NEW!!! ABA, Torture, and Abuse: Addressing the Concerns of Autistic Individuals and Advocates – 7/12/19

ABA, Torture, and Abuse: Addressing the Concerns of Autistic Individuals and Advocates

Professor Peter Sturmey

Live Event Information:

  • Date: Friday, 7/12/19
  • Time: 1:00pm-4:00pm eastern (New York)

Recording Information

  • This webinar is presented LIVE and will be recorded. All registrants have the opportunity to attend LIVE and/or view the recording during the 5 day limited access period that begins the day after the live webinar.
  • Not sure how our recording program works? Read More

Scroll down to the product description for the complete description and related information about this event.

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[pane title=”Abstract and Learning Objectives”]


Some critics of ABA, including some self-advocates with ASD, reject ABA on grounds of social validity. Specifically, they claim that the goal of changing the behavior of individuals with ASD to be more like that of neurotypical individuals is unethical, and that targeting behavioral excesses, such as stereotypy, and behavioral deficits, such as lack of appropriate eye contact, are invalid goals. Rather, they claim that people should be more tolerant and understanding of diverse behavior. Second, they claim that the methods of ABA, such as positive punishment, and specifically electric shock, are torture not treatment and that ABA methods such as positive reinforcement are also coercive. Finally, they claim that ABA has harmful outcomes such as PTSD and anxiety. 

As a more general critique of ABA, autistic individuals claim that ABA does not really understand autism, does not respect individuals with ASD and denies their personal autonomy. This webinar explores these issues, including ethical challenges for autistics, reviews behavior analytic conceptions of autonomy and how they can be applied when working with people with ASD, and identifies possible solutions for how ABA can engage with critics effectively and respectively.

Learning Objectives:

Participant will be able to identify:
       1. The ethical critiques of ABA from autistics;
       2. The evidence for their claims;
       3. Ethical challenges for autistics;
       4. Behavior analytic conceptions of autonomy; and
       5. Actions the field of ABA and individuals can take to address these concerns.



[pane title=”Credit Hours Information”]

Continuing Education:

  • Behavior Analysts: 3 Type II ETHICS CEs Live or Recorded
  • Psychologists:3 ETHICS CEs  Live or Recorded
  • Social Workers and Certified Counselors: NA
  • Teachers: Acquire professional development hours for watching this event. Discuss the event with your supervisor to determine if it is eligible.

For ABAC’s continuing education approvals statements please view our Continuing Education page


[pane title=”Schedule”]

1:00 pm: Introduction
1:05 pm: Presentation begins
2:30 pm: 10 minute break
2:40 pm: First Q&A Session- submit questions via chat
2:50 pm: Presentation resumes
3:45 pm: Q&A submit questions for chat
4:00 pm: Submit attendance codes, take post-test, and fill out confidential evaluation form


[pane title=”Speaker Information”]

Professor Peter Sturmey is Professor of Psychology at The Graduate Center and the Department of Psychology, Queens College, City University of New York, where he is a member of the Behavior Analysis Doctoral and Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis programs. He specializes in autism and other developmental disabilities, especially in the areas of applied behavior analysis, dual diagnosis, evidence-based practice, and staff and parent training. He is the original resident speaker at ABAC and Chief Scientific Officer at Long Island ABA. He gained his PhD at the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom and subsequently taught at the University of the South West (Plymouth) and University of Birmingham, United Kingdom. He then worked for the Texas Department of Mental Retardation from 1990-2000 as Chief Psychologist, first at Abilene then San Antonio State Schools during a federal class action lawsuit. There he supervised behavioral services and master’s level psychologists providing behavior support plans for severe behavioral and psychiatric disorders in adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities, and implemented large-scale active treatment and restraint reduction programs. Professor Sturmey has published 25 edited and authored books, over 210 peer reviewed papers, over 60 book chapters. He provides webinars on ABA to qualified professionals and others on a regular basis. He has made numerous presentations nationally and internationally, including recent presentations in Canada, Brazil, Belgium, Luxembourg and Italy. He has an active lab of graduate and undergraduate students working on developing and evaluating effective and efficient ways of training caregivers using modeling and feedback to use applied behavior analysis with children and adults with autism and other disabilities. He provides training and consultations widely.

Presenter Disclosure Statement:

Peter Sturmey is co-author or editor of books mentioned during the presentation. He receives royalties from the sale of the books. He also receives speaker and consultation fees for this and other related presentations.



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