"The Burden of Choice"
As I discussed in my ABA Haters post, ABA (arguably the most well known Autism treatment option) often gets a bad rap and is painted with a very ugly paintbrush. There are many who feel that Autism is not a sickness, disease, or something to be "fixed" or scrubbed out of an individual. On the other side of that belief, are people who feel that Autism robs families and individuals of dreams, hopes, peace, etc. Many families feel that if they can do anything to help their child with Autism improve, they will.
Not that you asked, but heres my stand on this issue: For many of my kiddos, they are not capable of communicating to someone that they WANT therapy. They are not able to ask for help or assistance with their self help skills, toileting, feeding, or play skills. That means the caregiver or Mom and Dad are left with the burden of choosing for their child. I have met parents on both side of the ABA debate who feel they are making the wrong choice....they worry that they are doing too much therapy...they worry that they chose not to do therapy.
For parents in the position of having to choose for their child: you have the right to your choices. You have the right to fully embrace your childs Autism, or to fully jump into therapies and treatments. No one should make you feel like a horrible parent for making either choice.
As a professional, I help kiddos everyday improve and function to higher degrees, so I do feel that if a family comes to me seeking treatment I am absolutely here to help. BUT, it is not my role to attack the people who choose not to come to me seeking treatment.
Dr Bobby Newman, in his prologue for the book "Behaviorask" (I looove that book) eloquently explains this concept of "choice":
"The basic argument comes down to this: if I dont have a skill, I dont have a choice. Once I have been taught how to interact with others and how to function in mainstream environments, then I have a choice as to whether to do so or not. If I have never learned these skills, however, then I have no choice. I will wind up with a lifetime of supervised care......Suppose you were the individual who, without treatment, was destined to be standing alone in a corner of an institution, dependent on everyone around you to take care of even your most basic needs, rocking your body perseveratively and eliminating in your clothing....Would you like someone who could speak and could interact in the everyday world speaking on your behalf?