The Autistic Child: Language Development Through Behavior Modification Hardcover – 1 Apr 1977
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Some of the problems with this book:
1. It does NOT focus on language development...it focuses on verbal development. Due in large part to how old this book is, there's no information on teaching an autistic child other methods of communication - e.g., sign language, PECS, using an AAC device, typing, writing, etc - which MANY autistic people use today. Just because a person can't (yet) speak doesn't mean they have to be without communication for months, years, or decades until they can.
2. It teaches forced compliance, which strips a child of their ability to refuse a command. Disabled people - especially disabled children - are already at a heightened risk of sexual abuse. Teach a child never to refuse to do something and this risk will only increase.
3. It gives instructions for eliminating or at least drastically reducing harmless stimming, such as flapping or rocking. Any autistic adult can tell you these do NOT need to be eliminated...they are coping mechanisms! While destructive or damaging stims need to be dealt with, Lovaas is targeting the type of stimming autistic people use to regulate emotions, calm down, process, think, and feel better.
4. Lovaas clearly holds the opinion that autistic people are subhuman and not deserving of respect. I hope I don't need to go into detail about why this is a problem.
If you want advice on working with or parenting an autistic child, skip this book and go for Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism instead. It was written with the help of experts and autistic adults, and its methods are infinitely more helpful and respectful than what Lovaas has to say.
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