As Seen On Facebook: I Abused Children For A Living | Neurodivergent Rebel

I Abused Children For A Living #ABAisAbuse #SayNOtoABA #NoToABA

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Rosemarie Carreiro Âû I tried it. I shouldn’t have.

I had little clue what it really was. Right away it felt wrong. It felt like fixing behavior and not like supporting challenges. The professionals told me to do “it” (whatever we were “working”on) rigorously almost religiously a miracle would happen if I did. I should have run at that point. I wasn’t looking for a miracle. I was wanting just to find ways on how to make my child feel better, be happier, be the best them they could be…..what happen was the exact opposite. My child developed issues (anxiety, self-doubt, self-hurting, extreme eating disorder and even a “bathroom” disorder) they didn’t have AND lost strengths they did have (being brave, adventurous, trusting, funny and care-free) It was devastating. It took months and months to resolved many of the issues….some, 5 years later have still not been overcome. I now make it very clear that if someone wants to work WITH my child, then they better have ZERO beliefs that ABA is helpful…no ands, ifs or buts about it….never ever again.

Rosemarie Carreiro Âû
Rosemarie Carreiro Âû I tried it. I shouldn’t have.

For anyone looking for more resources on ABA and why is it abusive and harmful check out this link from an #actuallyautistic writer. It is comprehensive and thorough.

And check out the hashtag #IxnayOnTheBickba for a day of protest held online by autistic advocates and we posted tons of articles and first hand accounts of the horrors of aba.…/2015-autism-aba-resource…/amp

Court Alison
Court Alison For anyone looking for more resources on ABA and why is it abusive and harmful check out this link from an #actuallyautistic writer. It is comprehensive and thorough.

And check out the hashtag #IxnayOnTheBickba for a day of protest held online by autistic advocates and we posted tons of articles and first hand accounts of the horrors of aba. See More


Lissy Nath
Lissy Nath I wish ABA stays banned forever. I don’t know why it is still legal to practice this kind of a treatment.
Leann Rogers
Leann Rogers All the talk of no longer masking and its all RIGHT THERE
Heidi Miller
Heidi Miller I really deeply sadden by this hate speak. I am sorry but with out ABA my daughters would not be as healthy functioning as they are. I understand that a lot of people see it has some kind of way to keep our kiddos down. An really it is not so. Before ABA came to my home I would not go out and be social due to all the overload that my daughter would have. she would act out and hit and bite or she would not play with other kids she would just go around them like objects in her way. Now after years of help and modifying the way she reacted to the outside world has helped her grow leaps and bounds. So to those of you who believe that ABA is to make Neurodiverse people look more normal you have missed the mark completely. It really is all about helping kiddos make safe choices for them selves and be able to communicate effectively with out help. I do not want to change my kiddos I would love a world where ever person was accepted as people but that is not our world. So I will keep doing what works for my kiddos.
Emma Mills
Emma Mills 🤮🤮 “Safe choices”…are you a teacher or are you also conditioned?
Hilda Kerekes
Hilda Kerekes  Heidi Miller Have you read the article and understood what it is about?

I hear legends of the good ABA, it usually is not ABA, just called like it so insurance companies cover the therapy.

In about 10 years remember this article, and talk to your children about how they saw this, looking back.

I hope they will be thankful for this therapy what you are doing.

Alicia Blub
Alicia Blub Without ABA i wouldnt have the scars i have, or the broken limbs, or the CPTSD because i was conditioned to never question what im ordered to do
Hilda Kerekes
Hilda Kerekes Alicia Blub Yup. Comply or else. 😦

I can relate.

Emma Mills
Emma Mills Urgh Autism Speaks fan…no further explanation needed!
Emma Veronica

Emma Veronica  Heidi – I don’t doubt you love your children. If ABA didn’t appear to work people wouldn’t use it. That’s the problem. Thing is the compliance taught to a child causes all sorts of issues as grown ups.

Modifying our reactions because they are deemed ‘too extreme’ or ‘disproportionate’ by society teaches Autistics that their responses emotions and feelings are wrong for example.

