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.”
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
Many people have asked me what is the point of teaching Ethan or any child with special needs Algebra, Geometry, or Biology. They seem to imply that these kids will never amount to much and will never use these skill, so why teach them and especially why teach the nonverbal kids?
Ethan is allergic to casein (dairy) and gluten (wheat, barley etc.) When he eats dairy his behavior changes to the point where “there is nobody home” and his sleep pattern is disrupted to where he only sleeps 2-3 hours a night. He gets bloated and gassy and has extreme stomachaches and headaches and cycles between diarrhea and constipation.
A few years ago, we used to wake in the morning and find an empty and clean fridge and freezer. Ethan used to wake up in the middle of the night and take everything out of the fridge and freezer, put the food on the counter and make sure the fridge and freezer were clean. We struggled for months before we finally realized that the school had been teaching Ethan to clean the fridge at school and Ethan was just doing his homework.
Just last week another parent told me a similar story and that was the impetus for this article about the unintended consequences of our actions especially with children who have OCD tendencies.