Sunday 16 April 2017

30 Days of Autism Acceptance: Day 16


Day 16: 

Talk about treatment.  Have you been through any therapies?  What ones did you like?  Which ones didn’t you like?  Do you think autistic people need therapy for their autism?

This is going to be shorter than a number of the other posts, not least because the only therapy I've been through for anything even vaguely connected to autism is some counselling when I was 17 (had some physio for the fibro and ME but this isn't about that). Teenage years are incredibly difficult when you're an undiagnosed autistic - I'm not speaking from just my perspective but also from the many articles, posts and comments I've seen online. I was going through a really rough patch and school sent me to counselling. It didn't really do any good, partly because the dynamic wasn't right (you need to connect and click with the counsellor in some way, I think, in order for it to be successful), I couldn't really talk about things and the approach wasn't autistic-friendly - I didn't know at the time that I was autistic, nobody realised and I don't know if there were different approaches for NTs and autistics at the time (there doesn't seem to be much about it now so it's unlikely back in 2001/2002, and although some people have started exploring it recently, I don't think they had 15 years ago).

As for therapy for autism, this is something I don't know much at all about as I've not had a chance to read much on the subject yet, although I'd like to look into it further so I can discuss it at a later date. What I have read about is the really horrible stuff - ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis), chelation, MMS (Magical Mineral Solution) and other abusive "treatments" that tend to be favoured by the antivaxxers and similar groups.

ABA is pretty much universally hated by autistics. Amy Sequenzia has written fairly extensively on it, as have a number of other autistics, and they describe it as torturous, abusive and ableist because it is designed to force the autistic to comply with whatever is demanded of them and to force them to act neurotypical, because the aim is to make the person neurotypical (which isn't possible; the closest we'd ever get to that is presenting as NT - neurologically we're still autistic, but we've had our true selves suppressed). From what I've read, it can be quite hard to separate out true ABA from other therapies, especially in the US because of medical insurance issues - some policies only cover certain therapies, so there are many other therapies that aren't actually ABA but are titled as such in order to get the insurance company to pay for it.

Chelation is designed to remove "heavy metals" and "toxins" from the body. It's quite commonly used among the alternative-medicine circles but there is no scientific evidence that suggests it actually works.

MMS is basically a bleach product that is believed by its supporters to remove "parasites" and other such things from the body that they claim cause autism. It's complete and utter rubbish. The "parasites" that are expelled from the body are actually pieces of the person's intestines. These "treatments" are poisonous, harmful, dangerous and will cause permanent damage; the process is excruciating for the person and it is NOT ACCEPTABLE. These "treatments" are pushed by quacks, charlatans and snake-oil salesmen. It's abusive, it's torture, there is no scientific evidence whatsoever supporting it and IT DOES NOT CURE AUTISM.

If any of my readers have come across any "treatments", "therapies" and "cures", I'd be interested to know about them, as I'd like to be more informed and be able to look into them further so I can discuss them and educate people about them.

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