I didn’t want to put the radical stuff into the other thread that was meant to be for support, so I started this one.
Axiom, your ABA not in an ABA centre will probably be great; I’m not having a go at you and your choice to use ABA.
I’m not trying to argue with or criticise anyone on here; I just wanted to make a thread for alternative views. “Behavioural management” is not the only way to deal with ASD and the experts always seem to tell people that it is the only way.
That video really has nothing to do with therapy, “reinforcement” or whatever else they believe made him better able to function. Just because he did not speak or play with others at age four, does not mean that he was unable to do those things! And kids with HFA make progress as they age, whether they had professional intervention or not.
The dad says that ABA never stops, the effort never stops, the kid returns the effort. Well, that is what interacting with an autistic child and any child, is too! Parenting never stops. Kids with good parents who put in the effort and spend time with them, give back in the interaction because that is what they learn to do in a good relationship. ABA is constant interaction, lots of engaging the child, lots of talking and drawing attention to talking points and skills, which is why there is progress. Those skills can easily be addressed in real life, without the force of ABA and without the lack of escape from things they aren’t comfortable with and without the kid having to think that there is something 'wrong' with them and without the kid having to be isolated for ten hours a week. You don’t need a trampoline at ABA to practice on a trampoline. You don’t need a counsellor getting in the kid’s face to teach them about interaction. You don’t need picture cards in a small room to practice communication. You don’t need to follow them around making sure that they make eye contact to teach them about relationships and reciprocity. I feel sorry for that guy having had everything he did constantly corrected and analysed in terms of ABA’s rules.
The stats given, forty seven percent. What percentage of High Functioning kids were in that? Probably close to one hundred percent of the HFA kids had an independent life. Just because ABA and success happened together; does not mean that ABA caused that success. Stats without ABA for High Functioning kids or kids whose parents actively engaged with them regularly, is probably similar.
It really scares me that the media believe that you need to put a kid through all those things, and spend their entire childhood telling them that the things they do are defective and wrong, and that they need to change everything they do because that is what other people want of them. Trying to make autistic people act like neurotypical people is not going to improve their lives! It is just going to make the adults around them happy because then they will seem less weird.
I had no therapy. I am a published writer, I have four autistic children whom I care for without the help of any extended family or friends, and who are homeschooled. I have several qualifications, a TAFE diploma, a partial uni degree which I am continuing at present day, over ten years of experience as a swimming coach and swimming teacher. I am a former triathlete and competitive swimmer. I have never had any concessions, received any disability payments, or gotten any specific help linked to my autism. I left my family home when I was eighteen and travelled and worked alone overseas for a year. I learned another language while overseas. I have a successful relationship with my partner, who is also autistic. I had an emotionally abusive mother and, when not being screamed at or belittled, I was left to my own devices and had no mentors. My father was there for me but not often. I did not play with my siblings and spent most of my time reading alone. None of that proves that anything that happened to me “worked” or had success in “curing” me of being autistic. I was also a prefect, school councillor, and did well in school, as did the guy in the video. Autistic kids are not broken people who need to be fixed. They don’t need to be taught everything, as the video stated. They are people, like we all are, and they have difficulties that, if respected and gently helped, do not then go on to ruin their life and cause them to be unable to interact with others or unable to be independent.
You cannot decide on a child’s potential or future problems when they are that young. Noone thinks that a 3 year old wearing nappies or crying for a lollipop is still going to be doing that as an adult. Why do people think that an autistic three year old is going to be incapable of eye contact when they are grown? And if they are, so what? It doesn’t make them defective, eye contact is something that we deliberately avoid, not something that we are ignorant about. Autism progresses, people develop and change and grow. That has nothing to do with therapy. They also have minds of their own, and would choose to be a part of society whether someone forced them or not.
Severely autistic kids probably could not have ridden a tricycle as he was in the video; he was not severely autistic. He was autistic. Kids like him make progress in the real world, and from people helping them. He was obviously not intellectually disabled; so he was not severely autistic. It seemed like a biased plug for ABA, and truly severely autistic kids would not make that level of progress.
The counsellor was forcibly grabbing his face to make her look at him. She was repeatedly asking him to decide how she felt, whilst conveniently showing zero respect for how he felt. It was really horrible for me watching that video; he really remind me of my son, who would be miserable and scared to be put into that kind of situation with an “expert” trying to “get through to him” and “teach ” me how to interact with him. His parents clearly do not embrace that he is different; they seem to gauge his success on how “normal” he behaves. Why must his success be based upon socially accepted ideas of success? On whether he sits still at school and slots into mainstream classes? There are more types of success that what the video focused on. He honestly didn’t look like he was a very confident guy. He acted and spoke just like my autistic brother. He has probably spent his life checking whether others approved of what he did.
That video, made by Today Tonight so clearly glorified and aiming to get viewers, made me so upset at the way they talked about autism.
Disabled people have rights too; and they shouldn’t get forced into being “normal”.
For real education value regarding therapies, and progress, look for stuff done by autistic people. Autistic people understand autism much better than the “experts”, who can only see the outward behaviour, and who have such a narrow definition of “success”.
This is a new generation in terms of autism. Just knowing about autism is more than the previous generation of autistics generally had. Intervention has better results because most people have intervention when they get a diagnosis. I personally think that the knowledge of autism is the most powerful thing in those statistics. The fact that parents stop forcing them to act like normal kids and stop punishing them for things that they can't control and that parents try to explain things instead of just telling them that they should know; once they know that they have autism.
This is a pretty powerful blog entry in the sense that I am talking about. http://juststimming.wordpress.com/2011/10/05/qu...
And this is a blog by a mother. http://mamabegood.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/the-p...
Again, I’m not attacking anyone; I just really didn't like the video. It upset me a lot. So I wanted to offer an alternate view. Most autistic adults would have the same opinion as me.
I probably won't be back on here to reply, but just wanted to put alternative info into the forum and try to raise the profile of autistics. The media is constantly making out like autism is some kind of disease that ruins everyone's lives, and the media also frequently disrespects autistic people.
Also, if you can't afford ABA, there is a LOT you can do for your kids just by spending time with them.