View Full Version : "My Thoughts On ABA"


BellaVita
06-21-16, 05:30 AM
This is a very good article written by an autistic that explains why the autistic community is against ABA therapy - it explains how it is abuse. [ABA = Applied Behavior Analysis]

http://www.printfriendly.com/print/?source=homepage&url=http%3A%2F%2Fautismwomensnetwork.org%2Fmy-thoughts-on-aba%2F


I think many don't know how we feel about it or even think to consider it for what it is.

Lunacie
06-21-16, 09:27 AM
I don't know anything really about ABA. We've never done that with my grandchild. Sounds terrible.

I had a discussion once with a friend who was raised much as I was, not allowed to say "no" to an adult.
We were both abused by older brothers, maybe because we didn't think we could say "no" to an older sibling?

I didn't do that with my daughter, and we haven't done that with my grandkids.

They can say "no" and sometimes they will have to do something anyway, but we heard their feelings or opinion and we talked about it, learning why we have to do some things anyway, but which things we can really say "no" to.

ginniebean
06-21-16, 05:02 PM
Wow. I have been an ABA therapist. I used and still use the principals i have learned. Language is power and the young autistic children i workef with were allowed to say "no". Most could not say no verbally. When you work with little children you can't help but fall in love with them.

This argument could be used to say all schooling is not allowing children their own identity.

I can give you so many examples of how ABA has allowed people to live more fulfilling lives.

One specific girl i work with to this day. Until she was 18 she had no speech. Her parents loved her and still do spending a lot of time with her. Prior to ABA therapy she was double staffed, extremely violent towards others. She attacked anyone she could. She spent her days isolated in a small room with her staff for her own safety and that of others. It took years but she can now talk, she can spend time going out and spending time with friends. Her speech is rudimentary but she can ask for what she wants instead of boiling over in an endless frustrated rage because no one can understand her.

Speech gives these people power in their own lives. The power to say I want and I don't want. It is so far from abuse. This article makes me sad. I won't deny this person her voice or her experience but I know it is not the experience of most autistic people.

Fortune
06-21-16, 05:11 PM
Most accounts of receiving ABA by autistic people that I have read have been negative. I would hesitate to state that it's not the experience of most autistic people, although it is fair to point out how ABA has evolved since Lovaas' origination.

Also one common criticism is that the value of speech is often overvalued and that alternate forms of communication are not emphasized enough. PECS, for example.

Adenosine
06-21-16, 06:40 PM
Wow. I have been an ABA therapist. I used and still use the principals i have learned. Language is power and the young autistic children i workef with were allowed to say "no". Most could not say no verbally. When you work with little children you can't help but fall in love with them.

This argument could be used to say all schooling is not allowing children their own identity.

I can give you so many examples of how ABA has allowed people to live more fulfilling lives.

One specific girl i work with to this day. Until she was 18 she had no speech. Her parents loved her and still do spending a lot of time with her. Prior to ABA therapy she was double staffed, extremely violent towards others. She attacked anyone she could. She spent her days isolated in a small room with her staff for her own safety and that of others. It took years but she can now talk, she can spend time going out and spending time with friends. Her speech is rudimentary but she can ask for what she wants instead of boiling over in an endless frustrated rage because no one can understand her.

Speech gives these people power in their own lives. The power to say I want and I don't want. It is so far from abuse. This article makes me sad. I won't deny this person her voice or her experience but I know it is not the experience of most autistic people.Normal child-rearing stifles children in a number of unfortunate ways, but it is necessary in some form regardless. In that, we reach a problem inherent in social norms as a whole.

Some of the difficulties in autism boil down to "looks strange to other people", and perhaps the neurodiversity advocates have a point in that regard, but it is difficult to view traits like low IQ, speech delays, panic attacks, concentration issues, self-harm, and face-blindness as positive. Some have argued that the intellectual deficits may be an illusion created by said issues, but if they are right, that only bolsters the argument for treatment of some sort.

If we're hitting people, as has happened in some forms of behavior modification, I don't support thatóhumans cannot be trusted to wield that power without losing themselves in it, to say nothing of the moral issues present in the first place. On the other hand, if we can eliminate some of those clear deficits, the people in question will be much more effective, and I would be amazed if we did not ease some suffering as well. ABA appears to have some evidence behind it, although the improvements you mention can occur naturally at times.

As I see it, the real question is how far we should go to make these children look normal. That is a dicer matter, as many social customs are arbitrary to some degree, and we are unlikely to see more than partial success even if we agree that they should blend in. We should not force them to idealize a web of codes and expectations that they will never fulfill, particularly when that web is full of double-dealing and irrationality* in the first place. They should not believe themselves monsters for failing to understand it. On the other hand, the ability to read and process those codes is a valuable skill, in the same way as reading or writing a language. It determines success in all but the closest and most personal relationships, and it helps you defend yourself from people who wish you harm.

*In case this sounds like a backdoor way of bragging, I don't think you gain immunity to any of these flaws by having autism. Or being me, for that matter.

Fortune
06-21-16, 06:48 PM
Something else worth looking into re the long-term effects of ABA is autistic burnout - it doesn't just happen to people who have been through ABA but one of the cited reasons for said burnout is attempting to try to mimic "normal" all day every day for most of one's life. Autistic burnout looks like regression - losing skills and abilities that one previously had.

sarahsweets
06-21-16, 08:48 PM
Can someone give me a little more specific info on this? Like an example of what ABA therapy would be like?

