To everyone who was wondering if using stylish to make a “night” mode on the FR forums (or otherwise making them more legible and less prone to cause headaches) after they were changed, I’m pretty sure it is okay and not a bannable offense. I didn’t know if I needed to censor mouse mod’s name, as they are an admin giving an admin response, but I figured better safe than sorry. But anyway, here is a ruling on it. (This was in response to changing fonts, but I think the same would apply to changing background colors for legibility.)
They said “should be fine” so it isn’t an absolute, but I figured I’d share in case it puts someone’s mind at ease.
I’ve said this before but I seriously wish there was not a massive social stigma and expectation to be awake during the day because different people have different biological clocks and some people are hardwired to be nocturnal and as one of those people I genuinely feel like I have the worst depression flair ups when I maintain a “normal” schedule.
I legitimately work night shift and my family knows this and still gives me shit for not waking up at ten like??? I get home at 6 am, I do not hate myself enough to only get four hours of sleep. I understand it’s not quite the same thing, but I just wanted to say that no matter the reason, you are 100% not alone in this.
dude you’re all good about it not being the same thing. I once went on a very long tangent about how the social stigma to be awake and productive during the day was freaking terrible for night shift workers so you are included in my bitterness towards societal norms
the fact that 1 in 4 children with autism self-injure in some way really isn’t talked about enough. self-soothing behaviours really can and do intersect with self harm
I’m just gonna leave this here:
What have we said about arguing on anon?
Also, shouldn’t the people disagreeing with me about this not be the ones believing fervently that I do a thing despite never having seen me do it?
And to make a long story short: If people ask, I’ll tell them what I think, but I don’t much care whether they agree with me, because I find that things like this are intensely tied up with personal history and baggage and emotions and suchlike, and basically I’d rather not get into that, because it’s more likely to hurt people than not, regardless of the direction in which they’re being pushed.
I’ll happily evangelize at people about things that I think will affect how they treat other people, because that will have an impact on what they do. Their personal opinions about theology are not innately such a thing. (Which I think says something frankly terrifying about the state of religion in the modern world, but it’s not as though Become Non-Theist makes people any better.)
Easy. I believe that rum-and-raisin is a fantastic ice-cream flavour. I have zero desire or reason to think that everyone should hold this belief.
It was a gymnastics program for autistic kids.
One part was an integrated gym thing with autistic kids and low income neurotypical kids doing gymnastics activities together with high school students as teacher aides, and the other part had the autistic kids doing a series of activities solo with two people helping them – a psych student in training to be an ABA therapist, and a high school student. There was also a daycare for younger siblings.
I was one of the high school students in that program – I was 15. I decided to volunteer mainly because I was feeling like I was probably autistic (I got my diagnosis during the time I was volunteering) but hadn’t actually met any other autistic people. Plus, I was really involved in autistic rights, but I had a little niggling question in my mind that maybe I really didn’t know what I was talking about because I’d never met any lower functioning children.
It was a big learning experience for me. I tried to do what I could to make things a bit better for the kids, such as pointing some of the parents to autistic self-advocates online. But it really convinced me that ABA is not a very good thing.
In particular, the worst part of the program was how they treated this one set of 4 year old twins, who were both autistic. Both boys had severe separation anxiety, and one of the goals of their therapy was to help them tolerate separation better. The way they did this was to physically tear these boys away from their mother screaming and struggling, and then hold them in place across the room while they did academic tasks for the promise of going back to mom. Meanwhile, they’d lie to the kids about how many more tasks they needed to do. (“Four more!” Kid does three. “Two more!”)
It ‘worked’, by the end of the program they were leaving mom without crying, but I shudder to think what damage was done to their psychological health and attachment to mom by doing this. Not to mention how it affected all the other kids, because this was in full view of a pile of other kids. I remember one of the younger siblings, a quirky little gifted 4 year old, asking me why one of the twins was crying and looking really concerned. (I said “he wants his mom”, and didn’t get into the full extent of what was going on.)
