I’ll say this again. I’m a Behavioral Therapist for children with autism and much of this information is highly inaccurate.
Every single one of the parents that I work with love their kids so much. They listen to them, they are kind to them, and they treat them like REAL PEOPLE. They listen to them when they say they’re sad. They comfort them and love them and care for them just like the do with their other kids. The parents I’ve seen care about their kids possibly more than any other parent I’ve ever seen (including parents with neurotypical children). These parents are willing to do whatever it takes to make their children be their unique selves and 100% HAPPY with themselves as well.
ABA therapy doesn’t tell kids to look happy when they’re sad inside, it teaches them FUNCTIONAL communication. Aka saying “I’m sad because…” rather than screaming incoherently. It teaches them to communicate with people by verbalizing their emotions rather than acting them out in forms of stereotypic behavior (tantrums, self injurious behavior, elopement, etc).
And for your source about the JRC. Those places are terrible. THOSE places are shit. They HAVE tortured people with disabilities. But there are companies and organizations that have paired together with places like the JRC that you SHOULD avoid.
The link to the people who have experienced ABA therapy MOST LIKELY experienced it from those places similar to JRC.
I have NEVER restrained a child. I am NOT allowed to restrain a child (with the exception of emergency situations like a child is about to run into a street or something). I do NOT teach my kids to hate themselves. I do NOT believe in negative reinforcers. I have NOT ONCE hit, yelled at, verbally abused, physically abused, emotionally abused or even electrocuted any of my kids.
I have to shadow one of my clients at his school and his teachers are completely rude and treat him like a literal piece of shit. But you know what happens when they’re rude to MY client?? I call them the fuck out for it. I tell them that they wouldn’t say rude shit like that to their other kids, so why this one? I make SURE that people treat my kids LKE REAL PEOPLE. And if ANYONE dares to even think about disrespecting any of my clients they will definitely be hearing it from me.
I love EVERY SINGLE one of my clients like they are my own children. I would literally risk my life to save theirs if the situation ever occurred. I can’t believe that this post is going around spreading information like this. It literally hurts me to believe that people think I ELECTROCUTE my kiddos.
Yes there are really REALLY shitty places that do evil things to people with disabilities.
But there are places that take care of them and love them as well.
OP, I am not trying to speak for you. I believe that your voice SHOULD be heard. But please be specific and do no generalize the therapy as a whole. Call out places like the JRC, but do not blame it on ABA. Speak about your experiences and WHICH SPECIFIC places other autistic effected families should avoid. But also, please do some research and spread information about places that are beneficial to kids with autism.
ABA is not bad. The way certain places use it are.
All right, here we go again. Warning: Shit’s gonna get real and pretty dark here. TW for abuse and rape.
First: “much of this information is highly inaccurate.” Citation sorely fucking needed. I sourced all of my shit in depth; exactly which of these sources are you claiming is lying, and on what points?
Second: Either you live in a blessed land of fairies and unicorns, or you’re making shit up. It is the extremely painful experience of literally thousands of auties - no small number of which have spoken about it at length - that people are only willing to listen to us when we speak in ways that they are comfortable with, expressing thoughts and feelings that they are comfortable with. This all too often includes our parents. Hell, “Autism Parent” is a fucking meme in autistic culture.
The fact that you don’t know this speaks volumes about your willingness to actually listen to us.
Third: I’m a little less concerned with what any individual parent - hell, what any individual therapist - might think than I am with the foundation and structures of the practice. And guess what? That foundation is in a view that we are not people. (Did you even click the links?) It is built on abusing children into feigning normalcy. The seed of modern ABA practice was literally the same doctor bringing the same mindset to the “problems” of “making auties into Real People” and “making gay and bi boys and trans girls into Real Men.”
It has, as its explicit stated goal, the elimination of behaviours deemed “unsightly.” Do I need to quote the fucking defining papers? You say “verbalizing rather than stereotypic behaviour,” and we hear “force you to communicate in our language, no matter how difficult that is for you, instead of taking the time to learn yours.” We hear “prevent us from stimming, no matter how important that is to us as a regulatory tool.” We hear “Quiet hands.” You want to know why places like the JRC happen and keep happening? Why this is a huge, widespread fucking problem? It is because one of the core tenets of ABA is that you do not and will not listen to us unless we communicate in the ways you deem fit. And that doesn’t just mean “use your words,” it very often means “tell us what we want to hear.”
