Friday, August 20, 2010

Father of ABA, Dr. Lovaas, Passes

I took his passing very hard, much like I did when Bernard Rimland passed a while back. Both of these men founded what is now today most commonly used to treat autism.I was so sad that I didn't know how to put it into words what this man has done for our children. But, a few days later I read an email sent to my support group from our former advocate (she saved us tons of money and time and is also an incredible autism mom herself). Karen Simon says it best:

I'm not sure parents of newly diagnosed kids know of the significance of Ivar Lovaas to all of the ABA programs our kids have today and the idea that a kid can become indistinguishable. We met him often when Christopher was in his replication site in Stockton, California from 1996-1998 and what I loved was how open he was to what needed to be done. He had been saddled with {and still is} the reputation that he was a rigid and single minded man stuck on his original findings and insisting that all therapies be done in this manner. The problem as he told us is that he needed to prove to the naysayers that intensive 1-1 therapy done in a systematic and data driven approach worked and in order to do this he had to exactly replicate his findings of 1987 so more school districts would fund these programs.

What my husband and I found, however, was a kind and caring man who never stopped learning. He encouraged us to get speech therapy, OT , music therapy and even learning the computer although that was new to him . He had a daily physical component to his program which included learning to ride a bike, swim and using all playground equipment. He told us the importance of parent involvement. He had my husband give him. He asked Jim to give him a list of the computer programs and music CD's that we found on the internet that we were using for Christopher so that he could share them with other families. He started the first informal support group among parents of his kids. He NEVER wanted kids to sit a table for hours at a time. His program was very fast paced and fluid and kids were in and out of the chair every 2-3 minutes and many did become indistinguishable and those who didn't did much better as a result anyway.

It pains me that in many ways we are all still fighting this fight even though his is over, but I wanted to share with everyone that this was a man I truly loved for giving me my son back in the days when there was no hope given to any parents of children with autism.

Rest in Peace Ivar Lovaas

1 comment:

Tawnya said...

Ashley, I understand the quiet sadness you feel. Imagining our life without any kind of behaviour therapy gives me a sick feeling.