Those two had it the worst, and for some of the kids it really did seem to be a decent program. But there were other cracks in the program, too. One boy I worked with the most, he was one of the older kids, around 8, and had a lot of echolalia without a clear communicative function. He was also a very stimmy kid in general. He mostly seemed to be doing well in ABA, and the simplified language of ABA commands certainly helped (if you said too many words, he wouldn’t understand you), but he had a lot of signs of sensory issues and apraxia that they were completely oblivious to. At least no one was trying to stop him stimming – not sure why, because we were told to stop stimming (because apparently stimming would compel NT kids to bully them, and we couldn’t hold the NT kids responsible for being assholes), but I refused to and the therapists working with him didn’t bother with it. And he was doing the required tasks fine while stimming. But they didn’t seem to have much of a clue how to deal with the fact that he couldn’t look at a target and throw at the same time, or stuff like that. And no effort was being made to get him any reliable means of communication. Occasionally the therapist would get him to say something prompted, but given how much echolalia he had, that seemed pretty pointless.
And then there was the fact that the ABA therapists always talked to the autistic kids in this high-pitched, condescending tone. Sometimes the only way I could pick out the autistic kids from the low-income NT kids was to listen to how the ABA therapists talked to them. You’d have this 6 year old kid who seemed completely neurotypical at first glance, just gets a little confused when there’s too much going on, but this adult is talking to him like he’s a toddler.
And the oldest autistic kid in the program was 15, and completely nonverbal. He used gestures and a bit of picture communication to get his point across. When I mentioned to his therapist that I was 15, too, and had just been diagnosed with autism, she told me that he hadn’t gotten early ABA, and if he had, he’d be as high functioning as I was. I was doubtful even then, and now, having done the research, I know that that’s complete and utter nonsense. At best, ABA raises tested IQ (keep in mind that tested IQ may not be actual IQ) and adaptive functioning about 20-30 points, and he’d have needed a lot more than that. Plus, the lowest functioning kids on pre-test are the most likely to be non-responders, for whom ABA makes no difference whatsoever. I don’t think ABA was hurting him, from what I saw, but it wasn’t going to make him neurotypical, and not just because he was too old.
So, it wasn’t terrible for all of the kids. But it was frankly torturous for a few kids, and not as good as it should have been for the rest of them.
I’d disagree on the statement “it wasn’t terrible for all of the kids”.
Having gone through similar practices growing up (except being undiagnosed in the 90’s, it was called “being condescending, manipulative, and emotionally abusive if one has to in order to get them to act normal), just because they don’t appear to be affected, doesn’t mean they aren’t. Some stuff it down until it festers and they can’t deal with it anymore.
ABA always ranges in my book from mental/emotional abuse to literal torture. There is no acceptable level where harm isn’t being done. When the whole goal is to change the person into something they are not, no matter the costs, that will result in mental health issues ranging from anxiety, depression, PTSD, and to suicidal idealtion and possible suicide.
No one deserves to be put through the crap that ABA “therapists”, other mental health professionals, teachers, and parents practicing ABA style techniques inflict upon the autistics in their care.
When I describe what ABA is to people but leave off the name and ask if they would want that done to their child, most say no. Then I ask if they would accept if it was done to their pet and most reasonably say no. Then when I ask my not Evangelical Christian friends if they support Conversion Thearpy (ABA and Conversion Therapy were created by the same person for pretty much the same purpose for their target groups), they all say no. Then I ask them why should ABA be allowed then? Why should the tolerance change just because we’re now talking about a group of disabled people? Most don’t have a good answer for me.
Well, I’d admit that I don’t know how the kids will feel about it as adults. Or what they went through in therapy outside of the 2 hours a week at most that I saw. My comment that it wasn’t terrible for all of them was based on my ability to observe them. I have no doubt some of the kids, if I knew the full context, had it worse than it appeared to me.
I think ABA techniques can be good if only directed at certain target behaviors (things that don’t fall into the personal domain or cause significant distress, and are actually under the child’s control.) and if they are used sparingly with plenty of downtime when the child has no demands placed on them. I also think parent-administered ABA is often a bad idea, unless the parent practices good self-care and is careful not to let ABA bleed over into everyday life.
