Tuesday, June 28, 2011

ABA: Can we 'train' someone to be somebody they're not?

http://healthland.time.com/2011/06/08/the-sissy-boy-experiment-why-gender-related-cases-call-for-scientists-humility/

Above, read of the stories of boys who were "successfully" trained to be something they weren't.  Success stories for the scientists.  David Breimer was raised as a girl (after being maimed in a circumcision accident) and fought it. Kirk  Andrew Murphy made the mistake of being born an effeminate boy.

The punitive behavioral therapies didn't work. Don't tell that to the psychologists who made themselves famous on the backs of these kids.  I even remember the Breimer boy.  He was used by feminists to prove sex differences were a social construct.  This study was renowned, dinner table discussion in many homes...

In science, in religion, in politics...there are good and bad people.

These are 2 children used to further scientific study of gender differences.  Looked upon as successfully normalized subjects in scientific experiments. These are also 2 young men who committed suicide at age 38.  You know, when most of us decide how we are going to live the second half of our lives.  Were the experiments to blame?  Who knows?

I wonder how many ABA kids will have stories to tell later down the line.

People, let kids be who they are.

If life had wanted them to be someone else, they would have been made otherwise.  (Claire Kinton)



3 comments:

trainspotter said...

I think ABA, in the general sense (positive reinforcement to encourage desired behaviours or minimal attention/redirection to discourage inappropriate behaviours, breaking tasks into smaller steps for success etc.), has it's uses... but, in the clinical sense, I too, wonder about it in the long term.

Our daughter was in a government funded ABA program for 1-1/2 years until she was "cut off" because she didn't fit their desired "learning profile". She learned some great skills in the program and we were upset when she was cut off (because this was the only program available to her and she was making gains) but in hindsight, I'm not sure this was a bad thing. If she had stayed in the program, I don't think her problem solving skills or social/language developments would have evolved the same. I'm certain she would have become prompt dependent and, probably, much more rigid. In the last two years we have seen her continue to flourish and it's clear that learning in a natural environment, in addition to being more fun, makes a lot more sense to her. But that's just my opinion.

usethebrainsgodgiveyou said...

Trainspotter...thanks a million for taking the time and care to comment. I attempted for 7 months to teach at an ABA residential school for kids sent there from all around the state who could not be taught in a regular classroom environment.

I still can't talk about it. Not that it was so evil, but that it was so confusing to me. All I wanted to do was teach language. I didn't much care about the ABA. This wasn't acceptable to my peers because I tended to let the kids get too out of hand. But I never had any behavioral problems from them until I started sending them to "the closet".

I think a part of me thinks you are very, very wise. As mild as Ben was (I didn't know it at the time), I still never used ABA on him. I just kept trying to understand. Finally, we hit upon something kind of like ABA, but we only "controlled" that behavior that ticked us off.

You do that, Ben, and no T.v. Your choice.

You do that other thing, and it's gonna cost you. (If it would really tick me off, it costs a LOT!) Really, I think it helped him to know how much a really big no-no some things were.

And forgiveness is a really, really, really big deal on both sides. I think that worked the best. Starting over. A hundred times a day, it seemed like some days. Forgiveness has no part in pure ABA, but means so much in the real world.

usethebrainsgodgiveyou said...

Besides, ABA is just confusing as hell. There is all this termonology, and me like a dumass actually tried to figure it out.