#30DaysAntiABA: An Open Letter to AsIAm (& Other Autism Charities)

A chara/To whom it may concern,

I have been asked by numerous people whether I would recommend them donating to your charity. Had I been asked this a few years ago, I probably wouldn’t have hesitated to say “yes”. I have, however, become more discerning in the last few years.

There are a few “red flags” that I point out to people regarding your charity, and others. And, right now, for me, the main one is a lack of a publicly viewable position statement on ABA.

I need to know whether your charity officially supports ABA or not. I searched through your website with a fine tooth comb and all I could find was one sentence under “Research” which states “AsIAm will not take part in any studies which promote the use of Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) among autistic people.” I appreciate it is in bold and unambiguous in what it states, but I could not find any more details. It would be helpful if you said why you won’t take part in ABA promoting-studies. And also if this information were easier to find. Perhaps you could give such a statement it’s own page?

The type of statement I’m looking for would be similar to this post by Autistics For Autistics Ontario. Or this series of blog posts by Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network. Or as included in the Mission Statements of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. (On a side note, all of these charities are Autistic-led, meaning that a majority of their board members are autistic. That’s another thing you’ll have to work on.)

I suppose it’s good that, unlike the UK based National Autism Society, you don’t directly fund ABA. But I feel that that’s a low bar to set. I need you to publicly declare that you are against ABA (assuming you are) and no longer sit on the fence. I have asked you this numerous times already, via email, Twitter, and as part of your “focus groups”. I have never gotten an official response. Though I have had some of your board members state in a private capacity that nobody at AsIAm supports ABA. A public statement of that should be an easy next step.

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