Occupational Therapist, Speaker

Applied Behavior Analysis and Occupational Therapy

multiethnic women arguing with each other
2 women in conflict

Why are these two therapy disciplines in a turf war? There has been a huge debate over the years especially with the explosion of corporate Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) clinics popping up. They are franchises just like in the therapy world. Think of the rehab companies that contract in skilled nursing facilities. This is no different.

My early experiences with ABA were horrible. I was was working in home health pediatrics in 2005 and would get put on autism teams where the family’s would choose ABA as their preferred treatment method. I refused and would not do click and pay. One example I will never forget is a therapist was putting a Cherio on her nose and would state “look at me” and if the child did it, they would get the Cherio.

Um no. I refused to do any of this regardless of what team I was on. I hope the forced eye contact is something of the past. Then more recently, I have seen ABA go totally wrong to the point of me calling in an abuse report. What in the world are these people doing? Children are children and should be treated as children like they are your own. (Some teachers/therapists need to read that again.)

No wonder autistic adults have a problem with ABA. Trying to stay in a place of curiosity, I reached out to local ABA professionals and even joined the local ABA association. They introduced me to Dr. Bailey and his ethics guidelines. Most of what I was seeing, was not ethical. I was also introduced to The Global Autism Project. This is another ethical program on a global scale. I am currently in their leadership program as well as SkillCorp. All for a later post and in the mean time, listen to my podcast interviews on Autism Knows No Borders.

There is so much controversy with ABA. Much of which I have written about above. Many autistic adults have stated it should be banned. They believe it is abuse, causes trauma, and encourages masking. Neuroclastic is an online community having these difficult discussions. Here is a podcast episodes from the curators.

105. Celebrating Two Years, with the Global Autism Community Autism Knows No Borders

Discover what’s possible when community becomes family.  This week we are celebrating the 2-year anniversary of our podcast, as well as the 1-year anniversary of our online community!  It’s been an eye-opening journey that continues to surprise, inspire, and move us. We’ve learned so much from self-advocates sharing their experiences, family members talking about accepting their children’s diagnoses, and professionals discussing best practices in the field of autism services.  We’ve covered a wide range of topics, such as ableism, masking, the neurodiversity movement, intersectionality, disability rights, cultural humility, and international collaboration. A huge thank you to all of our guests for openly sharing your stories and educating us with your perspectives.  Our online Global Autism Community has been alive and growing for one year! Whether they’re autistic individuals, family members, or service providers, our community members have the possibility to share insights, learn different perspectives, and gain momentum to create real change in their own communities. Most importantly, they continue to build strong relationships with each other and feel that they’re not alone.  Today you’ll hear about how the vision for the community came to be, along with direct testimonials from our community members about how they’ve benefited from engaging in our online space.  Thank you to our community moderators who monitor posts daily to ensure that our online space remains safe and respectful. This last year, our moderator team included David Sharif, Jeff Snyder, Kia Burton, and Liz Castillo.  Other team members who help make this podcast happen are our visual creators, Trang Tran and Anh Ngoc, and our sound designer and editor, Marc Aliana.  I’d like to take this moment to reset our intentions for the podcast. There are countless meaningful stories we still want to share with you. We’re going to continue elevating autistic voices and do our best to make sure their perspectives are heard. The world needs access to these important messages so that, together, we can spread awareness, acceptance, and hope.  We want to thank you for your continued encouragement. And, if you’re a new listener, Welcome!  We’ll be re-releasing older episodes throughout the next few months so that you can catch up on any episodes that you might have missed.  —-more—- Are you a self-advocate willing to share your experiences and educate others? Are you a professional seeking to hear directly from autistic voices and improve your practice? Are you a family member hoping to support and empower your loved one?  Whatever your role related to autism is, you can join our online Global Autism Community to connect and collaborate with people all over the world.  Sign up today at community.globalautismproject.org. Let’s work together to transform how the world relates to autism.  —-more—- We appreciate your time. If you enjoy this podcast and you’d like to support our mission, please take just a few seconds to share it with one person who you think will find value in it too. Follow us on Instagram: @autismpodcast Join our community on Mighty Networks: Global Autism Community Subscribe to our YouTube channel: Global Autism Project We would love to hear your feedback about the show. Please fill out this short survey to let us know your thoughts: Listener Survey 
  1. 105. Celebrating Two Years, with the Global Autism Community
  2. 104. Honoring the Memory of David Sharif, with the Global Autism Community
  3. 103. Theater Acting, Playwriting, and Queer Identity, with Grace Everett
  4. 102. Representation in the Media, with the Global Autism Community
  5. 101. SkillCorps Journey, with Team Saudi Arabia: Part Two

This is why I have decided to come together with the local ABA association to put on a CEU event. 2 CEUs and a beer is back. We will be discussing what occupational therapy is, what ABA should look like, and using case studies to come together for the best outcomes for the children in our community in an ethical and humane way. Let me buy you a beer (or cider or non alcoholic beverage).

If you are interested, please click the image above or here to register: https://www.schedulicity.com/scheduling/STSX9BY

Please leave your thoughts and comments. I know this is a sensitive topic.

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