Everyone working with Charlie is amazing. I love the bit in this where all the autistic people that have done this and hate it are just ‘crying ableism’. Thank you for your comment! But I could not do ABA with my son, not even the “look me in the eye” or “desk ready” beginning. I think this misconception comes from the fact that traditional ABA like it was done decades ago was very strict and followed a simple principle: do this and you’ll get that. Some weeks that might be his tablet. I was at a loss before ABA therapy came into our life. We are both defined as the “client”, and no prioritization is given to the needs of the one receiving services over the needs of any other person defined as a client in that document. look out for such information. I don’t think we, autistic people, should have to change to fit in with neurotypical people, but I also want Charlie to have all the opportunity he can possibly have to learn, and maybe that does mean preventing him from stimming in certain situations. Where possibly intrinsic reinforcement is used (if it’s there then you use it).. for some though we don’t always have that luxury. I am NOT abusive! Sure, these people may have had negative experiences as children but ABA therapy isn’t like this anymore, at least not the one Charlie does. How the ABA Industry Endorses the Use of Electric Shock Devices on Autistics: http://autisticbride.co.uk/2019/05/24/how-the-aba-industry-supports-the-use-of-electric-shock-devices-on-autistics/. It was so great to read your article. I’m autistic and I use ABA to help many autistic children, for me it’s just a tool to understand behaviour and to help to find alternative behavior less harmfull for the children himself. She also said that a good teacher was a good teacher for all kids, not just neurotypicals. Welcome to the first installment of our “Preparing for a Successful Thanksgiving” series. ABA is not “one size fits all” and a good BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) will work hard to develop the best program for a child. It might want to look at treatment and assessment units – the type of ones that once you are in you don’t come back out! One major criticism of ABA: the continued use of aversive therapy including pain, such as electric shock, to deter behaviors such as self-injury. ABA can definitely be done in a loving and kind way. We fading and pairing. For instance… I dont want to raise my son to think, that if he can help it, he should just stim away, because he is neurodiverse and everyone should accept it. About Me. I watch those children laughing their heads off through the session, reaching out to their therapists to initiate more interaction and to prolong play. In a nutshell: teaching children to do something for a reward teaches them that what is important is doing things for the rewards (extrinsic gains). ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) is a subject of controversy in the autistic and autism communities. A Bcba must use reinforcement procedures… punishment can only be used under specific circumstances. I lay the clothes out the right way round and he puts them on. So if a learner snorts and it serves some sensory-satisfying function that causes no harm, why is the behavior trying to be reduced? – Have you lobbied the BACB to get more stringent ethical guidelines so that children are protected from harmful practices like those currently in use at the Judge Rotenberg Center? While I understand some of the concerns with ABA therapy, in my opinion, when done well, administered by caring people who are open to criticism and who keep a child’s best interest in mind, ABA is the best therapy for children on the autism spectrum. One man had a therapist force him to touch something he found repulsive. I’d love to know your thoughts. Same with learning to use his AAC – he also uses ProLoQuo2Go but the reward is getting us to understand his wants and needs, not getting a cookie for doing so. discrimination in favor of able-bodied people. If it sticks in your mind, try it. Are they not addressing the same things that an OT or speech therapist would when those other therapists would address the needs from a perspective outside of the behavioral realm? Even so, it remains controversial in some people’s eyes. Anyway, I’m delighted to hear you and your son are doing well. BACB Ethical Guidelines for BCBAs: https://www.bacb.com/wp-content/uploads/BACB-Compliance-Code-english_190318.pdf These people are more likely to undertake tasks that they often hate just so that they can gain the reward and this pattern continues throughout their life i.e. The ABA therapy that I see delivered, focus’ on fun and learning through play. Here are the arguments you will hear against ABA and my thoughts on each of them: This is probably the argument you’ll hear the most about ABA. ABA would work to train Beth’s daughter to put up with the pain and misery without complaint. You have positively reinforced him, which means u have increased his behavior getting dressed in the future. We want him