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

Neurodiversity, Limitations of the Social Model, and Outliers, part 1

[Note: This started as a single post, but it's turning into something more like chapter, so I'm going to break it up into sections and publish them separately.] So, I recently got this thing published: Clearing Up Some Misconceptions About Neurodiversity And, overall, I've been hugely overwhelmed by the level of positive response. Thank you… Continue reading Neurodiversity, Limitations of the Social Model, and Outliers, part 1

Behavior Modification: Use Sparingly and With Caution

In both cases, a preteen client was being physically violent. However, the two situations required very different responses. In one case, a behaviorist approach worked well for everyone involved, including the client. In the other, it would have been catastrophic, especially for the client.

We Need to Talk About Appropriate Language

Most of us can remember being unreasonably afraid of something-- or hoping for something impossible -- because an adult said something we misinterpreted, took too literally, or didn't realize was a joke. Sometimes we hold these misconceptions for years. For an autistic child, who tends to take language very literally, this probably happens far more often.

It’s a Dog’s World

Here's an extended metaphor. Imagine a world where the only possible pet is a dog. Dogs are everywhere, and people know a lot about them, but they've never heard of any other kind of pet. Imagine a family going out and getting a puppy, a cute little furry puppy to love and care for and… Continue reading It’s a Dog’s World

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

Suggested Questionnaire for Healthcare and Related Professionals – please share widely

[Update!! Those who want a tool similar to this can download one for free from I have heard many complaints from autistic people and other people with disabilities about their struggles in communicating with healthcare professionals, etc.. I propose a simple questionnaire for professionals to use. These would be standard intake questions, and the… Continue reading Suggested Questionnaire for Healthcare and Related Professionals – please share widely

Dear “Autism Parents,” We Don’t Want To Be Cured

If you want your autistic children to grow up and be happy, then you need to start listening to them, and to the autistic community as well. When you ignore autistic adults and our opinions, you are adding to the system of oppression that your child is going to face for the rest of their… Continue reading Dear “Autism Parents,” We Don’t Want To Be Cured