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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.

119. RTD | Controversial Topics, with the Global Autism Community Autism Knows No Borders

Discover what’s possible when conversations move forward.  This week’s episode is a recording of one of our Global Autism Community exclusive events.  The theme of this roundtable discussion was Controversial Topics. It was hosted live at The 1 in 44 Tour virtual summit, organized by Sara Bradford of The SJ Childs Show.  Participating in this event were Autistic Self-Advocates Stephanie De Kremer, Ryan Litchfield, Michael Gilberg, Jeff Snyder, and Robert Schmus, along with community members Karen Shapiro, Ben Sharif, and Danielle Terrell.  In today’s conversation, we discuss: Person-first (vs.) identity-first language The puzzle piece symbol Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA for short  Round-table discussions like the one you’ll hear today are open exclusively for members of our online Global Autism Community. We select a different theme each month, and our moderators monitor posts daily to ensure that our online space remains safe and respectful. If you’d like to attend and participate in any of our future events, you can sign up today at community.globalautismproject.org.  —-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. 119. RTD | Controversial Topics, with the Global Autism Community
  2. 118. Self-Awareness and Emotional Intelligence, with Paul Micallef
  3. TBT | 11. The Ability Beyond Disabilities, with Rachel Barcellona
  4. 117. PicSeePal: Communication for Everyone Everywhere, with Chris McDonald
  5. 116. Derealization and Processing Feelings, with Mary Johnston

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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