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✨TW can ABA help Autistic people?✨a metaphor of why I think not -Humans, aliens, & fire therapy :-)

Weird metaphor, right? Let me explain - ABA - Is it as helpful to autistic people, as is widely believed? Or in other words, would therapy ran by fire aliens be helpful to us humans? Nope, I personally don’t believe ABA can help autistic people make healthy progress, and fire Aliens definitely cant help humans with their fire therapy - and here’s why! (Warning : you’re about to enter metaphor- galore town...but don’t forget there’s no shame if you think ABA helps – we are both on the same side – helping Autistic people!)

Imagine for a moment I tell you that if you put your hand in a burning hot fire, I will give you millions of pounds every month for a year-but only if you keep doing it at every opportunity-every day. You live in a world of fire so the opportunity is endless and constant. This, is the so called fire ‘therapy’ with a perceived reward (the aliens come later!).

Wow-What an opportunity!

Would you do it? Would you edge your hand towards that fire, and plunge it into the burning flames, watch the flames tare up your skin? Screaming, agonised with your Nerves on literal fire... would you do it for the perceived reward?

You might consider doing it- against all better judgement- because the perceived reward is deemed as too important to be ignored. Imagine what you could achieve with that money?

The lives you could change?

The charities you could help? The countries you could explore?

The food you would eat-nomnom!

The opportunities to pursue any passion, at your disposal? That money could make you happy...

The perceived possibilities are endless! But are those perceived possibilities actually... real? In getting that reward, the consequence is big-too big, in fact, for the reward to be that beneficial at all. The burn would still causes huge damage to your skin, your muscles- everything, and has a negative impact for a while after, while you care for your burns, despite you partially enjoying the perceived reward. The perceived acceptance and success in society. You’re rich-you’ve made it!

People seem to love you now you’re wealthy... perceptions are strange though, maybe they don’t love you, after all. maybe it’s simply an expectation. Really they don’t truly accept you- you’re just a poor person who got rich-you’re not worthy. So their love and acceptance of your humanity, is fake.

They can see the mask you hide behind, no matter how much you spend on perfecting it, to hide your roots from view. They can see it, and they don’t like it. You’re not like them - maybe you shouldn’t try to be. Instead, the perceived reward plays tricks on you- it can’t be that bad -no one is physically forcing me or scaring me into doing it-it’s my own choice. I wanted to put my hand in that fire because of the reward and feeling of adequacy and acceptance and love that might have come with it... see how completely bonkers that sounds?

Of course plunging your hand in a fire is not okay; it’s harmful in the short and long term and is not a mentally, or physically healthy thing for a human to do.

The other important factor to consider - are you truly okay and in control of this decision or are you slyly controlled and manipulated? Are you enjoying the reward that much while plunging your hand in fire, and unable to touch anything for weeks after with your hand getting burn treatment? No. Every part of your being is screaming at you to stop, to remove your hand-to let your natural defence mechanism save you-because deep down- you know it’s bad for you no matter what those perceived rewards may be. The people who you thought would like you, don’t. They can tell you’re faking it. There’s no acceptance or understanding even though this was promised by the people that offered you the money in return for the fire therapy, in the first place. They spend years, since you were born, convincing you and your family and schools that actually, this money would be amazing and help you be more normal among the rich powerful few.

The mask is slipping away, no matter how much you spend on securing it in place, no matter how much you shove your hands into the fiery furnace. Nothing can counteract that pain-the trauma-and make it worth the risk- the same goes for ABA therapy, for many autistic people. You still are in a great deal of pain, physical, emotional, mental pain but daring to say “no!” To putting your hand in fire, might mess up your perceptions and your perceived rewards will vanish.

So what do you do? Are you really in control, at all? Are you giving true consent or are you manipulated and psychologically moulded into doing it? Let’s explore further...

