Friday, January 15, 2016

Guest author Olivia Astrid Âû': "Compliance and the journey in hell."

Compliance and the Journey in Hell

Olivia Astrid Âû

Trigger warning: What I am about to talk about will be triggering for many of you and I can only offer my apologies to you if this does bring back painful memories for a lot of you. I feel very strongly on this issue and I think that it’s important that parents, caregivers, professionals, and fellow autistics are made aware of this so this can happen far less than it should. The subjects I’ll will be talking about will be around early childhood compliance training, restraint and abuse. I hope my anger and pain can be used for something that is constructive rather than for something destructive hence why I’m writing this. I’ve only recently started talking about this and opening up after around 20 years of silence. This is of course, very hard for me to talk about.

I have been experiencing symptoms of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) after a hospital visit (Which I’m not going into details about) which has forced a lot of past trauma to be at the forefront of my mind on top of the trauma from the hospital visit. Therefore, very early trauma that I have learned to suppress over the years has come back to haunt me with a vengeance. Why? I don’t know, and that’s not important.

I'm going to say three small words that carry the weight of the universe in the depths on my mind; I was abused. From a very early age I was sent to a specialist nursery and school, as I was a late developer and had “behavioral issues”. This is where I got my autism diagnosis from. I witnessed restraint that was used on students, including myself on a daily bases to enforce discipline. Reasons can include, but were not limited to, shouting, hitting, swearing, stimming and so on. To those people who would say that isn’t abuse or that “others have had it worse," understand that you were not there and therefore have no right to tell me how I should feel about it. In fact, you’re lucky that you are not the person who is writing this, so please shut your pie hole and listen. Abuse is abuse!

When I have a PTSD flashback on this nature, not only do I see myself at five years old being held down naked by two others screaming and crying with snot pouring down my nose, I become that frightened five year old child who doesn’t understand what he is doing wrong. I’ve also seen myself at the age of six being force fed food only to throw the contents back up again. Not to mention that I was locked in rooms alone and unsupervised.

Even when I wasn’t being restrained, I was often shouted at for flapping my arms, talking to myself out loud (a verbal stim that I used to do), and even in some instances, I was punished for my stims. Stimming was seen as a filthy habit and therefore I saw it as a filthy habit and it’s not been until very recently in my life time that I started to re-embrace those stims.

Throughout my childhood, I was frightened to speak up as I gaslighted into this mentality that it was normal and that every child, regardless if they were autistic or not, went through this. Unfortunately, I soon learned that this not the case. Would we tolerate this if this was done to an NT (NeuroTypical) child? No. So why do we as a society tolerate this being done toward autistics and developmentally disabled children?

The bottom line of all of this is: We need more awareness of this type of practice (if you can call it that.) Sadly, abuse toward autistics does happen often in the name of “Special Needs, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), therapy," and so on. Sadly, we can’t turn back the clock and undo the damage, but what we can do is learn from this. Our kids deserve better and we must do better. They deserve to learn in an environment where they are free to be themselves and not be persecuted for being themselves. It’s the least they deserve.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Copyright and disclaimers

Reward and Consent , © is January 15, 2007 to the current date. All rights reserved (and stuff like that). E-mail me for permission to reproduce in part or in full. Please link to and cite passages quoted or paraphrased from here.

Reward and Con
sent is not responsible for links on the site. For example, I use keywords "Operant Conditioning" in the YouTube search field for the videos displayed below the archives on the left. Google selects the videos and the results change from time to time. Please email me if anything is not educational and germane to the subject and I will reevaluate the search.

I am an advocate for people with disabilities certified to teach special education with a Master of Arts in Teaching. I am not a Licensed Psychologist or a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. When in doubt, seek the advice of an MD, a PhD, or a BCBA. My ability to analyze the ethics of ABA stems from the fact that I am disabled and ABA interventions are often done to people like me, which I voluntarily accept, but only when I alone am the person granting consent, and not a parent, sibling, guardian, or institution.