BellaVita
06-21-16, 09:20 PM
I'm not going to further comment on this thread, I just wanted to share something that I know many autistics feel strongly about. And since they do, I feel for them, and felt the need to spread awareness about ABA.

I feel like in a way living with abusive parents (and a brother who eventually shamed me for not acting normal - he didn't mean to I don't think he only had the example of my parents) my life was one big ABA therapy session. The pressure to behave in a normal way was huge, I failed at it, and I also wasn't allowed to say "no." I also experienced burnout and am still not fully recovered from that.

I will still read every comment posted I just don't feel up to responding because I want to keep peace and my brain isn't functioning well enough right now to write in a way that can show that.

ginniebean
06-24-16, 12:11 PM
Most accounts of receiving ABA by autistic people that I have read have been negative. I would hesitate to state that it's not the experience of most autistic people, although it is fair to point out how ABA has evolved since Lovaas' origination.

Also one common criticism is that the value of speech is often overvalued and that alternate forms of communication are not emphasized enough. PECS, for example.

I'm a big fan of pecs and have used it. The goal for me was always just communication. i did not care if they grabbed a pecs card that was a sign for go to the park. Or bike ride. The important thing for me was that they could choose. i may be unaware how aba is used in some places. i always felt a deep affinity with my clients.

ginniebean
06-24-16, 12:23 PM
Normal child-rearing stifles children in a number of unfortunate ways, but it is necessary in some form regardless. In that, we reach a problem inherent in social norms as a whole.

Some of the difficulties in autism boil down to "looks strange to other people", and perhaps the neurodiversity advocates have a point in that regard, but it is difficult to view traits like low IQ, speech delays, panic attacks, concentration issues, self-harm, and face-blindness as positive. Some have argued that the intellectual deficits may be an illusion created by said issues, but if they are right, that only bolsters the argument for treatment of some sort.

If we're hitting people, as has happened in some forms of behavior modification, I don't support thatóhumans cannot be trusted to wield that power without losing themselves in it, to say nothing of the moral issues present in the first place. On the other hand, if we can eliminate some of those clear deficits, the people in question will be much more effective, and I would be amazed if we did not ease some suffering as well. ABA appears to have some evidence behind it, although the improvements you mention can occur naturally at times.

As I see it, the real question is how far we should go to make these children look normal. That is a dicer matter, as many social customs are arbitrary to some degree, and we are unlikely to see more than partial success even if we agree that they should blend in. We should not force them to idealize a web of codes and expectations that they will never fulfill, particularly when that web is full of double-dealing and irrationality* in the first place. They should not believe themselves monsters for failing to understand it. On the other hand, the ability to read and process those codes is a valuable skill, in the same way as reading or writing a language. It determines success in all but the closest and most personal relationships, and it helps you defend yourself from people who wish you harm.

*In case this sounds like a backdoor way of bragging, I don't think you gain immunity to any of these flaws by having autism. Or being me, for that matter.

i
I'm not sure if I read you right but hitting a child in aba is not and should never be how it's done. I don't think the goal should be to ' look normal'. i don't look normal or act normal. i can't read faces. I have flat affect. there needs and is room for everyone. If people have a problem with behaviour that is outside the norm they need yo move over. i am out in the community with differently abled people all the time. People who are psychotic still need groceries. People who are autistic deserve to participate in the community in all ways. People will look and stare when they see difference. If anything is said i can ahgressively run interference if need be. Its funny how i can be a big mouth and defend my clients but hate and avoid personal confrontation.

ginniebean
06-24-16, 12:31 PM
Something else worth looking into re the long-term effects of ABA is autistic burnout - it doesn't just happen to people who have been through ABA but one of the cited reasons for said burnout is attempting to try to mimic "normal" all day every day for most of one's life. Autistic burnout looks like regression - losing skills and abilities that one previously had.

i can understand burnout from aba training. However if a person is able to communicate that they don't want to do therspy anymore and why. They should have their choice respected.

It really is unfortunate that people push kids to act normal. It's not just autistic kids but all developmental disorders are pushef in this way. I think there are different schools of thought on this and i hope those who demand "age appropriate" or blending in now are in potentisl violation of the developmentally disabled bill of rights.

ginniebean
06-24-16, 12:38 PM
Sarah, it can be pictures and often is of a red ball, a green ball, and a blue ball. You ask " which one is the blue ball?" if the child is successful they get a treat. Therapists work towards a 90% success rate. So if the child does not point you can take and guide their hand to the blue ball and give praise and a small treat. From guidance you can point for them then move to them doing it for themselves.

Whether you are holding up a big ball and a little ball to teach concepts as they do in any school situation or have a picture of a swingset and a bike they can point to so they can choose what they want to do. It is a slow process of teaching these children. That is just a very basic understanding.

mildadhd
06-24-16, 09:52 PM
An environment that promotes preverbal playful emotional behavior promotes verbal learning.



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stef
06-25-16, 02:14 AM
The concept behind ir, of wanting kids to " look normal" rather then " helpiÓg to communicate, is upsetting.

its like if an injured person got physical thereapy, not so they can get around better, and heal and be stronger, but so they can " look like everyone else" . like if limping with a cane is kinda shameful and you should be able to walk like normal people.