In this (literal and metaphorical) society, obsessed with ‘normality’, perfection, wealth, power and love, we have all become convinced that those perceived rewards are worth everything to achieve them. everyone around you has convinced themselves and you- that you NEED those rewards-you need that money-that love and acceptance-that perfection- just to survive and so, you must get used to living this way-fire must become the norm. Or You will fail to achieve it. You will fail to be worthy of the reward. No reward means no self value and your entire identity and self worth crumbles.

This is when the fire metaphor relates specifically to autism-and something many autistic people face.

Imagine feeling so unworthy, of something as basic as a human right to love and acceptance, that you’d hurt yourself in the process to achieve it?

That’s the sad reality of masking - especially as a result of ABA therapy and it’s ‘perceived progress’.

What? I hear you cry. ABA is meant to be super helpful!

Well, let’s challenge our perceptions a bit - there’s no harm in that.

I looked into it, because countless autistic adults wouldn’t say it was harmful, without a good reason (given their innate necessity for justice seeking, honesty, loyalty and rule abiding identity) so in honour of justice seeking and expanding our personal learning journey, let’s just explore the topic of masking and ABA some more... Now imagine a child who is groomed into trusting an adult and doing exactly what the adult wants-all the time-ignoring their personal boundary’s or lack of consent- because they are taught they need to. They have also done positive things with the adult before, likely associated with a passion or interest of theirs. And they get rewarded for perceived progress. The adult never shouts, never obviously abuses or shames in an obvious manner -in fact they’re positive and smiley- the child loves them-and generally-seems comfortable around them.

That can’t be bad... surely? It’s making progress.... Or, Is it...? It depends on what you count as ‘progress.’

The comfort is there because we don’t realise we are in danger of abuse- because it doesn’t seem like abuse-or (obviously!) no one in their right mind would allow their child to do ABA therapy if they understood it was abusive.

Duh! We ARE just trying to help our children! Aba is so positively reviewed we thought it HAD to be good. Right? That’s the core problem- If the parent doesn’t know its abuse-how does the autistic child? Of course the child seems generally comfortable -they’re taught to be exactly what the adult wants, at a hidden painful expense and they are then rewarded for the pretence. Also it’s so smiley and positive... it has to be good?

Hang on Joely-you said painful experiences-ABA isn’t physical abuse anymore... what pain?! Well actually... it is painful, I’m afraid. In more ways than one. You’re being taught you can’t regulate your emotions or negative feelings in a way that best heals and helps you and many autistic people experience sensory and information overload injustice differently. Like many other autistic people, I get shutdowns of my physical and mental abilities when I’m shutdown from masking too much. Overloads are painful to me-my skin burns with a ferocious stinging quality that feels like needles jabbing into my flesh. That pain is real. But am I allowed to remove myself from the pain during aba? No. Instead I’m taught to pretend it’s not there and I’m definitely not allowed to do any defence mechanism to control and heal that pain. No Stimming, no time out, no sensory rest, no reward or encouragement or positivity until I’ve made perceived progress. Perceived progress which here means a mask of normalcy.

Sometimes, ‘good ABA’ practices even try to trigger maladaptive behaviours like overloads, meltdowns, panic attacks or shutdowns, by deliberately refusing sleep or rest, give puzzles with no solutions, or flashing lights and nightmarishly playing loud music or other equally horrific sensory distressing things- for hours on end-just to ‘test’ the response. Imagine 40 hours a day, everyday, of being deliberately triggered, not being allowed to heal and also being taught that you’re so bad that you MUST CHANGE every aspect of yourself in order to be ‘good’. It’s torture; it’s plunging yourself in fire everyday in order to gain a perceived reward… but the perceived reward isn’t real-because it’s traumatic ABUSE that only creates harmful defence mechanisms. consequently, the pain and exhaustion, mental and emotional agony at always being ‘wrong’ for basic needs that empower, can only get worse...

