23 December, 2009

One Stop Disclaimer Shop

1. ABA works. Sometimes if a person is very far into their own world*, it's the only thing that works. Especially with kids who are very difficult to communicate with and understand, I think you need to take dramatic, systematic action so that they can have a variety of life experiences and be able to ask for what they need.

I am religious. Lots of religious organizations and people do things that I think are bad. If I write a post illuminating some of these things, I am not making a post about how religion is bad. I shouldn't have to bend over backwards saying that I think ABA is good, if I am writing a post about a particular ABA therapist doing something that I think is wrong.

2. *I know this is a politically incorrect thing to say, but I've experienced it myself and I'm not the only one. It's nice to have my own world, but I don't like to fall into it unintentionally, or spend more time there than I'd like to. It seems to me that this is what happens to some severely autistic people and I can only imagine that a lot of them are frustrated by it because it frustrates me when it happens to me.

3. Here's what I think about passing:

A. "Sometimes you have to lie. But to yourself you must always tell the truth."--Harriet the Spy. Passing should not be about making anyone feel ashamed of being disabled. It should be a tool that the disabled person uses to avoid discrimination. If you're teaching your kid about "bad behavior" instead of "behavior that can make people treat you badly," you're doing it wrong.
B. Some people literally can't pass, because they have Down Syndrome, or they're not verbal, or they can't modulate their voice right. You have no excuse to be bullying that kid about things like stimming, because it doesn't matter. No one ever decided not to attack a developmentally disabled person because the person wasn't stimming.
C. Some people can't pass because it's too much work and stress and it leads to exhaustion depression shutdown fury etc. If your kid is like that, you should not think that looking normal is more important than feeling okay.

I know what happens when you don't pass. I know better than you do, so quit telling me. If you feel the need to do something as counterintuitive as telling disabled people about ableism, it makes you seem pretty shifty, like maybe you're just pulling out that excuse to justify treating your kid in a messed-up way.

4. Just like I don't think it is good for an ABA therapist to treat a kid badly, but I still support ABA, I don't think it is good if a person's stim involves bashing their head against a brick wall, but I still support stimming. If you don't understand these things, you just shouldn't have arguments because you don't know what logic is and you are making other people tired for no reason.


  1. Somewhere else on this blog you wrote:

    it seems self-evident to me that if you ever talked to an ASD person for one minute about stimming, you would not be treating stimming as a bad behavior...

    Would that it were so. This is one of the big issues I'm having right now. I stim a lot more in private, but even if I were capable of keeping myself from ever stimming in public (which I am altogether incapable of) I still wouldn't want to be treated as if it were something wrong that I shouldn't do. I'm increasingly feeling that this is a civil rights issue and that the societies we live in need to become accustomed to, and tolerant of, these behaviors.

    But I'm having a lot of trouble now with the expectation that I can and should always be able to keep myself from stimming. (I mean, I do stop when I realize I'm doing it - but I often don't catch myself until I've been doing it for several seconds, and then shortly after stopping myself I often catch myself doing it yet again.)

    I can explain and explain and explain and still it's being seen as bad behavior.

    Thank you for talking about this, here and elsewhere.

  2. This is brilliant. Thank you