Our training stance on ABA
This is a controversial topic and one which Autside have given a lot of consideration.
While there is evidence that suggests ABA improves outcomes, it does not fall in line with our organisation’s ethos.
We feel it is important for Autistic people to embrace their identity, and while we believe strongly in offering coping mechanisms, building social and communication skills, reducing anxiety and harmful behaviours, we do not seek to ‘normalise’ Autistic behaviour.
There is ever increasing evidence that encouraging or training Autistic people to ‘mask’, ‘camouflage’ and ‘fit in’ with typical societal expectations is harmful.
Many advocates in the Autistic community worry about the long term effects of ABA on mental health, identity and self esteem and we share those worries.
That being said we know that ABA is a term used to mean many things, and elements of behavioural modification are often present in many approaches. It is the scale and extremity of how this is applied that concerns us.
We understand that parents, family members and carers are often desperately seeking ways to help their Autistic loved ones and we would never seek to make them feel guilt for engaging in therapies they felt were the most beneficial at the time.
However, we do not believe that a behavioural approach is the best approach for a developmental conditional and feel that a ‘one size fits all’ approach cannot work for every Autistic individual who may have complex and varied needs.