I get severe agonised pain that diminish my capability to walk, talk and complete basic self care or life skills - no one sees the pain and I’m not great at communicating it- they’ll even try to teach me the pain isn’t real; how can it be possible to lose the ability to walk or talk over something as trivial as a sensory overload, or answering a question, right? No one else experiences it. They just don’t understand me. I’m then always taught to continue to hide my autism-therefore the pain never improves. ABA does just this, hidden by the power of perceived progress.

Additionally sensory pain is a real and valid lived reality-just another lived experience to be taught that ‘can’t exist’ because no one experiences it and therefore must be easily controlled or changed. Autistic children are basically being told they can’t remove themselves from pain the most healing way, when they’re not allowed to stim, avoid eye contact, rest or use their other defence mechanisms.

So yes it IS painful, mentally, emotionally and physically. More on the mental and emotional pain toll, later.

But wait-there’s a reward-that’s not negative, what are you getting at?! (hey! I can read your thoughts, dear reader!) I promise you, that the difference is key-the difference that is, between perceived reward and actual beneficial reward... let’s explore more...

in the end- it’s an act, because the child MUST behave or communicate a certain way (the neurotypical way) -against every defence mechanism telling them not to. Even if they’re in pain, even if they don’t give consent to be touched, or touch, Even if they’re trying to avoid shutdown, or overload or meltdown by doing this thing they’re being told they’re not allowed to do.

Even if they are too hot and need to take off a jumper-something neurotypicals kids are allowed to do as a human right but is something autistic children in ABA are emotionally abused for ‘non compliance’ - some ABA even encourages electric shock therapy to ‘deal’ with this. No... They’re not abused in an obvious manner-but it’s still unintentional gaslighting... and they’re rewarded for making any ‘perceived progress’ too. “Well done! You kept your jumper on, even though your boiling hot & are overloading & shutting down as a consequence! No! Stop that! You must not cope by stimming, you can not cool down by drinking water, or flapping air into your face!” Yes. It’s all good. I’m so glad the kid gets to go a favoured activity for half an hour out of 40 hours of abuse & gaslighting, when they’ve been pushed and broken to the point of not gaining full enjoyment or benefit from it… (SARCASM).

The perceived progress is simply a mask-they’re hiding their true autistic selves -their Autism isn’t being cured-it’s not vanishing or ‘improving’ - perceived progress skills come at a massive future cost to mental and physical wellbeing while also teaching the autistic person their consent does not matter.

-all this ‘progress’ I believe could be taught a different way-with a healthier holistic outcome. This aba doesn’t help create real progress in the long run, the energy it takes to mask reduces the possibility of REAL progress being made- real progress in terms of self acceptance, self understanding and self love - which in turn creates a safe comfortable base for skill building and independence training in society.

More about the mask...

Providing the child is safe- nothings more important than happiness and healthy mentality and wellbeing? The mask actively drains the positive while pretending to be everything trusted adults want them to be. Yet the mask we are slyly forced to learn causes more harm, than good. It teaches us we are wrong for being ourselves, it teaches us that our consent to our body means absolutely nothing and has no worth, it teaches us that we are not worthy of reward unless we put ourselves through great pain or discomfort first. In doing all this, it teaches us that it is ok for us to be abused or bullied because no one-NO ONE likes our real self anyway-we are not worthy enough to be 100% us-all our natural behaviour and communication is modified, changed, and altered- therefore we MUST change for anyone who wishes us to-... and not everyone means to help us. That opens us up to being seriously vulnerable in everyday relationships-vulnerable to abuse, Gaslighting, discrimination and mate crime. It teaches us that if we do things we are not comfortable with -we will get rewarded-no matter what that discomfort is…see how that lingers so close to the line of grooming and abuse? With the constant mask diminishing capabilities to understand, it can be impossible to truly understand the motives of people who are seemingly kind, but wish us harm.

That’s not a reward. Some would say that’s more like torture. Again perceived reward is very different to actual beneficial reward ...

