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

A “Dear Researchers,” post

I have an idea for you! ( And I hope this will be the first of many such posts.) In any social science, there are so many questions that go unasked, so many unnoticed assumptions, and so many ways that data can be interpreted. Sometimes, you need an outside perspective. Here's one for you to… Continue reading A “Dear Researchers,” post

Notes About Learning Language

I just got finished reading this excellent article: Fortunately, I've only once seen a case where an autistic client's AAC was used in the horribly restrictive way that this article warns against. I have also been privileged to witness some wonderful AAC uses, and I'm in the process of learning how to encourage even… Continue reading Notes About Learning Language

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

Breaking Down ABA, Again: Part 3; Some Advantages of ABA Methodology

This post continues from part 2 *** Let me note, before I start, that the advantages I'm talking about here are a matter of applying scientific and behaviorist principles to a situation. This doesn't necessarily require an ABA program-- it's just that, currently, ABA is the primary program in which these methods are used. ABA… Continue reading Breaking Down ABA, Again: Part 3; Some Advantages of ABA Methodology

Breaking Down ABA, Again: Part 2: Goals and Underlying Philosophy

[This post continues a series started here] UNDERLYING PHILOSOPHY One major way in which schools of ABA can differ is in their primary goal, their understanding of how ABA methods should be used. *** 1) Traditional Approach: Fighting Against Autism Traditional ABA practitioners believe that it is inherently good for autistic children to appear, act,… Continue reading Breaking Down ABA, Again: Part 2: Goals and Underlying Philosophy

Breaking Down ABA, Again: Part 1; Ethics, Standards, and Side-Effects

[Read the Introduction here] *** SOMETHING IMPORTANT IS MISSING ABA-based therapies are currently considered the only scientifically validated "treatment" for autism in the United States. Let me defer, for the moment, discussing what is meant by "treatment" and whether or not that is an appropriate word to use. Any medical or therapeutic treatment, particularly one… Continue reading Breaking Down ABA, Again: Part 1; Ethics, Standards, and Side-Effects

Breaking Down ABA, Again: Introduction

[This post is being re-written and expanded into a series. The introduction portion is not heavily edited from the original, but the rest is.] So here I’m going to talk, again, about ABA, about the disconnects and disagreements that I see whenever ABA is discussed online in autism-related communities, and about my own thoughts on… Continue reading Breaking Down ABA, Again: Introduction

The Evolution of an Appropriate Response

Here's a story from some time ago, when I had just begun working with 7-year-old Rhythm, a nonverbal autistic boy. On one of my earliest visits with the family, Rhythm held his hands up in front of him and began slapping them loosely one over the other-- a type of flapping I had never seen… Continue reading The Evolution of an Appropriate Response