Letter from Bridget Taylor, Psy.D, BCBA
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Re: A Tale of Two Schools
I was astonished by Claudia Wallis' inaccurate portrayal of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and the work of teachers and students at Alpine Learning Group ("A Tale of Two Schools" TIME, May 15, 2006). Wallis spent hours at Alpine, reviewing the scientific research supporting ABA and observing our happy, related students engaged in learning activities guided by our dedicated and enthusiastic staff.
Errors of detail aside, Wallis missed the most salient facts for parents facing the momentous choices regarding their child's treatment. ABA is the only intervention for autism supported by peer-reviewed scientific studies. Properly implemented by well-trained therapists, ABA can help children with autism learn to talk, to read, to write, to relate to their peers, and to participate fully and productively in their families and communities. ABA is a science, and as behavior analysts we are accountable for every moment we spend with our students. At Alpine, students' days are filled not only with laughter and fun, but with meaningful learning opportunities aimed at reaching each student's full potential.
While it is disappointing that Wallis misapprehended the science of is unforgivable.While it is disappointing that Wallis misapprehended the science of ABA, it is truly distressing that she misrepresented and undersold the accomplishments of Alpine's phenomenal students, families, and teachers. Reducing science to a sound bite is unprofessional, but reducing our students' courageous work to an inapt cliché is unforgivable.
Bridget A. Taylor, Psy.D., BCBA
Alpine Learning Group