Perceived rewards don’t always benefit autistic people- and during the course of masking (caused by ABA style therapy) rewards may become less therapeutic-here’s why. The mask-hiding our autism causes us to not properly be capable of properly benefiting from any reward -even if it’s our passion or favourite thing related- because we haven’t been able to do our defence mechanisms and instead are masking; or just too overwhelmed or exhausted to reel in any benefits at all. Without our natural defence mechanisms we become less able to process information and make basic connections. for example I lose capabilities to walk, talk or the understanding that rain falling on my skin is actually rain. I lose the ability to make basic connections if I’ve been forced to mask and unable to do my natural defence mechanisms-even if it’s related to my passion or favourite things.

My passion was Egyptology as a child, I remember once at mainstream primary school, being so drained from masking - and a TA rewarded me with hieroglyphs every time I managed to restrain from stereotypical autistic behaviours. Usually due to exhaustion or shutdown. I do LOVE hieroglyphs... so That must have been great for me, right?! Wrong. - I could read and communicate hieroglyphs at that age-I loved them - yet I stared at those heiroglyphs like they were the lost translations of an alien world. I cried from pain and exhaustion and frustration. I tried to Stim to regulate, and express pain, and she told me no. And she took the hieroglyphs away Until I stopped out of pure exhaustion.

Verbal Gaslighting about being normal and not being loved if I do this because it’s not fair on my mum being naughty all the time. I couldn’t make the connection why she was doing or saying these things. that she wanted me to stop. I was too shutdown from not being able to regulate. Yet it was still perceived progress when I did stop, even though the perceived progress were mere coincidences, and not helpful progress at all. Not long later, after not being able to stim, I climbed under the table because the lights were blindingly painful and I desperately needed to gently rock myself as part of a gentle energy saving vestibular stim.

the TA bends down and takes away my comforter out of my hand, aggressively, creating another injustice because at this point I have not done anything wrong and she walks out and closes the door behind me...“you’re not getting this back until you sit back on your chair like a good girl. Then we can talk about your reward” She says in a singsong voice as she leaves. she just left me there, in agony and needing help and understanding for a long, long time…. Because she believed I was being naughty and could control it. Yet, That’s not how my autism works… and that’s why I believe ABA is abuse. She didn’t come back until I had exhausted myself from screaming meltdown of injustice overload and pain. It didn’t make sense to me why she had taken it away when she had just said I was good enough to have it. Why take it away? Nothing made sense I was too shutdown to process it all and an injustice meltdown roared. She came In and out every time I stopped and started again. She didn’t come back, until I had sat silently back on the chair after pain from being circled up on the floor had made me need to stretch out a bit and exhaustion had nearly made me fall asleep in a puddle of my own tears. I was too weak to stand, so I sat. I didn’t know she was waiting for that- I was too drained to process information even though she told me- I had simply just exhausted myself and couldn’t make any noise anymore. Bingo! Perceived progress has been made. The teacher was SO pleased I had stopped, and sat back down, not knowing that it wasn’t by choice but because of huge pain and exhaustion. Out comes my comforter. I’m pleased to see my comforter, desperately so. But it doesn’t help. It can’t, until the abuse stops. In this way even my favourite passion comforter was no reward at all for the abuse I had faced. The reward of masking my autism so people would like me was not beneficial either because I wasn’t accepting of myself to truly thrive as an autistic person; especially as I was always so burnt out from masking all the time. However as I sat there silently numb and in agonising pain that I wasn’t allowed to express, my Teacher was pleased I was making progress.

My family?

Less so.

They were mortified when they found out. It wasn’t done with their permission.

They made sure it didn’t happen again, thankfully-or I wouldn’t be where I am today, as a happy and successful autistic women full of self acceptance, that’s for sure!

