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Shannon Des Roches Rosa @shannonrosa
, 10 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
The one autism & parenting approach I want folks to absorb for 2019: if your #autistic child is violent or aggressive then that usually means something is really really wrong with them, health or environment-wise, and you really need to figure out what it is—for everyone’s sake.
It can be really, really hard to figure out the source of an autistic kid’s (or adult’s) extreme distress. But you know what makes it harder? People assuming aggression is "because of autism,” & not because something is wrong. And then so much avoidable suffering happens.
This is why you don’t want to listen to #autism “experts" who recommend “extinction,” punishments or aversives for kids who are aggressive, without even bothering to figure out why they might be in pain or other distress—because that is ignoring/punishing someone who needs help.
If you look at videos of “aggressive” #autistic kids being treated with ABA, what you will generally see is a miserable, agitated kid being made more miserable and agitated. I’m not going to link to those videos; they are heart-piercing.
And then, if the ABA “doesn’t work,” the autistic kids are considered “lost causes.” Some of the very worst parent accounts (and child tragedies) then arise. So we need to do better, inform parents better, about why autistic kids can be aggressive, and what to do if that happens.
The first thing parents need to do is look for #autistic insights about sensory matters (sounds, lights, textures, tastes), anxiety triggers, processing delays, why stimming matters, being emotional resonators, and other oft-misunderstood autistic ways of being. #neurodiversity
If parents, caregivers, teachers, etc. can try to learn about and understand basic autistic needs and traits and accommodate them in an individualized way—rather than trying to force autistic kids to be non-autistic—that is a big start for helping kids not meltdown & “act out."
Oftentimes reasons for an #autistic person’s aggression are due to non-autism-related factors like illness or injury. Some are easily diagnosed and treated (like heartburn that disrupts sleep), others need autistic-informed sleuthing & tests. Guidelines:…
I don’t mean to imply that figuring out why aggression happens, or coping in the meantime, is easy. It is stressful for everyone; also safety is paramount. But too often I see an #autistic child’s aggression invoked as a parent's burden, when it should be re: the child’s misery.
To finish: I would like to see more parents, caregivers, etc. react to #autistic people’s aggression (after first taking steps to ensure everyone is safe) by asking “what is going wrong for that autistic person?” instead of automatically conflating #autism with random aggression.
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