It’s still (just) April in parts of the western hemisphere and I’ve only just now stumbled across this (in my opinion) well written article, so I have no hesitation in reblogging it at this point in time. Anna writes what I have felt for some time but have been unable to put my thoughts together on this matter. Thank you Anna for explaining what I feel deeply.
It is, thankfully, nearly the end of another month with Aprilness. Another Autism Awareness Month – or as the ever-so-slightly-more enlightened have started to call it, Autism Acceptance Month. These are not labels chosen by the Autistic community (and I use a capital A here intentionally). This month of awareness- or acceptance-raising isn’t something any of us asked for.
I believe all forms of conversion therapy are wrong – evil might be a better word – including ABA “therapy” for autistic kids. The evidence (if one cares to look) is self evident. This post from Autistic Collaboration discusses changes that should be made to the bill currently passing through the Aotearoa New Zealand Parliament banning the use of conversion therapy. As it stands, the bill bans its use for sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression but offers not protection to autistic kids or adults.
Media release: 7 September 2021 Include all conversion therapies in legislative ban, says autistic community Although the government’s Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill is welcome progress, it should be extended to ban all conversion therapy in Aotearoa New Zealand, say members of the autistic community. In a submission to the Justice Select Committee, members from…
Think about it: almost half of all autistic people who undergo ABA “therapy” suffer from PTSD. As a follow up to yesterday’s post on the abusive nature of ABA, I recommend reading the following article:
ABA Therapy and PTSD
I was called “unethical” by a professional colleague today.
The reason may surprise you—I said “ABA is abuse”. My peer was naturally taken aback because they are an SLP-BCBA and “would never dream of abusing a child.” I always find this rebuttal interesting because we usually don’t hear about people walking around admitting to abusing people; even overt predators somehow convince themselves that they are helping their victim. The sanctimonious SLP-BCBA told me that it was the “old ABA” and not “new ABA” that was harmful, and then only a small fraction of the time. She accused me of “throwing the baby out with the bathwater” (I still don’t really understand how this idiomatic expression applies here) and she further went on to insist that there is “no way ABA could cause PTSD in people with Autism.” (She really meant “Autistic people,” I am sure.)
Humans have an amazing innate response to survive when they are faced with a threat or danger, fight, flight, or freeze. This is an automatic nervous system response. The fight and flight responses are triggered by the sympathetic nervous system, and the freeze response is triggered by the parasympathetic nervous system. Both of these systems combined make up the autonomic nervous system (ANS). When one of the responses is dispatched the human body simultaneously releases adrenaline and cortisol. If the ANA is only triggered once, for example maybe you almost rear-end someone while driving, your body would typically return to a calm state in 20-30 minutes. But, when the ANS is repeatedly triggered without time to regulate and return cortisol levels to a manageable level, what results is trauma-induced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). (Cleveland Clinic, 2019)
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