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Alternative treatments ASD. Lock Rss

I’m not trying to start an argument; my comment is just about the video linked in the other thread.

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.

And this is a blog by a mother.

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.

I have one child with autism. She was 8 when she was diagnosed. She was, and is, an intelligent, caring person. Yes, she was, and is, clumsy. She broke her arm three times last year. She always has struggled to make friends, and to interact in ways that people think are 'appropriate'. When she was younger she was happy to do her own thing, and would very rarely engage with me. She still enjoys her calming alone time. And until recently, she struggled to use the toilet. We used to see an OT for her, and she would help us with strategies that we can use to try to get her to engage in things she needs to be able to do, like self care. Obviously, to be able to function well, she needs to be able to use the toilet, use cutlery appropriately, tie her own shoelaces, and that kind of thing. Those were all functional things, and I think it was reasonable to expect her to learn those things. There was no therapy, just simple suggestions, and ways of trying things that we may never have thought of ourselves. There is no amount of therapy that can make people feel more sensation, or be more aware of their own bodies. These things are biological and to be honest, there are
plenty of people who live very successfully this way. Some people aren't cut out for extensive social interaction. Sure, encouraging awareness of the fact that everyone has thoughts and feelings is helpful, as is teaching some techniques and coping mechanisms for social situations. Sadly, some people will never have heaps of friends. Many people don't want them. My daughter has had only a small amount of OT, and she is just fine. We accept that she is quirky and sometimes bizarre. We accept that she needs quiet, though it's not always feasible, and we support her when the noise becomes overwhelming. And we accept that she will never have many friendships. The interaction is too much for her, and she finds it very draining. She has one good friend, but she doesn't see him outside of school very often because it's too hard for her to maintain that interaction. That may or may not change as she gets older. I can tell you that I rarely feel pain and I have very little awareness of my body, and I'm just fine. Additionally, while I have friends, and I can spend a day with my best friend with no problem, that is because she has been my best friend for 21 years and I can let my guard down with her. To spend that much time with someone else tends to exhaust me for at least one day. Some people with autism really cannot function at all. Those are severe cases and I can see where therapy is helpful. Other people with autism are simply misunderstood. People try to project onto them the standards they think are 'normal', rather than accepting that all people see and experience the world in different ways. Lastly, when my daughter was two, she barely spoke. In fact, she didn't start speaking regularly until after she was three. She has had no speech therapy. I can tell you that, at 10 years of age, she certainly can tell me if she dislikes something. She does so often. She can tell me if she is traumatised, but she struggles to 'control her emotions'. She is intelligent, caring, temperamental, and often insensitive. She is also deputy school leader. Her school accepts the way she sees things and caters to that, which has been the best thing for her. Autism does not have to ruin lives.

kerrie, VIC, DD 12/8/03, DD 12/10/05, DD 14/9/07, DD 4/1/10

You did comment that autism does ruin lives in your earlier post. I was simply saying that it doesn't have to be that way. I never said speech therapy was not good. My daughter saw a speech therapist when she was three and she was able to speak well enough for them to assess her as having no speech problem. As such, therapy was not continued. There is no evidence that autism is a brain injury. There is evidence that people with autism have brains that work slightly differently. Sometimes this may present as a difficulty, other times not. I do not ignore my daughters problems. We accept that she experiences the world in a different way, and we help her when she struggles as much as I can. My daughter broke her arm the first time as the result of a freak scooter accident. It could have happened to any child. The second time it broke was due to her hyperactivity and waving it around in the cast. That time they operated and put a metal plate in to keep make it stronger. The day she got her cast off she got out of the car and slipped in some mud. It was broken yet again, and the metal plate was twisted. They operated again, put in a bigger metal plate, and this time it healed. How can you make someone more aware when their brain simply doesn't process things that way? I'm interested, because I haven't worked it out, and I've been trying for years. I feel no pain unless I'm badly injured. I think I feel this way because I don't see my daughter as having a range of problems. Sure, not being able to go to the toilet and such was a problem, and we did not ignore that. We sought help and those things are not so much problems now. But her differences in sensory processing and the way she sees the world is not a problem. It's just different. And there is no comparison to be made between a stroke victim and a person with autism. I know a number of adults with autism that would be extremely offended by that comparison.

