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On ABA: They hate you. Yes, you.

Amanda Forest Vivian adeepercountry.blogspot.com Content note: Includes discussion of discrimination and abuse by teachers and ABA practitioners, and a photo of a child in ABA therapy receiving an electric shock. —- I always think about Danny, who was not really named Danny. It’s too bad I can’t use his real name because it’s one of my favorite names. I’m sure he’s forgotten me, but I can remember his name, his face, his favorite subway train, and the words he made up. He was a kid I met this summer at the school where I interned. I have written about him several times, sometimes at length. And although he was my favorite kid at the school, that isn’t why Danny is always surfacing in my mind, tiny in his big t-shirts, flinging himself around and reciting things. It’s through Danny that I found out for sure, this stuff is about me.…

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Autism Uncensored: A Dangerous and Spirit-Crushing Book

Photo © Charley Lhasa | Flickr/Creative Commons [image: Plush red Elmo doll lying on asphalt. A yellow chalk speech bubble has Elmo appear to be yelling “Help!”] Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com [Content note: Extensive discussion of restraints. Discussions of gaslighting, denying Autistic autonomy and competence, child abuse, autism profiteering, and similar goblins. Discussion of the 1960s medical view of autism as it continues to occur today.] You may have seen the recent Washington Post article titled “Bystanders were horrified. But my son has autism and I was desperate,” an excerpt from Whitney Ellenby’s new book, Autism Uncensored: Pulling Back the Curtain. True to the exposé tone of the title, Ellenby describes in livid detail the day she wrestled her panicked son, Zack, by clamping his 50 pound frame tightly between her thighs and locking her feet together. The two spent over half an hour in combat as Ellenby dragged him inch…

The Various Ways of Being Excluded

Estée Klar www.esteeklar.com My son Adam has been in “therapy” since he was 20 months of age. I have reams of notes and binders used to create his programs, track his progress, develop his plans with other professionals who use ABA, RDI, Floortime and other methods. I have a decade of experience with autism education and various therapies, many of the approaches dubious. I’ve witnessed improvements in the field, and I continue to have a watchful eye. I predicted Adam would be forced into an ABA program, and here we are, in an segregated school for autistic children. Not that it’s a “bad” thing. I am actually grateful to be in a system that is set up more for him rather than completely disregards him. Adam, for now, is happy there and he is learning, but it’s a fact that it’s still exclusion which we mitigate with other inclusive programs.…

Sensory Issues vs. Behaviors: On the Recent AAP Policy Statement

Brenda Rothman mamabegood.blogspot.com Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a policy statement (1) on sensory integration therapies. The AAP recommended that pediatricians should not diagnose sensory processing disorder as a stand-alone diagnosis, but should refer children for an evaluation for other possibilities, like autism, ADHD, motor, or anxiety disorders. AAP also advised pediatricians to inform parents of the limited amount of research for sensory therapy and to help them set up a program to determine its effectiveness. Stating that we should monitor and judge the effectiveness of sensory therapy seems straight-forward and logical. However, the pediatricians’ statements about the policy reveal an underlying problem. Their argument that sensory issues may actually be behavioral is not untenable. But it also has the potential to cause harm. Given the discomfort, the related issues like emotions, relationships, brain science, parenting, and the risks of treating sensory issues as behavioral, we…

Autism Acceptance for Autism Awareness Month

Leah Jane quixoticautistic.blogspot.com It is April, and that can only mean one thing to this autistic blogger: Autism Awareness Month is here for the whole 30 days of the month, and without a time machine, there’s no escaping it. Autism Awareness Month has been a thorn in my side for as long as I’ve been an adult. I am at heart an attention-seeker, so you would think having an entire month devoted to people like me would be a joy to behold. But that’s the problem behind Autism Awareness Month. It isn’t about me. It’s not about me—the autistic person. The entire conception of Autism Awareness Month doesn’t even revolve around autism, not the kind I have or the kind that anyone I know lives with. The ‘autism’ of Autism Awareness Month is a mysterious, esoteric, silent force, which magically swoops into the homes of unsuspecting families, and replaces regular,…

For Physicians: 10 Things You Can Do To Help Families With Children Affected By Autism or Developmental Delays

Dr_Som www.pensivepediatrician.com/ This is a follow up to a previous post, Who Wins When Parents Spank? at the Pensive Pediatrician I certainly do not mean to trivialize the behavior issues that erupt as typical children develop, but the problems of atypical kids are more difficult and less likely to be fully addressed by general pediatricians, family practice physicians, and society at large. The 10 things pediatricians and family practice physicians can do to help families affected by autism or other developmental delays in their in their practices: 1. Understand the ABCs of behavior A= Antecedent = What happened immediately before the behavior? B= Behavior = A description of the behavior (not “he got angry”) C= Consequences = How did the parent or teacher respond and/or what kind of reinforcement did the child receive? For example, when David, my autistic son, was three, every time I fastened or unfastened his car…

On Autonomy and Establishing Guardianship for My Adult Son

Kim Wombles http://kwomblescountering.blogspot.com/ http://www.science20.com/science_autism_spectrum_disorders My husband and I obtained guardianship of my bright boy when he was approaching 18 years old — the legal age of adulthood in the US. Bobby has a blood clotting disorder which lead to a stroke at aged nine, which left him with significant cognitive disabilities. Bobby’s certainly an adult, but he has a cognitive impairment; he can’t spell more than a few words despite many long years of working at it, can’t do double digit math. He is my son, my bright boy, and while I accept and celebrate that he is an adult, the truth is that he is an adult with a cognitive impairment that requires he have assistance. We work very hard to find a balance that allows him the opportunity for growth, to reach his potential. We work very hard to allow him as much autonomy as he is capable…