to be safe, independent, and to learn to communicate, to decrease his, and yes, frustration. I've lost count on how many I have endured so far but I only have 5 sessions left in my first round of treatments. I wouldn’t do ABA therapy if Charlie’s therapists weren’t caring and loving. If you can access it here are the references: Gardner, F., (2017). I want him to be comfortable being exactly who he is, but also not to believe the world revolves around him. I am a BCaBA and the misconceptions of ABA therapy makes me really sad because it can be such a life changer for so many kids (even children who don’t have ASD) I have personally made huge impacts on children’s lives for the better. How about Charlie’s safety? While I understand some of the concerns with ABA therapy, in my opinion, when done well, administered by caring people who are open to criticism and who keep a child’s best interest in mind, ABA is the best therapy for children on the autism spectrum. It is also a data-driven type of therapy where every therapists should be literally taking data dozens of times per hour. Feel free to message me if you want to talk about it farther, I’d be happy to chat with you. THIS IS ABA. This is because she’s not a scientist. Once he falls into a routine, things should get easier. I hope at least that this article encourages more and improved research on related topics. I get that sickening feeling in my stomach when people tell me that I’m torturing Charlie with ABA and that Charlie learning to communicate and developing self-care skills isn’t important because what matters is that he’s happy. But she didn’t seem to be a bad person, she wasn’t vicious, just bossy. ABA rides on the theories of behaviourism, something that has been debunked in virtually every field except those in which the receivers have little choice. There are horror stories in every profession, and counseling has some too. If not, will you do so in the future? ABA therapy saved my son. – Do you agree with the use of physical punishments and physical aversives, which are permitted under BACB ethical guidelines? In my oppinnion, if you choose the right clinic, where ABA therapy is well executed, it can be really succesful! There was NO clinical verification of any diagnosis of either autism or PTSD. This is one of the things that really bothers me about the mentality of other autistic adults. An autistic child grows up in a world comprised almost completely of neurotypical people, and they have to learn how to function within it. Therapists use positive reinforcement to reward wanted behaviors. Abusive is when you cause intentional harm, professional therapy for a child who needs to learn certain skills, skills that he does not have the ability to develop on his own unlike many of us, is not abusive. (If no, run. My Therapist Shared My Secrets, and Other Horror Stories When therapists can't keep their patients' private information to themselves. There was no definition given of what ABA actually is, and nor was there a description of what was being done in any intervention being given to autistic people taking part in the ‘study’ – this makes it impossible to differentiate between ABA, per the definition given by the BACB, and anything being ffered under the name of ABA but not fitting the definition. DTT (Discreet Trial Training) – It’s a method used to teach a skill broken down into steps as opposed to teaching it in one go. [Autism] I can’t promise that I’ll be the perfect mother at all times, Words of encouragement to parents of autistic children. For instance, we wanted Charlie to gain more independence, so our BCBA designed a program to teach him to brush his teeth and another one to teach him to put on his clothes by himself. Why is ABA the gold standard? ABA can be intimidating at first. While, it was difficult at first for Charlie, I’ve always felt comfortable with his therapists, I trust that they have his best interest in mind. Some of them are poorly run and the methods used are imprecise and borderline abusive. No facility (or person) that condones or excuses torture like that at the Judge Rotenberg Center is safe for your child to be near. ABA principles are utilised in every intervention that works. They may be bullied for being different or won’t be able to fit in and make friends. The car wasn’t damaged at all and almost deliberately placed in the middle of the road. As an autistic adult, I see both sides of the argument but overall I’m in favor of ABA therapy. However a well rounded account of criticism might also want to focus on the TYPES of special schools that sing about the weather every bloody morning, play skittles every Tuesday for four years and do the same mundane jigsaws over and over again. ABA and horror stories. How is Play Therapy Used to Treat Autism? Auf ABA an sich wird nicht wirklich eingegangen und gleichzeitig erzeugt er die Illusion, dass er recht liberal ist. He did so based on principles developed by famed psychologist B.F. Skinner, found in his book, published in 1938. Subscribe & Follow. What