When we lived in New York City, we had friends from Bangladesh who invited us over for dinner. When we arrived at their apartment, we expected to be seated at a table and be served food. They both had PhDs from US universities and worked on Wall Street. It took us by surprise when we were seated on the floor in order to eat. We were given no silverware and were expected to eat with our hands. This was very unusual for us. I politely asked for a fork and knife, to which they smiled and obliged. To me, sitting on the floor eating with my hands is very unusual. However, to them, I was the peculiar one who requested a fork in order to eat. Neither one of our ways is the “right” way to eat. We simply learned different customs when we grew up, and to both of us, our unusual ways are “normal.”
This published peer-reviewed study shows that VCA is a proven technique that actually works to teach communication, academics and reduce behaviors in autistic children. The study also officially means that VCA is research-based and evidence-based in its own right.
The results of the study indicated that individuals utilizing VCA showed statistically significant improvements in communication as well as a decrease in maladaptive behaviors.
Another major outcome is the questioning of the validity of the original diagnosis of intellectual disability given to the nonverbal children with ASD.
Read the article
Inclusion is a model where students with disabilities spend most/all of their time in an educational setting with non-disabled students. This model has led many countries to pass laws requiring disabled students be educated in
the least restrictive environment: they should be educated with students without disabilities to the maximum extent possible.
However, this model ignores the very nature of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The autistic brain is different in both function and structure, making deficits in social interaction, inherent and appropriate for their development.
This paper explores research on the autistic brain, comorbidities, child development, and trauma associated with forced inclusion for this population. Research on brain function indicates inclusion can be very stressful and can produce anxiety and post-traumatic stress in children with ASD.
Read the article
As the New Year approaches, I would like to extend a special wish to each and every one of our extended autism family. It is customary on New Year to wish you a year filled with health and happiness but this year I want to add another wish. May you have the strength to overcome your fears. Over the years, I have found that it is our fears that hold us back and stand in the way of our success and therefore our happiness.
When Ethan was young and had ABA Therapy, he used to hit his head a lot, hold his belly and have other SIBS. As you all know, unfortunately he had ABA for the first 10 years of his life. The BCBA always told us that many kids with autism hit their head because they are “avoiding the task”. So according to them, he was avoiding the task all the time.
Self-injurious behaviors (SIBs) in Autism is one of the most concerning issues a parent of a child with autism case face. It is painful to watch when your child hurts themselves. If you wish to prevent further harm and abuse to your child, then you must read this article. The current approaches to SIBs in children and adults with ASD goes against the successful theories and approaches that psychologists have used for many years to treat SIBs in the general population and are actually counter-intuitive and can perpetuate abuse and learned helplessness.
Read the article https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23311908.2019.1682766
The Department of Defense reported to Congress on Oct 25, 2019 about Comprehensive Autism Care that after 1 year of ABA treatment 76% of those with autism had no change in symptoms and 9% WORSENED by more than 1 standard deviation. This reaffirms Navy Capt. Edward Simmer, chief clinical officer of the Tricare Health Plan, statement in November 2018 that the effectiveness of applied behavioral techniques for autism remains unproven. Year after year, the data says the same thing.
Read the report.
To understand some of the reasoning why ABA does not work, please read the peer reviewed research https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23311908.2019.1641258
The failure of the Functional Behavior Assessment also leads to misinformed treatment of Self Injurious Behaviors in autism. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23311908.2019.1682766
After years of imposing ABA therapy on the nonverbal Autism population, there is still no available research to support the continued use of such an intensive therapy. In our article recently published in a peer-reviewed journal, we compiled just some of the research demonstrating that long-term ABA THERAPY IS ABUSE. We discuss various aspects of physical, emotional and psychological abuse endured by such a vulnerable population and we call upon professionals to adhere to their oath to DO NO HARM. We hope to stimulate conversation and advocate for the children and adults who have been experiment subjects in ABA therapy, and continue to operate without a voice.
Please share and help advocate for our vulnerable children who do not have a voice and finally put a stop to the abuse.
Read the article