No, ABA therapy cannot affirm neurodiversity, not without becoming something that is not ABA therapy.
Autistic children only get one childhood, and they deserve properly qualified and properly experienced professional teams. Teams that consider autistic ways of communication, ethics, human rights, and potential harms very carefully indeed.
Why parents of autistic kids need to be cautious and thoughtful about the therapies they consider for their children.
Even though the Son-Rise therapists take credit for Kyle’s successes, maybe he’s done well because of his family’s kindness…in spite of the therapy, not because of it.
Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) taught me that social skills were context-free rules I had to follow: forcing my hands to be quiet, staring back at eyeballs that bored into mine, contorting myself to make myself look less autistic at the expense of my happiness and overall well-being.
If early intervention professionals truly want to serve autistic children, then they need to transition to better ways to guide our autistic kids, ways that don’t crush those children’s spirits and hearts.
Autistic children endure a lot of ‘behaviour analysis,’ usually done by non-autistic people who are not trained to interpret autistic behaviour and motivation.
When people claim that “cure autism now” and the disease model and the Judge Rotenberg Center are not about me, well I beg to differ. The only reason they’re not about me is that I’m old and verbal enough to not be vulnerable to that kind of abuse. Autistic people do not get abused [and/or put in ABA therapy] because they are low-functioning, they get abused because they do weird things.
Don’t take away your child’s voice; take away their suffering. ABA is a cruel response to aggressive behavior. Meet that behavior with love, calm, support, and an investigative search for the source of your child’s struggle instead.