Often times when Autistics try to bring up the abusiveness about ABA, the pro ABA crowd is often like “well my aba isn’t like that” or “my child loves their aba therapist all they do is play”, or some variation there of. “35 -40 hours in home is okay, they have someone who ‘cares’ about them while I work” is the latest one I’ve heard today.
Here are some really hard truths for you. ABA practitioners are the very least are mental abusers and are emotionally manipulative of their charges. Both those things take a hell of a long time to see, particularly if you are unfamiliar with that kind of abuse or worse so familiar with it, it doesn’t register at first. ABA is a huge cross between 80’s – 90’s parenting with planned ignoring thrown in where punishments would be, conversion therapy & compliance training (something animals get put through but worse).
ABA practitioners start by gaining the trust of your child through play. Learning the things they like and don’t. Analyzing behaviours to change and supposed skills they need to “teach” them. Than use what they’ve learned to go about doing so. Your child will appear happy and maybe compliant at first. Than the moment they are not, rewards start being withheld. The planned ignoring happens. The anxiety starts. Has they become developmentally ready to learn skills ABA takes the credit if they are still involved.
Its disgusting really, its abuse. Its unseen. Some places do physical abuse which is also seen has okay by many because “the child needs to learn”. Its not. Not ever. Children have died with those methods being used. Yet still not banned in many places.
Now for the cold hard maybe even shocking truth for those who’ve had the privlege of a decent upbringing. You missed this because those who are abused learn to MASK what they are feeling. This applies to autistics as well. Its similar to how one learns to mask to fit into a particular crowd. Except it involves hiding feelings. Which if one also has Alexithymia its a possible recipe for meltdowns. Some meltdowns are not always outward.
Mine with few exceptions have always gone inwards (no I did not experience ABA…but with how the woman who birthed me was and her husband I might has well have). It would swirl inwards continously throwing me into deep dark places sometimes for days has it would trigger a depressive episode. Yet outwardly I would be smiling and laughing. My one friend being very intuitive was probably the only friend who knew it was just an act.
However I digress a bit, essentially like any abusive relationship, unless there are outward signs, the abuse gets missed. Those Autistic kids grow up to have a slew of mental illnesses they try to hide even has adults. That is the end results of ABA…that and internalized ableism that they were/are broken because they are not “normal”.