Friday, December 7, 2018

This is a copy of tonight's ABA Leaks letter to the American Montessori Society.

ABA Leaks
Neptune, New Jersey

Re: Warning, coercive Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is pushing into Montessori.

Dear Melanie,

Your office gave me your email address to contact you. I see you are involved with "school concerns," so it looks like the nice young lady who answered the phone sent me to the right Montessori person, by the sound of her voice, of course.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is forcing its way into Montessori schools and the actually autistic community is up in arms against ABA and its coercions.

For example, Curtis Clough is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) at the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District. His page there says, "has most recently been employed as a Behavior Analyst by the California Montessori Project for the past two years. There he has designed and monitored behavioral intervention plans for students with various diagnoses across six schools in the Sacramento area. He has provided individual and group trainings for professionals, administrators, teachers, and aides in the use of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)."

I lead ABA Leaks. We have a Facebook page with 32,000 followers. We have been investigating ABA since 2007 in our Reward and Consent blog which has had 279,000 pageviews.

Although we do not know the work of Mr. Clough individually, so we cannot recommend or reject his work on this basis alone, without seeing his work directly or in video, we have seen that other behavior analysts have been saying they are involved in your programs.

Your Montessori archive collection provides us with a fine history. The first paragraph says, "Teachers guide but do not control, each child progresses at his or her own pace, and the noncompetitive atmosphere of the classroom allows working for the pleasure of learning rather than from fear of punishment or anticipation of rewards."

This is the exact opposite of ABA. B. F. Skinner founded ABA. He often said their purpose was to explain and control behaviors. (Search for "explain" and "control" inside his 1971 bestseller Beyond Freedom and Dignity.) ABA is all about adding and removing rewards and punishers. This is one of their memes.

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board is the body that approves the credentials of BCBAs. Its Fourth Edition Task List requires them to master exactly ten "scientific" concepts and skills which contain the root word "to punish." There are also many ways they "reward" behaviors, as seen in the list. Skinner (1938) showed food only reinforces hungry or underweight rats, not full or satiated ones. That is why you often see ABAers try to modify what they call behavior "problems of social importance" with sugary treats, which cause obesity and diabetic eating habits. We will eat sugar on a full stomach. It is highly addictive.

I emailed an editor of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and asked him what ethical standards they use to deem a behavior "socially important." He admitted he had no answer, but we know it's the highly-unintelligent, popular-norm-of-the-day standard by which ABA has promised the world its techniques can solve both "homosexual and autistic deviance" alike.

ABA aims to force our autistic peers to be indistinguishable from our neurotypical peers, yet we love our "autistic superpowers." WE run the computer industry. See the introduction to the former NY Times bestselling book Neurotribes.

We proudly use identity-first language yet ABA has been calling us "deviant" for a century. We call them "boring clones" in return.

We are autistic people, not persons with autism. We don't HAVE autism; we ARE autistics. Person-first shames our identity. Anyone who uses it with us doesn't follow the autistic community, even though the United Nations (paragraph 7) said WE are the best experts on autism. Only WE know how it feels.

Gay Conversion Therapy comes from ABA. We equate that to Autistic Conversion Therapy.

You can force a gay man to marry a woman and pretend he's straight and then coming out of the closet prevents his trauma so he no longer lives a tragic lie. ABA aims to squelch self-stimulation, which soothes us. They call this "stereotypy" and they promise parents they can "fix" it. Now we are doing our own version of coming out. We even stim in public. We unmask our autism and we love it.

Item FK-03 of the Task List is Determinism. This means that BCBAs must assume there's no such thing as freedom. This comes from Skinner (1974) Beyond Freedom and Dignity. While they disagreed on methods, surely neither Montessori nor her philosophical peer John Dewey claimed that freedom is an illusion. Indeed, he would say ABA is a "crime against democracy" in this respect.

Lastly, never believe what an ABAer says s/he does behind closed doors. Always watch or film it. No science always only paints a rosy picture of itself and sweeps under the rug the harm it causes, yet this is ABA, the pot calling the kettle black, as it accuses other methods of pseudoscience.

We urge you to know what ABA is doing as it pushes its way into your schools as it has done to Speech Language Pathology (SLP) and into nations all over the world.

The SLP Neurodiversity Collective courageously takes a strong stand against ABA. We urge you to follow them.

See Altier (2016). The "data" is in. Each and every Applied Behavior Analysis member completely supports or is complicit to ABA's extremely painful electric skin shock "torture." Establishing argument: Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is different from Positive Behavior Support (PBS), despite some overlap. PBS rules out ABA punitive techniques as unnecessary and therefore unethical. However, PBS does punish in practice, despite its theoretical claims that it doesn't.

In conclusion, Montessori probably used to be fine, but we cannot recommend it until your leadership makes a public statement against ABA. In the meanwhile, we have no choice but to publish the content of this letter and hopefully your response, please. To ignore us is to put us on extinction, ABA-style. We don't expert you will, however. That's what they do to us.


Dave Altier
Of the Roman Altieri Italian diaspora extended family
Master of Arts in Teaching
Georgetown University trained and published in ethics.
New Jersey state certificated Special Education teacher
Proud autistic man

Copyright and disclaimers

Reward and Consent , © is January 15, 2007 to the current date. All rights reserved (and stuff like that). E-mail me for permission to reproduce in part or in full. Please link to and cite passages quoted or paraphrased from here.

Reward and Con
sent is not responsible for links on the site. For example, I use keywords "Operant Conditioning" in the YouTube search field for the videos displayed below the archives on the left. Google selects the videos and the results change from time to time. Please email me if anything is not educational and germane to the subject and I will reevaluate the search.

I am an advocate for people with disabilities certified to teach special education with a Master of Arts in Teaching. I am not a Licensed Psychologist or a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. When in doubt, seek the advice of an MD, a PhD, or a BCBA. My ability to analyze the ethics of ABA stems from the fact that I am disabled and ABA interventions are often done to people like me, which I voluntarily accept, but only when I alone am the person granting consent, and not a parent, sibling, guardian, or institution.