Updated: Dec 5, 2019
I am tired of seeing people say ABA is good. (LONG POST) ABA is abuse, and akin to conversion therapy, and here's proof, and an explanation why.
Want to know why ABA is so focused on removing self stimulating behavior?
To control autistic children.
"The rationale for the suppression of self-stimulatory behavior lies in the observations we have made indicating an apparent attenuation of the child's responsivity while he is engaged in self-stimulation (Lovaas, Litrownik, and Mann, 1971). Simply stated, when the child is engaged in self-stimulation, it is difficult to teach him something else."
Source: "Some Generalization and Follow-Up Measures on Autistic Children in Behavior Therapy. ; O. Ivar Lovaas, Robert Koegel, James Q. Simmons, and Judith Stevens Long"
(Trigger warning for the link below, contains mention of abuse and violence, and manipulation of autistic children)
I suggest, if you're on the fence about ABA therapy, and are confused why so many autistic people are saying it's abuse, read this, it was written by the creator of ABA, and is about ABA itself. If you can't read too much at once, read the "Treatment" section, starting on page 4 (labeled 134).
I'll post some links in the comments that are related to this subject as well.
Simply put, if you are supporting ABA, you are supporting abuse of autistic people, of all ages.
To those that say that "ABA isn't like that anymore!", that is not true. Look up "Footage of Judge Rotenberg Center torturing a person with a disability aired in court" (warning to that video, it is DEEPLY disturbing). Those things are going on TO THIS DAY. Think it's just that location?
Link to article by The Aspergian:
Listen to people who are actually autistic. Listen to the people who have gone through ABA and now have PTSD/CPTSD from that, directly.
If your argument is that "Well, it helped MY/MY FRIENDS child!"
I will say one thing to that.
Are you really okay with risking that?
Are you really okay risking your child's safety on something that, according to some people, MIGHT help, but is almost guaranteed to cause PTSD?
Did your child already go through ABA and they're doing "better"?
Talk to them. REALLY talk to them. Ask them if they ever felt scared, ask them if they ever felt hurt or upset or bothered by their treatment.
I understand there are people who are coming out and saying "I am autistic, and ABA helped me", and to those people, I say great, I am glad it helped you, I really am. But that does not mean it will help anyone, and we're seeing, with great numbers, more harm than help to the autistic community and autistic children, than those helped, and even most of those it "helped" it didn't "help" in the sense people think it did.
My younger brother went through ABA therapy, for his entire childhood and teenage life. I remember it. It's hard to forget him crying from not being able to do the things they demanded of him. I spoke to him a few months ago about it, after reading NeuroTribes The Legacy of Autism & the Future of Neurodiversity, by Steve Silberman, and I told him that I believed that it was perfectly okay for him to stim, for him to rock back and forth and walk his hands or fingers, to no longer have to do "quiet hands", to no longer have to keep looking me in the eye to speak to me, that I wanted to hear ALL about his interests in the paranormal and cryptozoology (some of his special interests); I apologized for listening to what our parents told me to do when it came to him, I apologized for telling him to "keep his hands quiet" and to "stop rocking" in public. My parents, and my therapist, had me convinced it wasn't "normal" and was "embarrassing". I learned how wrong I was, and apologized, completely and wholeheartedly. I explained the book I just read, the autistic community I was starting to get involved with (this was a few months back); about Neurodiversity and the Autistic Pride movement, told him about Agony Autie and how she's helped both my wife and I understand ourselves, and I told him, "I am sorry, Devin. I am sorry I didn't understand you, but I do now, and I love you."
When I finished my apology, he got up from his bed, ran to me, and gave me a giant hug, saying, and I quote directly, "Thank god you finally understand me, thank god you finally understand, thank god." while crying into my shoulder.
That's the first time my younger brother initiated a hug to me, in my entire life. He hugged me, without anyone telling him to, without me requesting one, without anything.
ABA is abuse, and myself, and my brother, are living examples of it.
Go ahead and tell me ABA isn't abuse, because you're only lying to yourself at this point.
As always, I love you all 🕉
An update and clarification to this post, as of 2:06am EST, September 5th, 2019:
I understand not everyone will agree with what I've said here. It may anger you or upset you, and I want to let you know your feelings are valid, and I understand you. You might be mad or upset because you think I'm saying YOU are abusing your child or loved one, or that you're abusing your clients, or people you want to help. That is NOT what I am saying. I am saying the procedures can be abuse, and do lead to PTSD, documented and undocumented. I am not trying to force you to not do ABA, I am saying, listen to what autistic people are saying, consider both sides of statements, but ultimately, do what is right, follow your heart, whatever that is, and hopefully it works for the best. Maybe ABA will work for your child or loved one, with no negative reaction or outcome at all, no PTSD, no trauma, nothing. It's possible, but, I have yet to meet an autistic person who has gone through ABA and does not have PTSD from it, or how they were treated by people using the same techniques.
I'm not a professional. I am a self advocate, and this means I am speaking as myself when I say these things, and other things too. If I am quoting others, I will say so. If I can provide a source, I will do so.
I'm not going to go after you, or anyone, who practices or does ABA with their child or loved one, because that's just not who I am at the core. I'm not going to try and force, well, anything I say or believe onto you. You are your own person.
If there is anything, ever, that I do try to push, it's to be kind, to be compassionate. To try and understand each other.
" When you've seen beyond yourself then you may find peace of mind is waiting there And the time will come when you see we're all one And life flows on within you and without you "