Clicker Training humans : It works but is it Ethical?
This is based off Pavlovian Theory. Pavlovian Theory is a learning procedure that pairs a stimulus with a paired response. Ivan Pavlov used this theory with dogs. He discovered that objects or events can trigger a response. The stimulus was the food bowl full of food would trigger an unconditioned response which was salivation. Pavlov noticed that his dog would associate his lab assistant with food. This created a learned and conditioned response.
He then chose a neutral stimuli. This was a bell. When he gave the dogs food, he would ring the bell. He would repeat this. After a while, the bell ringing would trigger the dog to salivate. This created a conditioned response. Now the bell has the same response as the dog food.
This is a great tool for dog or training. This is for dogs. It has no ill effects if applied correctly. The dog will learn how to behave in a family environment and can live a rewarding life. No one gets hurt. The dog trainer will have to know animal body language to decipher when the animal has had enough or when the animal is in distress. They are taught when to stop.
Part of ABA is based on this theory. ABA does not allow for the child to have emotions or to be distressed. They are treated worse than the animals described above. I am only touching on ABA in this blog.
Yesterday it was bought to my attention that there is a TV show in the UK that shows people how to clicker train their baby. It is called "Train Your Baby Like a Dog." As a parent and pet professional, I have a huge problem with that, and I hope you do too. Your baby is not a dog, your baby is a human. At a very young age, they are able to communicate using sign language (the particular sign language depends on the area you live).This is because the language center of the brain develops faster than the speech center of the brain. Babies do have cognitive thought. They do have emotions and are very capable of expressing them.
For example: My son at six months old was able to ask for milk using ASL at six months old instead of crying. Sign language is a powerful tool when raising babies. In my opinion, every baby should learn it. It decreases stress in both the parent and the child. The frustration from not being able to communicate is not there. Creates a very happy home.
I was in ABA as a child. It uses some of these methods in the "therapy." It is compliance training. Only this does not hide that the parent is training the child like a dog. The child has emotions, dislikes, triggers, etc. This training does not allow them this and causes distress. This will lead to PTSD.
In my opinion this is abuse. Yes a child should learn but not everyone learns the same. They need to be afforded dignity. There is no dignity in being treated like a dog.
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