We can hide who we are and what we feel but only for so long and that is why so many autistic adults end up with PTSD from this.

This isn’t about whether you love your child, of course you do you’re their mum. It about the fact that there are better ways to support autistic children that don’t do damage in the long term.

It’s also about the fact that mums and dads who would move heaven and earth to give their children the best opportunities are led to believe that ABA type strategies are they only route to a meaningful life for Autistics.

As parents when our kids are diagnosed we are told that without this type of help they won’t have anything that resembles a life.

But this is not correct – and it is damaging. And of course as a parent who has used ABA you not going to like that we say that. We spend our lives as parents trying to do what’s best and worrying that we are getting it wrong.

I say this not to upset you but as a parent who made the mistake of putting my child in Autism specialist provision where these type of approaches were used with the ethos that it’s worth pushing a child to make ‘safe choices’ (that neurotypical society consider appropriate) and ‘communicate effectively’ (in a way that neurotypical society deem appropriate) because it’s better for them in the long run.

Like many other Autistics this pressure to conceal and conform led to her attempting to take her own life. She did not succeed and I was able to remove her from that environment. But that was me – I did that – I – the one who is supposed to care for love and protect my child caused that by listening to those who assumed they knew best about care for Autistics.

So I know how awful it is to contemplate that something that could harm your child has happened because of you.

I hope your daughters don’t end up with the long term damage that most recipients of ABA do, I really hope they don’t end up with PTSD or a mental breakdown in their late 30s/early 40s because of sheer exhaustion from having to mask to be accepted as people for all those years.

I hope your girls and mine by the time they get to adulthood do live in the world where they are accepted as people and so many of us are working hard to try and make that happen, including the lady who runs this page.

The irony is that ABA continues because we are viewed as less then people and there is a mentality of ‘the end justifies the means’ but this is not ok. Not for your kids, not mine and not anyone else’s.

Im sorry that this post has made you feel bad but there is a reason why we need to keep saying that ABA is damaging-because it is.

Ronni Hall
Ronni Hall Hilda Kerekes yep. I wasn’t diagnosed at the time but I remember being locked in a closet for hours because I didn’t comply.
Kortni DuVernay
Kortni DuVernay “Autism mom”
Heidi Miller
Heidi Miller Sorry that you all have a different view of the world then me.
Abby Anders
Abby Anders Heidi Miller that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? They have the view of the world that more closely mirrors your autistic child’s than your own. Why not listen to what they are saying? Learn from people LIKE YOUR CHILD. Let autistic adults have a voice in this conversation.
Larissa Rudeen
Larissa Rudeen @ Emma Veronica: As an autistic adult, myself, I want to say thank you for considering the harm and trauma of ABA therapy, and for taking your kid out of ABA. I hope other parents of autistic kids will follow your example.
Wendy Katz
Wendy Katz Heidi, I am an aspie, and I believe that ABA can be effective when used against dangerous behaviors like biting. When it is hideously dehumanizing is when it is used against sensory overload and harmless stimming. You are creating a behavior parity where there is none. And with all due respect, your focus on your own socializing and treating your kids as a collection of behaviors shows a complete lack of empathy on YOUR part, not your children’s!
Court Alison

 There are dozens and dozens of articles from: ex aba therapists, autistic who were subjected to this horrific therapy and now have ptsd, and plenty by autistic people who explain in detail how Lovaas viewed autistic people. He didn’t believe we are real people and his therapy was originally conversion therapy for gay people.

There is no such thing as good aba. I am autistic as are my 3 children and we have never ever used any form of ABA. I would never strip them of their autonomy like that and teach them that their no’s don’t mean no. That they don’t deserve a childhood Bc they were born autistic and instead have to be in therapy 40 hours a week.

