Author Affiliation

Department of Social Work, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Document Type

Policy Advocacy Brief

Publication Date


Issue Statement/Executive Summary

Minnesota must take an honest look at the widespread practice of managing the behavior of people with neurodevelopmental and other disabilities (NDD) through Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). This approach fails to honor the unique qualities, ways of knowing, lived experiences, and self-determination of people with NDD. Even though Minnesota aims to provide positive behavioral supports, the focus is still on changing the person who is misbehaving. Neuroscience is changing our understanding of behavior, including how distress, fear, and trauma are expressed. Minnesota must stop using harmful behavior management practices, admit the pain it has caused, and invest in a trauma-informed system of services and supports that promotes the human rights, well-being, healing, and self-determination of children and adults with neurodevelopmental disabilities.


Social Work



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