Where it causes harm, in my opinion, is if the child experiences severe distress (either from punishments, frustration/perfectionism, or being asked to do things that are extremely unpleasant such as ignoring sensory needs), if they have no downtime, or if the behavioral targets include harmless things that fall into the realm of activities that most children expect to be in control over (eg what kind of play they prefer, what conversational topics they discuss with others, their fashion sense, etc). Or if the child is actually not capable of the behavior they’re expecting – for example apraxia and ABA do not mix well.
In addition, parent-administered ABA increases parental stress, and if it pervades the parent-child interaction too much it can damage attachment because ABA and sensitive parenting are basically exact opposites.
In addition, the child’s needs differ by age – for example, toddlers should have far lower workloads than school-aged children, and teenagers generally need more freedom to express themselves. Just because a child is disabled doesn’t mean that they don’t have the same emotional needs as any other child their age.
I know it’s a cliche that ABA therapists say ABA is a normal part of parenting, and full-blown ABA programs certainly aren’t, but elements of ABA are present in most good parenting. Things like rewarding behavior you want to see more of and not behavior you want to discourage, and breaking things down into their component parts for teaching, are really valuable strategies that ABA uses heavily.
Since you mentioned pets, I would say that a lot of what I’ve done to train my dog is ABA. I give her rewards (praise and treats) for good behavior, drill her occasionally on pairing commands with certain responses, and break down new skills into smaller, easier to learn steps as I’m teaching her. But where it differs from an actual ABA program is that I’ll stop if she seems truly upset, and she has tons of time during the day where she’s free to just be a dog without having to follow commands. I also keep a track of her energy levels and give her a break if her brain is getting tired (which I can tell from her body language and how her ability to follow commands starts to decline).
And honestly, I still expect more obedience from my dog than I ever would from a child. In large part because though she’s not a human, she is an adult, and therefore has a lot more self-control than the typical child. And also because she’s big, muscular and has sharp teeth.
I’m just going to leave these here:
gifted student™ brains are about as functional as horses when you get right down to it
which sounds like a shit post but consider: horses? hypothetically MADE for running. look at this magnificent muscle beasts. look at those legs. they must be so good at running, right? wrong. horses are fragile as fuck. horses break their gotdamn legs so so easily, and if they break their legs you just have to fucking shoot them. if they run, the thing they are MADE FOR, too fast their lungs will start bleeding. I just googled horses to see if I was missing anything and apparently if they lie down for a day their organs start collapsing or something so they can’t rest from their One Horse Purpose even when they’re hurt. they’re made to do one thing but they can only do it under Very Specific Conditions and if a single thing changes they just die.
which, you know. gifted students™ get applauded for being naturally smart when we’re five or whatever and then develop a terrible inflated sense of self that makes us highly averse to anything we’re not naturally good at, because it challenges our fragile childbrain egos and if we wait too long we’ll develop mental fences around entire subjects and skillsets (mine are math and studying) because we think we’re Bad at them, when in reality we just need to practice but are frustrated by that because it’s harder than being ~naturally talented~ was. we get applauded for doing One Thing but the second we run into slightly different things that our brains don’t comprehend as readily? it’s a Bad Time. I still have so much anxiety over things I don’t feel Naturally Talented at that I’ve been sitting here writing this post for like 10 minutes rather than read the feedback on my religion paper. I got a 100% on it, but I’m still That Scared of anything other than straight heaps of praise because that’s what my childbrain was acclimated to. just send me to the glue factory already.
In bigger letters for those in the back:
As a critiquer, your job is not to “make this piece of writing better” but to understand what the writer wants to achieve and help them to achieve it
I had a professor in graduate school who said his philosophy for feedback was like a doctor’s oath–first, do no harm, which seemed shocking to hear in an MFA program. I’m much happier operating that way and it’s helped me be a bit kinder to myself about my own work. If I need to give someone notes or feedback I try to come up with something that will honestly, constructively help them, but won’t drive them to abandon the baby birds in their nest, so to speak. (Yeah. I know that’s a myth. I’m a writer. It was an analogy.)
autistic culture is choosing to be cold in the winter rather than subject yourself to restrictive outerwear that traps your arms
Alternative autistic culture: choosing to suffer through the heat in the summer because you have to keep wearing That Sweatshirt
whats funny is in some ways I am both (though it isn’t my arms that get trapped, but my legs)
This is where a resurgence in cloaks and ponchos could be helpful.
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