Dr. Ivar Lovaas, a clinical psychologist, passed away yesterday. Lovaas was best known as the creator of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), a rewards-and-consequences-based approach to educating individuals with autism and other developmental challenges and differences. Over the years, ABA has become the medically approved „gold standard” for autism treatment.
While there is no doubt that Lovaas’s achievements were extraordinary, many disagreed with his methods. In his earlier days, Lovaas was an advocate of „aversives” – corporal punishments for non-compliance. Over time, Lovaas and his followers found that aversive approaches to education were less effective than „reinforcement” (rewards) for work well done.