologist. I'm a language arts and autism specialist. My research is on how autistic students learn to master written communication (which doesn't really mean "written" in all cases). I am not a therapist. I am not a counselor. But there has to be a better way to help students and young children.
I am not suggesting all ABA-based therapies in use today are bad. I sincerely believe ABA must be revised, researched, and ideally all connections to anything Lovaas did forgotten to history. I'd even like to see whatever evolution occurs to have a name other than "ABA-based therapy." The history and associations are that troubling.
So, understand I'm calling for more and different research. I do not like most ABA-based therapies I have observed, but I am not going to claim there isn't a starting point for research.
Because I have gay friends and family, I care a lot about their rights. I'm not gay, but I am an "Honorary Gay Man" thanks to a great friend who tolerates my difficult personality. My gay friends are among the most spiritual, caring, tolerant people I know.
So, yes, I am deeply offended when I read websites showing Lovaas employees register domains like "protectmarriage.com" and donate money to ballot measure to "defend" marriage. Yes, it upsets me that some ABA practitioners, admittedly independent and violating every APA code of ethics I am sure, offer services to help "cure" gay teens.
I am certain 99% of ABA-theory practitioners are not bad people. I'm sure a third or more of ABA-based therapy is done professionally and with major revisions to the original ABA methods. But, there is still a set of ABA adherents carrying on the original ABA legacy.
NARTH still uses ABA-based theories and celebrates Lovaas' research:
In December, 2008, at its annual strategic planning meeting, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH)’s Board of Directors formally accepted the following Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Unwanted Same-Sex Attractions and Behaviors. Their purpose is to educate and guide mental health professionals to provide competent, ethical, and effective psychological care to those with unwanted homosexual attractions and behaviors.Look at the date of this article:
Therapy: From Gay to Straight
January 18, 2011 – 12:39 pm | Comments Off
Dr. Joseph Nicolosi talks about options for those who wish to diminish and replace homosexual attractions by understanding the root causes, and to develop their heterosexual potential by healing emotional hurts in their past. Dr. …Gee, I wonder why "Comments Off" is the setting for that press release? Some of the ABA practitioners suggested by NARTH are also providing ABA treatment of autism. I started to cross-search the names and office addresses. I'm not going to "out" anybody, but it was enough to leave me disgusted. You can locate NARTH without my help. These are serious, well-educated psychologists and psychiatrists. And many speak about ABA therapies and autism to local groups.
I'm sure these people believe they are doing what is right. It still bothers me.