My capability to understand had vanished, the spark of joy had smoked out, and left me with burning pain, exhaustion and brain fog. Just think for a moment- If we can’t enjoy or be empowered by the one thing in the whole world that makes us happy and feel safe, due to having to hide our autism and behave or communicate a certain way, if people still don’t treat us well or accept us even when we mask, if the perceived reward isn’t actually that beneficial just how damaging is the ABA system? The thing is, just like ‘perceived progress’- perceived reward isn’t what’s it’s cracked up to be- on either counts- the mask is too damaging for the child to truly benefit from their reward and in this metaphor- money definitely doesn’t buy happiness , understanding, love or self love. That comes from within-self understanding and self acceptance. But wait- you can’t accept yourself if you’re constantly hiding your true self from view because you’ve been taught to ignore your struggles and that you shouldn’t be 100% who you are. Can you? There’s no acceptance in that teaching. How can you then understand yourself, masking your autism, if you’re never taught how to safely address it and learn from it?

To heal through it?

To thrive with its quirks and oddities?

To holistically and safely empower through those complex hardships?

You’re literally just taught “no” (during a exhausting, mentally unhealthy and invisibly painful process) to anything and everything ‘abnormal’ regardless of the root causes or what helps -it doesn’t address the actual hardships-or empower -it covers the hardships up and pretends they’re not there.

Just like the odd belief that, If you act neurotypical enough-you won’t be autistic!

Ummm... no, not quite.

Like an air freshener that sprays a sweet scent in the air of a stinky, messy and soiled public toilet-it masks the odours - but goodness-it doesn’t make the bad smells vanish-it simply covers them up. The two don’t mix well together and you end up with a gross, sweetly disgusting smell. The smells combined still makes you feel sick-because the problem hasn’t been addressed or removed. It’s a very similar prospect-the therapy teaching a mask is not helping the hardships-it’s undermining, Gaslighting and teaching that they don’t matter-consent doesn’t matter- and that if you pretend enough you’ll be fine.

The difference of course, is that, the bad smell is negative-Autism, is most certainly not a bad thing and I’d not something that should be removed or ‘fixed’.

It’s an impossible, lose- lose situation-a vicious circle. But it doesn’t have to be...With ABA and masking You’re taught on a daily basis that you are unworthy of reward without being alien and harming yourself, and you are taught you are wrong simply for being yourself. If that’s not a sure fire way to encourage self hate and negative mental health issues, I don’t what is. But it’s not our fault, at all. We’re human after all. Imagine how incredibly aversive That internal conflict is?. It’s also a burn that will impact you negatively in the future... hell, it’s a type of torture-there’s plenty of horror films depicting this type of abuse, hidden by the thin veil of ‘reward’.Now imagine how any humans natural reaction is to whip their hand away after touching that burning fire-it’s a perfectly natural helpful reaction. We must do it to survive the best way we know how.

This is a part of humanity that should never change-our ability to protect ourselves from harm - and our innate ability to heal. Why would anyone want to change that part of our humanity? Simply, because they don’t understand the root causes of why the defence mechanisms help (removing ourselves from fire), and the root cause of the problem (fires burn us and cause massive damage and trauma). Now to get an understanding of unintentional gaslighting, let’s hear the drum roll, for the aliens with oven glove hands, who live and thrive in fire, and just want to help us humans-but really they don’t understand us at all...

should those fire aliens give us therapy to help us? Let’s find out...

Still with me?

Great... !

So now imagine that aliens with oven glove hands are in the majority and they run the world! They tell us humans that we ‘just need to try harder’ and we MUST touch or live in the Burning fire because there’s ‘no REAL reason why we can’t’ -the burns we complain of don’t exist-or it’s in our heads and easily overcome; our natural defence mechanism to pull our hands out the fire is wrong and should be avoided. Besides, its normal or fire aliens to live in fire, so why cant we humans? What’s wrong with us humans?

In fact- the aliens will reward you for any perceived progress made.

The longer you stay, burning within that fire, the better your rewards. The more friends, acceptance and love-so you try to do it. It least… so you believe… and to complicate matters they believe it’ll help you humans too! Imagine you’re one of the few humans on the planet surrounded by these ‘trying -to-be-helpful’ fire living, oven glove aliens. Just imagine how crazy we would feel, in the process of being taught that our reactions aren’t real, or normal enough to avoid getting burnt in the first place?