about other therapies? That data collection is used to track what’s working and what’s not. The environment is natural and the therapists make the children feel safe and comfortabe. English is the second language of Stella’s family and Stella was speaking in a combination of English and her native language. It saddens me how little importance is given to parents of autistic children. That was not a master’s level paper. As a parent, I have no desire to stop him from stimming and I would for the most part, object to any objective to make it so. One thing autistic people struggle with is seeing both sides of an argument, something I’m trying to be better about. There is absolutely no need for an extrinsic reward like a cookie (aside from the issues around sugar defeating the teeth cleaning lessons LOL). An effective behavior specialist will continue to support their client, revisiting instruction when needed. I don’t prevent Charlie from flapping his hands and neither do his therapists. This is something difficult for a lot of children on the spectrum. In many settings, I can see how this would be a big hurdle for others, such as focus in a classroom. Thank you for another informative web site. Could you give me the references of the most important and recent research article son that subject if you can? Thousands of British children have done this for many years, I chose the two examples as they resonate with the life stage we are currently at. I love that he’s able to communicate basic needs like ” I want water” without screaming his head off. Temple Grandin is one of the most well-known autism success stories talked about in the ABA community. Back then they used robotic repetition of learning trials held in sterile rooms, and administered punishment to help autistic people learn new and appropriate skills. Will you encourage fellow BCBAs to do so? But as you mentioned, stimming can be disruptive to those around the individual. I work with an awesome team and we all love our kids. Thank you! ABA Success Stories . If not, will you do so? I am a mom of almost 3 year old autistic boy and am finding hard to see ABA as a positive thing. angewandte Verhaltensanalyse ist eine Psychotherapieform zur Behandlung unter anderem von autistischen Störungen, die auf einem behavioristisch geprägten verhaltensanalytischen Ansatz basiert. For a master’s graduate, I expect master’s level performance. Or are they just finding ways to address those skills and calling it ABA for the sake of billing?? You want to fade the less functional behaviors away to give them a better shot in life. If it doesn’t, fine. The biggest criticism about ABA therapy is ableism, discrimination in favor of able-bodied people. An easy way to know if a therapist is crossing boundaries is to ask yourself whether you’d be ok with them doing it if your child were neurotypical. Run like hell. Further reading/viewing for context: Advances in Autism, 4(1), 19–29. All the advocates said so, and I was angry, in a way, that she couldn’t see how evil she was. On her blog, she shares the ups and downs of raising a severely autistic child while being on the autism spectrum herself. You tell me what’s more ethical. They might become addicted to shopping, smoking, alcohol, drugs, food etc. I’d like to share with you my personal views on ABA therapy. Posted Mar 19, 2018 Not in it's original intended form that is. ABA therapy is used to increase language and communication skills. I’m all for listening to people and moving with the times but there is so much aggression from the haters directed towards anyone who views it positively. No ethical guidelines that permit torture are stringent enough to keep your child safe. On the flip side, there is a part of me that sees how ABA therapy can sometimes be harmful to autistic people. There are some things that I disagree with, but overall, I love what I do & my disagreement is not due to something I find cruel or abusive. Hi there! Good job mama. I wouldn’t do ABA therapy if our BCBA wasn’t on top of things and open-minded. I imagined all of the amazing ideas I would learn about how to work effectively with my three three year-old son diagnosed… Some of them are poorly run and the methods used are imprecise and borderline abusive. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) bzw. They do a lot of “do this, and you’ll get that” and have even gone as far as telling me that it is maybe because I am present in the room which has made me feel really uncomfortable but refuse to leave the room. If an ABA center doesn’t run this way then you should likely look elsewhere for therapy. I’m not trying to “fix” my son, therapy is here to make his life easier and keep him safe. Charlie isn’t in ABA therapy because we want him to be normal. But, not all BCBAs, therapists, and therapy centers are great. Thanksgiving can be a hectic time. I’m so glad that ABA therapy worked perfectly for Charlie. Avoiding ABA therapy horror stories by choosing the right provider. Charlie’s happy running in the street in front of