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warrier120
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17 Sep 2017, 4:58 pm

I remember as a young girl, I had to go through a strenuous course of ABA therapy. Obviously, I did not like it. Whenever I had a meltdown, (which used to last hours) the ABA therapist would basically shun me until I calmed down and would label it a "tantrum". I considered this an aversive since I hate being ignored during meltdowns. This is because I feel completely helpless and out of control during a meltdown, and this diminishes my self-esteem. In my teenage years, (currently) I have become depressed as a result of being unable to appreciate myself when ignored.

Could it be possible that ABA therapists are starting to manipulate your emotions to force you to change your way of thinking? Whenever I approach some of my therapists on the subject of ABA and abuse, they obviously deny it. I always tell them that I have been emotionally damaged by ABA, but they think I'm lying. Once again, I feel powerless and do not appreciate myself.

I just want someone who is actually willing to listen to an autistic person's perspective. It feels like my freedom of thought has been violated by people who want to enforce society's ignorant and dangerous rules. Do you think that ABA brainwashes autistic people/Aspies?

P.S. I am "high-functioning" autistic.


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hurtloam
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17 Sep 2017, 5:21 pm

What would you have liked the therapist to do instead of ignore you?



warrier120
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23 Sep 2017, 2:17 pm

hurtloam wrote:
What would you have liked the therapist to do instead of ignore you?

It would be ideal if the therapist actually tried to help me rather than sit idly and pretend I don’t exist. If they don’t do this, I cannot truly tell that they care about me.


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23 Sep 2017, 3:13 pm

I dunno about brainwashing, but I do believe it's torture, to force someone to behave in ways that are unnatural to them, just to satisfy pointless expectations.

It's one thing to reason with someone and say "This behavior is useful, because it brings about that result." But to force children to do things that cause them anxiety, by bullying and pressure and emotional trauma, is abuse, plain and simple.


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ASPartOfMe
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23 Sep 2017, 4:28 pm

I am not there with you and the therapist but based on the testimony of many others who have experienced ABA I believe your perception of your situation is correct.


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magz
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24 Sep 2017, 2:09 am

I've never been on ABA, because I was only semi-diagnosed in my thirties, but I think I can relate.
When I was growing up, people around me, including my mother, acted like they were interested only in my correct behavior, not in who I was and what I felt. The meltdowns were labeled "hysteria" and met contempt of others. So I learned to act the appericiated way and bury my real feelings really deep.

The deeply buried feelings went wild after having kids.

Now I'm working really hard with my therapist to discover who I really am and what I really feel.

As far as I understand it, ABA is all about it - to teach you the "correct" behavior and ignore your own needs and feelings.


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warrier120
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24 Sep 2017, 12:16 pm

All of this is true. I feel like ABA therapists were actually trained to act uncaring to force neurotypical behaviors on autistic people. ABA therapy was essentially a legalized form of torture to me. It caused me to have episodes of depression in my pre-teen years because of my vast scientific and medical knowledge and mindset as well as low self-esteem. This eventually changed to a belief that mankind is corrupt, lazy, and ignorant. I became highly manipulative and opinionated to prevent my therapists from changing the way I think. They ultimately forced me to tell the truth, to which I told them that I had lied to them because they were trying to impose neurotypical rules on me. They all denied it, but it was obvious that it was happening.

Throughout middle school, I had an aide (and currently do), and I had to fake neurotypical behavior for the sake of society’s harsh rules. For example, I started staring at a student I’m pretty sure is autistic whenever he screamed, walked (he toe-walks), or did something neurotypical people hate. However, I could not bring myself to laugh at him, which is a good thing since I empathize with other autistic people.


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magz
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25 Sep 2017, 7:44 am

warrier120 wrote:
Throughout middle school, I had an aide (and currently do), and I had to fake neurotypical behavior for the sake of society’s harsh rules. For example, I started staring at a student I’m pretty sure is autistic whenever he screamed, walked (he toe-walks), or did something neurotypical people hate. However, I could not bring myself to laugh at him, which is a good thing since I empathize with other autistic people.

WAT? That's not only torture and brainwashing, that's evil to strip you from your natural empathy to fit to those abusive rules! The pure evil of the worst things humans did to other humans.


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BirdInFlight
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25 Sep 2017, 7:59 am

I don't know much about ABA but it sounds like things my parents did to me in the 1960s not because it was a therapy but because I guess they ran out of patience with me.

When I had had some kind of meltdown crisis and was crying uncontrollably, my mother used to just walk away to another room and leave me to it. All this produced in me was an even worse sense of not being "heard" in my needs or problem, being misunderstood, abandoned, ignored and therefore of no worth, nor my immediate problem.

I think those experiences contributed to more negative stuff in me than positive, rather than the opposite intention of rewarding "good" behavior" and ignoring bad to make the "bad" go away.

But the thing is, to me, my having such an issue with something that I wound up deeply distressed and crying so hard I could barely breathe, was not "bad" behavior or even deliberate behavior. I was genuinely in distress and not trying to be "bad." Thus my interpretation of someone coldly ignoring was that I wasn't loved enough for someone to show compassion, and compassion to me would have been sitting me down, giving me a hug and asking me what is actually happening and how shall we solve it together.

That's all I longed for, and never got it.



hurtloam
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25 Sep 2017, 8:26 am

My Mum was an autistic child in the 60s too.

She finds it weird that people don't understand her way of dealing with children's tantrums. What she does is hug them and they stop crying.

Most people ignore till the kid stops and think she has 2 heads when she suggests her giving the child more attention method.

Probably came up with that because it's what she really wanted as a kid.



