Interview with Boston School Principal About ABA/PTSD study (Kupferstein, 2018)

Friday April 22, 2022

I recently stumbled upon your intriguing research on ABA and PTSS/PTSD. I am preparing a presentation about ABA where I hope to share some of the growing debate around its responsiveness. It would be extremely helpful if I could record an interview with you, even if just for five minutes to share with my colleagues and doctoral (Education Leadership) classmates. I can make myself available whenever is convenient for you. If possible questions I hope to ask are:

Rodolfo Morales, principal of the Bates Elementary School in Roslindale, with Superintendent Chang on the first day of pre-k and kindergarten 2017.

What is your role and how do you experience ABA?

Dr. Henny: In relation to myself and ABA, I encountered the legislation that made it possible for my children to receive it as a medicaid covered supports after their diagnosis. 

How do you define ABA?

Dr. Henny: The services that must be delivered to qualify for medicaid funding, per the Autism CARES Act

How have you seen ABA support students in the classroom?

Dr. Henny: In my private practice, I provide STEM AAC lessons and piano lessons to nonspeaking autistic students around the world. When an ABA therapist is present for the session, I can see that they will happily help my student when the take my instruction to point in the book with a pencil, silently. I also see that it is helpful for the piano lesson to be a Reward, and not a Task. As we know, music-making is inherently rewarding, and Johnny has a bill of rights. (“I appreciate the last hour of learning from you”) .

How have you seen ABA fail to support students in the classroom?

Dr. Henny: I have seen ABA therapists insist on interfering in my prepaid sessions with my students. One student was assessed as being frightened of vacuum cleaners, and therefore was subjected to vacuuming sounds if they bolted from table-top tasks. As our lessons are largely based around a piano bench, a 30-minute session had to be providing constructive education with a review of last week’s assignment, preparation for the upcoming week’s practice, and a joyful experience of music-making with an adult. Resultantly, I changed my practice policies to exclude ABA-exposed individuals from paying for an intake consult, as I would not accept them into my practice anyway. 

Mr. Morales asked, “what can I share with my educational professional staff and colleagues at the school?”

  1. Read Neurotribes.
  2. Watch social media content by #actuallyautistic people. 
  3. Try to make a friend. We all need friends. 
  4. Sometimes, we need a non-autistic romantic partner to give us a chance at a family life. 
  5. Learn ASL from a deaf educator. Show everyone a sign in every sentence you engage in speech. “Good MOOOOOOOOORNING FIFTH GRADE [good] [morning] [class] [5th]

Dr. Henny’s publishings include articles of many diverse subjects. The following is a list with direct links. ****If anything is inaccessible, please Contact me right away, and I will prioritize your request. 

Research and Advocacy is my livelihood.

Please click on “book a consult” for interviews, presentations, lectures, and peer learning.

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