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Blog Posts

Ableism in Speech Pathology

1/24/2022, by Nicole Lobsey, Certified Practicing Speech Pathologist  Like most health and education fields, Speech Pathology is a heavily ableist field. Speech Pathology practices are based on: Assessment against neurotypical

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Case Study in Neurodiversity-Affirming Care: A Toddler with Childhood Apraxia of Speech

At the beginning of the evaluation, Adam appeared to enjoy playing with zoo animals with mom and the therapist. He laughed and smiled readily and paired gleeful, albeit, infrequent, babbling with gestures like pointing and guiding his mom’s hands to the toys he wanted her to play with. However, after a few misunderstandings in which neither mom nor the therapist could figure out what Adam was gesturing for them to do, Adam became highly frustrated and emotionally dysregulated. He threw himself to the floor and, in between sobs, began to bang his forehead on the floor repeatedly. His mother was worried that this self-injurious behavior had started happening more and more frequently in recent weeks.

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Neurodiversity and Autism Intervention (ABA) can’t be reconciled.

And let’s talk about considerable ethical and financial conflicts of interest with this paper and its authors, shall we?

Reader, every single author of this paper is trained in ABA, (three of them are actually BCBAs), so clearly each author has a vested financial interest in duping people into believing that ABA is “Neurodiversity Approved”.
(It’s always about the $$$.)

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ABA Call to Action!

Did you know that there is a Congressional Autism Caucus? This 141-member caucus includes members from both parties in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the U.S.
Now is the time to voice your opposition to ABA!
Contact your State Congressional Members of the Congressional Autism Caucus https://doyle.house.gov/issues/autism-caucus/autism-caucus-membership

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Confessions of a Previous ABA Technician – 2

Through the pairing procedure, children begin to learn that doing things that feel good to them (e.g. autistic play, stimming, etc.) are less valuable than the things that make the therapist feel good (i.e. neurotypical play, compliance). They learn to ignore their feelings of distress when confronted with a task they find aversive and mask their distress to please their caregivers. They become motivated by the praise they receive when they “do the thing” and become reliant on external reinforcement rather than intrinsic motivation, regardless of how much they are suffering.

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Contriving Situations

Confessions of a Previous ABA Technician

Through the guise of play, I often contrived stressful and frustrating situations and placed consistent demands on very small children. For instance, one of my kid’s goals was something like this: The client will engage in 3 turn taking exchanges by relinquishing to their play partner, waiting while their play partner takes a turn, and then requesting a turn with ___ # of prompts.

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So an SLP was late-diagnosed as Autistic this week…

“… scores on the CAT-Q indicate she engages in a significantly higher level of camouflaging than neurotypical people and elevated camouflaging even when compared to other autistic individuals. It is highly likely that she has camouflaged so much and for so long that she fails to see some of her autistic traits even though they may appear obvious to others.”

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Autistic & other Disabled Children’s Rights – Are Therapists in Violation?

“Disregard for the human rights of autistic children, and the belief that they are so fundamentally different from other children that they don’t have the same rights, have become cultural norms within many professional and educational spaces. Often, teachers, therapists, and other professionals working with autistic students don’t even realize the ways in which their treatment of their students is dehumanizing because it is what they have seen from the individuals around them and those who trained them.”

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Stuttering is a type of Neurodivergence

I am used to my stuttering and I wish everyone else would get used to it too. My reactions and my feelings about stuttering are relative to how you, the listener, react. I am only uncomfortable because you are uncomfortable. I am uncomfortable FOR you.

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ABA Therapy and PTSD

I was called “unethical” by a professional colleague today.
The reason may surprise you—I said “ABA is abuse”. My peer was naturally taken aback because they are an SLP-BCBA and “would never dream of abusing a child.” I always find this rebuttal interesting because we usually don’t hear about people walking around admitting to abusing people; even overt predators somehow convince themselves that they are helping their victim. The sanctimonious SLP-BCBA told me that it was the “old ABA” and not “new ABA” that was harmful, and then only a small fraction of the time. She accused me of “throwing the baby out with the bathwater” (I still don’t really understand how this idiomatic expression applies here) and she further went on to insist that there is “no way ABA could cause PTSD in people with Autism.” (She really meant “Autistic people,” I am sure.)

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Rebuttal to critique of “ABA is NOT Effective: So says the Latest Report from the Department of Defense”

“The DoD/TRICARE report isn’t a study in any real sense of that word.” This is FALSE. In fact, they included 3794 participants who had received at least 18 months of ABA services; 2,183 from the eastern region of the United States, and a replication in the western region of the United States with 1,611 participants. As such it is not merely the largest study of the effectiveness of ABA, it is the only large-scale test of ABA . And they determined that ABA services do not meet the TRICARE hierarchy of evidence standard for medical and proven care..

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