Welcome, new readers. Your support is greatly appreciated. Please be advised that, due to the way my brain functions, my typical pattern of online presence consists of 1-5 days of intense activity, followed by weeks or even months offline. I am trying to learn to engage on a more regular basis, but my disabilities don't… Continue reading Welcome!

Things that need saying

This blog is where I write primarily about disability rights, drawing both from my job as a caregiver and from my own experiences as a person with chronic illness. I  have a BS in psychology, with a concentration in cognitive and neuro psych. Since graduation, I have worked as a psychology research assistant, tutor, and as… Continue reading Things that need saying

ABA, Modeling, and Abuse

There's pushing kids to try a little harder, to go a little further, than would on their own. Then there's pushing them past their tolerance limit, pushing them into pain or panic. One is a healthy part of raising or teaching a child. The other is child abuse... I know that much of the damage done by therapists is done without malice. Most of it is done with good intentions, even. I don't bring these things up to make anyone feel bad about what they are doing or have done. I do it to help you learn, as I learned, for the sake of the kids we're all trying to help.

Practice, Perspective, and Progress: a vignette

Sometimes I feel like the majority of my doing my job correctly consists of simply figuring out when I'm in the wrong. It's so easy for us humans (neurotypical or not) to project, to assume, and to get stuck in our own perspectives. And then we get annoyed when someone else responds badly because we… Continue reading Practice, Perspective, and Progress: a vignette

Yet Another Volley in the Battle over ABA, part 1

The report is well worth listening to, because there are some very good quotes, a wide range of opinions from an interesting variety of sources, and a more nuanced conversation than we usually hear about how ABA should change if it's going to continue to exist. I also found it frustrating to listen to, because it begins and ends with pro-ABA statements from a particularly problematic source.... How is there such a vast chasm between what autistic people keep writing and what so many non-autistic people believe about autism? It's almost as though we are using the same words but speaking different languages. I think this is because the two sides start the conversation from such different perspectives that they can't even understand each other's arguments.

Reblog: Concerns about Applied Behavior Analysis, Part 1: Current Research

Long, but very much worth reading! I have brought together the published research that questions the underlying research, the effectiveness, the assumptions made when defining a behavior plan, the long-term psychological safety and the ethics of Applied Behavior Analysis. This underlying evidence compels me to question the use of Applied Behavior Analysis as an ‘evidence-based’… Continue reading Reblog: Concerns about Applied Behavior Analysis, Part 1: Current Research

What’s Wrong With “Better” ABA?

This is a preliminary post. There are a bunch of references I need to add, and plenty of examples and stories I could share. But I want to get the basics down now, while they're on my mind. There are a gazillion critiques of ABA out there, largely from adult autistic people, and some from… Continue reading What’s Wrong With “Better” ABA?

On Disability, Suffering, and Euthanasia

Are there people whose level of disability places them into a category beyond hope? It's easy to think the answer depends on the answers to some other questions. What about that theoretical person I mentioned who has no neocortex, no possibility of conscious thought? Is it our mind that makes us human? Our genes? A thing called a soul that some people believe we have and others don't? But eventually I realized this line of questioning was the wrong approach entirely. It's not a matter of finding that dividing line between human and not human, worthwhile and hopeless, valuable and expendable. The minute you allow yourself to think that way, you've missed the point. You get hung up wondering where that dividing line is rather than seeking a solution that would make it moot.

More Challenged Than Challenging, part 1

We can't make aggression disappear completely, but we can make it less likely, less frequent, and less intense. Over the years, we've done a lot to make my client's life more orderly and predictable. As a result, he's generally a happier and calmer person, and slower to anger than he used to be. He is still someone with limitations that frustrate him unbearably at times, and he doesn't have as much emotional maturity as most people his age. But he is also much less prone to violence than he used to be. I think that's definitely worth the effort!