Did ABA's Founder Help Kill This Man?


Ole Ivar Lovaas was the first person to use ABA to treat people with autism. 
He is also the co-author of the research that Kirk Murphy's family blames for his suicide.

 

 

 

Anyone who is using Applied Behavior Analysis, or considering using it, to treat someone with autism, must watch this three-part series from CNN's Anderson Cooper.  To understand why this is crucial viewing, look hard at the screencap above.  You will see listed as the co-author of this paper "O. Ivar Lovaas," the man who first effectively used ABA to treat children with autism.

The other author is George Rekers, whose name might be vaguely familiar to you as the guy who was caught taking a gay escort to Europe with him, even though he goes around speaking about the evils of homosexuality and how he knows how to cure it.  Remember the extra irony-- Rekers claimed he hired the guy to carry his luggage, but then was photographed carrying his own bags while the hustler walked beside him?

That George Rekers.

People are still claiming that homosexuality can be cured because of this 1974 paper Rekers authored with Ivar Lovaas, documenting his work with Kirk Murphy.  Except that Murphy came out as gay in 1985, and killed himself in 2003.

Watch this CNN report called "The Sissy Boy Experiment" describing the therapy Murphy got to cure him of effeminacy when he was a child.  Remember that the man who helped concieve it is the man who helped conceive what is considered "the gold standard" of autism treatment. 

The same guy who claimed he cured kids of autism using ABA also claimed to cure a kid of being gay using some of the same techniques. 

And that kid grew up both to be gay and kill himself.

Think about that real hard.

I'm not saying ABA is bad.  I am saying that it was not created by people who put a high value on compassion or on acknowledging the inner reality of the people they treated.  I'm saying you need to make sure anyone you entrust your kid to is motivated by compassion and respect above all else.  Choose a caring pro who uses a method other than ABA rather than a certified Lovaas practitioner who seems mean.  And choose a caring pro who knows ABA but sees its limitations above anyone else.

Don't let people do potentially harmful experiments, on you or on your kid. 

For more on Lovaas and anti-gay causes, check the work done by C.S. Wyatt at The Autistic Me.

And watch the rest of this series, which continues tonight and tomorrow on Anderson Cooper 360.

Click here to watch the first part.