Note: The timeline is still in the process of being updated. [Last updated September 1, 2022]
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The beginnings of ABA can be traced back to Teodoro Ayllon and Jack Michael’s study “The psychiatric nurse as a behavioral engineer” (1959) that they published in the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior (JEAB).
Ayllon and Michael were training the staff and nurses at a psychiatric hospital how to use a token economy based on the principles of operant conditioning for patients with schizophrenia and intellectual disability, which led to researchers at the University of Kansas to start the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (JABA) in 1968.
This is a parent-founded autism organization.
Lovaas published articles for his behavior system.
Lovaas also described how to use social (secondary) reinforcers, teach children to imitate, and what interventions (including electric shocks) may be used to reduce aggression and life-threatening self-injury.
Notable graduate students from the University of Washington include Robert Wahler, James Sherman, and Ivar Lovaas. Lovaas established the UCLA Young Autism Project while teaching at the University of California, Los Angeles.
* Changes name in 1986 to New England Center for Autism