Why I put my son through a controversial, damaging therapy
TRIGGER WARNING: I talk about Applied Behavior Analysis and its practical applications in this post. But for those that experienced trauma from ABA, there may be nothing practical about it, and should not read this.
Before I go any further, I want to make a statement about the abuse allegations against traditional Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy, or ABA. I think they are absolutely true. It’s not really a question that forcing children into a behavior that is unnatural for them is bad. That is a bad idea. I also think it is the worst application of ABA imaginable.
You see, the therapy itself, is not what is damaging. It is how it is used. It is only a tool. It’s like a syringe. With the right content, it’s a life saver, with poison.. well, you’re done. (I know, I know, this is technically the kind of semantics the gun lobby uses. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. But the gun sure does make it easier, right?)
So with that in mind… Why would I, a neurodivergent person, who believes in the autonomy of autistic people, put her son in ABA therapy?
Trust me, it’s not easy. Everyday I question if it is the right choice. And everyday I weigh the benefits over the consequences, and choose whether I want him to continue.
And before I go into my reasons, I would like to refer you to an autistic adult who actually went through ABA. His opinions are the same as my own, but he has the legitimacy of having actually been through ABA therapy. And here is another account of an autistic man who went through traditional ABUSIVE therapy. His description of forced eye contact triggered real panic in me. His argument is very good. Back to my post…
Again, why? Why would I do it? There are two reasons…Continue reading “The Case for ABA”