A “Hard to Hear” Yet “Important to Hear” Viewpoint on ABA

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Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA, is one of the most common autism therapies out there. It is the only type of therapy insurance will cover, and it’s been scientifically validated as an effective form of therapy.

But does that justify the potential harm it can do to children (and adults) on the autism spectrum?

Amythest Schaber, who runs the YouTube video series “Ask an Autistic,” presents a side of ABA you may not have heard about: the dark side of it.

If you are a parent or guardian of a child with autism, you undoubtedly love your child more than life itself and would never want to do anything to harm them. We know that—and for that reason, we want to warn you that this video may be very hard to watch. Yet we encourage you to do so because Amythest raises some very important points that autism parents, teachers, therapists, and experts need to hear.

Granted, we at The Autism Site Blog do not agree with everything she says. We do not believe that ABA is only about normalization, and we do not believe that it’s for the parents’ sake alone. We believe it can be helpful when applied in a correct, humanizing, and respectful way.

In spite of these things, we think Amythest’s overall message is good and should be listened to with an open mind. Because like just about anything, ABA can potentially do damage.

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A. Stout received a Bachelor of Arts in Writing through Grand Valley State University, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2015. In addition to being a passionate autism advocate, she is a member of various fandoms, a study abroad alumna, and an animal lover. She dreams of publishing novels and traveling all over the world someday.