It’s good to look back at history for the purposes of retrospection and learning. Staying future focused can sometimes cause us to minimize what the people who came before us discovered or learned.
Viewing these wonderfully retro Lovaas ABA videos (circa mid 70's) makes me feel many emotions: pride for my field, compassion for children dealing with Autism or related disorders, and motivation to keep doing what I’m doing.
ABA has evolved, shifted, and matured over the years, and the services provided keep getting better and better as a result. We know things now that Lovaas and his students didn’t know back then. What’s that saying though? The more things change, the more they stay the same?
So as you watch these classic videos of the work of the great Dr Lovaas, keep in mind what looking back to the past can teach us today about ABA:
- Early intervention changes lives.
- The earlier and the more intensive services can begin, the better.
- “Stopping” services can have disastrous effects. If you must halt therapy, consider becoming a Parent Therapist.
- Kisses, affection, & love have long been popular reinforcers.
- Not every child with Autism will make huge, significant gains through early & intensive ABA therapy. However, progress is always possible.
- Parents. Must. Be. Involved. In. Treatment.
- Behaviors that are not reinforced die out. So stop feeding those tantrums :-)
- “Fixations”, “obsessions”, and “rituals” in children with Autism can be shaped into hobbies, leisure skills, or even jobs.
- Adaptive/Life Skills cannot be left by the wayside. Can the child mail a letter? Cut meat? Set a table? Play sports? No? Then teach them.
- When looking at my young clients with Autism, I have no idea what the future holds for them. And neither does anyone else. Dream big.
Watch the Videos: