Breaking down bias in reporting Autistic concerns regarding William Shatner

Sometimes autistic people chime in to tell someone, “Hey, the thing you’re doing purportedly on our behalf is actually harming. Please stop.” The respectful response would be, “Oh I’m sorry! I didn’t realize that was problematic and will stop immediately. What’s a better way I could proceed?” – and then actually take the actions accordingly. Unfortunately, some people just won’t accept any remark that they aren’t actually doing the good thing they think they are and then double down on their initial action, even going so far as to make those objecting the problem, even if they were supposed to be the “beneficiaries” of the unfavorable action.

When it’s a celebrity getting called out, the response can have far-reaching effects. If the celebrity chooses to cling to how correct they believe themselves to be despite the affected community’s outcry, fans of the celebrity who don’t have a vested stake will frequently come to their defense at the expense of those to whom it matters most.

I’d like to break down an article written a few years ago to demonstrate how valid concerns can be dismissed and the affected person vilified with language use. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are from the article listed immediately below.

William Shatner Under Fire for Spreading Autism Awareness by bobb on 05/04/2017

“Earlier this week, the White House and autism organizations around the world celebrated the 10th annual World Autism Awareness Day. Actor William Shatner, best known for his role in Star Trek, changed his profile icon and tweeted his support into the related hashtag to draw awareness to the disability.”

The beginning of the article is designed to set up William Shatner in the positive role and show that he has support, though it doesn’t say which “autism organizations” actually celebrated the “awareness day”. Note that support from the White House—in which the sitting president at that time was Donald Trump—was the very first thing that the author wants us to hear, as it will come up again later. All positive words like “celebrated” and “support” are used to describe the actions of the White House, the nebulous “autism organizations”, and Shatner.

“Today, he was inundated with outrage from social justice warriors likened his support for autism awareness to hate speech. They further expressed their anger towards organizations like Autism Speaks, which sponsored the event.“

Now the author moves into very negative phrasing for people who were pointing out the harm of Shatner’s actions. We’re primed to feel sorry for person “inundated with outrage” using a loaded term (“social justice warriors”) often used to vilify people who care about equitable treatment for all members of society. The goal of portraying autistics with real concerns as angry, overreacting people is already obvious from this point.

“Autism Speaks is one of several global organizations that supports finding solutions across the spectrum and catering to the needs of individuals who suffer from it and their families. Critics refer to the search for a cure as a form of ‘eugenics.'”

Autism Speaks (AS) often refers to us and our families as “suffering” because of our neurotype and approaches us as a problem to be fixed and want to wipe out autism. Many autistic people view our challenges more from the social model of disability1 instead of the medical model. Any group that looks at us as a problem IS a problem; and yes, when the goal is to eradicate your neurotype through “research”, that’s by definition2 eugenics.

“Shatner fielded a host of complaints from critics who demanded he preach “autism acceptance” rather than awareness—some of whom made it a crusade to dedicate themselves against Autism Speaks. He was linked to an article on Forbes3 decrying awareness for the disability. The hysterical article based most, if not all, of its criticism towards the organization on its founder’s longtime personal friendshipwith (sic) President Trump.”

This is more loaded language that primes readers to disregard the content of the article using inflammatory terms such as “host of complaints, “demanded”, “crusade”, “hysterical”, “criticism”. If there was group dedicated to making your existence out to be a problem, you might also have some strong opinions. Calling the above mentioned article “hysterical” is incorrect and says more about the initial article’s author and their unwillingness to consider autistic viewpoints.

A minority of the article—certainly neither “most” nor “all”—that had been linked to Shatner is about how the AS leader is linked with the then sitting president, though it’s understandable that it would be mentioned when it is brought up. It’s interesting that it’s apparently fine to bring up the White House when it supports this article’s narrative, but not when another article points to associated problems.

Next the article goes on to quote Shatner’s response to autistic people who are trying to explain to him that his actions are counterproductive:

“’Instead of being the social warrior fighting against a charity; find an organization you do align with and become their advocate,’ he tweeted. ‘I supported an awareness day hashtag that appears to be scorned by a group that doesn’t want awareness.'”

Does the author then mention that autistic people actually HAVE our own organizations and that autistic people mentioned this to Shatner? No, that’s just left hanging.

“When one critic told him that the reason Autism Speaks is bad because it isn’t run by autistic individuals, Shatner responded: ‘I run a charity focused mainly on raising money for equine assisted therapy for disabled children. I’m not a child and I’m not disabled.’”

It is absolutely not okay to run groups that are purportedly to help a particular demographic without actively involving adults of that demographic that are able and willing to advocate on their own behalf. For example, I shouldn’t start up a group to try to help black men, fail to actually involve any black men in the functioning/purpose/etc. of the group, and completely ignore/block any commentary/suggestions from black men when I’m told I’m hurting more than helping. This is no different. I do hope that Shatner doesn’t dismiss any concerns—should there be any—regarding his own charity from the affected families like he dismisses autistic people about organizations that affect us.

“While a search for a cure to autism seems like a condemnation of autistic individuals—it isn’t. No one’s suggesting they haven’t a right to exist.”

Actually, yes, AS has shown4 clearly over the years that they want to eradicate my neurotype.

“Who wishes to be autistic and wishes hardship onto others?”

There are two separate ideas here, and they really show this article’s bias. I’m fine with being autistic, and quite a lot of us are. The question as posed, however, assumes hardship—whether it’s that we have hardship or that we cause it. If it’s the former, then maybe LISTEN instead of dismissing when we tell you what you (in this case Shatner) are doing that hurts us and then DON’T DO IT. If it’s the latter, I refuse to apologize for the inconvenience you feel by the fact that we don’t share your neurotype and have difficulties with the barriers society puts in our way.

“It would be akin to having a deaf child and refusing to provide them with hearing aids.”

Many deaf people embrace their deafness and don’t feel the need to be hearing. Some deaf people do want the assists. First, that’s their choice, not a hearing person’s choice to make for them. Secondly, for those of us who do want some form of assistance, AS offers Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) a highly problematic and abusive “therapy” that autistic people have come out heavily against, are centered on preventing us in the first place, and make us out to be tragic and burdensome.

“It’s encouraging that we may one day find a cure through science.”

No, it is not at all encouraging to think my neurotype is so devalued that the article’s author—whose bias is shown very clearly here—and others would rather us be not who we are altogether. It’s a difference in brain wiring, not a disease to be “cured”.

“However, some people—like the ‘self-advocates’ criticizing William Shatner—are discouraging such research for the sake of feeling special by setting themselves apart from ‘neurotypicals’.”

Point missed entirely, and if this closing remark doesn’t show the author’s disdain for us, I don’t know what does. We aren’t trying to feel “special”; we want to be treated with basic respect.

I don’t know if “bobb”, the author of this article, is a particular fan of William Shatner or not, but it’s abundantly clear that they don’t hold any respect or regard for autistic voices.

1 http://1

2 http://2



Posted in autism, critique, cultural studies, disability rights, Etiquette, Human rights | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

An Open Letter to my Conservative Acquaintances

You and I could have met in any number of ways, because of mutual interests, mutual friends, sharing online forums, or simply by chance. Like anyone, we won’t always agree on every subject, and that’s perfectly fine. We can even disagree amicably about fairly big issues without it negatively affecting our friendship. If, however, you are more interested in pointing a finger at past administrations (which certainly were imperfect), blaming asylum seekers who simply don’t want to be murdered in their countries of origin, and pooh-poohing draconian policies as not your problem than you are in caring how devastating the current situation is on innocent children and already traumatized asylum seekers, there’s something you should know.

I don’t trust you.

You may not care whether I trust you, and that’s your prerogative. Be aware, however, that I absolutely don’t believe you if you say you wouldn’t let harm come to me and my family.

