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  • Jen Gonda

ABA and Abuse

It happened again this week: a news article about an ABA

professional that responded inappropriately to a child's challenging behavior and left physical and emotional scars. This is not the first time children receiving ABA therapy have been

abused and I fear it won't be the last. The sadness for the children and families that now have the added trauma to work through in addition to the challenges that brought them to ABA in the first

place causes me to question if I do right by my clients each and every day.

ABA is very powerful when changing behavior. The problem is that power is not always a good thing. When people, such as ABA professionals, think they can change any behavior quickly, it leads to potentially harmful situations. The memorable quote written by Stan Lee, "With great power comes great responsibility," rings true for all ABA services. More than other disability providers, ABA professionals need to carefully consider the risks of any intervention regardless of the potential outcome. There is so much more we now know about the impacts of childhood trauma and


how the actions of adults can affect children in ways that effect their mental health for years to come. ABA professionals must do better.

There is no excuse for abuse done by ABA professionals and there is no simple solution. What I can do is work toward ensuring that all those that are practicing ABA at Community Behavior Consulting have appropriate training in trauma and crisis intervention as well as constantly providing checks and balance to the power of ABA interventions. Abuses in the field of ABA are happening. That is why it is so important to recognize these abuses, provide no excuses, and ensure that the proper attention is brought to trauma informed care with all our clients.

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