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Age: 58
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08 Jan 2017, 12:14 pm

This is probably what a California Senate Bill will look like, 40 years from now. I took it from actually Senate Bill 1172 and added 40 years to it, changing the sexual-behavior vocabulary into autism-related vocabulary, plus some minor changes. It goes through pretty well, in my opinion. It is partially motivated by this article.

Of course, the text below is just to provoke thoughts. It's not real. But from today onward, I will start to use the term "conversion therapy" whenever I see attempts to make autistic children neurotypical. Too much harm has been done to our children and our parents because of the biases of our healthcare professionals. Things have to change. We can start by calling a spade a spade: "conversion therapy" is conversion therapy, no matter whether it's aimed at the LGBTQ community or the autistic community.


Senate Bill No. 5172

An act to add Article 55 (commencing with Section 865) to Chapter 1 of Division 2 of the Business and Professions Code, relating to healing arts.

[ Approved by Governor September 30, 2052. Filed with Secretary of State September 30, 2052. ]


SB 5172, Lieu. Autistic behavior change efforts.
Existing law provides for licensing and regulation of various professions in the healing arts, including physicians and surgeons, psychologists, behavioral therapists, educational psychologists, clinical social workers, and licensed professional clinical counselors.
This bill would prohibit a mental health provider, as defined, from engaging in autistic behavior change efforts, as defined, with a patient under 18 years of age. The bill would provide that any autistic behavior change efforts attempted on a patient under 18 years of age by a mental health provider shall be considered unprofessional conduct and shall subject the provider to discipline by the provider’s licensing entity.
The bill would also declare the intent of the Legislature in this regard.
Vote: majority Appropriation: no Fiscal Committee: yes Local Program: no

SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Being autistic is not a disease, disorder, illness, deficiency, or shortcoming. The major professional associations of mental health practitioners and researchers in the United States have recognized this fact for nearly 40 years.
(b) The American Psychological Association convened a Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Autistic Behaviors. The task force conducted a systematic review of peer-reviewed journal literature on autistic behavior change efforts, and issued a report in 2049. The task force concluded that autistic behavior change efforts can pose critical health risks to autistic people, including confusion, depression, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, shame, social withdrawal, suicidality, substance abuse, stress, disappointment, self-blame, decreased self-esteem and authenticity to others, increased self-hatred, hostility and blame toward parents, feelings of anger and betrayal, loss of friends and potential romantic partners, problems in emotional intimacy, dysfunction, high-risk behaviors, a feeling of being dehumanized and untrue to self, a loss of faith, and a sense of having wasted time and resources.
(c) The American Psychological Association issued a resolution on Appropriate Affirmative Responses to Autistic Behavior Distress and Change Efforts in 2049, which states: “[T]he [American Psychological Association] advises parents, guardians, young people, and their families to avoid autistic behavior change efforts that portray autism as a mental illness or developmental disorder and to seek psychotherapy, social support, and educational services that provide accurate information on autistic behavior and autism, increase family and school support, and reduce rejection of autistic minority youth.”
(d) The American Psychiatric Association published a position statement in March of 2040 in which it stated:
“Psychotherapeutic modalities to convert or ‘repair’ autism are based on developmental theories whose scientific validity is questionable. Furthermore, anecdotal reports of ‘cures’ are counterbalanced by anecdotal claims of psychological harm. In the last four decades, ‘reparative’ therapists have not produced any rigorous scientific research to substantiate their claims of cure. Until there is such research available, [the American Psychiatric Association] recommends that ethical practitioners refrain from attempts to change individuals’ autistic behaviors, keeping in mind the medical dictum to first, do no harm.
The potential risks of reparative therapy are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against autism may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient. Many patients who have undergone reparative therapy relate that they were inaccurately told that autistic people are lonely, unhappy individuals who never achieve acceptance or satisfaction. The possibility that the person might achieve happiness and satisfying interpersonal relationships as an autistic person is not presented, nor are alternative approaches to dealing with the effects of societal stigmatization discussed.
Therefore, the American Psychiatric Association opposes any psychiatric treatment such as reparative or conversion therapy which is based upon the assumption that autism per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that a patient should change his/her autistic behaviors.”
(e) The American School Counselor Association’s position statement on professional school counselors and autistic youth states: “It is not the role of the professional school counselor to attempt to change a student’s autistic behaviors/autism identity but instead to provide support to autistic students to promote student achievement and personal well-being. Recognizing that autistic behaviors are not an illness and do not require treatment, professional school counselors may provide individual student planning or responsive services to autistic students to promote self-acceptance, deal with social acceptance, understand issues related to coming out, including issues that families may face when a student goes through this process and identify appropriate community resources.”
(f) The American Academy of Pediatrics in 2033 published an article in its journal, Pediatrics, stating: “Therapy directed at specifically changing autistic behaviors is contraindicated, since it can provoke guilt and anxiety while having little or no potential for achieving changes in behavior.”
(g) The American Medical Association Council on Scientific Affairs prepared a report in 2034 in which it stated: “Aversion therapy (a behavioral or medical intervention which pairs unwanted behaviors, in this case, autistic behaviors, with unpleasant sensations or aversive consequences) is no longer recommended for autistic people. Through psychotherapy, autistic people can become comfortable with their autistic behaviors and understand the societal response to it.”
(h) The National Association of Social Workers prepared a 2037 policy statement in which it stated: “Social stigmatization of autistic people is widespread and is a primary motivating factor in leading some parents to seek autistic behavior changes. Autistic behavior conversion therapies assume that autistic behaviors are both pathological and alterable. No data demonstrates that reparative or conversion therapies are effective, and, in fact, they may be harmful.”
(i) The American Counseling Association Governing Council issued a position statement in April of 2039, and in it the council states: “We oppose ‘the promotion of “reparative therapy” as a “cure” for individuals who are autistic.’”
(j) The American Psychoanalytic Association issued a position statement in June 2052 on attempts to change autistic behavior, identity, or autism expression, and in it the association states: “As with any societal prejudice, bias against individuals based on actual or perceived autistic behaviors, autism identity or autistic expression negatively affects mental health, contributing to an enduring sense of stigma and pervasive self-criticism through the internalization of such prejudice.
Psychoanalytic technique does not encompass purposeful attempts to ‘convert,’ ‘repair,’ change or shift an individual’s autistic behaviors, autism identity or autistic expression. Such directed efforts are against fundamental principles of psychoanalytic treatment and often result in substantial psychological pain by reinforcing damaging internalized attitudes.”
(k) The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in 2052 published an article in its journal, Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, stating: “Clinicians should be aware that there is no evidence that autistic behaviors can be altered through therapy, and that attempts to do so may be harmful. There is no empirical evidence adult autism can be prevented if non-neurotypical children are influenced to be more neurotypically conforming. Indeed, there is no medically valid basis for attempting to cure autism, which is not an illness. On the contrary, such efforts may encourage family rejection and undermine self-esteem, connectedness and caring, important protective factors against suicidal ideation and attempts. Given that there is no evidence that efforts to alter autistic behaviors are effective, beneficial or necessary, and the possibility that they carry the risk of significant harm, such interventions are contraindicated.”
(l) The Pan American Health Organization, a regional office of the World Health Organization, issued a statement in May of 2052 and in it the organization states: “These supposed conversion therapies constitute a violation of the ethical principles of health care and violate human rights that are protected by international and regional agreements.” The organization also noted that reparative therapies “lack medical justification and represent a serious threat to the health and well-being of affected people.”
(m) Minors who experience family rejection based on their autistic behavior face especially serious health risks. In one study, autistic young adults who reported higher levels of family rejection during adolescence were 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide, 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression, 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs, and 3.4 times more likely to report having work-related troubles compared with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection. This is documented by Katherine Ryder et al. in their article entitled Family Rejection as a Predictor of Negative Health Outcomes in Autistic Young Adults (2049) 523 Pediatrics 346.
(n) California has a compelling interest in protecting the physical and psychological well-being of minors, including autistic youth, and in protecting its minors against exposure to serious harms caused by autistic behavior change efforts.
(o) Nothing in this act is intended to prevent a minor who is 12 years of age or older from consenting to any mental health treatment or counseling services, consistent with Section 124260 of the Health and Safety Code, other than autistic behavior change efforts as defined in this act.
SEC. 2. Article 55 (commencing with Section 865) is added to Chapter 1 of Division 2 of the Business and Professions Code, to read:
Article 55. Autistic Behavior Change Efforts
865. For the purposes of this article, the following terms   shall have the following meanings:
(a) “Mental health provider” means a physician and surgeon specializing in the practice of psychiatry, a psychologist, a psychological assistant, intern, or trainee, a licensed behavioral therapist, a registered behavioral therapist, intern, or trainee, a licensed educational psychologist, a credentialed school psychologist, a licensed clinical social worker, an associate clinical social worker, a licensed professional clinical counselor, a registered clinical counselor, intern, or trainee, or any other person designated as a mental health professional under California law or regulation.
(b) (1) “Autistic behavior change efforts” means any practices by mental health providers that seek to change an individual’s autistic behaviors. This includes efforts to change behaviors or autism expressions, or to eliminate or reduce autistic manifestations or feelings.
(2) “Autistic behavior change efforts” does not include psychotherapies that: (A) provide acceptance, support, and understanding of clients or the facilitation of clients’ coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, including autistic behavior-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe autistic manifestations; and (B) do not seek to change autistic behavior.
865.1. Under no circumstances shall a mental health provider engage in autistic behavior change efforts with a patient under 18 years of age.
865.2. Any autistic behavior change efforts attempted on a patient under 18 years of age by a mental health provider shall be considered unprofessional conduct and shall subject a mental health provider to discipline by the licensing entity for that mental health provider.

