*Reblog by a past ABA therapist* I Abused Children For A Living

This is an excellent read. Old post and I am late to the party, but definitely worth re-circling I think as ABA is still unfortunately a go to for parents with children on the autism spectrum.

I have thought about writing a series or post of my opinions having to do with ABA, but I have put it off. It still circles among st my ideas though for future blog posts. Personally I couldn’t have said it better myself and even sounds better coming from someone who was a ABA therapist. So this will have to do for now. 🙂

Please take time to read this, it was very thought provoking, educational, push for the need to change for autistic children and adults. I also thought it was brave and amazing for a therapist like this to open up about their past. To see the wrong and rewrite your mistakes is something very intriguing and as humans we rarely see.

Diary Of A Birdmad girl


I abused children for a living. It didn’t look like abuse. It didn’t feel like abuse (at least not to me) but it was definitely abuse. I see that now. Back then, I actually thought I was helping those kids. In fact, it was and still is considered ‘therapy.’ And not just any therapy- the most sought-after autism therapy, often the ONLY therapy insurance will cover. To this day it’s lauded as the only “evidence-based treatment” for autism.

You see, I was an ABA therapist. My official title was ‘Behavior Technician’ which in itself is really telling. I was hired off the street with no background in child development, no knowledge of autism or ABA, and no experience working with children, let alone autistic children. I. Literally. Did. Not. Know. What. Autism. Is. And I wouldn’t find out what autism is in the years that I worked there either.

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I am a 30-year-old female living life on the autism spectrum and still trying to find my place in the world. I have other associated disorders or mental illnesses such as OCD, anxiety (generalized and social) and a history of depression to name a few. I love writing and have been writing different styles for as long as I can remember. Like most people who have a strong passion for writing I started writing stories and wrote in a journal in grade school. I remember specifically purchasing my first diary/journal that had a lock with my cousin when I was around 10 year-of-age. I was very excited to start writing in it as it was the first fanciest and most formal writing tool I owned. I think that was when my writing journey really began as I started to write daily. Some of my main goals for this blog is to write about autism, it's associated disorders and my life in hopes to help others. To spread awareness and educate in hopes to end some of the stigmas society has attached to things mental illness and autism. To meet like minded bloggers or be inspired by other writers. Other than that I will post or share anything that is of interest or pops into my head. As I grow older, the more I understand about myself and experience life I find myself wanting to seek a further diagnoses or a reevaluation. That is part of the reason why I am opening a new blog here and the reason for my new found blog name. So I hope you all will join me on my continued journey and new discoveries. My diagnoses are not all who I am so here are some random facts about myself. Some of my hobbies besides writing include music, The Sims 3, Xbox, Netflix, scrapbooking and the outdoors. I have a very strong passion for music. It is like my drug/medicine/obsession and you may catch me from time to time preaching it like a religion. Apologies in advance I am married to a man who is not on the spectrum, but he is as equally as amazing and I am insanely in love with him. Like my rants about my life and music you will also hear a lot about him. I was born and raised in Canada who recently seeked Permanent Residence in the USA, so I am no longer an illegal alien. Although I am still an 'alien' tbh. I say imo and tbh too much. (imo = in my opinion/tbh = to be honest) They are also probably the only two abbreviations you will catch me using as one of my many pet peeves are people who 'typ like dis' The only thing that probably makes me a stereotypical Canadian is my obsession with hockey. I am a very organized person. However, it is normally with things that don't really matter in life such as my files on my computer that are organized in folders, within folders... I often can be perceived as rude at first until you get to know me. I have a huge imagination. Some of my favorite animals are dogs, cats, monkeys, penguins and elephants. I prefer animals to humans tbh. Basically I am another complexed human being like everyone else trying to find her way through life and I welcome you all to my newly found blog. This description is subject to change at anytime as my blog grows, I add more facts about myself or for whatever reason I feel fit. ~ My Authentic Mind

9 thoughts on “*Reblog by a past ABA therapist* I Abused Children For A Living

  1. I’m worried now. What should I look for? They don’t ignore his tantrums and give him plenty of breaks even a snack break. He seems happy to see them and cries when they leave. All they have done so far is work on basic skills and sign language. Are there warning signs of abuse?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t panic too much. I don’t believe all ABA now is bad and they are doing a lot more research and some ABA therapies are doing a lot more in favor to the Autistic child. It still has a bad rep and yes parents should be careful, but I like to believe some therapies are wanting to do better with the autistic’s interest and well being in mind. My issue is I kinda wish workers who want to work with autistic children would change the name of their therapy. Like stop calling it ABA because ABA has a lot of strigmas attached to it and a brutal history of abuse etc.

      The signs will come from your child. Especially as he gets older, if it ever becomes a worry you will know. If you really see him benefitting and he is happy and the therapy is not having a negative effect on him I would say continue. As long as he is happy though and he is growing with the therapy. The problem is most children are not forced to undergo therapy of any kind which the article mentioned I did find that to be an interesting point. That besides day care, pre school etc which they get a lot of free time and play, children really are free to explore their own world etc. But I think when it comes to things like children who are on the spectrum or other disabilities sometimes we do need that extra help. I wish I had the extra support system at least if it was right and did benefit me etc as a child that they have now.

      I don’t think all ABA is misleading or abuse, some workers working in ABA have truly the best intent and do keep the children in mind and want what is best. Your son will always be the best warning sign. The challenge for you and any parent with children on the spectrum is finding that balance. Yes we want our children to be able to handle the environment they have to grow up in and not be overwhelmed all the time, there are certain tools they should attempt to learn if they can etc and we should never count them out or sell them short on any of that. But in the same breath giving them an environment where who they are is not lost, they can still be themselves and accept themselves for who they are. Their brains are wired differently and the challenge is society is not very accommodating for our brains. It is a tough battle for sure because of that. Because what makes us truly happy is probably going to be able to be our true selves, be accepted for it and to live our lives for us.

