(2019). How much compliance is too much compliance: Is long-term ABA therapy abuse? Cogent Psychology: Vol. 6, No. 1, 1641258.
This article discusses the prevalence of ASD with specific regard to the most ubiquitous current treatment, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). A discussion of some of the issues with the underlying theory of ABA in its current application is conducted, especially with regard to “lower functioning” and nonverbal autistic individuals; namely, the curtailing of soothing “stimming” behaviors, operant conditioning, behaviorist principles that research has continued to prove it is not apt for usage with autistic individuals, as well as the unintended but damaging consequences, such as prompt dependency, psychological abuse and compliance that tend to pose high costs on former ABA students as they move into adulthood. Serious issues with the application of ABA to autistic students, specifically “lower functioning” and nonverbal ones, are discussed, especially with regard to lack of current and longitudinal scientific testing and research with respect to these individuals. These effects and the trauma that occurs resultantly are categorized as abuse. Finally, drivers of the expanded usage of ABA within the autistic community despite a lack of efficacy are also discussed, such as a potential current market size as large as $17 billion annually and the deficiency of variety in techniques used by the psychologists and behavior technicians who utilize ABA with ASD students, as well as a lack of introspection about the true effectiveness of the technique amongst the whole population on the part of these professionals.