It is common knowledge I had a very horrific experience with ABA as a child in the 1980’s. It left me with horrible PTSD and other mental health issues. I vowed to never subject my children to such abuse. They do not need to be trained to conform and forced to mask. The way the educational and therapy systems function, sometimes it sneaks in without parental knowledge. There are two incidents that happened over the past few months with two of my children.
N is my 10 year old son. He has been in a typical school setting since kindergarten. He is autistic and we knew he did not belong. His first school dropped the ball on the right evaluations to get him the services that he needs. The way Florida is, his neurologist had to LIE and say he has ADHD to get him a 504 plan. Already hoops to jump through just to get him basic accommodations such as extended time, movement breaks, etc.
He transferred to this school 2 years ago. He did really well the first year. His teacher is special ed trained so no extra accommodations were needed. She just supported him and it was a great year. The next year the teacher tried but she was not equipped to handle him. This triggered evaluations for “ASD eligibility.” That’s what the district calls it. It makes it so autism is the first classification on his IEP and he can get services at the school two of his brothers go to.
The evaluations took nearly one year but they were done. The other day we had the eligibility meeting. There was a representative from the public school who has an autism program there. It gave me a clue he would get eligibility. We have had 3 other meetings like this with other children.
It came time for the psychologist to speak. She said she prompted for eye contact. I LOST IT. I told her I did not consent for any ABA techniques and I never would. I told her that eye contact can be very painful for autistic people and forced eye contact causes autistics to be overwhelmed. “But I did not force him.” If an adult in an authority position tells a child to make eye contact, it is forced via coercion. I do not appreciate being gas lit by professionals who are supposed to help my son. In having other children evaluated, this has NEVER happened in the past. There was no reason for it. I had to walk away. My husband who was in the meeting too took over. I came back after I had to see a dog for work. I finished the meeting but I was livid. I was definitely triggered by my own experience and I was so sorry for my child for having to experience that.