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The Autistic Child: Language Development Through Behavior Modification Hardcover – 1 Apr 1977

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Inc (April 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470150653
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470150658
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,551,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars So awful I could hardly read it. 6 Dec. 2015
By Angela Kip - Published on
Format: Hardcover
To anyone considering buying this book, please keep in mind it was published in the's good if you want to learn about how autistic kids were parented in that time period, but DEFINITELY not good advice for today.

Some of the problems with this book:

1. It does NOT focus on language 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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