Quackery Exposed: DIY ABA Tablet (Goally)

 There are two major tablets that have been advertised on different social media outlets that claim to improve behavior and make the parents life easier. After receiving a message about them, I decided to look more into it.


Goally


"Goally is the only standalone device designed by leading behavior therapists, child psychologist and learning experts. . . . Designed for kids with ADHD, Autism and SPD. Perfect for developmental ages 4-12."

They use the term "neurodiverse" when talking about ABA for kids! They have 3 BCBA, one token autistic and 2 psychologists on staff. 





The device is a stand alone tablet that runs the program for the parent or therapist. The person controlling the device will have an app on their phone that will look like the photo below. It reads like an ABA data sheet. 



Goally is a tablet that advertises that they can bring:

  • less stress and conflict, more quality family time- your child learns to stay on task, on their own, with a distraction free device with built in graphics and engaging sounds
This is to make it more appealing to the parents, so they have an easier time. They mention nothing about what the child thinks or feels. 
  • Structured routines and tasks step by step-access an icon library of built in routines and tasks or customize your own with pictures you can take and upload
structured routines that are on a list are not created by the child. This is only to make the parents life easier. No consideration is given to the child
  • Set Goally points and rewards-keep your child motivated to complete tasks, while building confidence and independence
This is straight out of behaviorism. They use rewards to manipulate the child. 
  • block the distractions-improve your child's focus and help them make progress while achieving desired behavior with rewards, not yelling
This is where they use kind language to make this approach seem therapeutic. It is not, it is harmful. 

According to research that has not been completed yet at the University of Wyoming:

69% fewer meltdowns
42% less stress for kids and parents (reported by parents)
74% fewer prompts



I spoke to someone in customer service for more information :

Chat with nate:
nate: Hi There! Do you have any questions about Goally?
please introduce yourself
me: Do you have an information packet for therapists?
nate: Hey Amanda, What do you mean by information packet?
me: More information on your product. Your site does not give much. Do you have research studies, etc to show the science instead of stating there is science behind it
Nate: While we don't have a booklet there are places on our website dedicated to therapists and providing research. 
https://goally.co/pages/therapists
https://goally.co/pages/expert-videos


nate: These two pages and a couple of videos that talk about the information behind it and are geared towards a professional audience
me: but you won't show the actual studies and where they are published?
Nate: we are currently working with the University of Wyoming to conduct a thorough research study
Me: I would not suggest it unless I see the science myself
So you put this out before you conduct a study. Interesting
Nate: Additionally, Goally builds on over 30 years of research into the power of routine, habit and schedule planners
me: where is the research?
Nate: Goally doesn't try and reinvent the wheel but rather put a longstanding

techniques in the field into a piece of technology kids love to use and is easy to navigate
me: You are talking in circles. This may work for uneducated parents but no for me
Nate: I'm not trying to sell you on anything
me: Do you use behaviorism in this method?
Nate: I'm not familiar with what behaviorism is
Me: You have BCBA on your staff but you dont know what behaviorism is?
Nate: I work customer service not with the science behind the product
me:ah ok thank you. Just so you know that ABA which is practiced by BCBA caused many autistic people PTSD and your product seems to further that so they can bring it home. 

Me: Here is a research study proving it: https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/AIA-08-2017-0016/full/html
and a study by the US navy showing that ABA doesn't work https://www.altteaching.org/us-government-reports-that-aba-doesnt-work/
me: Have a nice day
Nate: I'm sorry if Goally promotes and continues things that you completely disagree with. From my limited experience with the company, they seem to be doing a lot to support the company outside of selling a product (free workshops, blog posts, scholarship funds). However, you are clearly far more educated on the topic and seem to take great issue with the product. I will check out these studies. Thanks for the information! 

Hopefully he does read the studies. The seed has been planted. Lets hope it grows. 



From this exchange, they claim science. They do not want to prove the science so they say they "don't want to reinvent the wheel." When asked for studies, they do not have any to back them up. They are in the processes of studying it and have not been published but push the product anyway. Their testimonials are by parents only. There are non that show what the children think. This is DIY ABA at its best. Lets force the children to mask to make the parent's life easier. They use the term "neurodiverse" to drawn in the autistic community not knowing we do not fall for this. 

Source: https://www.goally.co

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