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  • Erica Livingston

Let’s Talk ABA… Again.

Ok, so this one is going to be a bit controversial.


You all know I love my son’s ABA therapist. Well, former therapist because we moved. She’s a literal angel on earth and we do not regret the year we spent with her. However, I will no longer be advocating for ABA and using it moving forward.


A little backstory. I joined an amazing group on facebook where autistic adults discuss what life is like for them and answer questions to anyone who asks. They are very anti-ABA. I thought okay, that was the old ABA. The “good” ABA isn’t like that.


I read this article. It broke me. My heart literally ripped out of my chest (okay, not literally but still!). While no, not every place will be like that, they all still have the same fundamental principles to be considered ABA. Here’s the link to that. https://neuroclastic.com/i-was-part-of-the-good-aba/?fbclid=IwAR03eC7gxvYrTC9qOyKZX_Y5W1NKzrOLGIF_jWFZ99DbjpGcocDUF0Jr_n8


However, that’s not the only reason because there are tons of articles out there with all different perspectives. So as you all know If you’ve been here a while, I am getting my master’s certificate in autism studies. All of these classes I am in are very pro ABA because they believe that it shows the best improvement in autistic children. However, in these studies, they almost always follow up with how the long term effects of ABA are still unknown, and children still are struggling with autism in school and socially.


Therefore, why would I subject my child to 20+ hours of therapy throughout his childhood a week if the results are bound to be the same? Additionally, autism is not curable. You do not outgrow autism. Many autistic kids that appear to be “better” are masking. They are hiding their stims and sensory needs to appear “normal”, which they typically learn in ABA. This is why so many seem better when in ABA, yet still struggle later in life. Their brains become exhausted of constantly fighting their natural urges that come from their autism.


David has been out of ABA for half of a month. Since we have stopped all therapies, he has thrived. I thought he was thriving before, I was wrong. He has suddenly begun imitating, which he has never done before. He is even imitating sounds! As a nonverbal child, this is amazing! He seems so much lighter, if that makes sense. I think even with a great therapist, they can still feel so much pressure to preform certain ways that it hinders their actual growth.


Of course, every child is different. As parents, all we can do is try our best for our children. This is just my experience and I’d absolutely love to hear others!


~Erica

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