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A Case Study in the Misrepresentation of Applied Behavior Analysis in Autism: The Gernsbacher Lectures

Edward K. Morris

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Morris, E. K. (2009). A case study in the misrepresentation of applied behavior analysis in autism: The Gernsbacher lectures. The Behavior Analyst, 32, 205-240.

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Abstract

This article presents a case study in the misrepresentation of applied behavior analysis for autism based on Morton Ann Gernsbacher’s presentation of a lecture titled ‘‘The Science of Autism: Beyond the Myths and Misconceptions.’’ Her misrepresentations involve the characterization of applied behavior analysis, descriptions of practice guidelines, reviews of the treatment literature, presentations of the clinical trials research, and conclusions about those trials (e.g., children’s improvements are due to development, not applied behavior analysis). The article also reviews applied behavior analysis’ professional endorsements and research support, and addresses issues in professional conduct. It ends by noting the deleterious effects that misrepresenting any research on autism (e.g., biological, developmental, behavioral) have on our understanding and treating it in a transdisciplinary context.

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