Unintentional gaslighting is to “manipulate someone using psychological means into doubting their own lived reality, memories, lived experiences, self or sanity”.

If you get taught your lived reality isn’t possible (shutdowns and meltdowns aren’t real-it’s easily avoidable or just Tantrums bad parenting, attention seeking laziness etc) or the things that help you don’t really help (you must make eye contact! Stop stimming.

Stop complaining -the lights are not that bright!

How can a label in your clothes hurt your skin?

don’t be silly!

Stop resting there’s no need, you can’t be that exhausted from a basic day like that? )

How else are you going to feel? Pretty bad that’s for sure.

It alters your perceptions of your lived reality and self. Self doubt drives you to the brink of insanity - you’re doing the same thing over and over (masking) -

and expecting different results, despite nothing ever changing-and it never improves. nothing changes -results stay the same-but you do the same masking anyway; that is the very definition of insanity. The truth is, you do feel that way and you do those things for a reason and there’s nothing wrong with that-but gaslighting stems from lack of understanding-and when you’re taught to change yourself, naturally you’re taught you were never good enough, to begin with. If you’re taught you can change yourself to behave more neurotypical and that certain experiences aren’t real or a real problem, then It doesn’t matter how positive, the unintentional gaslighting is there. The harm is there. The abuse is there and none of the perceived progress is real healthy long term progress…

This gaslighting and Constant denial of your lived reality and i inner truths, from fire living alien professionals that supposedly know how to help you and do you want help you, Creates Endless questions. These questions reinforce your belief that your reality, isn’t real or your feelings don’t matter- And that you must change because you’re not acceptable as you are -because the alien professionals and world of alone s have taught you there is no other way to safely exist or make progress. The questionable reality this teaches-

If everyone else, can deal with fire, and thrive in it-why can’t I? What’s WRONG with me?

Why does the fire hurt?

Why does acrid smoke make me gag?

Why do the fire embers burn my skin?

Why does the shining light hurt my eyes and distract my thoughts?

Why is it so SCARY?

No one else feels this way.

No one understands me so I’m the one with problem.

I’m the one who need to change.

I mustn’t let them down.

I’m clearly bad for being myself- I must change myself and be more like them to be right.

But I just... can’t. I’m too bad. I’ll never be good enough. The fire still burns me and it shouldn’t...

I’m human I’m always making mistakes and clearly my experiences aren’t even ‘real’ problems - fire is obviously not a real problem as the aliens don’t see it as a problem -it’s just me.

Why does removing myself from fire feel like it helps-that feeling can’t be real.

Why does immersing myself

In cold water help, when they tell me this type of stimulation will harm and hinder me?

Why does the promise of a skin graft so I can continue being me and not be burnt by the fire - fill me with relief - when they teach me that I shouldn’t even want to have a skin graft to continue being me, k shouldn’t want to be human. I should want to be like them. Not disabled. Just alien.

I’m the crazy one because they believe I can do it -and that it’s easily overcome if I keep trying- if I try hard enough I can stay in fire and learn their ways-they reward me and they’re kind and they are so sure k shouldn’t be human, I should be alien. -they must be right. Nothing I do or think is right so they must be right.

I must be wrong. They tell me it helps to stay in fire. I must try harder.

wait, hang on...

I’ve been unintentionally taught by aliens that no part of me is truly valued or worthy -, my humanity is stigmatised, it’s misunderstood and frowned upon. I’ve been taught my feelings and experiences are worthless or not even real it’s all just made up problems in my head. The well intentioned fire aliens might smile and reward and clap when I make perceived progress but the undertone isn’t safe- their actions speak louder than words.

It’s still playing with FIRE.

Why does no one else understand how scary and unsafe that fire truly is to a human like me?

What’s wrong with me? Oh wait-that’s right. My humanity...

