Outlaw All Personality-Altering Therapies such as ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis)

  • by: Frank L Ludwig
  • target: Minister of Health Simon Harris, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Irish Government

Many children in this country and worldwide, in particular those on the autistic spectrum, are subjected to dehumanising treatments that not only deprive them of their dignity and autonomy but also of their identity.

These therapies are problematic because
- they only address problematic or unwanted behaviours but not the causes of these behaviours, such as sensory overload, anxiety etc.
- in order to pass the child off as ‘more normal’, they are put under an unbearable pressure to conform, perform and obey without any consideration for their feelings, needs, desires, abilities and emotional safety
- the heightened pressure, anxiety and helplessness experienced during the sessions often leads to serious conditions such as severe Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and regressive autism
- teaching children that they have no right to control their own minds and bodies leaves them vulnerable to all kinds of mental and physical abuse since they have no way of distinguishing between authorised and unauthorised abuse
- they reduce the child to an object that has to function in the desired way by taking away their self-esteem, their personality and their intellectual and physical autonomy
- the child is taught that their value depends on their obedience, and that their appreciation is subject to their subservience


‘Autistic persons are particularly exposed to professional approaches and medical practices which are unacceptable from a human rights point of view. Such practices - justified many times as treatment or protection measures - violate their basic rights, undermine their dignity, and go against scientific evidence.’
- Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations


Further reading:

Why I left ABA, by a former ABA therapist - https://sociallyanxiousadvocate.wordpress.com/2015/05/22/why-i-left-aba/

An Open Letter to Families Considering Intensive Behavioral Therapy, by parents whose child developed PTSD as a result of ABA - http://www.astraeasweb.net/politics/aba.html

Tackling That Troublesome Issue of ABA and Ethics, from Emma's Hope Book - http://emmashopebook.com/2012/10/10/tackling-that-troublesome-issue-of-aba-and-ethics

Appearing to enjoy behavior modificiation is not meaningful, by Real Social Skills - http://realsocialskills.org/post/124333076514/appearing-to-enjoy-behavior-modificiation-is-not

ABA, by Unstrange Mind - https://unstrangemind.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/aba/

What is ABA? by Amythest Schaber - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEhlSPB9w7Y

Why Applied Behaviour Analysis Harms Your Autistic Child, by the author of this petition - http://franklludwig.com/aba.html

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