The Case Against ABA
London Autism Group Charity urges all parents and carers of Autistic people to use caution when getting advice, even from the big charities that claim to speak for and care about the well-being of Autistic people.
We understand that you want to do the best for your son or daughter, but please understand that this makes you vulnerable to those who support practices that much Autistic-led research now shows are harmful and damaging to Autistic people. Some of the big Autism charities have spent years championing these causes, and it is not in their interests to change that now, despite the mounting evidence that comes from the Autistic Community.
There is a Medical Model which identifies Autism as an illness to be erased, and there is the Social Model which describes Autism as a neurological difference, just like one culture being different to another. The Medical Model focuses on changing the Autistic person, while the Social Model is about educating and changing Society to be more tolerant of Autistic people. There is a divide in the community between Autistic advocates on one side, and the big Autism charities, who promote and profit from the Medical Model on the other.
In particular, we strongly advise against using any form of 'therapy' that targets behaviours, especially ABA (Applied Behavioural Analysis) or Positive Behaviour Support. This is extremely harmful to Autistic and Neurodivergent people's mental health. The methods used in this were developed from experiments to make dogs obedient. They can range from physically or just mentally cruel enforcement. It is a big money maker, as it forces people to stop Autistic behaviours, but the cost is paid mentally by the Autistic person, by destroying their natural coping mechanisms, their sense of self, their own identity, self-confidence etc. It forces Autistic people to mask their natural selves, and forces them to concentrate every day on trying to mimic neurotypical people( Non-Autistics).
The Mental Health support that London Autism Group Charity can commission for Autistic people is in stark contrast completely free to the user and facilitated by Autistic and Neurodivergent professionals. It focuses on educating people about the normality and the positivity of their Autistic identity. We aim to instil in Autistic people the knowledge that is needed to find Acceptance and to feel a sense of Autistic pride.
Having these conversations with Autistic professionals who understand and empathise with their lives can be life-changing for Autistic people, and give a huge boost to their mental health. Finding Acceptance, understanding and the knowledge that there is nothing 'wrong' with them is a huge sense of relief. Through our Mental Health support, our Charity allows Autistic people to gain access to their tribe. Knowing that they are not alone, but part of a large and vibrant Autistic Community is extremely empowering.
By building self confidence, pride and self-acceptance, we seek to offer a positive alternative to other damaging and dangerous therapies.
Further reading, evidence and testimony:
A helpful break down of the issues.
Evidence from the Therapist Neurodiversity Collective.
Autistic-led Academic Research that advocates for Autistic people,
including PTSD symptoms in autistics exposed to applied behavior analysis.
The ICARS Report England documents the experiences of 560 English children. It exposes an educational system which has failed children.
Rather than supporting accommodation needs in the school, children are punished for behaviours associated with their disabilities.
A huge Facebook Group of 155.7K members, in which Autistic people educate parents and carers on the best and safest ways to support their children. We strongly recommend to join, read the posts and take part.