#YesAllABA #ABAIsAbuse

Laura Gehrke
Laura Gehrke Heidi Miller, keep your head up. There are amazing BCBA’s who are also clinical psych’s who specialize in both Autism/behavior and mental health. I’m fortunate to have a few around my daughter and ABA, in a form, is working amazingly. It can be dignified and appropriate and it can help teach major regulation and independence skills. It’s not all compliance and conform and can be for teaching skills. I’m disappointed to see some of the replies and see some shaming and judging. We’re all just doing the best we can with what we feel is right and judging is not supportive or helpful.
Paula Jessop Âû
Paula Jessop Âû Heidi Miller of course we have a different world view than you. We’re actually Autistic. We live in the world as Autistic adults and have first hand experience of the discrimination we face and how learning these skills NT’s think are helpful to us can in the long term lead burn out and mental health problems.
Wendy Katz
Wendy Katz Heidi I actually work with a fun nuanced behavior therapist who does not get my child to mask and tends to work with her rhythms. Rewards aren’t mechanical. But it must be used with nuance and care and not in a way that forces autistic people to mask. Most ABA is seriously dehumanizing!
Wendy Katz
Wendy Katz Laura clearly you aren’t autistic or you would have more empathy for the complaints being made by autistic people here!
Mela Eckenfels
Mela Eckenfels Look up the definition of hate speech.Maybe ABA will help you with this. :-}
Eve Reiland
Eve Reiland The PTSD rates of children who have ABA are horrific. This is with parents seeing a “positive” difference in their child. Living with PTSD is a horrific life. Please don’t do this to your kids. You can’t stuff autistics into a theory-of-mind box and apply conversion therapy and then reward us when we act like you. It sets us up for predators as adults too.
Eve Reiland
Eve Reiland Behavior is communication. Sensory load is so important. I’m an autistic mom to autistic kids — my oldest is 25 and married to an autistic woman. There are many ways to raise our autistic children without aba abuse — non-autistic parents of autistics are being denied knowing anything about us and then told how to raise us by people who aren’t autistic. I have lived autistic experience and parenting autistics experience. ABA is socially accepted unethical abuse and a mind wash for autistics. The misinformation spread on autism the last two decades is horrific to us — our #1 cause of early death is suicide. Our average lifespan is 36 years years due to the harshness of society not accepting difference. ABA is not good for your child’s life. At all. Parents have been lied to and pulled into the bs – and autistics are dying. Anyone want to wake up out there and help us? Start with listening and being sensitive and open to what you don’t understand — because non-autistics always want to know how we think/feel but won’t take the time to listen to anything outside of their theory of mind parameters.
Eve Reiland Laura Gehrke Have you heard of autistic burnout? It’s a very serious issue for autistics and can kill us … you’re saying ABA is good, I’m telling you it’s abuse and it causes suffering and death later in life. That’s not real help for our autistic children. at all. PTSD is a horrible thing to live with as well.
Mary Lynn Murphy
Mary Lynn Murphy The link at the top of the article points to another post called “A Response to an ABA Apologist” (responding to a reader’s letter). It contains a lot of really good info and links!

NOTE: It is a more emotional piece, and there is some language.

Anya Warde
Anya Warde A person’s account of their experience is not “hate speech.”
Bre Marksbury Gleason I was just about to post this.
Wendy Katz As an aspie and the parent of a FAS child who used to be dangerously violent I will say this: to me it is all about how you USE ABA. I think that using ABA against harmless behaviors to make a child fit in with peers is a form of torture to be honest. I have traumatic memories of it. That said, the use of ABA against violent or dangerous behaviors, such as absconding into the street or biting can be life changing. When only these behaviors are targeted, it allows for the setting of a clear boundary and a speedy path to safe behavior. These are the ways in which I use ABA with my child, and if I ever see her “groomed” out of harmless behavior I intervene immediately. I truly believe that this is the only proper use for ABA!
Marie Louisa Ralph

Marie Louisa Ralph I have Aspergers. My son has autism. Neither of us are conditioned and I’m a huge advocate for non ableism in autism. .