You do not know whether you are teaching your kids to hate themselves. You do not and cannot know that, because what ABA teaches us is how to recognize and present the expected signs regardless of what is happening in our heads. What it teaches us is how to mask and cover like abuse victims. And you should take a really fucking good look at why that might be.
You say “There are ABA centers that love their patients and take care of them.” You say “I love every single client like they are my own children.”
I hear my mother, desperately trying to make sure I would grow up happy in a world full of cruel people, telling me not to fidget, glancing around to see if people are giving us That Look again. I hear “something is wrong with your body language; hide it Or Else.”
I hear my mother, my loving mother who is trying to take care of me, telling me that I need to stop talking about my special interests because I’m boring people. I hear “Nobody cares what you have to say.”
I hear my mother, trying to keep me from having problems, telling me it can’t possibly be that bright and I need to take my sunglasses off or people will make fun of me. I hear “Your pain is less important than keeping up appearances, and literally anyone and everyone will punish you if you don’t comply.”
I hear my mother, my sweet loving mother who wants what’s best for her child, going about her business as though everything is perfectly normal while I’m dying inside, because I no longer have any way to tell her what a hellscape my head has become. My ways of conveying this are Unacceptable and Lashing Out, not Communication, and I might have been taught the words for “I’m sad,” but not for “Everything is Too Much” or “nothing makes me happy any more” or “I hate myself and I don’t want to.” Eventually, she will see the scars left by what coping methods I have. She will put me into well-intentioned but misguided psychiatric care. They will listen to what their forms tell them over what I am saying - because I still don’t have the words - and medicate me into a suicide attempt. This will result in traumatic institutionalization, and I will restructure my entire life and personality around the core tenet of “never let anyone see the pain or they will hurt you worse.” I now have people who will provide what comfort I need when I need it on my terms - but they still have to learn to read from the tiny cracks in my many, many masks, because over 90% of the time I still cannot bring myself to say “I need help.”
I hear my mother, speaking over me countless times without noticing, teaching me that she (as the Authority Figure) always knows best even when it makes no sense to me. I hear “You just don’t know any better; what the authority figure says is correct.” Later, when authority figures blame me for basically being weird enough to get beaten, I learn that violence is an acceptable response to failure to conform and comply. When my rapist tells me that a vague unspecified They will hurt him if I don’t do what he says (even though it feels Wrong and Bad), I believe him, because this is the world I have come to know.
I hear my mother today, so many years later, responding to any attempt to explain any of this by crying and telling me what a horrible parent she was, and lamenting how she could have done things differently If She’d Only Known. But she never listened.
I hear myself consoling her, reassuring her that what she did to me wasn’t so bad, that she acted out of love using he tools and information she had. Because by now I have well and truly learned that my pain will never matter as much as anybody else’s.
That is what I hear when you claim to love your clients as your own children. And while the details of my story might be unique, the general arc of it is not. That is what thousands of us are hearing. We are hearing all the people who claimed to love us over the years, bending and sawing and chipping and breaking us so we fit into an Acceptable Mold.
And when you tell me that it is our fucking job to find ABA centers that are somehow - despite the entire thrust of ABA - not doing this, and spread the word about them instead of about the countless places that have done this to us?
Well, that’s an outright demand for “Hey, it’s not so bad. You’re doing the best you can with the tools you have.” It is yet another in the endless series of demands faced by autistic people - say what I want, not what matters to you. It is an outright and explicit prioritization of the appearances and reputations of allistic people over the ongoing pain of autistic people. It is the latest chapter in the story I just told.
It is not our job to reform ABA. It is yours. Autistic people are not the ones responsible for how allistic people treat us. My voice is my own, and I will speak the truths I want to speak - not the kind, soothing lies that absolve you of all responsibility to do better.
wetwareproblem, tumblr 8 Comments
[2/4/2017 11:41:26 AM]
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