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.

TBT | 50. Behind the Music: ASD Band, with Rawan Tuffaha, Spenser Murray, and Andrew Simon Autism Knows No Borders

*THROWBACK EPISODE ALERT* This conversation with ASD Band was originally released on March 4, 2021. We are re-releasing it today to highlight that the band's story has been made into a feature-length documentary called OKAY! (The ASD Band Film).  The film premiered at the Hot Docs International Festival last April, where it came in 2nd place for Rogers Audience Award for Best Canadian Documentary, and was also accepted and presented at Doc Edge Festival in New Zealand.  Since then, ASD Band has been performing in a Canadian-wide tour thanks to one of the festival’s sponsors.  —-more—- Discover what’s possible when all notes are heard.  Today we’re featuring two members of the ASD Band, lead vocalist Rawan Tuffaha and drummer Spenser Murray, joined by their manager, Andrew Simon.  Comprised of musicians on the autism spectrum, the ASD Band was formed by Canadian charity Jake’s House to raise awareness and highlight strengths related to autism. If you’d like to learn more about Jake’s House, please listen to episode 44 featuring its co-founder, David Bodanis: Support Across the Lifespan at Jake's House in Canada.  The ASD Band has performed with Roger Hodgson of Supertramp, and their covers of Shawn Mendes, Sonny & Cher, and Marvin Gaye are available on streaming platforms. In the intro, you'll hear a short sample of the band performing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”  In today’s conversation, we discuss: The serendipitous creation of the ASD Band Rawan and Spenser's musical influences How autism helps their musical abilities Misconceptions about autism Tips for people on the spectrum who may be interested in joining a band  For more information about the ASD Band, please visit: Jake's House   ASD Band “I Got You Babe”  Spenser's Band: Lime Ricky  Spenser’s YouTube: PlayerPunk6  Rawan’s YouTube: Rawan Singer 77  —-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 Facebook group: Autism Knows No Borders  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. TBT | 50. Behind the Music: ASD Band, with Rawan Tuffaha, Spenser Murray, and Andrew Simon
  2. 110. Support for Ukrainian Families, with Our CEO Molly Ola Pinney and Anna Tuzova
  3. 109. Stop the Shock, with Anne Beirne and Brian Middleton
  4. 108. Ready, Set, Sleep! with Emily Varon
  5. 107. Tech, Innovation, and Career Opportunities, with Richard Schreiber

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.

Leave a Reply