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Private equity has shown initiative in its jump into autism services in recent years–a move that acknowledges the support autistic individuals and their families need.
In 2018, Blackstone acquired the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, the world’s largest autism therapy provider. Similar acquisitions by other firms soon followed.
In their efforts to streamline responsive services for this population, investors and others within and outside of the autism community should be aware of the paradigm shift happening around autism services as new evidence emerges, and particularly Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, one of the main interventions for the disability.
ABA has been in my family’s life since my younger brother was diagnosed at the age of four in the 1990s, and I was about six years old. It is based on theories of behaviorism and operant conditioning, and is known as the gold standard by many in the caregiver and professional community.
However, several factors in recent years have compelled me to break away and try to shed some light on a troubling dynamic that exists in this space–and elevate the voices of those who have been hurt by ABA, in the hopes that others in both the professional and consumer communities will listen.