Applied behavioural Therapy (ABA) is an abusive practise. It is NOT supported by the Autistic Community in Ireland yet HSE, Autism Ireland and Shine and our politicians promote its use on vulnerable autistic children.
In a Nutshell
It teaches children to HIDE their identity and grooms them for abuse by training them to comply to any demands made of them, no matter how uncomfortable this may be.
Isn’t it a tried and tested therapy?
There is much ‘scientific evidence ‘ to back it up. It clearly works, it changes behaviors in autistic children.
So what’s our problem with ABA?
ABA is based on training autistic children to be non-autistic. It trains children to behave. ‘What’s wrong with that?’ I hear you say- ‘doesn’t every child need to learn to behave?’ (I will leave my personal philosophies about how we damage our children out of this discussion and focus on autistic children only). ABA training also teaches them that their natural behavior is not acceptable. That their way of Communicating is invalid and that their way of existing is wrong and that they need to be like the ‘normal ones’ to be accepted.
ABA also forces children to go against their natural impulses and instincts. It trains them to put the needs of others above their own. It dismisses them as real people.
‘ABA does not do that’ – a common defense from ABA enthusiasts , that usually comes after they have distanced themselves from the horrific work of Skinner and Lovaas and have claimed that ABA is now much better and much safer to be used on autistic children. (And let’s not forget that it is abuse of children- it is not based on a correct understanding of autistic people but the scientific fairytales I spoke about earlier).
In a time not so far away , ABA was used to suppress autistic stimming. Thankfully most of the ABA enthusiasts now recognize that was wrong (although it is done in many places still). Autistic people worldwide are still waiting for an acknowledgment and apology for the damage ABA has done to them but apparently it is acceptable to abuse autistic people without any recompense.
Nowadays ABA enthusiasts know they may not get away with suppressing stimming.
So now ABA seeks to train children’s ‘actions and skills’.
So they focus on training autistic kids to do things like to play ‘appropriately’ and by appropriately they mean ‘like the normal kids’.
So … scientific fairytales tell us that non-autistic kids learn through play. No one teaches them to play, they just play and everyone believes that they’re effectively teaching themselves through play. Now the autistic kid plays in their natural way and that is called ‘inappropriate play’ because… well because it’s not the same as ‘normal’ or non- autistic kid’s play. So fairytale authors ‘analyze’ (and by analyze I mean ‘judge’ because I’ve yet to read a detailed and correct analysis of autistic play) autistic kids behavior and decide that their way of playing couldn’t be teaching them anything valuable because it looks so different to ‘appropriate’ play. They can’t believe that autistic kids are effectively teaching themselves through their own way of playing.
Now of course, the main issue with the play and why it’s called ‘inappropriate ‘ is that non-autistic people assume that social learning is the most important learning a child can do. If they’re not learning about the social world then apparently they’re not learning at all.
What is autistic behavior?
True analysis of autistic behavior cannot actually take place without explanation from autistic people, unfortunately autistic people and their voices are regularly ignored and silenced by ABA enthusiasts. I always find this difficult to understand especially as they claim to want to help us, why wouldn’t they want to improve their treatment? … but then again , as I said earlier I am autistic so only logical thinking makes sense to me.
The ‘scientific proof’
Now you may think I’m being very cheeky by calling scientific evidence a ‘fairytale’ but you see I have a scientific problem with this ‘evidence’. Maybe someone can solve it for me. The evidence is based on the sample of one. The individual child. Now how can you possibly, ‘scientifically’ prove that exact one child has an improved existence after ABA against that exact same one child’s existence having no ABA but developing naturally and learning skills as every human does over time?
Also how can you ‘scientifically’ measure the claims made by ABA enthusiasts that it improves Quality of life for the autistic person?
What have we to gain?
ABA therapists are big on motivation so ….Why would we be opposing something that can help, support us and make our lives better? Obviously because it is not doing any of these things and is in actual fact harming children and adults on a daily basis.
There are numerous accounts of PTSD caused by ABA training.
All we have to gain is dignity and respect for the autistic way of being. Acceptance of our existence and celebration of our lives. Equality for autistic people. All we have to gain is the same rights that are afforded to every other human in Ireland.
Why does it look to me as if autistic children are not protected under Child Protection Laws in Ireland?
What do ABA enthusiasts have to lose by arguing against us?
Well it’s a business so there’s no need to expand on this one.
Autistic people have had enough of fairytales and potions. We have had enough of tortures and ignorance about our way of being.
ABA is abuse of autistic people.
Please support autistic people to find their happy ever after.