Drama in the courtroom: Defending the rights of children diagnosed with autism

Mickey Keenan, Karola Dillenburger

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Children diagnosed with autism have the right to access evidence-based practices that are necessary for their education and welfare. Oftentimes, parents of these children are not satisfied with the education provided by the State and they challenge education or health authorities in tribunals. Usually, these tribunal hearings revolve around the inclusion/exclusion of the science called Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) in directing evidence-based practice. Given that the number of these tribunals is rising, this paper addresses why it is important for judges and lawyers to be informed correctly about (1) the nature of ABA, (2) the reasons why parents petition for evidence-based practices to be grounded in ABA, (3) why education and health authorities petition against ABA, and (4) the combined influences of these issues on decision making.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
Specialist publicationThe Barrister
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 12 May 2020


  • tribunal
  • Autism
  • applied behaviour analysis
  • misinformation
  • evidence-based practice
  • parents


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    Keenan, M., Dillenburger, K. D., Konrad, M-H., Debetencourt, N., Vuksan, R., Kourea, L., Pančocha, K., Kingsdorf, S., Juul Brandtberg, H., Ozkan, N., Abdelnour, H., Da Costa-Meranda, M., Schuldt, S., Mellon, R., Herman, A., Tennyson, A., Ayvazo, S., Moderato, P., Attard, N., Schenk, J., & 9 othersBudzinska, A., Virues-Ortega, J., Roll-Pettersson, L., Strömberg, D., Wirth, S., Escané, C., Glaus-Stuessi, E., Moskalets, A. & Gallagher, S., 10 Nov 2022, (Published online) In: Behavior Analysis In Practice. 16, 3, p. 709-729 21 p.

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