Friday, April 26, 2013
RESPECT FOR AUTISTICS (Northeastern Pennsylvania Regional Autism Acceptance Project)
Respect for Autistics There is a need for autism acceptance and understanding. Published on April 20, 2013 by Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D., B.C.S.A. in Extreme States of Mind Many programs for autistics today are designed to change the person from being an autistic to being 'typical'. Some of these strategies are done by coercive and also aversive means. Behavioralist approaches are paramount to treating individuals in an animalistic fashion and based on stimulus-response. Such strategies may cause a person to become more compliant and even robotic but does not give them any real context for developing new skills. It forces them to enter a world that is foreign to them. Instead, approaches towards helping autistics should be focused on self-determination, respect, and dignity. Rather than forcing them to conformity to the world of 'typicals', it should have others seek to enter and understand their worlds and to help the autistic to be able to navigate through the challenges presented by the mainstream. Programs should also respect the unique means of perceptions and talents that autistics do present with. Also, one who is autistic today will be autistic tomorrow. Why do we look at being autistic automatically as a dilemma? Why do we need to 'treat' these individuals, and exactly what is it that we are 'treating' and what is our definition of what 'works'? Is our objective to force an autistic to act as a typical? Is that 'treatment'? Would it be ethical for us to force assimilation on an ethnic minority? Rather, if we are to employ 'treatment' at all, it should be to help the person be able to navigate through the foreign world of the mainstream, not to try to change those things which are an intrinsic part of their being. Various programs should eliminate coercion and force and return to the need to respect the uniqueness, creativity, and individual differences present in those who are autistic.