But they are breaking the law! Citizens who break the law don’t get their kids with them in prison. Why should we allow it for people who enter America without permission?” We have a process for asylum seekers, and it involves them making it to US soil before they can request it. Requesting asylum is not a crime. According to the official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration services website:

To obtain asylum through the affirmative asylum process you must be physically present in the United States. You may apply for asylum status regardless of how you arrived in the United States or your current immigration status. 1

I really don’t care who started the policies we have now, though it’s easy enough to research if you care about the facts. What matters is that the practice is damaging children for a lifetime2, injuring their brains just so America can be “tough on illegal immigration”.
Even if someone entering the country does not have a valid asylum claim, it’s a federal misdemeanor3 – the same level of crime as using the American flag on clothing4. Do you also believe that all the people who think they’re being super patriotic by wearing that t-shirt with the flag on it should have their children forcibly removed from them and taken to often undisclosed locations? If you do, what the hell is wrong with you? If not, it is imperative that we make sure the punishment fits the crime instead of allowing people to be herded into concentration camps. Before you object to the term, consider the following:

Yes, after 1941, concentration camps held Jews to prevent them from leaving Germany — but also to consolidate them for extermination. However, for more than eight years earlier, the camps generally were used for the opposite purpose: to force Jews to emigrate from Germany by making life intolerable, in part by separating men from their families. This is precisely the kind of important historical nuance lost in the hysteria surrounding Trump’s callous immigration policy. There are valuable comparisons to be made, but they must be historically informed.

These detention facilities for refugee children can rightly be labeled “concentration camps.” The Nazis do not own the term irrevocably, as it refers to prisonlike facilities where individuals are forcibly detained because of who they are. That meaning was applied to the British camps in South Africa where the term was coined during the Boer War. It would also be appropriate for the U.S. “internment camps” for Japanese Americans during World War II. We can call today’s U.S. border detention centers “concentration camps” and be within the realm of historical accuracy. By the same token, they are not Auschwitz. These children are undergoing terrible trauma, but they are not being murdered.5

Yes, the separation as policy has changed, but thousands of children who were already separated from their families have no guarantee of ever seeing them again6. It’s not enough to just say, “Okay, we won’t do it anymore.” No, we have to reunite each of these families and provide trauma counseling for the damage that we, as a nation, have inflicted upon them.

You should care more about our own kids than what happens to the kids of lawbreakers!” some say. Did you know that it’s possible to care about both? Wanting humane treatment of people fleeing persecution in other countries does not diminish how much we care about what happens with our own citizens; in fact, many of us see the matters as inextricably linked.

This, in fact, leads me back to why I don’t trust you. You’re more interested in blaming Obama and demonizing immigrants than you are in being humane. If you care more about justifying cruelty based on your understanding of the law than you do about treating humans with basic human dignity, then I absolutely believe you’d do nothing if the laws changed to harm me and my family. We’ve seen an uptick of anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and white nationalism recently. What happens if it’s decided that:

  • my child and I are on the undesirable list because of our Jewish ancestry;
  • multiiracial marriages are outlawed (not for the first time in American history) and my marriage to my spouse becomes invalidated;
  • or, they come after disabled people, as my child and I are both autistic?

After all, if you don’t see or prefer to excuse the injustice that’s happening right now, why would it be any different if the laws changed again to allow more human rights abuses? I don’t think you’d lift a finger to help me and my family; you’d just look the other way or rub it in our faces that we deserved it somehow.

We tried to get you to care when Republicans kept excusing rape in unconscionable ways7, but that wasn’t enough for you. We tried asking you to care when Trump demonstrated repeatedly that he is racist8, but you made excuses for him. You think of yourself as a good person, and I know you have some good traits. Why do you continue to excuse the inexcusable?

Don’t you think that’s a little dramatic?” you might say. Absolutely not, and I will explain why. I understand that you may believe that you aren’t racist, you aren’t personally anti-immigrant, and that you just want a strong rule of law, but if you throw human rights out in an effort to feel stable and safe yourself, you have a lot in common with those who didn’t speak or act against the Third Reich and Jim Crow.

People needed and craved stability; in the case of the Jim Crow South and the Third Reich, that stability was offered by politicians and demagogues in exchange for participation in a strict and violent racial system. This stability afforded everyday whites in both the U.S. South and Bavaria Germany the opportunity to achieve their desired futures and to avoid imagined apocalypses. The opportunity to realize their expectations convinced far too many people to enforce, support, or at least look the other way as African Americans and Jews were stripped of their human rights, their dignity, and sometimes their very lives.9

If you allow abuses of human rights to continue without speaking up against it and doing what you can to stop it, you are complicit. These abuses cannot continue in the face of enough opposition.

