Tania Melnyczuk

Concepts

We make choices based on our understanding of concepts. My Concepts posts deal with abstract and complex concepts and with the axioms, tenets, paradigms, principles and values enmeshed with, derived from and inherent to them. 

Bad ABA and good ABA

Bad ABA and good ABA

I wrote this as a Twitter thread back in May 2019, when the ABAI was doing one of it’s usual acts of ignoring people to extinguish their standing-up-for-human-rights behaviour. Sarcasm level: 5.

People say that in the autism industry, there’s “good ABA” and “bad ABA”, and one shouldn’t write off an entire profession based on a few bad apples. OK, so, let’s toss out a few bad apples so that we can get down to the good ones.

The obvious bad apples in ABA are the ones who violate the CRPD by using electric shocks as punishment — the people at the Judge Rotenberg Centre, or JRC. Bad apple out!

Living Archive & Repository on the Judge Rotenberg Center’s Abuses by Lydia X. Z. Brown

Note: This page and all links on it discuss electric shock, other abusive and coercive treatments, institutions, and other forms of abuse against disabled people/people with disabilities in great detail.

The next bad apples are the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, or BACB — the people who certify BCBAs. Why? Well, if you’re a BCBA and you work at the Judge Rotenberg Center, they still allow you to be a BCBA. So obviously, BACB standards allow for torture. Bad apple out!

Next bad apples: the Association for Behavior Analysis International, or ABAI. These people give a platform to the torturers, aiding and abbetting human rights violations. Bad apple out!

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network strongly condemns the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) for their decision to feature the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) at their 2019 annual conference. Read the full statement.

OK, so now that we have taken out a few bad apples — the JRC, the BACB and the ABAI, who’s left?

Well, not all Applied Behavioural Analysts dealing with autistic people are associated with those organisations. The Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) is huge, and… whoops, nope, they were a sponsor at the ABAI’s 2019 conference and condone its point of view. Bad apple out!

So that leaves…

Tada! The American Bar Association, or ABA, which says that torture is a felony offence and urges states to enact laws to ensure that criminals who torture children are punished. The American Bar Association is the “good ABA”.