Tuesday, June 28, 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.


What follows are all the "data" and links necessary to support this argument. Every ABA pseudo-professional cult member completely supports or is complicit to ABA's extremely painful electric skin shock "torture."

There is a thick wall that separates ABA and PBS. It is the wall of aversives. While ABA always depends on punitive techniques, either in conjunction with reinforcers or in its last resort method of behavioral control (Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), 2012), PBS, in theory only, on the other hand, has ruled out coercive uses of aversives as unnecessary and therefore unethical. (LaVigna, 2013, Affidavit vs. Judge Rotenberg Center ABA skin shock, p. 3, #4)

PBS, used mainly in US schools has become more of an educational field while ABA makes up Division 25 of the American Psychological Association membership.

There appear to be Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) who do their own versions of PBS and not ABA, as LaVigna himself demonstrates, although he and others have claimed PBS is ABA minus the punishment. We beg to differ.

These PBSers who say they are ABAers will honestly claim they never use aversives, but then they misrepresent themselves for insurance reimbursement purposes as doing ABA when they are not doing ABA, according to our take on the wall that distances ABA from PBS. They are doing PBS, which is different from ABA in many other ways besides the divisive arguments between the two groups over the aversives.

Carr and Sidener (2002) illustrated the nature of the dispute between ABA and PBS. Carr is the CEO of the (BACB). In their opinion they claimed ABA possession of PBS as a subsection of ABA, much to the chagrin of PBS experts, no doubt. See also LaVigna and Donnellan's (1986) "Old Testament to PBS" Alternatives to punishment: Solving problem behaviors with non-aversive strategies.

So in theory only, PBS decries aversive coercion, but in practice, it punishes anyway. An Autism Mom (Anonymous text to Altier(i), January 7, 2016) told us what her son says about PBS.
Mom: I asked my kid. He thinks, "It's stupid, the rewards are dumb, the practices are boring and I should skip all the practices and read instead, and those stupid tickets are annoying. They don't mean anything to me." I then asked if it helped other kids who have trouble making the better choices. His reply, "No way. Not a bit. Some kids make it a challenge to see who can earn the least tickets each semester."
So if this schoolboy's account is representative, it looks like PBS depends on negative punishment (withholding reinforcers) as a form of coercion, removing "inappropriate" children from treats and then ostracizing them from their peers under denial of trips off campus, for example.

See also: Altieri (November 3, 2015): Aversives-addicted ABA electro-shockers are on trial against Positive Behavior Support (PBS) non-punishers (theoretically, because PBS punishes in practice).

ABA grandfather Skinner and ABA father Lovaas and their skin shock methodology

In his Behavior of Organisms B. F. Skinner (1938) first reported his operant conditioning discoveries in book form, that adding or removing reinforcing or aversive stimuli or events immediately after response emissions affects the subsequent rates of lab rat behavior positively or negatively.

Wikipedia presents this BF Skinner Skinner Box, his Operant Conditioning Chamber, with electric grids on the floor. Shock would lower or suppress rates of rat behaviors, such as lever pulling, while his electromechanical food pellet delivery system reinforced them, strengthened them, make them more likely to recur under similar conditions.

Wikimedia image

By Andreas1 - Adapted from Image:Boite skinner.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5709267

Skinner (1945) raised his baby daughter Debby in what he called an Baby Tender (p. 5), also called by others a Skinner Box and an Heir Conditioner, though he did not describe it in those terms.

Deborah Skinner Buzan (2004) eventually insisted, "I was not a lab rat. Stop this rubbish about me and my dad!" She spoke as though everyone on Earth believed she sported whiskers, sharply polished teeth, highly-sensitive, actually-autistic abnormal rat ears, clawed paws, a furry, sniffly nose, and a long, pointed tail that ordinary people liked to step on.

Skinner (1945) "Baby in a Box" Ladies Home Journal 

In Life Magazine Grant (1965) showed O. Ivar Lovaas, father of ABA, forced a young autistic girl, whom they had described in completely "deviant" terminology, into his UCLA "scientific" behavioral laboratory room, barefooted upon an electric grid floor and shocked her because she wasn't "normal" enough.

ABA, which is not Positive Behavior Support (PBS), is entirely behind its own extreme skin shock pain.

Altier(i), (May 20, 2015) reported the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) officially "approved" JRC as being "aligned" with ABAI’s "mission." Then the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN, May 22, 2015) demanded that ABAI eject JRC from its conventions and stop endorsing them. However, ABAI will not listen to the actually autistic population it purportedly helps. ABAI officially "approved" JRC once again in Spring 2016 as a "sponsor" of its Chicago convention. (Altier(i), April 13, 2016)

Browns et al. (2010, p. 217, Tab. 2) showed that 26.9 % of ABA "experts of decelerative consequence based behavioral strategies...would use...contingent electric shock." They also showed (p. 218, Fig. 1) that 86% it their sample of fourteen ABA experts "might consider the use of...contingent electric shock as acceptable treatments (when) other procedures were ineffective (and/or when the) person or others are at risk for harm."

It is worth noting here, in response to the previous point, that PBS co-founder Gary Lavigna, BCBA, (2013, Affidavit against JRC, p. 3, #4) PBS leader, said, "Given the significant amount of research that has been carried out over the last quarter of century, starting in 1985, the field of PBS, i. e., ABA without punishment, has been firmly established. Professionals who have extensively used evidenced-based PBS over the past 25 years have reached a consensus opinion that punitive procedures are not necessary and, therefore, are not ethical."

Egregiously, Fig. 1 shows, if this sample is representative of the entire ABA population, that 21% of all ABA experts would shock disabled people if their "behavior is socially stigmatizing, prevents inclusion." [Ed. note: What about teaching their peers to accept them instead of shocking the hell out of these ABA victims?]

See also Kosovkaya and Altier(i) (June 11, 2015, Preface). Anna Kosovskaya escapes the JRC of ABA electroshock torture: Her self-reported adventures with interviewer analysis. This post gives a long, detailed history, as yet incomplete, into ABA leaders' strong ties with JRC.

There are many BCBA "disseminators" who say they do not support skin shock, but to date, other than PBS behaviorists—who are not doing ABA, as it has been argued—this blogger is not aware ABA professional organizations or individual practitioners who have published an official statement against the practice, though he has often challenged them to produce one.

Therefore, "all ABA completely supports or is complicit to its own extremely painful electric skin shock," and so the very same title of this post stands as supported by facts.

Related posts

Altieri (January 7, 2016). A smart schoolboy says why PBS is bad to him and his friends.

Altieri (January 22, 2016). [Edit note: I was wrong to praise them.] United Kingdom PBS advocates shun ABA skin shock pain.

Altieri (May 4, 2016). The Massachusetts Disabled Persons Protection Commission (DPPC) sends ABA Leaks a database of 410 severe abuse allegations at Rotenberg in a recent ten-year time span, averaging one charge per every ten days.

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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.