kerrie, VIC, DD 12/8/03, DD 12/10/05, DD 14/9/07, DD 4/1/10

I'm not trying to upset anyone. I'm simply trying to offer a different perspective. I never said she wasn't doing the best for her child. I'm sure she is. But she did say that autism ruins lives when it can, in fact, enrich lives. And she did she that people with autism are comparable to stroke victims when, in fact, they aren't. It upsets me to see people viewing autism so negatively. Yes, some people with autism cannot function well and those people need help. I understand that. But there are so many wonderful people with autism in the world. I don't see why they should need to be any different. The fact that your son is talking so early and is so obviously intelligent is a wonderful sign. Something to be positive about!

kerrie, VIC, DD 12/8/03, DD 12/10/05, DD 14/9/07, DD 4/1/10

And I'm actually genuinely interested in how you are increasing awareness of sensation in your son. It could be useful for my family, and for myself. I'm always open to new information!

kerrie, VIC, DD 12/8/03, DD 12/10/05, DD 14/9/07, DD 4/1/10

Yes, but I did not say ALL people with autism have a good quality of life. I know that's not the case, and I stated so above. What kind of potential do you see in your son? I see potential in my children. Two more of my children are currently awaiting autism assessment, by the way. We have opted to go through the public system because we cannot afford treatments, so we must wait. One of them is considered urgent and thus got through in five months. The other has been waiting one year so far. I see potential in my children, to live the life they want to live. I am doing my best to convey to them that there is all kinds of success, and if they try hard then that's all I can expect of them. My oldest is at least a year ahead of her year level, which is fantastic. My second oldest is two years ahead of her year level, which is also fantastic. My third oldest is six months ahead and, considering her severe speech delay (which is being treated) I am extremely proud of her. But I don't push them. Academic achievement is all well and good, but in my experience emotional competence is so much more so. My children do not regularly compete homework because doing so causes huge conflict that takes days to repair. If I ask them and they do it, that's wonderful. My children are doing well but the emotional incompetence has taken its toll on me. I'm now at the point where I'm going to be undergoing treatment because I'm suicidal. I don't blame my children. They are who they are, and they are wonderful people. I don't want them to change. I just need to become stronger and more resilient.

By the way, you still haven't shared about the increasing sensation thing. I really would like to know!

kerrie, VIC, DD 12/8/03, DD 12/10/05, DD 14/9/07, DD 4/1/10

Thank you. It hasn't ruined my life though. I've been suicidal for many years. I am fortunate to have my children because they have enriched my life and provided me with a perspective that I may otherwise have never had, and that is extremely valuable. They have made me more open minded, and accepting of all people. We do have strategies for preventing them from having meltdowns, but they don't always work. There is no way to regulate their meltdowns once they happen. We have learned that the hard way. I must listen to my daughter scream for hours about how everyone hates her and that she wants to die, because people do not accept her as she is. I cannot tell her she must change to be more acceptable. It's not her deficiency, but that of others. When she melts down she doesn't remember her behaviour, or what she says. My daughter is the size of an adult and, when melting down, refuses to do the techniques we have been told to do. The best we can do is help her not reach melt down mode, which is working well. I'm not sure sensory integration therapy would help someone have more awareness of pain. Some people don't process pain as pain. I'm one of those people. I do apply pain to myself in order to feel sensation, but this is something I would prefer my kids not to do. What I think would be wonderful is if people were more accepting and educated about what autism is, more willing to see that everyone is different, and that those differences enrich society. Some positive news? I attended a seminar last week about tertiary education and people with ASD. With support, many people with ASD are able to compete tertiary education. However, to be more successful, researchers are advocating training programs to increase staff awareness of the issues that people with ASD experience, which involves them changing their perspective on the world, just a bit.

kerrie, VIC, DD 12/8/03, DD 12/10/05, DD 14/9/07, DD 4/1/10

Thanks very much! I've been fighting it since I was a teen. I attempted suicide then. Fortunately I was ok. It is a horrible feeling indeed! I actually didn't want to seek help, but I'm being forced to. I know it's for the best, but it's going to be uncomfortable for me. Thanks for sharing your story! You must be a very strong person.

kerrie, VIC, DD 12/8/03, DD 12/10/05, DD 14/9/07, DD 4/1/10

Hi There

For anyone who is having dark feelings please be aware that Beyond Blue is a fantastic resource for anyone who is experiencing depression.
Their website is

Please PM us if you need access to help lines or other advice.

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