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Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

The History and Evolution of Behavioral Approaches and Positive Behavioral Interventions

Derrick Dufresne

Positive Approaches

Derrick Dufresne: So people like John McGee, Herb Lovett, Anne Donnellan, and others, I think, exploded to some degree on the scene because what they said was, "You know what? Maybe this behavior has a purpose. Maybe this behavior is communication. Maybe this behavior is trying to tell us something that we're not understanding."

And for the first time, I think, it said the person is not just a sum total of his… his or her behaviors. And then I still remember Herb Lovett saying "You're not listening. You're not listening." And so it was a major shift forward as I… as I said in a paper that I reviewed. People like John McGee and Herb Lovett, and Anne Donnellan, and many others—I don't mean to leave people out—but what those folks taught us they didn't want to think outside the box. They wanted to burn the box. They wanted to say, "You know what? There's some things that are not on the table. We will never hurt somebody. We will never restrain somebody. We will never cause harm to someone in the name of good."

And I think that this caused a whole lot of consternation within the field because even today, with some of the techniques that are used, you hear this comment, "Well, in a perfect world… well, is there never a place for this?" Or, "Some people, some of the outliers, are going to need this." And as long as you allow those "exceptions," what ends up happening is that you open up Pandora's box, and what those folks said is, "We're not going there."

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This project was supported, in part by grant number 2001MNSCDD-03, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.

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