      I hope this helps and do not panic! I wish ABA would just change their name at least or at least workers who do have the children’s interest at heart etc. The truth is ABA still exists only for the funding etc. I would like to see workers though branch out, maybe more autistics be apart of such therapies etc and get funded and not go under or even relate to ABA. ABA has a history of abuse, it is a lot better than it was and sometimes it depends on the child. I think some therapies work differently for specific children too.

      I could have had more time to free play as a child or a few extra hours a week if it wasn’t for my speech sessions or my motor skill therapy etc. But without it I may have never been able to coordinate somewhat successfully, walk etc or speak. I don’t think it was abuse that I went to therapy while the other children got to play etc. I think my parents felt it would benefit me and help me. It did and I don’t have any negative feelings or resulting bad effects.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. This has calmed me. I thought that I was wrong with bringing in the ABA. I will always listen to Dean. He has ABA for 6 to 8 hours a week Tues thru Fri. When ABA isn’t here, he does tons of free play. I let him do whatever he wants, because he is getting that structure from them. I still teach him all the basic things on how to not touch hot things and such.

        I don’t feel like I have to stress him out and when I see him get frustrated, I try to find out the root whether it is that he is tired, hungry, or wants the bottle.

        I try to accommodate him anyway that I can. He’s afraid of the dark, so I keep a nightlight on for him. If things bother him, I don’t do them. If I can trying to take over his play time and he protests, I back off with the new skill that I’m trying to get him to learn.

        I try to listen and follow his lead. If he is open to it, I try to teach him. If you ask my dad, I let him run around like a monkey with no discipline. He understands though that you can’t harshly discipline any child.

        Dean get discipline, but it is explained to him. Like when he puts his finger in the light socket. I take his hand away and say “Ouch! It may shock you and you will have a booboo.” I then put him in his safe “gated community” (His circled in baby gated play area) and I tell him, “Let’s play a game”. I often sit in the gated area with him and get his mind off of what he did. I think it soaks in though, because he hardly touches the plugs now. Now, he loves to pull down the lights!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m glad my comment could calm you down. 6-8 hours a week also doesn’t seem too much for your son. Some parents do a lot more hours and it can be I think more tiring on children and it takes them away from like normal life. I am not against parents getting children with disabilities or challenges extra help especially if it benefits them and it isn’t overwhelming them etc. In the same breath I think it is really important children have that time to explore, discover etc their environment and world. Especially toddlers as they are very curious. As long as like you do or said it is a safe environment etc to do so. If that makes sense?

        I think other signs to look for too or triggers for tantrums for children on the spectrum is more than just any normal child. They can become a lot more easily overwhelmed, so they become more easily frustrated, tired because they sometimes have to spend so much more energy etc. It is good that you always try to find the root when he is having a tantrum or bad time. That way it can become easier to deal with for both of you and he can be calmed down sooner etc.

        Discipline is important for all children, but I always believed in explaining it. No punishment even the most innocent ones (5 min time out, read a book etc on a mat) is a waste of energy if you don’t explain the reason for it or what they did wrong, why etc because the child will not understand. It can confuse them more or it be bad for them etc. It is great you follow his lead, he will always be your number 1 warning sign what bothers him what doesn’t etc, and through that you can learn etc and in small ways be brought into his amazing unique world even when he cannot communicate.

        Yes harshly discipline I don’t believe in either especially corporate punishment of any kind. Especially when parents choose that unfortunetely but they don’t even explain why their child is being spanked etc. It can cause a lot more mental health problems and have negative effects on the child then or later in life. Any discipline like I said still needs to come with explanations. Children are not stupid, they can understand and when they can’t learn you have to keep teaching them. I use to work with children a lot (babysitting, day care, volunteer etc) and there were times I’d repeat the same thing to the same child in the same day. But it didn’t frustrate me because kids will be kids sometimes and there are times they don’t mean to repeat the same mistake. It is our job to keep kinda drilling it into them with polite reminders until they do learn, but they will. xD

        Yes light sockets and kids are always not a great mix. They are curious about everything and you have to show them especially when it is dangerous it can seriously hurt them. You did teach him though it seems and that is good it is becoming less and less. Some parents just buy those safety things that plug into the sockets, so you have more patience than some and happy you would rather show him now. My brother use to have a curiosity with light sockets more so than me. One time my grandma took my brother and I to the library he got under a table and out of sight very quickly, he stuck his finger in the sockets under the table sure enough shocked himself. He learned the hard way. xD Luckily no damage done. He was always the more prior to injury kid and tested the limits for sure. Even into his teens many hospital visits for stitches etc. Some of it is a boy thing I am sure though. I was they very quiet, very cautious and careful child of us two. xD

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I use the plug protectors too, but I forget to put them in after using an outlet. Also, that is risk avoidance. Your child doesn’t learn anything by putting a plug in. You are just avoiding the problem. I address the problem to him. He is a very smart two year old. He was pushing the tv the other day and I went up to him and I told him “No, no. If you push the tv down, the tv go bye bye and no paw patrol. TV broken.” I try to break it down for him. And he stopped pushing the tv.

        I agree with reminding children. They are forgetful and aren’t paying attention and doing their own thing. It is not being willful or disobedient. They just forget. Most children do not do bad things and yet, their parents call them bad children. You should never tell your child they are bad. What they did was bad. The action, not the person. Unless your child kills an animal on purpose or something and in that case, you should get them help. Still not bad, just bad actions.

        Some people are just bad and this is true. But children are like sponges. If you tell them they are bad, they will start to believe it. Nurturing is caring.

        Liked by 2 people

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