Rather than therapies to “reduce autistic behaviours”, Autistic children need to be supported in the full development of their unique Autistic potential, and need to be encouraged to follow their intrinsic motivations to explore the world.
The most valuable step that non-autistic parents of Autistic children can undertake is to connect with and learn from the adult Autistic community.
Unfortunately both “gay conversion therapy” and “autistic conversion therapy” techniques are still in use today in some jurisdictions. This explains why Autistic rights activism and neurodiversity rights activism are so important.
Many non-speaking autists benefit greatly from learning to communicate using spelling and typing. It is important to ensure that autistics have a method of independent communication. People of any age are likely to benefit from assistive technology and it is never too late to start.
The website of the International Association for Spelling as Communication (I-ASC) provides further information on this topic. Spelling to Communicate (S2C) seeks to serve the non speaking, minimally speaking and unreliably speaking community by teaching them a reliable a method of communication. Speech is not a true indication of cognitive skills as the spoken word is actually a motor skill not a cognitive one. S2C teaches individuals with motor challenges the purposeful motor skills necessary to point to letters to spell as an alternative means of communication. This method can be helpful for individuals who are unable to use their voice as their primary source of communication.
Andrea Darroch (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an S2C Practitioner based on Aotearoa who offers in person and online sessions.
In the following interview Alfie Kohn explains why there is nothing positive about modern Applied Behaviour Analysis, Positive Behaviour Support, or other brands of early intervention approaches based on positive reinforcement:
The following talk explores critical questions about the school experience of most Autistic children, and the long term impact of these experiences. The way schools generally deal with Autistic children involves many factors:
- What ideas do most schools bring to understanding Autistic children?
- What are their goals for Autistic children?
- What about children’s experiences do schools need to understand, and how can they be more effective?