Stop Pathologizing Autistic Play

A topic came up in an autism support group I frequent. A mother said that her son's Early Intervention therapist was trying to get him to stop "repetitive play," and play more the way typical children do. The mom didn't see any harm in repetitive play, but the therapist claimed her son was doing the… Continue reading Stop Pathologizing Autistic Play

Fever Dreams and Philosophical Musings

Last night, I fell asleep with a mild fever. My life chased me into my dreams. *** In my dream, my client breaks something while I struggle to help his mother in the kitchen. His ABA team makes him stay up all night cleaning, and in the morning a troop of therapists convenes to discuss… Continue reading Fever Dreams and Philosophical Musings

Proposed Guidelines for the Safe and Ethical Application of ABA Methods

Please note: This post is a work in progress. **** Behaviors targeted for modification or extinction must meet the following criteria: The behavior creates a physical safety risk for the client or other people, or causes significant damage to the surroundings. Behaviors may not be targeted for elimination/modification on the grounds of being atypical, embarrassing,… Continue reading Proposed Guidelines for the Safe and Ethical Application of ABA Methods

Furthur nuances of ABA-based therapies

I've been seeing a lot of discussion online lately about ABA-based therapies.* Can these therapies ever be done right? How can you tell when a therapy is damaging even though it is play-based, uses no aversives, and doesn't seem unpleasant for the child undergoing it? Are stressful therapies ok in small doses? Most people, including… Continue reading Furthur nuances of ABA-based therapies

Education, Control, and Abuse

My apologies for the length of this post. *** How do we teach children what they need to know in life? What do they need to know? They need, at some point, some measure of self-control: the ability to delay gratification, to think before acting, to modify aggressive instincts, to consider the well-being and desires… Continue reading Education, Control, and Abuse

Thoughts on Savants and Skill Trade-Offs

I just watched this wonderful clip from "60 Minutes" (Description: Derek Paravicini is a profoundly disabled man in his early 30's, and a musical prodigy. Born 3 months premature, he is blind, autistic, and has profound cognitive impairments, resulting in the inability to answer many simple questions such as his current age. The newscaster interviews… Continue reading Thoughts on Savants and Skill Trade-Offs

On Self-Injury, Autism, and Behavioral Therapy

The following is a slight editing of something that I wrote in an email, in response to a fellow psychology student who expressed concern about an autistic child he helps provide therapy for, a 9 year old boy who “smacks his own head repeatedly with his fist when he is frustrated.” For those not familiar… Continue reading On Self-Injury, Autism, and Behavioral Therapy