Imagine what that would do to your health and your wellbeing? Those aliens with oven glove hands are just trying to help, but they just don’t understand us humans and our natural defence mechanisms or the root cause of us having to remove ourselves from could they? They’re not us-and alien research doesn’t quite measure up to simply communicating with us humans, or listening to human professionals in the first place. Sure it’s funny, right? That Hilarious little alien with oven glove hands -of course it’s okay for them to touch fire-

it doesn’t burn them or have any impact at all; it’s their home and it’s their norm. the aliens live and thrive in fire -but it burns US humans- it can kill us; and teaching any human that they should not be doing something as naturally healing as removing themselves from different types of discomfort, abuse or danger is, absolute absurdity. ....Right?!

To me, That’s exactly what aba accidentally does -in all its glory- it’s also unintentionally SO harmful; all those natural, healing, helpful responses are taught and gaslighted into non existence and replaced with neurotypical mannerisms that cause more harm than good in the long run.

The rewards can never outweigh the harm it does.

It takes years of self acceptance to eventually find the strength to lose the mask-some suffer their whole lives- not from autism-but from faking it, struggling with the horrors of being someone they’re not. From not being accepted. From their struggles never being addressed or empowered. From a misunderstanding society, Gaslighting and hidden abuse. Yet how can you learn self acceptance if you’re taught on a nearly daily basis that every part of you is unacceptable and had to change or be moulded to fit an alien form? It’s a vicious circle. A vicious circle that is agonisingly painful. A circle that is desperately alone. A circle that damages mental health and wellbeing. A circle that could eventually kill any sense of positivity... It’s a circle that kills. Those healing and helpful natural defence mechanisms are the first things to be ‘rewarded’ out of existence-through intense, traumatic, endless therapy.

the Stimming,

lack of eye contact,



lining toys up,

Taking time to process,




mind wandering (stim)ulations,

not wearing certain clothes,

only eating certain foods,



Not able to rest to recover capabilities from shutdowns.

Not giving consent to be touched or touch.

None of it matters now ABA . (Yet It truly does matter and helps us, that’s why it sour natural defence mechanism to do these things: our brains wouldn’t make us do it otherwise. This is our brains way of trying to help us!!) However, It’s all masked out of existence because it’s wrongly believed to be unhelpful.

Coping mechanisms GONE.

Our ability to remove ourselves from literal and metaphorical danger, diminished. Gone.

Our root struggles and valid hardships totally ignored, in favour of being more normal.

Yet... yippee! The aliens all cheer when they see the progress made because they don’t understand the underlying damage it’s truly caused... or that progress, has a different meaning in both our languages-to them aliens, it’s progress-to us humans? It’s unintentional abuse.

The truth is that, all of these (stims, shutdowns etc as listed before) are helpful natural reactions to situations that are overwhelming, scary, harmful or painful-these reactions prevent shutdowns, self injurious behaviours or meltdowns and other types of harm. or they otherwise improve mentality, acceptance, focus, learning and enhance capabilities, life skills and motivation. If only they were understood and empowered instead of forced to change.

that’s why we do these things- because it empowers us-it protects us from future harm.

We make progress and build a safe supportive base where we can empower and learn how to safely address our hardships. Creating a safe and healthy opportunity for self acceptance, positive mentality, to Learn life skills, independence training, communication and self expression, in a way that heals and helps. It’s true progress. Yet when we can’t? It’s not progress at all. It’s perceived progress. It’s just a mask, a pretence. The problems are intensified, the traits harder to deal with and more impactful-they’re simply hidden from view. Ignored and punished. That’s all it is, we are mimicking aliens and burning ourselves to insanity and self loathing in the process, but it least we are no longer appearing too human-because in this world being Human is hugely frowned upon-it’s not seen as positive or acceptable thing-the word human itself is seen as an insult a dirty negative word. It really shouldn’t be. Being human is beautiful- so much empathy, honesty, love, passion and justice seeking. What a beautiful, misunderstood world!

