After thoroughly analyzing a lot of the arguments going on in the autistic community, as in, people active in social media that are either autistic, or caregivers/professionals/etc for those that are autistic, I have realized a large majority of arguments are, in fact, wording.
In a sense, a majority of people actually agree on things that should be done, what terms should be used, not be used, etc; and the disagreements stem from people having different definitions of said words, but when you ask, as I have, both ends to describe the meaning of what they are discussing, you realize, they're both talking about the same thing, just with different words to mean them.
Here's what I mean:
Person A: "Severe Autism/Severely Autistic" means someone who has a massive amount of support needs, possibly 24/7 care, will possibly never be able to care for themselves, and will always require someone to care for them, in some way, if not most ways.
Person B: There is not "Severe Autism", just some autistic people have a massive amount of support needs, possibly 24/7 care, will possibly never be able to care for themselves, and will always require someone to care for them, in some way, if not most ways.
I am paraphrasing, and not quoting directly, but this is the argument. It's the label people have issue with and where the disagreements start. So, I want to ask something of #AllAutistics:
The next time you get into that kind of argument, propose to throw out the label, and specifically discuss the needs and support of the person or people that you're speaking about, and see if there's still disagreement.
This statement DOES NOT apply to the Pro ABA/Anti ABA discussion. That is a separate issue outside of this, and comes down to a difference in viewpoints and lived experience, and people discounting the views of others, which is an entirely different problem.
On that, my personal standpoint is known, and I will happily discuss that with anyone, but I'm not the kind of person to force anyone to do anything they do or do not want to do. I am open for discussion on it, as are MANY other advocates, including Neurodiversity Advocates.
I have had my own experiences, as have people I know, and love; I am never going to discount their experiences, or what they say. But, I'm not going to do that to other people who have an opposing viewpoint to the ones I hold either, because that's just not who I want to be.
I try to be compassionate and understanding and kind to everyone I interact with, and I have failed, many times, in my past, but I strive to do better, and be better.
ABA did not help me, it did not help my brother, and in fact, harmed him, and ABA would not and did not help my wife.
DBT and CBT helped me, along with a lot of research on psychology, human behavior, and related, starting from childhood.
Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy helped both my wife and my brother, in ways that I don't think I could even put into words, nor would I, because that story belongs to them to tell, if they choose to.
Conversely, and I KNOW this will upset people, but this is MY truth, and who I am, I am not going to discount that ABA therapy HAS NOT helped anyone AT ALL.
I do believe it can cause PTSD, I do believe there are better methods, but, I do not know EVERYTHING in the world.
I do believe, personally, that ABA is abusive, and that it can be harmful, and I have warned others away from it, and towards other practices, but, I also do not want to be someone that silences someone just because they are pro ABA. I don't find that fair.
That includes those that I disagree with. That doesn't mean I'm going to fight for ABA to be included in things, or for it to continue being the gold standard, but it DOES mean I'm going to fight like hell for you, and anyone else, to get the help and support they need and want.
If you WANT ABA, I am not the person to come to, but, there are plenty that you can go to for that.
If you want advice, or help, or support, or just someone to talk to, I am here. I know a lot of people, from all ends of things, and I want to help people any way I can. And, I think, that starts by being true to myself, and opening my heart to everyone.
I know the risk this statement carries, I know there's a good chance of, well, everyone in the community, the friends I've made, the people I care about, those I've helped, they may hate me for this, but NO ONE will be surprised at this statement.
If you know me, AT ALL, you know I am kind, you know I am understanding and compassionate to everyone. Hell, I've even had people worry about me for that, for seeing the good in everyone. If you hate me for this, if you distance yourself, or cut contact, I understand.
I will still be here for you, and everyone and anyone, if you ever want to be in touch again. I need to do this not just for the community, but for myself, because I can not handle the fighting anymore. It is not safe for me, it is not healthy for me.
As always, I love you all. And please, love one another. Be kind, be understanding, be compassionate, but don't forget to do the same for yourself, and love yourself too.