The New York Times has now published an obituary on the passing of Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas. It is generally a fair commentary if understated in describing his positive impact on the lives of autistic children. The NYT summary of Lovaas therapy doesn't really seem to get it though, doesn't really seem to understand why so many people, parents and authorities, seek Lovaas ABA therapy for autistic children despite the cost:
Though Lovaas therapy can cost tens of thousands of dollars a year, parents of autistic children clamored for it. In 1995, Dr. Lovaas founded the Lovaas Institute, based in Los Angeles, which trains teachers in his method. Today, thousands of children throughout the United States and abroad are receiving Lovaas therapy.
The NYT fails to demonstrate that it fully understands why the Lovaas method is so widely sought and applied by parents and others interested in actually helping autistic children .... the evidence base in support of its effectiveness. The NYT makes no mention of the numerous credible health authorities, including the office of the US Surgeon General, that reviewed hundreds of ABA studies and concluded that it is the only evidence based effective intervention for helping autistic children.
Dr. Lovaas more than anyone else advanced the evidence based approach to helping autistic children that has made ABA the intervention that so many parents "clamor" for as the NYT puts it somewhat condescendingly. The evidence in support of the Lovaas ABA method is what persuaded so many parents that it was the treatment on which to wager their children's precious early development time. The evidence in support of ABA is what assisted parents in Canada and the US in advocating for the provision of treatment for their autistic children.
The New York Times can not bring itself to say outright what many parents and public health authorities know ... that Dr. Lovaas was one of the very few who have actually helped autistic children.