Breaking Down ABA, Again: Part 2: Goals and Underlying Philosophy

Restless Hands

[This post continues a series started here]

UNDERLYING PHILOSOPHY

One major way in which schools of ABA can differ is in their primary goal, their understanding of how ABA methods should be used.

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1) Traditional Approach: Fighting Against Autism

Traditional ABA practitioners believe that it is inherently good for autistic children to appear, act, and communicate as “normally” (neurotypically) as possible. The gold standard here is the phrase “indistinguishable from one’s peers,” the idea that no one even has to know that this person is autistic. Many people even misunderstand this to mean that the person who attains indistinguishability has been “cured” of being autistic. That claim makes about as much sense as the notion that a person who wears a realistic wig has been cured of being bald. Sure, they may get fewer stares, but nothing about them has actually changed. And that wig might be uncomfortable…

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