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View Diary: An Autistic Speaks About Autism Speaks (50 comments)

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  •  Behaviorism in itself OK; Lovaas, not so much (1+ / 0-)
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    rhubarb

    Lovaas is, as you might have expected, quite controversial among the autistic community as well. Perhaps the best article I've seen on this is Canadian autistic advocate Michelle Dawson's "The Misbehaviour of Behaviourists".

    Behaviorism in and of itself can be useful-- even Dawson doesn't disagree with this; The problem is when, rather than just trying to train out truly dangerous behaviors, it's used to force behaviors that are stressful for the autistic (like eye contact, as I mentioned in another comment) or to remove non-destructive behaviors common to autism that, though odd, are in no way harmful.

    It should also be noted that, aside from autistics, Lovaas' original behaviorist projects also included one known as the Feminine Boy Project, which is exactly what it sounds like: trying to 'masculinize' boys who were effeminate, with the hope of stamping out homosexuality. And no, I am not making this up; it's referenced and cited in the Dawson article linked above.

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