Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas, A True Friend of Autistic Children, Has Died

I love my son Conor dearly. Conor is severely autistic and intellectually disabled  and there is no greater compliment that I can  pay to Dr.  O. Ivar Lovaas than to say that he has helped  Conor to live a much more rewarding life than he otherwise would have known.

- Harold L Doherty, Conor's dad, on the passing of Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas

Video from MyNews4, NBC

Parents seeking help for their autistic children have few places to turn. There are people pushing various ideologies, there are professionals defending corporate interests, there are immature, self obsessed surgeons with no expertise in autism disorders insulting and berating parents of autistic children. there are many who declare that they know what is best for our autistic children.  But there are very few  who have stepped up to the plate and delivered any real help for autistic children and their families. One who did help, Dr.  O.Ivar  Lovaas, passed away yesterday.

My son Conor, now 14, did not benefit from the 40  hours a week of Applied Behavior Analysis, ABA,  between the ages of 2 to 5 as  indicated by the studies of Dr. Lovaas. The resources to provide such treatment were not easily available in New Brunswick 12 years ago and we did not even begin to know much about autism or how to deal with it for a couple of years. Here in New Brunswick a dedicated group of parents from Fredericton, Moncton, Miramichi and other communities fought against indifference and even hostility from well connected anti-ABA ideologues to help establish the UNB-CEL Autism Intervention Training program and ensure the provision of quality ABA services. Dr. Lovaas' work was of fundamental importance in discussions with government aimed at helping our autistic children.

Conor has benefited greatly from the provision of ABA based education intervention in our neighborhood schools. As a family,  ABA provided us with the tools to help us communicate with Conor who is severely autistic and intellectually disabled and otherwise has limited communication skills. 

Conor would not have received the benefits of ABA that he  has received and his life, and ours, would not be as rich as they are without the pioneering work of  Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas. 

Thank you Dr. Lovaas.


Þorgerður said...

Thank you dr Lovaas, for hope.

Lynn said...

We now have the luxury of choosing amongst different variations of ABA...but we wouldn't be anywhere near where we are today without his trailblazing.

RIP Dr. Lovaas.

Anonymous said...

It is always hard to find good reliable resources and doctors. Once you found them we hold on to them very tight, and when they move or pass we feel the void. May God bless Dr Lovaas for all that he did for all the kids and their families.

Anonymous said...

Its a travesty that his passing has yet to be noted by the mainstream media.

As a parent of a child with autism who has benefited from ABA therapy, I will always feel indebted to Dr. Lovaas.

Harold, you said it best; Dr. Lovaas dedicated himself to making a real difference in the lives of individuals with autism.

Marius Filip said...

May the Lord rest him in peace.

Anonymous said...

Now there is a man that has left the world a better place!

Thank you Dr. Lovaas.

Dawn Bowie

Barry Hudson said...

Long before we received our son's official diagnosis we knew what we were dealing with. Once realized (ASD) I went to the University library (U of T) to look for "real" research and it is Dr. Lovaas' work that I first found. We implemented an ABA program within days and it has helped our son beyond what words (our son can use his own now) can describe.

Dr. Lovaas has left a legacy (a great one) with many.