It matters less who implemented particular policies than it does what we do about it now that we know what’s happening, in whatever time frame it actually started. How we choose to respond says what kind of people we want to be and whether we believe that humans have inherent worth and rights to be treated humanely.

Oh, but do go on about Hillary’s emails.

1Obtaining Asylum in the United States.” USCIS, 19 Oct. 2015,

2Wan, William. “What Separation from Parents Does to Children: ‘The Effect Is Catastrophic’.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 18 June 2018,

38 U.S. Code § 1325 – Improper Entry by Alien.” LII / Legal Information Institute, 30 Sept. 1996,

44 U.S. Code § 8 – Respect for Flag.” LII / Legal Information Institute, 12 Aug. 1998,

5Beorn, Waitman Wade. “Perspective | Yes, You Can Call the Border Centers ‘Concentration Camps,’ but Apply the History with Care.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 20 June 2018,

6Solon, Olivia. “Fate of 2,300 Separated Children Still Unclear despite Trump’s Executive Order.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 21 June 2018,

7FACT CHECK: Republicans on Rape.”, 14 Feb. 2017,

8Silva, Christianna. “A Full List of Trump’s ‘Racist’ Comments about Immigrants, Muslims and Others.” Newsweek, 12 Jan. 2018,

9Rountree, Ajanet. “Everyday Expectation: Complicity in the Third Reich and Jim Crow South.” UAB Institute for Human Rights Blog, 19 Apr. 2018,

Posted in Human rights, Immigration, news, politics, rights and responsibilities, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Confession – I Was An Autism Mom™

The Bullshit Fairy

Well kind of. I tried to be. Because I thought that’s what you did when your child got diagnosed with Autism. I wore puzzle pieces proudly and fought like a warrior.

But I never really fit in. I never for one second believed my Autistic child was broken or a problem to be solved. I saw that the puzzle piece seemed to be “the thing” that unified us all, so I wore it and when I started blogging, I made the puzzle piece part of my logo for The Colour Fairy.

The Colour Fairy Logo _Puzzle Piece _Bullshit

And I kept finding little puzzle pieces on the ground in random places, which made me feel all warm and tingly inside.

The Colour Fairy _PUzzle Piece on the Ground _Bullshit

But my blog and Facebook Page, was again, not like the other Mom’s.

I embraced my son’s uniqueness and mine. I never shared intimate photos or wrote about how hard my life was. I would speak about…

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Product Review: Turan (Aphrodite) Oil by Lykeia Botanica

I’m a big fan of customized oil blends for religious/devotional purposes, making them at home myself at times.  As such, I was thrilled to receive a tester of a lovely new oil for Turan (Etruscan name for Aphrodite).

2017-04-06 22.39.37

This devotional oil by Lykeia Botanica is described as:

  • Over a broken up cinnamon stick
  • Rose oil
  • Bergamot oil
  • Myrrh oil
  • Neroli oil
  • in an argan oil base

Rose and myrrh oils are frequently found in the scents I wear, but not as often the bergamot or neroli; that being said, I love this oil.  It’s well balanced, fresh but subtle, and has complex undertones.  The aroma is stronger in the vial that on the body, as one might expect, and it’s nice and light on the skin.  The fragrance is barely noticeable after a while, which suits me just fine because of my olfactory sensitivities.

Probably because of the rose oil and argan oil, the oil leaves the skin very soft and silky as well, which seems very appropriate for the Goddess to whom this oil is dedicated.

If you’re the kind of person who likes using oils on statuary, a little of this would go a long way, and the purchase and use of this oil would be luxuriant and honoring.  Very nicely done!


DISCLOSURE:  I received a tester of this oil for free in exchange for my honest review.  Thank you, Lykeia Botanica!

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An Open Letter to my Parents

Dear Mom and Dad,

I know we frequently disagree on political matters and because we care for one another, we tend to not bring up politics around each other. Generally speaking, that’s a good policy; but there are times when it’s important that we DO discuss matters that have great impact on us. This is one of those times. I hope that you will read this with an open heart, follow/read the links, and attempt to understand where I’m coming from.