Yes, in this alien world, to be a human, is considered negative, a pity, or worse still when you mask so well you’re told you can’t possibly be human after all. Oh what a painfully and emotionally traumatic kerfuffle. just like any other human who’s first saving instinct is to quickly remove their hand from a burning fire we do the same, yet it’s deemed as okay to teach us not to do these defence mechanisms while equipping us with a bunch of assumed helpful tools (based on neurotypical reality) that also don’t help or protect us in the long run, either.

We can mimic the alien ways- and the aliens will see progress- but that doesn’t mean the fire won’t burn us- that doesn’t mean that their progress is not unintentional abuse.

We are still in danger, we are just hiding it-pretending not to be.

It’s unintentional gaslighting through and through-unintended abuse that the aliens would be mortified if they knew the truth-and they would have misplaced anger, and there might be some denial, while they cling to hope that their therapy does help because they can’t bare the reality.

Aliens can’t stand the idea that it could be harming, abuse even, when their goal all along was to help. The aliens would be so confused because they thought they saw progress-but it turns out-they didn’t understand what progress in this manner truly means. It’s okay, honestly-it is. it’s all perfectly understandable reactions and we humans understand that no alien in their right mind would do these things deliberately to harm us. they’re trying to help-desperately so- its not their fault if they didn’t understand before because of lack of insight or information-and misleading perceptions or education - but when the aliens do understand, we humans have to trust that together we will make some empowering changes.

As long as those positive changes happen, our suffering will be worth it for the future generations freedom, empowerment and self acceptance.

We are not fighting each other - it’s not you against us, or us against you- we are both striving for the same thing- a better future to empower autistic / humans -so let’s make it happen! Together, everyone achieves more. There’s no shame in it- That’s the beauty of diversity-it’s up to all of us to improve our learning journey. We can both learn to understand our differences, to then discover how to best empower everyone and challenge our misconceptions- and its vitally important we do so from diverse perspectives; human, alien, autistic, neurotypical, professionals, parent... everyone. We can’t assume what works for some works for everyone. We mustn’t undermine lived reality. The truth is, we shouldn’t have to learn how to cope with burning fire just to live in this alien world. Our defence mechanisms are helping us as autistic people, far more than learning the alien ways of our neurotypical society and masking our true human nature, ever could help us. And goodness, I want to live in the alien world, I love some of those aliens, and they love me, but there’s just so much damn FIRE!

How does anybody cope with it all?! Maybe my safe, comfortable, empowering fairy jam jar where I can spread my autistic wings and learn to fly, isn’t so bad after all. It’s filled with so much beautiful humanity.

I am severely disabled by autism and I was privileged to be diagnosed at two years old, just a toddler, - in many cases I was encouraged to do ABA style therapy and my family refused. I will always be grateful for them for that because I am happy and I’ve always been accepting and happy with my differences and from that I thrived. I became the successful and happy women I am today because of my autism- not in spite of it- I’m married, love, world award winning, a best selling author and I thrive in a career of passion. I love my life, I would never change my autism or my disabilities, and all because I was encouraged to be myself and my family found other ways to support me - that encouraged me to understand myself and learn from my autism.

They taught me the quirks, the positives, the hidden hardships they encouraged me to be myself. They taught me that autism has many gifts and quirks but it’s also a disability and they told me that autism can be a gift and a disability and the two can and do coexist they told me never to change myself for anyone because I was perfect just as I was. I believe everyone, every child who is autistic or disabled or just literally everyone should be taught the very same thing no one should change or feel the need to change the very basic parts of themselves just because society or people around them don’t like them enough for who they are. My family saved for me from a lifetime of abuse, severing disability, and self sabotage and hatred because they addressed the root causes of hardships and helped make the world accessible and fair and fought for my rights. And it worked. My Autistic Wings is hard, but I wouldn’t change it for the world- I love it after all.

I think I’ll avoid stepping into that fire, in favour of being unashamedly 100% my autistic human self, thank you very much. If you play with fire, you’ll get burnt, after all...



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