ABA (Applied Behavioural Analysis) as a discipline, requires autistic children to appear as if they are typical children. It doesn’t matter how kind and well meaning the teacher, whether they are autistic or not, a loving parent or not—the outcome is that the “successful” autistic child ceases the behaviour that defines them as autistic.
Autism Society of America was established in 1986 by Bernard Rimland, Ivar Lovaas, Ruth Sullivan and a small group of parents of autistic children. Two of those names should sound familar. Bernard Rimland was the creator of the DAN protocol and Ivar Lovaas was the creator of ABA and Conversion Therapy. That should say enough about the organization.
This is a re-blog of a blog post originally made on 7 October, 2014. An edited version of this essay appears in the excellent anthology: The Real Experts: Readings for Parents of Autistic Children, edited by the incomparable Michelle Sutton and available for purchase from Autonomous Press or a library or bookseller near you (and if it is not available at a library or bookseller near you, please do ask them to provide copies. Thank you.) This essay also appeared as a guest post on the Diary of a Mom blog and on the Tiny Grace Notes blog.
Content note: compliance-based training, labeled as therapy. Lasting trauma and PTSD from ill-advised treatments. Sexual abuse and rape. The lasting effects of ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis). The risk of being told “not my ABA.” …
‘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. …
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Aspies For Freedom From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Aspies For Freedom (AFF) is a solidarity and campaigning group that aimed at raising public awareness of the autism rights movement. The aim of Aspies For Freedom is to educate the public that the autism spectrum is not always a disability, and that there are advantages as well as disadvantages. For … Continue reading Aspies For Freedom (AFF)→
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