BirdInFlight
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25 Sep 2017, 8:36 am

I can very much relate to your mother, hurtloam. Just a hug or some other gesture of caring, and just for the person to ask, with kindness, what is actually happening, so that I might have been given an opportunity to work it out for myself too; that's all I wanted.

I think even more damaging, too, was the walking away wasn't even a neutral, calm one, but one done with words and actions and looks of anger and washing her hands of me.

I remember not being able to stop crying, because I was getting even more distraught, and crying for so long that I was shocked later when I saw myself in a mirror and my entire eye area was swollen to monstrous size from the tears being there for so long.



kitesandtrainsandcats
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25 Sep 2017, 9:03 am

There is a line in a song by Rush, "conform or be cast out", and that looks like what is happening here - "You will conform to my standards or I will cast you out."
And we autistics, aspies, are already cast out of society to begin with.
That ABA practice is rejection on top of rejection.


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magz
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25 Sep 2017, 10:04 am

hurtloam wrote:
My Mum was an autistic child in the 60s too.

She finds it weird that people don't understand her way of dealing with children's tantrums. What she does is hug them and they stop crying.

Most people ignore till the kid stops and think she has 2 heads when she suggests her giving the child more attention method.

Probably came up with that because it's what she really wanted as a kid.

That's what I do with my daughters. For the same reason. I sometimes wonder if the older one would be verbal if I didn't. She needs lots of comfort to start talking spontanously. And whatever it is, tantrums or meltdowns, a hug and friendly silence help when anything else makes it worse.
By the way, she isn't diagnosed. For now (almost 6yo) she's doing well enough not to meet the criteria.


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warrier120
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25 Sep 2017, 8:02 pm

BirdInFlight wrote:
I don't know much about ABA but it sounds like things my parents did to me in the 1960s not because it was a therapy but because I guess they ran out of patience with me.

When I had had some kind of meltdown crisis and was crying uncontrollably, my mother used to just walk away to another room and leave me to it. All this produced in me was an even worse sense of not being "heard" in my needs or problem, being misunderstood, abandoned, ignored and therefore of no worth, nor my immediate problem.

I think those experiences contributed to more negative stuff in me than positive, rather than the opposite intention of rewarding "good" behavior" and ignoring bad to make the "bad" go away.

But the thing is, to me, my having such an issue with something that I wound up deeply distressed and crying so hard I could barely breathe, was not "bad" behavior or even deliberate behavior. I was genuinely in distress and not trying to be "bad." Thus my interpretation of someone coldly ignoring was that I wasn't loved enough for someone to show compassion, and compassion to me would have been sitting me down, giving me a hug and asking me what is actually happening and how shall we solve it together.

That's all I longed for, and never got it.

It’s really crazy because the idea that mankind is cold, antisocial, and uncaring is true in many ways. I now have a tendency to cry so hard that my nose starts to bleed. The only reason why they actually try to de-escalate my mood is because said nosebleed would often be so severe that the blood would drip on the floor, causing ugly blood stains that will make them look like they had tortured me somehow. By torture, I mean by close combat and physical restraint. Due to the nosebleed, I stop crying as soon as I notice it and may briefly calm down. The blood represents a cathartic release.

Crazy story in eighth grade. The therapists used (and still use) ABA tactics to turn my incredible fear against me. So I was having a pretty crummy week, and I was holding all of my emotions in. Eventually, though, I completely lost it, causing me to melt down during speech class. The speech therapist, being rather rude and ignorant of my emotional needs, sent me out of the classroom. I told them that my week had been complete crap, but they disregarded this. I was crying with full force, making my nose bleed. They made me go to the bathroom to clean my face and clothing, which were soaked in blood. I rushed inside, having temporarily stopped crying to care for my nosebleed, and pinched my nose with some wet toilet paper (the cheap kind). Pools of blood were everywhere. My aide witnessed and had to clean up after the whole thing while wearing a pair of latex gloves. It really didn’t help that she was handling my glasses, which I had broken the frames of due to a panic attack that came before the meltdown, like a contaminated object. The meltdown intensified after I was brought to my dad’s car. My family thinks he’s an Aspie due to being socially awkward and emotionally unstable, so when I got into the car crying, he lost his mind. I went hysterical when he started yelling at me and calling me stupid (which is very immature). Battered from the severe psychological abuse, I was consoled by my mom. She shouted at my dad for treating me so badly, while he basically pretended that nothing ever happened. Thankfully, she did express compassion towards me and was pretty much the only person who did that day. Worst day EVER!

This is EXACTLY what happens when you remember all of the bad things your therapists had done to you to force you to conform with society’s unnaturally high expectations. I spent most of my life through all of this psychological trauma, being ignored every time I spoke out against it. Here at Wrong Planet, I hope to find people to talk to who are more compassionate about my suffering from what people do to make me conform.


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Your neurodiverse (Aspie) score: 93 of 200
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 125 of 200
You seem to have both neurodiverse and neurotypical traits

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magz
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26 Sep 2017, 3:01 am

Holy cow, do you really need these "therapies"? They seem to ruin you, ruin the worthy human being you are! And they defeat the purpose - you need social skills to defend yourself, not to defeat yourself. If the "therapists" disregard you, who would teach you the basic respect for yourself? That's what you need to have a meaningful life!

I don't know where you live but maybe you could find some support from other HFA? Maybe there is some self-advocacy group in your area?
Also you write well, maybe you should write about all this if talking is too hard, show it to your mother - she seems at least positive towards you. Maybe you could consider changing the course of your therapy? Or at least the therapists?

IMO you need some alliance to get rid of this "therapy", they are killing the worthy YOU!


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kitesandtrainsandcats
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26 Sep 2017, 6:08 am

All of a sudden I'm wondering whether brains should be washed on perma-press or cotton/sturdy; and whether they are tumble dry medium, or drip dry.


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