The role of private equity and lobbying in ABA funding: Talking with investigative journalist John Summers

A portrait photo of a white male with short brown hair, blue shirt and brown coat
John Summers

John Summers’ recent expose in The Nation looks at the relationship between private equity companies and the autism service Applied Behaviour Analytics (or ABA) in Massachusetts, where he lives.

In this episode, John and I talk about the business of ABA and the problematic industries built around autism. His analysis is incredibly key to understanding this industry. Don’t miss it!

Listen to the episode at the audio link below or on Stitcher here or  iTunes here.

Read the transcript below the audio file.

.
Transcript by Julie Ann Lee: Transcript_Noncompliant_John_Summers

Biography: John Summers is Founder and President of Lingua Franca Media, Inc. He has a Ph.D. in intellectual history and has written, taught and presented extensively on topics in culture and history. His recent expose in The Nation looks at relationships between private equity companies and a form of autism service: Applied Behaviour Analytics (or ABA).

 

 

“Punishments and rewards can get one thing, under certain conditions – temporary compliance” Interview with Alfie Kohn

Kohn photo  This is a fascinating interview with Alfie Kohn, who has been researching and writing about education, parenting, authority and co-operative learning for years, driving home a simple fact: rewards and punishment are two sides of the same coin –and they’re not helping us to raise the kind of children we say we want to raise.

Listen to the podcast at the link below or read transcripts (also below). Links to the podcast on iTunes and Stitcher at the end of this post.

.

Transcription by Julie-Ann Lee: Alfie Kohn transcript_Noncompliant podcast_2020

Bio: Alfie Kohn is an expert on the problem of compliance-training and reward-based systems in the schools, the work world and in the family. His many books include the classics PUNISHED BY REWARDS (1993) and BEYOND DISCIPLINE: From Compliance to Community in which he explores alternatives to our merit-based approach at work and school. He has also critically examined the influence of behaviorism on our education system and the power of cooperative learning, altruism and empathy.

The episode: Alfie and I had a fascinating conversation about social control and children’s rights. We also spoke at length about behaviourism/ABA. “The problem with ABA,” says Kohn, “is not just with the method, but with the goal. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that when these kids grow up they are struggling to try to figure out how to make decisions, be assertive and advocate for themselves …because the whole precondition for the temporarily effective use of rewards is the opposite of independence—it’s dependence.”

So much more insight, as well as interesting discussions of research and the path forward, in this podcast. Definitely listen to the end!

Links from the conversation:
Alfie Kohn’s website: https://www.alfiekohn.org/

Listen to this episode on Stitcher here
Listen to this episode on iTunes here