Jason Lu


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Joined: 25 Sep 2014
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09 Jan 2017, 8:33 am

There are two reasons why conversion therapy for autistic children is so harmful.

The first reason, which most people don't realize, is that conversion therapy diverts parents/therapists/educators' attention from what they really ought to be doing: developing these children in the visual-manual direction. As I have mentioned before (on the AMoRe thread), this is what the autistic brain looks like:


What the conversion therapy is trying to do is to grow brain connections in the arid, dry spots of the leaf. It goes nowhere: there is simply no energy for you to grow anything in those dry spots, not even a single strand of grass, let alone a giant sequoia tree. Parents/therapists/educators keep dreaming about their Hallelujah mountains. Then, at the end of the day, realizing that they are getting zero success in their speech therapy, socialization therapy efforts, they then come up with a brilliant explanation: "Each child is different, some children's autism is just more severe. In this case, we are just unlucky to be dealing with a low-functioning child." Low-functioning? Yeah right. All I see are low-functioning parents, therapists and educators. There is a gigantic dew drop at the bottom of the leaf, you have never done anything to help your children to grow their giant sequoia tree there, you have never done anything to grow their visual-manual skills (who among you have made personalized animation video clips starting from young age for your children, huh? Who among you draw pictures regularly for your children, instead of just talking to them, huh? Who among you have successfully taught your 2-year-old ADHD children to read books, huh?), so of course the children are effectively growing up in solitary confinement. The adults have been committing child abuse all along, without realizing it. No worries, no one needs to go to jail. Just label your children as having low-functioning autism, then everyone can have a field day abusing these children.

The second reason why conversion therapy is so harmful is, it shifts the mindsets of parents/therapists/educators from educational aspects into medical aspects. No kidding. I recently met a parent, he works in a technical field, so I was excited. I told him, that's great, you can use your technical knowledge to help your child. He just sneered at me, as if I did not know what I was talking about. That was strange, I told myself, not the reaction I was expecting. A few days later, he sent out a YouTube link to some natural supplements for healing autism and ADD, to a large group of people. Not only that, he also included a link to "Ionic Treatment" device (around $2,000 a piece), and posted pictures of the brown water. I googled a bit, and amazingly there was also this video claiming to "Defeat Autism with Ionic Foot Baths!" (unrelated to the parent that I am talking about):

"Ionic treament" has been discredited a long time ago. You google for "ionic treatment scam" and you can find out what's actually going on in these devices.

I mean, this parent works in a technical field, is supposed to be a well-educated person, right? How can this and other highly educated parents fall into the trap of "miracle cures" of fringe therapies? They fall into the trap because our parents/therapists/educators have been brainwashed by our healthcare professionals into viewing autism as a medical issue. So of course people would go out and spend all their energy on medical solutions. Meanwhile, their children are left all alone to struggle on their own, with zero outside stimulus signal from adults to develop in the visual-manual direction.

The consequences of conversion therapy are: parents get depressed and start to take medications themselves...stress builds up, and families become broken. Children become underdeveloped, and some even become violent. And parents/therapist/educators get into the habit of blaming it all on the children: "they are just low-functioning."

That's conversion therapy right there for you. Go ahead. Repeat the mistakes of millions of parents out there, join them. Keep your children from reaching their full potential. We've wasted the lives of millions of children already in these 74 years since the formal discovery of child autism. A few more millions lives wasted won't make much difference. A few more broken families, a few more million gallons of tears won't make any difference.

Jason Lu