I have noticed as I go from one Autism support group to another that there is often a lack of understanding in the terminology surrounding Autism and neurodiversity. This is very important for one reason: Fights are constantly starting over miscommunications.

More than that, people are starting to use dog whistle manipulations to start those fights. Meaning that the environment is so charged with tension that a word will SET the page on FIRE. It’s unhealthy and it’s unhelpful. And while, yes, I am on a mission to stop it, I also just want people to be informed. So, you can safely navigate the politics of Mental Health and Autism, both online and in the world, especially when it comes to parents who are trying to provide services for their children.

With that in mind, once it is done, I will be adding this series of Neurodivergent Terms and their explanations to the Neurodivergent Survival Guide under the Me(ntal Health) category on the main menu. And while I will be putting some of my opinion into these definitions I will also be trying to be as unbiased as possible, so that you can make your own decisions.

NOTE: While the majority of these terms are not controversial, the highlighted definitions can be highly controversial and triggering. Use with an abundance of caution and kindness.

Let’s get started, after the jump.

Continue reading “NEURODIVERGENT GLOSSARY Part 1”

The Case for ABA

Why I put my son through a controversial, “damaging” therapy

TRIGGER WARNING: I talk about modern Applied Behavior Analysis and its practical applications in this post. But for those that experienced trauma from traditional 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 the way that children were forced into a behavior that is unnatural for them was 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 was, and in some places, is still, 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 and experience are EXACTLY the same as my own, but he has the legitimacy of having actually been through ABA therapy himself. 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, and makes it understandable why so many people are against ABA. And, lastly, here’s an unbiased account of the controversy from Spectrum News. OK.. Back to my post…

Again, why? Why would I do it? There are two reasons…

Continue reading “The Case for ABA”