‘Autistic persons are particularly exposed to professional approaches and medical practices which are unacceptable from a human rights point of view. Such practices – justified many times as treatment or protection measures – violate their basic rights, undermine their dignity, and go against scientific evidence.’ – Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations
Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) is not a ‘cure’ for autism, it is a personality-altering conversion therapy camouflaging the real person at a terrible cost. Problematic and undesired behaviours have causes; ABA intends to change these behaviours without addressing the causes.
As a concerned parent you want what’s best for your child, and a lot of professionals and other parents will have you believe that using ABA against your child is the solution to all problems. It is not!
Imagine you were a child born into a world where everything, including writing, is done with the left foot, every sentence has to begin with ‘Simon says’, and breathing through the nose is considered rude.
Your mum is very distressed because you are so different from other children, and in an attempt to make you fit in better she gets a therapist for you.
The therapist sits down beside you and gives you a pen and paper.
‘Simon says: can you write any letter?’ he asks you.
Silly question, you think, I could write a novel if I were allowed to use my hand. You reach for the pen, but the therapist holds your hand down with his foot and reprimands you, ‘Simon says: what do we write with?’
You finally give in and desperately try to get a hold of the pen with your left foot. After minutes of struggling, almost succeeding but then dropping it again, you eventually get a grip of the pen.
‘Simon says: good girl/boy!’ the therapist remarks and gives you a dandelion leaf. You don’t know what the story with the leaves is, but since they are very prestigious you are proud you got one.
You now proceed with your attempt at writing a letter. An ‘O’ would probably the easiest one, and even though you fail to complete the circle properly the therapist exclaims, ‘Simon says: excellent! You’re making great progress!’ before presenting you with another leaf.
You say, ‘I have to go to the toilet.’
‘Simon says: I can’t hear you.’
‘I really have to go to the toilet,’ you insist.
‘Simon says: nobody takes notice of what you say. Do you know why?’
‘Simon says: I have to go to the toilet NOW!’
‘Simon says: that’s better,’ your therapist replies and takes out another dandelion leaf while you are waiting for permission to go. Your anxiety level has reached a new height, and you breathe heavily through your nose.
With a disgusted frown your therapist pinches your nose and reminds you, ‘Simon says: how do we breathe?’
This is Applied Behaviour Analysis. …
Website: https://a4aontario.com A4A is a Canadian autistic self-advocacy organization. We are autistic adults working for policy change in Ontario and for autistic acceptance across Canada. Founded in September 2017. Twitter @a4aontario
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/autisminclusivity/ This is an autistic-led Facebook group for parents and carers of autistic children/teens/adults. We wish to support you and we accept that parents with loved one’s who have challenging behaviours, who bolt and have little to no communication feel ostracized by the autistic community. This group seeks to help support and educate […]
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