I and my immediate family are aghast that Donald Trump won. He has represented nothing but hatefulness from the beginning, mocking the disabled, behaving abysmally to Latinos, threatening to make a registry for people of a differing faith (Muslims) and export them, lying and committing fraud (and being caught in the lies/fraud) more often than telling the truth, and he’s an admitted sexual predator with multiple victims going back for years. He was even endorsed by the KKK.

Since the election, there have been MANY hate crimes against the very people that Trump has acted badly toward. Just within my circle of friends (and only the incidents I know about):

  • a woman in a wheelchair was told she didn’t deserve to live
  • a woman was harassed/threatened for “looking like a dyke”
  • a man was harassed/threatened for appearing “too gay” because he was in a suit
  • a man was harassed/threatened for being gay
  • more than one woman was groped because the assailant figured it was no problem now that Trump was elected.

In each of these cases, Trump was mentioned by the perpetrators; not one of them reported to the police. Keep that in mind when you see reports of how much hate crime is being committed, as many won’t report. There have been SO many incidents against Muslims, Jews, black people, Latinos, women, and others since the election, and hundreds of them mention Trump by name.

Trump only speaks out against the violence against others when pressed to do so, yet he seems more annoyed about the cast of a Broadway show asking Pence to be fair to all Americans than people committing violence in his name against people he already disparaged.

On the day Dad’s pacemaker was replaced, I was in the waiting room with Mom when she asked me about the safety pins my son and I were putting on. I thought, considering how the two of you raised me to care for my neighbor that she would be proud when I told her it was a non-partisan way to let people who now feel unsafe because of the way the election went and the ways that some of his supporters have been deciding they can harass others know that we are safe people to be around and that we will stand up for them if we see them being mistreated by others because of who they are. No, Mom instead gave me a disgusted look, though a lady in the waiting room who didn’t even know us thought enough of the effort that she took a safety pin from me and immediately put it on.

We all have to stand up for each other, regardless of political affiliation, gender, ability, nationality, religion, or whom we love. Saying, “I won’t sit by and let you be mistreated in my presence without objection,” is not saying one agrees with everything about that person, just that we won’t be part of the problem that allows this to continue. I was particularly shocked when I heard Mom, a sexual assault survivor herself talking to another sexual assault survivor, saying that Trump’s talk about grabbing women by the genitalia was just “locker room talk”. REALLY?? No, that’s rape culture. Good men don’t do that. Men who don’t assault women don’t brag about not waiting for consent. Don’t make excuses for a sexual predator who has emboldened would-be assailants to go ahead and harm women. I do not accept that.

We’re supposed to have a right to freedom of religion in this country, but Muslims and Jews have been targets a lot lately with Trump being cited as reason they are unwelcome and should be scared.

I also want you to think about this; you may not agree with the science that says that one’s sexual preference is not a choice, but you have more than one relative who is in the LGBT grouping. Every bit of legislation that diminishes the rights of LGBT people is against parts of your family. Are you okay with that? I’m not.

If that’s not important to you, consider that my son and I have both been diagnosed with autism. Trump is terrible toward people who have differences, including spreading oft-debunked lies about vaccines causing autism.

Disabled people who count on the ACA because they were denied health coverage before will now be at serious risk, especially since Paul Ryan and the Republican majority want to slash Medicare and Social Security. You were talking about retiring, Dad? Be aware that this has implications for you in addition to us; we rely upon those to get by.

Oh, but he wants to keep refugees from pouring into our country. Considering how difficult it is to get into this country as a refugee, I’m really not worried about it.

Christians should also welcome them.

Hebrews 13:2, ESV Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Deuteronomy 10:19, NLT So you, too, must show love to foreigners, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.

Jeremiah 22:3, NLT This is what the LORD says: Be fair-minded and just. Do what is right! Help those who have been robbed; rescue them from their oppressors… Do not mistreat foreigners, orphans, and widows…

Leviticus 19:34, NIV The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.

“But I’m not a racist/misogynist/xenophobe!” you might say. Okay, but apparently those things weren’t deal breakers to you. You were perfectly fine with voting for someone who endorsed prejudice and assault because he gave lip service to something else you cared about. You were willing to ignore that he is a provable liar and bigot.

