Paige Layle, an autistic adult shares her views regarding ABA and she reacts in videos with autistic children in ABA. I couldn't agree with this more!
ABA therapy was developed in the 1960s based on behaviourist theory, which used stimuli and conditioning to shape behavior. At the time, this approach was also used in mainstream classrooms. However, since then, we have gained a better understanding of human learning and have moved away from overly behavioristic approaches in mainstream education.
Despite this progress, ABA therapy continues to be used for autistic children, which Paige finds (and I hope everyone!) concerning. The autism community feel that ABA therapy is an outdated and harmful approach that devalues and disregards the experiences and needs of autistic individuals. Indeed, ABA fails to recognise the underlying reasons of a behaviour. That’s why Paige also criticises ABA for its lack of consideration for the children's sensory and emotional needs, as well as the violent nature of some of the supposed rewards used in the therapy.
As an Autism Specialist and Inclusive Educator, I believe that Paige's perspective sheds light on the problematic aspects of ABA and highlights the need for individualised approaches that support the well-being and autonomy of the individual.
It is essential that we listen to and center the voices of autistic individuals so that the community can transition away from harmful and outdated 'therapies' such as ABA.