However this is a very jaded and biased look into ABA. PBS uses ABA techniques on things like desensitisation/ effective communication etc. Without ABA techniques , by son would now be sectioned in a MH unit and doped up to the eyeballs on drugs. Because of ABA he’s learned ways of communication his needs without breaking your ribs or smashing a glass into your face. He’s learned to cope with a small change in routine without self harming. He’s learned different and gentle ways to express his emotions without feeling frustrated because he can’t get anyone to understand his needs.

I was diagnosed as an adult. Looking back, a lot of what my parents did was ABA without knowing it. However , theirs was more the “forced compliance parenting “ approach which led to me having entail health issues for most my young adult life.

However , The methods I used with my son were my choice using my adaptations of the principles of ABA. As temple grandin said, without ABA she would still be locked in a frustrating world where she felt alien.

ABA, like all other approaches can be good and bad. The USA and some Northern European harsher methods have ruined it for those who use very careful, considered and gentle approaches. I have personally worked with two local children who were locked in a world of frustration, now thriving and happy children because they can be understood. One was malnourished due to their limited food choices and now eats a huge variety of foods and is thriving physically and mentally. They went from completely Non verbal to verbal within 3/4 months and is so much happier in their demeanour. No longer harming themselves through sheer frustration. So tell me why that is a bad thing? Like all types of therapy, there are good and bad. Some people have had their mental health ruined by mental health counsellors and others have thrived; at the end of the day it’s down to the individual and the right therapy. Nothing in my son’s ABA was about compliance ; it was a gentle approach showing him other ways and other tools of communication other than self harm and harming others. He is now verbal and emotionally regulated enough to tell me he’s glad he’s able to communicate better and we have managed to keep him away from retreating into a world where harming himself and others was a daily thing through sheer frustration at not being understood or unable to reflect his emotions.

Jinny Hanes
Jinny Hanes What forms of therapy do you all recommend? My son is almost 6, diagnosed at 2. He’s “non verbal” but we learned sign language together and after a year or so of signing, he started saying 2 word sentences and now he’s pretty verbal!! His academics are amazing but he struggles with social interactions and motor skills.

I never liked ABA, the first session we had… The therapist showed him an m&m and told him if he wanted it he had to say “hi”. He wouldn’t. So she wouldn’t give it to him….you know the rest. I left with him immediately and we never did another therapy session again. I did start him in 1/2 day special needs pre k when he was 3, he’s went every year after that and is in kindergarten now. I just try to give him different ways of doing things or showing emotions etc. He likes to smell me 💁 that’s a sign of affection from him and I don’t feel like I should make him stop….

Just curious as to what other options are out there and in your opinions what would be best.

Alicia Blub

Alicia Blub Amusingly, Cognitive behaviour therapy and patience works (ptsd therapy)

Most of the struggle of being autistic is that our brains are too much, we have no perception filters, there is nothing we wont perceive

Most issues that come with that are the same as those suffer contrant traumatic exposure without a way to unwind

So an autist needs to be taught to handle this load and a way to cope and wind down

