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.
The Department of Defense updated the report in 2020. The new report concluded that “the changes are small and may not be clinically significant” Read the report here https://altteaching.org/update-us-government-reports-aba-doesnt-work/
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.
From a very young age our kids with special needs are taught to be compliant and to listen to the “adult” as adults know better. Behavior therapy even encourages us to reinforce this behavior with a reward system so that our kids learn to be compliant and obedient. After all, the professional teach us parents that “it is a prerequisite to be compliant” before you can learn.
Many of our kids, especially the nonverbal ones, spend a minimum of 10 – 18 years being told what to do, how to behave and always listen to the adult teacher or a behavior therapist who is teaching them usually using behavioral techniques.
Every few months Ethan’s OCD kicks in and he has to rearrange things according to the autistic feng shui 🙂 . There is no rhyme or reason but things that used to be OK now bother him and he has to move them so that there is “order” in his life. Sometimes it has been paintings on the wall, other times sofas and chairs. Over the years we have learned that if he is in the “OCD zone” where he is sweating and so worked up, there is no negotiating and the only thing that calms him down is to allow him to express his “inner designer” and move them. Once he has moved things, he quickly calms down and things go back to normal. The only time we will not allow him to do what he wants is if it is dangerous and then the only alternative is to remove him from the environment until he calms down.