[Content Warning – ABA]
As I sit in front of this laptop tonight punching out words it is with a level of frustration and anger that is quite elevated. My day today, in which I did manage to complete some worthwhile assignment work in my course of study, was punctuated with periods of interactions regarding silencing, ignoring or pathologising of autistics and autism.
I was engaged in commenting and responding to a bunch of ridiculous statements made in a few different settings. It all began as I faced a post from my home state’s peak autism body. Otherwise known as Amaze. It’s a good name as I am constantly amazed by them. If it is not their use of ableist language in flyers and their continual focus on social skills or skills for teacher programs it is, like today, their support, be it tacit or clear for ABA therapy.
I read their email which they pithily call the “espectrum” where they advertise a information session and training opportunities for ABA therapies. Of course when I asked them about via their social media channels I received no response. Telling isn’t it!
Countless Autisitcs have written of their devastating experiences with ABA. Well maybe not countless, but certainly enough for the so called Amaze to stop being Amazed and actually start listening to these actually autistic people.
Next today I was confronted by the appalling situation that is the forthcoming APAC conference in Brisbane in September. I had not looked much into this conference as the costs are simply prohibitive for me to be able to participate in. As can be seen from the image here the cost to participate as an actually autistic person is $900 out of your own pocket.
It was certainly with dismay that I discovered today that there will be no interpreters or auslan provided for participants. No hearing loops or the like. Additionally I discovered that the promising Future Leaders has been scrapped for this conference and that it appears that actually autistic people were actively discouraged and silenced from the organisational phases of the conference.
Later today I see as I scrolled through my newsfeed on that all encompassing social network Facebook, yet another report of yet another piece of ridiculous research. This one claiming the rise (of which there is none) of Autistic diagnosis to be due to semantics. You can read it here. Perhaps it was a mistake, but I was unable to help it. I should no better but alas.
The comments on this post were in some respect the usual expected uninformed rhetoric. There was much a good tinfoil hat wearing conspiracist would be happy to see. The highlight was a particular poster maintaining that there was indeed a link between Autism and Vaccines. No amount of rationality would deter him from this path. Among the other tinfoil hattery he was possibly one of the more rational posters.
It seems the writing is definitely on the wall. Our Australian Autism peaks have chosen their lie of the land and it is not with the actual autistic but with those that are more akin to the cure culture and change therapy agents.
It seems the writing is on the wall that we in Australia have been very busy as advocates speaking out about international issues but have neglected our own home fires. This needs to change. No we must not neglect the international campaigns such as BoycottAutismSpeaks and the like. But surely our first priority should be to stand up for our very own Autistic Rights.
It seems the writing is on the wall that we are lacking here in Australia any presence of some kind of unified and active advocacy strategy.
It seems the writing is on the wall, In the words of the late great Gof It’s Time.
It’s Time for us the Actually Autistic to stand tall, strong, loud and proud.
No More Ableism
No More Silencing
No More Crazy Research
No More Pathologising
No more Cure Culture
No More ABA.
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