Ole Ivar Lovaas : biography
Ole Ivar Løvaas PhD (8 May 1927 – 2 August 2010)., was a Norwegian-American clinical psychologist at UCLA. He is considered to be one of the fathers of applied behavior analysis (ABA, formerly called Behavior modification) through his development of the Lovaas technique and the first to provide evidence that the behavior of autistic children can be modified through teaching., by Steve Buchman, bbbautism.com, Retrieved on 28 January 2009. In 1999, the U.S. Office of the Surgeon General described Lovaas's techniques as having been shown to be efficacious at "reducing inappropriate behavior and in increasing communication, learning, and appropriate social behavior", based on thirty years of studies. In recent times, his technique is either called Early intensive behavior intervention (EIBI) or the Lovaas model of Applied behavior analysis.
Findings of independent peer reviewed studies show benefits associated with the Lovaas method, though some have disputed this. In his original studies in the late 1950s aversives such as electric shock successfully treated approximately 50% of individuals engaging in instances of extreme self-injury whose life expectancy was reduced by secondary infection. Subsequent studies were on extinction methods, in which attention is given only when persons are not engaging in self-injury.
Lovaas was born in Lier, Norway and was a farm worker during the 1940s Nazi occupation of Norway. After the war, Lovaas earned a music scholarship to Luther College in the American state of Iowa. He earned his undergraduate degree at Luther College and his doctorate in psychology from the University of Washington. Married twice, Lovaas had four children from his first marriage and is survived by six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Work with George Rekers on gender-variant children
In addition to his extensive work with autistic children, in the 1970s Lovaas co-authored four papers with George Rekers on children with atypical gender behaviors. The subject of the first of these studies, a feminine young boy who was homosexual of 4 and half years old at the inception of treatment, committed suicide as an adult; his family attribute the suicide to this treatment. Despite this, Lovaas and George Rekers had conducted a study that he was "indistinguishably unfeminine and showed no signs of homosexuality". Years later, the boy said he kept it hidden because his father would give him spankings if he was given a different color "poker chip" as punishment for feminine-like behavior.
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