Questions to ask your Child's Therapist

Questions to ask your Child’s Therapist

Author: Katie Hines

----- TRIGGER WARNING: ABA (Applied Behavioural Analysis) -----

We get a lot of parents who have their autistic children in some form of behavior therapy.

Some are certain it isn't ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) and others are unsure if it is.

ABA can masquerade under completely different names.

Sometimes even an OT or CBT can use ABA.

I put together a list of questions to ask your child's therapist to find out if the therapy they are in is ABA or styled after ABA. If you find that your child's therapist is answering yes to a lot of these, avoiding giving a full answer, or trying to "explain it away" then you need to do some serious re-evaluation.

If you feel uncomfortable asking these questions that is a red flag. If you are uncomfortable with their answers that is a red flag. Ask your child if some of these things are done to them at therapy. Listen to your child. Validate their thoughts and feelings. Take them seriously.

If after asking these questions you discover that your child is in ABA, remove them from the program immediately and then begin working on recovery with your child. When we know better we do better. If you need more information on why ABA is harmful to autistic children, search the term 'ABA' in Autism Inclusivity group on Facebook and you will find hundreds of posts with information from studies to personal stories of autistic adults who experienced ABA as children.

Questions to ask your Child’s Therapist

1. Do you do any kind of negative reinforcement? 

2. Do you use planned ignoring? If so, when and for how long? What stops the planned ignoring? 

3. What do you consider attention-seeking behavior? 

4. What do you do when a child has a "meltdown"? 

5. Do you withhold attention or affection for any reason? 

6. Do you do any desensitizing? If so, please explain. 

7. Do you use food as a reward or reinforcer? 

8. Do you respect bodily autonomy? 

9. Do you teach forced eye-contact? 

10. What do you consider non-compliance? 

11. Do you do Discrete Trial Training? 

12. How do you handle hand stimming? Vocal stimming? 

13. Do you teach "quiet hands" or "table ready hands"? 

14. Is it a goal to extinguish stimming? 

15. If not, do you make the child earn the right to stim? 

16. Are there any inappropriate stims? If so, which ones and why? 

17. Do you follow or incorporate the teachings of the Lovaas Approach? 

18. Is it a goal to make my autistic child indistinguishable from peers? 

19. Is autism something to recover from? 

20. Do you teach appropriate play skills? What does that mean? 

21. Do you incorporate my child's interests into play? 

22. Do you allow a child to say no? If they say no, what happens? 

23. Is compliance ever physically enforced? 

24. Do you use hand-over-hand? When and how often during the session is this used? 

25. How do you handle it if a parent wants to stop working on a certain behavior? 

26. Do you use anything, like a chair, that doesn't allow a child to get up or get out of? 

27. Do you use any other forms of physical restraint? 

28. Do you force a child to hug? Are they punished for refusing to hug? Are they rewarded for hugging someone?

29. Do you withhold preferred activities, toys, personal items, etc. until compliance is achieved? 

30. Are any loud noises, sudden noises or loud voices used during a session? If so, what is the purpose? 

31. Do you tell a child to put on a happy face? 

32. How do you handle when a child is sad? 

33. Do you use 'time out'? If so, in what way is this used? For how long? 

34. Do you use any sensory and/or food aversives? 

35. How do you determine or recognize the difference between unwillingness and inability of a child to complete a task or do what is asked of them? 

36. How much time is given for a child to process and comply with an instruction? 

37. What do you consider scripting? How do you tell the difference between scripting and a legitimate answer/response? 

38. Do you reward children by physically touching them? What do you do if they don’t want to be touched? 

39. What is the time commitment per day and week? Why do you recommend this time commitment? 

40. Do autistic children have any deficits? 

41. Do you teach children to imitate behaviors?

Appeared first on 30 January 2020 in