#30DaysAntiABA: Something we can all agree on, right?

I used to be in a support/social/activism group, run by Irish adults autistics, for Irish adult autistics. At one point they had a meeting to decide on policy etc for the activism branch of the group. As it was happening nearby, I went along. I was pretty new to the group and still a bit naive.

At one point, we were sat around discussing what policy points the group should hold. I piped up “We should state that we are anti-ABA. That’s something we can all agree on, right?” And then it happened. One prominent member of the group said “no we don’t. That statement will leave out those in our group who hold the opposing view”. And the founder of the group backed them!

Looking back, I can see that moment as a pivotal moment in my own journey. I hadn’t realised that some autistic people actually backed ABA. Or that people would see this as simply “differing points of view” or opinion. I’m not sure if I said anything else for the rest of that meeting. It wasn’t the only point that I objected to, and privately others told me they felt the same as me. But I know I decided to shut up about it and hide how hurt I was.

Other things happened in the group that I won’t mention here. Inevitably myself and quite a few others ended up leaving the group. It wasn’t all bad. I wouldn’t have made the great friends I have without that group. But I don’t regret leaving it.

The fact that other autistic people support ABA breaks my heart. I really hope that those of us who oppose ABS outnumber those who don’t. Because I refuse to be part of any group that supports the abuse of autistic people. That is a firm red line for me.

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