Teresa Rosalynn Ashford-DoyleÂû
Teresa Rosalynn Ashford-DoyleÂû Patience, first and foremost! I am Autistic and there were a lot of things I could not do at the ‘milestone’ age but I can now. My 15 year old daughter is ASD2/ADHD and we just call it “Sarah-time” ie she takes the scenic route not the motorway but gets there in the end! She has Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Psych. The Speech is, by far, the most efficient as she has severe receptive and responsive language delay and many of her issues stemmed from not understanding what was said to her and her reaction or response to it. She also struggled to make her thoughts, needs and feelings understood and often ‘bad’ behaviour came from that. We also worked out, by chance, that she coped well at Dancing and in Scouts but struggled with school. Why? You can’t teach dance out of a book or on the whiteboard, it has to demonstrated! Show her and she learns but tell her and all you get is a vacant stare. After years of school thinking she was learning delayed, the opposite is in fact true, she is quite bright and with her therapy and an Individual Learning Program, she is passing at grade level. You have already figured out that your son smells you and read it as affection, that is a great! He is talking but not in words. My daughter still smells me and the biggest ‘tell’ of her mood is when she pats me like a dog! That is her way of telling me that she is upset or overtired and requires cuddles and attention. Who says a 15 year old is too big for your lap? She has never been a crier so tears indicate major pain or distress and flapping means she is over-excited. We are different not defective and if you parent from that perspective, your son will teach you and, in his own way, tell you what he needs! The more he communicates, the easier the social part will become although recognise he may always be happier on his own. I am introvert by nature whereas my daughter likes people but tires quickly with too much social time For the motor skills, an OT can help that or we started with swimming and moved to Dance when it became evident that she is musical and artistic and excels in any performing arts activity. You may need to sample a few before you find the right one and the right teachers/therapists. Some are open-minded and adjust to your child’s needs but not all and the main rule is ‘connection’. We can only learn if we connect with the person.
Jinny Hanes
Jinny Hanes I appreciate your replies 🙂 I figured out a few years ago that I don’t want to change him. I like him just the way he is. I love his stims and I love the special communication we have with each other. I want my son to know that he is perfect the way he is, that he’s safe with me. The only thing is when he runs away…but I learned that was a fight or flight reaction to something. He wasn’t doing that for no reason. And self injury or fecal play…I replace with something else, I have him play with playdoh or shaving cream instead for example. Since he began signing and then verbally communicating, his meltdowns are almost non existent. There’s always, always a different way. I tell teachers, therapists, doctors and anybody who’ll listen, “I’m not here to make L acceptable to the world…I’m here to make the world acceptable for L.”

He is in speech, OT and PT and does well…but every year I have to explain that he’s not a dog and will not be treated as one. I’ve had other “autism mom’s” tell me they can’t believe I don’t want a cure!!! I say, he’s not sick, so what cure? He’s a human who happens to have an amazing brain. That’s all. Not a disease, not a burden. Thanks again for your replies 


Teresa Rosalynn Ashford-DoyleÂû
Teresa Rosalynn Ashford-DoyleÂû I didn’t understand ABA either but what I have just read made me sick. It is the equivalent telling a blind child to pretend they can see! Even prior to my daughter’s Dx, the one thing, I never expected my children to be was ‘normal’ ie NT, I like their quirks, it is what makes them unique and special! Being now Dxed ASD1/ADHD myself and having a 15 year old ASD2/ADHD, my reaction to this kind of therapy is something like a joined arms picketline yelling “Hell NO, we won’t go!”. I will allow my daughter to have therapy to learn coping skills but Behaviour Modification is just wrong on so many levels! In childhood, I was smacked and often had belts and wooden spoons used on me for sensory input ‘misdemeanours’ and it didn’t FIX ME, they are still there but I control my environment as much I can and have learnt coping skills for when I can’t.
Chase Greenwood
Chase Greenwood ABA gave me C-PTSD. ABA IS abuse. Just cause you can’t handle our autism doesn’t mean you can beat/”train” it outa us!
Larissa Rudeen
Larissa Rudeen @ Chase Greenwood: I’m so sorry you went through that! 😭
Lissy Nath
Lissy Nath Chase Greenwood Oh my dear god!! That is terrible!!
Leahann Moslak
Leahann Moslak This is so interesting. When my son was first diagnosed with Autism at age 5, the developmental pediatrician pushed endlessly for us to start ABA therapy. At the time, we just weren’t sure that it was right for our son, so we pursued other services instead. I’m glad we did. There’s nothing wrong with my son. He’s quirky and sweet, and absolutely does not have to conform to societal standards of what is considered normal.
Meltem Craxton
Meltem Craxton Seeing the few people on here defending ABA making me feel physically sick
Alicia Blub
Alicia Blub All i see is people openly admitting to liking fascist methods for enforced conformity and the lack of empathy to the pain they inflict

8 thoughts on “As Seen On Facebook: I Abused Children For A Living | Neurodivergent Rebel

  1. bunnyhabit says:

    Behavior analysis focuses on the principles that explain how learning takes place. Positive reinforcement is one such principle. … Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the use of these techniques and principles to bring about meaningful and positive change in behavior. If you are not properly trained it will fail.


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