Autistics and First/Then Routines

----- if/then

If/Then, being used by yourself, for yourself, is never problematic.  These can be scenario-shaping routines you use to plan ahead, set goals, reduce anxiety mentally.

If/Then plans (Gollwitzer 1999) can also be used to make habits 'stick' where you prepare for something before it happens in order to reduce demands on your resolve should something go wrong, e.g. If I crave a cigarette, Then I will have a cheese stick.

----- first/then aba compliance

However, First/Then (or 'first-this-then-that' routines) are typically compliance training, a subset of what autistics have learned the hard way is so very harmful in ABA.

Compliance is about Training (robots), not Teaching (humans).  It is destructive of relationships and the learning culture that thrives in relationships.

$12 billion a year is spent by companies to apply Compliance Training to employee behaviour in work situations to develop company-face-saving routines, CYA or cover-your-ass automatic practices, and they are a massive failure - lawsuits multiply wickedly, relationships fail, company image suffers, no-one really LEARNS ('intrinsically acquires contextualised knowledge') and ADOPTS ('owns wholesome perspectives and practices based on growing knowledge').

$22 billion more for ABA ruins autistic lives, delivers minimal parent-and-technician-only "gains" that simply do not persist, "gains" that are divorced and splintered (see US Department of Defence paper on ABA), at extraordinarily inhuman costs only seen/felt over time by the traumatised and programmed subject, the autistic... who was forgotten about.

----- additional harm

All research shows that use of first/then diminishes any draw that either activity has.

Over time a child will want less and less to have anything to do with either, e.g. First Tidy, Then Paper-Ripping.

You have taken two matters and fashioned a pair of handcuffs from them.

A child may not express it, but they know how constrained and unfree it makes them bit-by-bit over time. Dual demotivation occurs. The unwanted task becomes more unwanted.  The desired reward fades, if for no other reason than association, linkage, with something awful that is getting worse and worse.

The damage occurs at the neurotransmitter level, where children make connections between A and B in their head, and they do not need to linguistically KNOW what manipulation, conditioning, programming, normalising, breaking-in MEANS, in order for erosion of humanity to be relentlessly occurring as a FACT.

----- first/then natural sequencing

First/Then does have another slender purpose, one that is safe - natural sequencing.

- first socks, then shoes

- first safety belt, then start car

- first leash, then walk dog

It is not hard to see that sequencing isn't a manipulative attempt to enforce compliance on an autistic by pairing an undesired something NOW with a desired something LATER.

----- further reading

----- further technical failings

1. The sufficient condition for reinFORCEment does not lie in variable difference in preference.

2. Magnitude of reinFORCEment is not an increasing

function of the preference difference between the instrumental ('First') and contingent ('Then') activities.

3. Preference is grossly inadequately measured through technical measurement of response probability.

4. Coercive strength applied will be met with resistance as fast as preference, another variable, an impacted variable, inevitably declines.