Over the years many wonderful and brilliant advocates and activists have spoken out against Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) and why the compliance-based therapy is harmful to autistics, but why do such therapies exist?
Simply put, ABA is a symptom of a society that values neuronormative ideals over the beauty of human diversity. To take it a step further, it is a symptom of a society that FEARS neurodiversity. Somewhere along the line, society decided that neurotypical standards were a bar that we must all meet, shunning and oppressing anyone who dares to exist outside of those standards.
This fear is born of ableism. It is the same ableism that causes parents to kill their disabled children, it is the same ableism that makes children bully autistic kids in school.
Fear is an insidious thing, from fear rises discontent, and from that discontent comes hatred.
We can campaign against ABA and it’s related practices for as many years as we like, but until the rotten core that is ableism is dealt with, ABA and quack treatments will continue to run rampant through vulnerable communities. For the sake of all autistics, and all autistics to come, we must dismantle ableism. We must replace the hatred of difference with the beauty of diversity.
This starts at home. We must search ourselves for the ableism that so many of us have internalised and pull it out by the roots. We must teach our children not to fear those who appear different, but instead embrace the beauty of a diverse world.
The future is bright and diverse.