The Great Big ABA Opposition Resource List

Inspired by an anonymous question, here’s a list of every (English language) anti-ABA article that we know of, all in one place, so it’s easy for you to send the whole list or pick and choose which articles will be most useful when talking to different people about this issue.

This post will be updated as new resources become available and resources we missed come to our attention.

Note (4/11/21): This list will be maintained periodically despite the dissolution of the group and page we previously managed.

general information

from autistic people who were subjected to ABA therapy

  • On Hurling Myself into Traffic to Get Out of ABA Therapy | NeuroClastic
    • Summary:
    • Key takeaways:
  • Personal stories from those formerly enrolled in ABA | Ask An Autistic | Stop ABA Support Autistics
    • Summary:
    • Key takeaways:
  • An Open Letter To The NYT: Acknowledge The Controversy Surrounding ABA | Fay Fahrenheit | NeuroClastic
    • Summary:
    • Key takeaways:
  • It was Behavior Therapy All Along, and I had Absolutely No Clue- Until Now | Alex Sprague | NeuroClastic
    • Summary: Alex Sprague reflects on their childhood experiences with a behavior therapy program (a “special needs” gymnastics class using ABA techniques) which was never presented to them as behavior therapy as a child. They discuss the abuses they faced and how two of their former “teachers” were arrested for sexually assaulting children/teenagers, as well as the owner of the facility having been arrested for the same type of crimes which had been perpetrated decades prior to the arrest (before Alex Sprague attended the facility).
    • Key takeaways:
      • ABA attempts to extinguish normal bodily functions that are culturally deemed rude and shame children for not having full control of their bodies
      • ABA seeks to stop children from expressing discomfort, pain, or distress
      • ABA is akin to grooming a child, there is often a lack of consent, including when adults touch children without their consent
      • ABA professionals punish autistic children for acting and thinking like they are autistic
      • ABA places children in vulnerable, dangerous positions and places behavior technicians in an equally dangerous position (allowing them access to vulnerable children to groom)

from parents who abandoned ABA

articles from former ABA providers/behavior analysts/behavior technicians

articles from other providers and scientists

(speech pathologists, occupational therapists, physicians, etc.)

responses to ABA providers

information on aversives and torture in ABA (and the FDA’s stance on aversives, torture, and electric shock)

ABA and the link to PTSD

consent (or lack thereof) in ABA

child abuse in ABA

articles about ABA being a conversion therapy focused on assimilation

the terrifying origins of ABA alongside the now renounced gay conversion therapy

To read some of Lovaas’ own deeply upsetting words from his “clinical trial” of ABA/behavior therapy on children in the 1970s, look no further: Some Generalization and Follow-Up Measures on Autistic Children in Behavior Therapy | O. Ivar Lovaas, Robert Koegel, James Q. Simmons & Judith Stevens Long | Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis

Be warned: the language used in this article is incredibly disturbing and dehumanizing.

articles to address that ABA is “evidence-based”

  • Behaviorism is Dead. How Do We Tell The (Autism) Parents? | Carol Millman | NeuroClastic
    • Summary: Carol Millman discusses at length the ways in which ABA is an outdated science that fails to account for a slew of important changes in psychology.
    • Key takeaways:
      • ABA and the behaviorist techniques it is based on are dated and no longer relevant
      • ABA uses principles that are known to be harmful and hinder development
      • ABA education fails to teach important information about behaviorism, neurology, and other fields of psychology to people performing ABA on children
      • The science behind ABA was outdated even when ABA was created
      • ABA ignores science that has helped us understand autism
      • The study methods used in ABA are questionable at best compared to other fields of science

articles about ABA therapists behaving inappropriately (in general)

articles to help you spot the red flags

articles to adress the “but what about…”

published articles/journal articles/scientific evidence

miscellaneous articles

posts about alternatives to use instead of ABA

  • Alternatives to ABA | Facebook Post | Autistics and Allies Against ABA Ireland
    • Summary:
    • Key takeaways:
  • If Not ABA, Then What? | Maxfield Sptharrow | Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism
    • Summary:
    • Key takeaways:

Last updated on April 14th, 2021

26 thoughts on “The Great Big ABA Opposition Resource List

  1. I do not support ABA because my HFA/Aspergers son was illegally restrained and secluded in illegal time out rooms (instrument closets and boiler rooms) in the name of ABA by so called behaviorist experts at NSSA and by teachers and administrators in the Commack UFSD who were complicit and let this happen to my son without telling me.

    My son has permanent PTSD and Anxiety because of the abuse and what was done to him in the name of ABA. My son could not tell me. He was 9 years old and too traumatized to tell me.

    He is now 21 and has published an article about his ordeal. With the help of therapy he is succeeding in college and in life. But it was a very long journey.

    Like

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