Skip to Full Menu

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

Lord of the Flies and Its Application to Behavioral Issues

Click the CC button to view captioning

Derrick Dufresne: You know, one of the things that I recommend that everybody that's going to work with people disabilities read as a book is Lord of the Flies. I mentioned earlier that I'm a Minnesota kid. And when I was a junior in high school, six of my buddies and I went to the Boundary Waters and canoed for a week. I had never been canoeing in my life and I'd never been away with all of these folks.

We were middle class, white kids from the suburbs that came from good, loving families. And we were together for a week. And by the end of that week, we had lived Lord of the Flies at the end of a week with us together. And I'm not just talking about the regular debauchery that happens when you put together that many males.

What I'm talking about is, two guys that got in a fist fight to such a degree of violence that I was afraid one of them was going to end up in the hospital. And they didn't talk to each other for four days. When you're in a canoe, that is a big deal. We chopped up a Minnesota... State of Minnesota park table and used it for firewood when there was a big sign.

What was incredible to me was how the rules changed. And so, when you put people together and you've got this external set of rules, what we forget is that there becomes a parallel universe, and what happens when you lock people up. And no one ever talked to me about this when I was in direct care.

It's not only a parallel universe for people with disabilities, it's a parallel universe for staff. And if you wonder how abuse happens, it happens, I think, for one of two reasons. Either because of DNA, that there's just some people... I mean I hate to say it... if you believe in a world of good, then I have to believe that some people are evil. And I'm sorry, because a lot of people disagree with me on that. But I think that there are some people that are evil, that should never touch another human being in any manner, shape, or form.

©2017 The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
 370 Centennial Office Building  658 Cedar Street   St. Paul, Minnesota 55155 
Phone: 651.296.4018   Toll-free number: 877.348.0505   MN Relay Service: 800.627.3529 OR 711   Fax: 651.297.7200 
Email: admin.dd@state.mn.us   View Privacy Policy   An Equal Opportunity Employer 

The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center,the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.