Trump has already begun to appoint white supremacists like Steve Bannon to his cabinet. He’s already showing us that he is no friend to people who aren’t in the extremely narrow group of people he respects. I’m not asking you to suddenly change all your views and become people you aren’t. I AM asking that you consider how terrified some of us are about being targeted now that fascists are about to be in office. This is how Nazi Germany started out. As an autistic woman of a bit of Jewish descent who cares about people who aren’t like me in various ways, I implore you to consider that this may not be a happy occasion for many of us.

I know this is a difficult time to be sending this message, but I need you to understand. I love you very much.

Your loving daughter

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To Trump voters

People who voted for Trump fall into one of three categories:

  1. People who believed Trump would attempt to fulfill his campaign promises.
  2. People who didn’t believe Trump would really attempt to fulfill his campaign promises but just wanted to vote against someone else (mainly Clinton).
  3. People who didn’t pay the least bit of attention to what Trump was about and just voted for him because he was Republican.

To those in the first category:
Are you basing this on wishful thinking? Trump demonstrably lied and flip-flopped so many times just within his campaign (even within the same day at times) that it would be foolish, even laughable, to call him a man of his word. Also, what gives you the impression he will succeed with such a track record of failure after failure?

To those in the second category:
Are you basing this on wishful thinking? Were you just wanting to cast a protest vote without paying attention to the real consequences that even ATTEMPTING to fulfill his ideas may have on millions of Americans? How does intentionally voting in a hate-mongering liar make any sense? The Germans who voted in Hitler didn’t think he’d try to implement his proposals, but he did. Trump is now enabled by a Republican House and Senate, and they’re already making plans against much of America.

To those in the third category:
If you are going to cast a vote, which is a laudable thing to do, it is your DUTY to find out what the person you’re voting for actually is like, stands for, and does. It is highly irresponsible and dangerous to cast a vote for the most powerful position in the world without finding out this information first.

To ALL Trump voters who don’t consider yourself to be bigots:
Did you not stop to think even for a moment that electing someone who promotes hate and violence just might give an excuse to those parts of our citizenry that now feel emboldened to threaten, harass, and assault their neighbors? The blood that is being shed, the people that are being terrorized, the property that is being vandalized – all of that is on you. YOU took part in making this our new reality.

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Why you need to stop using the puzzle piece to represent autistic people

I hate the puzzle piece. I hate it with every fiber of my being. Therefore, since in a lot of places it’s national autism awareness month, I’m going to write about why you shouldn’t use the p…

Source: Why you need to stop using the puzzle piece to represent autistic people

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Autism Moms™ Allow Me To Explain

The Bullshit Fairy

I have noticed there has been an increase to activity on a post I made last year about Autism Moms™ and the way they use that “term” like a badge of honour.

I am also noticing an influx of Autism Moms™ right here on this page. But don’t be scared my dear followers. Just don’t make eye contact and you should be ok. 😉

I understand why they are angry. It’s the same reason they use the term Autism Mom™ in the first place. They want recognition for all the hard work they do and feel it’s their reward and their right to use it.

So rather than reply directly to their pages because I know they wont listen and there is soooo many of them, I thought I’ll write a blog post. The Autism Moms™ often will say the same thing over and over too, (at least they are consistent!) so I…

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This is the last time I’m going to say this

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Why I Left ABA

The more I know about ABA, the more I want to prevent anyone from undergoing it.

Socially Anxious Advocate

Trigger Warning: ABA, ableism, institutionalized child abuse

[Image Description: A bright red door with a brass knob and a faded mail slit. To its left, there is a long, dark windowpane with some decoration and smudges. The door itself has chips in its paint and markings on it, despite the bright color. It is closed, possibly locked.]

When I first became an ABA Therapist, I was thrilled. I was actually going to use my psych degree, get paid more than minimum wage, and above all, make a positive difference in Autistic children’s lives. Or at least, that’s what I thought.

Now I look back, and the year I spent working in ABA is my single greatest regret.

When I left, it wasn’t a decision I made overnight. It was a long, difficult process, full of denial and confusion. I don’t enjoy talking about it because I did so many wrong things that…

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