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O. Ivar Lovaas, Ph.D.
Born Ole Ivar Lovaas
Nationality Norwegian
Known for Lovaas technique, father of applied behavior analysis

O. (Ole) Ivar Lovaas, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist considered one of the fathers of applied behavior analysis therapy for autism through his development of the Lovaas technique and the first to provide evidence that the behavior of autistic children can be modified through teaching.[1][2]

Though a critic thought his original claims of effectiveness were overstated,[3] findings of independent peer reviewed studies do show benefits associated with the Lovaas method, [4] Systematic reviews have also not found definitive evidence to support claims that the Lovaas method is superior to other active interventions.[5] </ref> In his original studies in the late 1950's 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. During the time of these studies it was discovered that the professionals in these institutional settings inadvertently reinforced self-injury with attention. Subsequent studies relied on extinction, in these cases, giving attention when not engaging in self-injury.



  • Teaching Developmentally Disabled Children: The Me Book, 1981
  • Teaching Individuals With Developmental Delays: Basic Intervention Techniques, 2000


  1. ^ Satcher, David. "Mental Health: A report of the Surgeon General". Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved 2008-04-02.  
  2. ^ "Lovaas Revisited: Should we ever have left?", by Steve Buchman,, Retrieved on 1/28/2009.
  3. ^ Francis K (2005). "Autism interventions: a critical update" (PDF). Dev Med Child Neurol 47 (7): 493–99. doi:10.1017/S0012162205000952. PMID 15991872.  
  4. ^ Sallows GO, Graupner TD (2005). "Intensive behavioral treatment for children with autism: four-year outcome and predictors". Am J Ment Retard 110 (6): 417–38. doi:10.1352/0895-8017(2005)110[417:IBTFCW]2.0.CO;2. PMID 16212446.  
  5. ^ Ospina MB, Krebs Seida J, Clark B, Karkhaneh M, Hartling L, et al. 2008 Behavioural and Developmental Interventions for Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Clinical Systematic Review. PLoS ONE 3(11): e3755. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003755

Further reading

  • "Screams, Slaps & Love: A surprising, shocking treatment helps far-gone mental cripples". Life magazine, 1965.
  • Lovaas OI (1987). "Behavioral treatment and normal educational and intellectual functioning in young autistic children". J Consult Clin Psychol 55 (1): 3–9. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.55.1.3. PMID 3571656.  

External links



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