Signed in as:
Signed in as:
I understand parents what to do what's best for their children. Neurodiversity MB offers a multitude of Alternatives to ABA and other behaviour therapies which are more child-centred and respect your child's individuality and autonomy.
AMA on ABA
The American Medical Association (AMA) has a proposal for the *Removal* of AMA Support for Applied Behavior Analysis!
The resolution proposal outlined in the AMA's House of Delegates Handbook (pp 1187-1189) reads:
"Whereas, ABA was conceived in 1961 by Dr. Ole Ivar Lovaas to condition neurotypical behaviors in children he viewed as “incomplete humans”; and
Whereas, Desired behavior is often defined by the adult or behaviorist without input or requirement of consent from the child and may include non-harmful stimming or coping behaviors; and
Whereas, ABA uses behavior modification techniques to eliminate behaviors deemed undesirable; and
Whereas, ABA practices are historically based in abuse such as holding autistic children’s communication hostage through the use of their devices as leverage, and denying basic rights such as food and toileting privileges; and
Whereas, Modern ABA still abides by the founding principle of making a child appear “normal” or “indistinguishable from one’s peers”, which serves to separate the humanity of the individual with autism from desired behaviors; and
Whereas, A 2018 study found that Adults with autism who have received ABA are more prone to suicide; and
Whereas, ABA has been repeatedly linked to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), with 46% of 460 ABA participants meeting the diagnostic threshold for PTSD in an online survey; and
Whereas, Adults with autism have been continuously outspoken about the trauma incurred by ABA practices experienced in their childhood; and
Whereas, A 2012 literature review found the evidence base for services for adults with an ASD to be underdeveloped; and
Whereas, A 2018 Cochrane review recommend further research after reporting very weak evidence in support of ABA; and
Whereas, A 2022 informal online community survey found that 71% of adults with autism responded “disagree” or “strongly disagree” to the statement “Generally speaking, I support ABA therapy for autistic children”; and
Whereas, A 2020 Department of Defense report demonstrated a lack of correlation between improvement in symptoms and hours of direct ABA services, found that the improvements recorded were due to reasons other than ABA services, and ABA services did not meet the TRICARE hierarchy of evidence standard for medical and proven care; and
Whereas, A 2021 study on conflicts of interest (COIs) in autism early intervention research found COIs to be prevalent and under-reported, with 70% of studies containing a conflict of interest and less than 6% declaring them as such; and
Whereas, Current AMA policy supports the use of ABA through its advocation of coverage of ABA and the evidence-based treatment for autism and fails to recognize its harms or controversial nature within the community at large;
Whereas, Current research supports alternatives to ABA such as the Developmental, Individual Differences, and Relationship-based (DIRTM) program, the PLAY Project, individualized Early Social Interaction (ESI) and, Social Communication, Emotional Regulation, and Transactional Support (SCERTSTM; and
Whereas, Current AMA policy supports the use of ABA through its advocation of coverage of ABA and the evidence-based treatment for autism and fails to recognize its harms or controversial nature within the community at large; therefore be it
RESOLVED that our American Medical Association support research towards the evaluation and the development of interventions and programs for autistic individuals (New HOD Policy); and be it further
RESOLVED that our AMA work with relevant stakeholders to advocate for a comprehensive spectrum of primary and specialty care that recognizes the diversity and personhood of individuals who are neurodivergent, including people with autism (Directive to Take Action); and be it further
RESOLVED that our AMA amend Policy H-185.921 "Standardizing Coverage of Applied Behavioral Analysis Therapy for Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder" by addition and deletion as follows:
"Standardizing Coverage of Applied Behavioural Analysts Therapy for Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder, H-185.921:
Our AMA supports coverage and reimbursement for evidence-based treatment of services for Autism Spectrum Disorder including, but not limited to, Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy."
(Modify Current HOD Policy).
**Proposed modified version:
Standardizing Coverage for Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder, H-185.921:
Our AMA supports coverage and reimbursement for evidence-based services for Autism Spectrum Disorder."
Love and accept your child for exactly who they are right now.
When Autistic people are trying to express how and why ABA is harmful, or trying to share their personal experiences, listen.
Our lived experiences are more valuable than textbooks written by neurotypical academics.
As long as play is safe, it is functional. Autistic and neurodivergent children may play differently from others, but play is important and there is no correct or appropriate way to play! Lining up toys, parallel play, repetitive behaviours — as long as it is not harmful, and the child is having fun, then it is play.
Depending on the individual's goals and desires, Autistics may not need social skills "training" or therapy groups. Some Autistics do seek to better understand and interact with neurotypicals, and may find some level of social skills support helpful. However, it's very important to understand the difference between mutual respect and the dominant neurotype expecting the minority neurotype to conform to their communication style. Differences are not deficits.
Social stories can be a great resource, but only when they're done well.
So many Autistic people explain how and why ABA is abusive and harmful, yet many professionals continue to push it. These professionals need to explain exactly what they mean by gold standard.
The ABA debate rages on, which is really annoying because basic human rights shouldn't even be up for debate. The debate would have ended a long time ago if clinicians were willing to listen to Autistics.
The definition of "success" in these programs is compliance. I will consider it a job well done if our collective professions resolve to never recommend any type of behaviour therapy ever again, and I'll tell you why.
Humans are not like pigeons, rats, or any other animal to be "trained". I have extensive training in positive reinforcement because I was a certified dog trainer for 11 years, but would never use this approach with children.