cars. We love his therapists and BCBA and you can tell they really care about him and have his best interests at heart. He did so based on principles developed by famed psychologist B.F. Skinner, found in his book, published in 1938, The Behavior of Organisms. Though this is becoming less common, it may explain the more current ABA horror stories you read on the internet. The cost of ABA can vary, based on your child’s therapy needs, the type of ABA program you choose, and who provides the therapy. Everyone working with Charlie is amazing. I found ABA theray Miami, with committed and accomplished ABA therapists. But you know what? How is Pivotal Response Treatment® (PRT) Used in ABA? ABA and horror stories. people forget that the principles of aba are 99% common sense; they are the things that we do as parents/carers all day, every day. Are the ethical guidelines at your facility different from the BACB’s? While reinforcers with a preferred item are a big part of it, the ultimate goal is for children to understand the reason behind a behavior/action so they can live independent lives. How about me as mother? I have watched children struggling to make friends. Born in France, she now lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and two sons, Charlie (7) and Jude (5). Sat on the periphery with no way of navigating the complex dynamic of social interaction. Charlie’s happy banging his head on the wall. The methods used to deliver ABA with autistics has changed tremendously since Lovaas’ initial experiment. Thank you for this! He’s okay…better than okay. Among other things they’ve taught him to communicate with his iPad, brush his teeth, and use the bathroom. We want to fade away the less functional and dangerous behaviors, like playing with the cats’ litter box, swallowing rocks, and running in the street, to give him a better shot at life. Found your blog on Instagram & your link popped out at me! This BLOODY AWFUL therapy has given children a voice AGAIN and AGAIN so that those children without communication can advocate for themselves. It is also used to improve attention, focus, social skills, memory, and academics. And, unfortunately, I, in my sanctimoniousness, could not continue to be a part of it. Additionally, many different methods fall under the ABA umbrella, some of them more intrusive than others. Aba is everywhere. Created by : Camel Design. I don’t agree that ABA therapy is ableist. She never gave up trying, never gave up offering a multitude of avenues for the young man to try his wings, never said it was too much. The research surrounding mental health has shown that when a person’s choices in life are weighted more towards doing things to gain extrinsic rewards their mental health suffers. You can change someone without changing who they are. Hi Becky, I think a bit of context is necessary here. I see this as an ethical implementation of aba techniques. I belong to a FB group (NDIS Grassroots) where parents who chose to use this therapy with their autistic children were judged & crtiticsed by Autistic adults who have apparently been traumatised by this method. September 22, 2020. He is now speaking and is now so much happier and I feel I have the knowledge to help him better. Trying to reduce stimming that causes no harm to the individual doing the stimming has always raised ethical concerns for me. The methods used to help people with autism today have changed so much since Lovaas’ initial experiments – it’s unfair that they even bear the same name. It can be disappointing to read all the negative views about ABA because most people don’t realize how broad it really is. Beautiful kid of whom I’m very proud. Copyright 2017 - All Rights Reserved. . For your child’s safety, run.) The goal is to help the child continually experience success with their learned skill, in different settings and as they grow. I am an autistic mom with kids on the spectrum. I think a bit of context is necessary here. As a pediatric PT, I can tell you what you are doing is not abusive. Assuming that the vocal stereotypy isn’t of high volume, like screaming or screeching, it’s likely to not be harming those around the individual either. Auf jeden Fall muss man dagegen vorgehen und ich hoffe, dass nicht zu viele Eltern sich auf ABA einlassen werden. Read More. Hello, That’s because this therapy that is so TERRIBLE can he delivered with incredible kindness and compassion, where best interest and a child centred approach is at the heart of every decision. I would certainly like think people might be sympathetic, but I wouldn’t expect someone to shake my hand right after my fingers were in my mouth. Our BCBA is incredibly involved in Charlie’s therapy and is always looking for ways to tweak it for improvement. She stayed. Essentially u provided him the motivation to learn to dress himself. Hi there, it was interesting to read your thoughts on ABA therapy. I want to tell you a story. All the other things the author describes can be learned without ABA. 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