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.
This checklist is for people who aren’t autistic (or whose autistic traits differ from those of their child/charge) to understand what may upset an autistic person, and cause them distress.
[image: Neurodiversity flag at Toronto City Hall, April 2019. Photo by Anne Lesserknaus.] Anne Borden King twitter.com/againstcures twitter.com/a4aontario a4aontario.com In the summer of 2017, five of us launched an autistic-led advocacy organization in Canada, called Autistics for Autistics (A4A). Our mission was to fight for the rights of autistics to have safe childhoods, communication rights, inclusive schools, trauma-free housing, fair employment, accessible health care and community equality. We centred both children and elders in our work, following the UK model. We took a grassroots approach, eschewing hierarchies in favour of a multifaceted strategy, working to make as much change as we could. What we lacked in funding, resources, and relationships, we’ve made up for in vision and persistence. In one of our first meetings with a Member of Parliament, she told us that our group “should just represent the autistic adults,” and leave the matter of children’s rights to Ontario’s…
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.
Photo courtesy Dr. Bottema-Beutel [image: Formal photo of Dr. Bottema-Beutel, a smiling white woman with medium-length side parted brown hair.] Advocates of early autism interventions often claim such approaches are “evidence based,” whereas critics have long pointed out individual flaws in cited studies. We were glad to learn about Dr. Kristen Bottema-Beutel’s analysis of general conflicts of interest in early autism research, and talk with her about how her findings complicate assertions about being early autism interventions being evidence based, and what else she and her team discovered. —- Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism: Can you tell us why you decided to pursue this analysis of conflicts of interest (COIs) in early autism intervention research? Bottema-Beutel: The short answer is that I’ve been following Michelle Dawson on Twitter (her handle is @autismcrisis). Michelle is an autistic researcher who has been sounding the alarm on undisclosed COIs for more than a decade—before I…
Autistic children endure a lot of ‘behaviour analysis,’ usually done by non-autistic people who are not trained to interpret autistic behaviour and motivation.
Cal Montgomery Photo © Teresa Alexander-Arab | Flickr / Creative Commons [Image: A green buoy on the surface of a body of water on a sunny day.] Autism is not behavioral. Atypical behavior is not autism. It is a consequence of autism. It is surface markers by which what is underneath may be suspected, diagnosed, and investigated. Altering behavior doesn’t alter autism. Everything we recognize has surface markers. Fear, for instance, may look like a cold sweat, breathing hard, and dilated pupils, but that is not what fear is. ABA, the most popular monopoly for interacting with autistics, denies the “underneath.” It says that the surface markers are all that matter. It is profoundly dehumanizing. It is also a worldview that is almost impossible to maintain. When you call autism a behavioral disorder—and I am not touching the “disorder” part right here but I also do not accept it—you are focusing…
“We miss something here. Developmental delay means that much life development happens in adult life for autistics, after age 18 or 21—maybe even more so than it does for us the rest of us.”