Thursday, July 23, 2009

Autism Treatment - Anti-ABA Activist Michelle Dawson Regurgitates Her Tired Anti-ABA Rhetoric

Perhaps she senses that the battle is lost.

Michelle Dawson is once again lashing out with the same stale anti-ABA rhetoric in An anomaly in autism intervention research. There is little new in this latest rant. First diagnosed as an adult "autistic" with an unspecified Autism Spectrum Disorder Ms Dawson has made a career out of opposing efforts by parents to obtain ABA treatment for their children.

Together with her comrade in arms in anti-ABA activism, Dr. Laurent Mottron, Michelle Dawson has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada, the Canadian Senate, several times before CBC cameras and microphones, and been interviewed numerous times, telling the world that she and Dr. Laurent Mottron know better than the US Surgeon General, the Association for Science in Autism Treatment, the MADSEC Autism Task Force, the New York State Department of Health, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the May Institute, the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc. and of course the Lovaas Institute.* (not an exhaustive list) about the effectiveness of ABA as an autism intervention. And now she is at it again.

Ms Dawson's latest anti-ABA rant features more of the same old arguments and allegations and one revealing statement that shows that she really is out of touch, not just with the realities of autistic children, but also with basic family rights and responsibilities:

The practice of claiming effectiveness for an autism intervention which has not been fairly tested, then using these claims of effectiveness to deem fair tests unethical, has clear benefits to service providers. And this practice has received wall-to-wall support from autism advocates, who have in turn imposed it on autistics through lobbying and litigation.

ABA is not generally imposed on adult autistic persons. (Never to my knowledge) . The autism advocates that Michelle Dawson is referring to are parents of autistic children seeking to obtain the well documented benefits of ABA treatment for their children. Ms Dawson to my knowledge, is not herself a parent. She apparently believes that she, diagnosed as autistic as an adult, is better informed and has a greater right and responsibility, to determine what is good for autistic children than the parents of those children.

Michelle Dawson is wrong. Again.

*(Note: the May Institute, the CARD and the Lovaas Institute actually work with autistic children applying ABA, helping them overcome autism disorder deficits, and know what they are talking about from direct first hand experience).




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6 comments:

Marius Filip said...

I've left a comment on her post related to three issues I see in her exposition.

I'm quite flabbergasted that ABA now becomes HARMFUL if it doesn't match the double-blind criteria that Ms. Dawson clings so much to.

Anonymous said...

I find her opposition similar to those in the deaf community who ostracize parents who opt for a cochlear implant for their deaf child. However, 'deaf culture' is a far different world than autism. Most autistic children cannot speak for themselves and if they can, do not necessarily have the ability to make a mature and responsible decision concerning their future (like all children). If you were to ask my son or daughter if they would like to go back to being autistic -- stimming, nonverbal, friendless with a dim future -- they would say no way! How do I know? Because I have asked them. They are happy to have the lives they have now. I am not so sure Michelle Dawson is happy with her own life. I think the expression 'misery loves company' applies to her.

Charlotte Robinson-Rocca

Socrates said...

Michelle's position is quite simple: That Autistics should benefit from the same ethical and scientific standards as the rest of the community.

Pro or anti ABA, doesn't come into it.

Pro-evidenced based interventions is what is being sought.

Autism Reality NB said...

Socrates thank your for your comment.

You did not address the issue I raised, the issue of Ms Dawson's comments about ABA being "imposed" on autistic persons and her failure to demonstrate an understanding of the parents' rights and responsibilities, with respect to their own children, and their actual knowledge of those children.

With respect to her insistence on the same science as others this position is an extreme view of science and one that ignores modern evidence based approaches to medicine. There are many other valid studies besides the studies she insists on which are recognized as sound scientifically by the medical and research communities. There are literally hundreds of such studies supporting ABA efficacy in treating autism. The AAP is the most recent summay of the many credible reviews done of these studies which states:

"The effectiveness of ABA-based intervention in ASDs has been well documented through 5 decades of research by using single-subject methodology21,25,27,28 and in controlled studies of comprehensive early intensive behavioral intervention programs in university and community settings.29–40 Children who receive early intensive behavioral treatment have been shown to make substantial, sustained gains in IQ, language, academic performance, and adaptive behavior as well as some measures of social behavior, and their outcomes have been significantly better than those of children in control groups.31–4"

American Academy of Pediatrics, Management of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders


Ms Dawson, and you, would have us believe that the AAP, the NYSDOH, the US Surgeon General, the hundreds of professional members of the Association for Science in Autism Treatment, the professionals of the MADSEC Autism Task Force, and the professionals at the May Institute, the Lovaas Institutes, the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities who actually work with and treat autistic children don't apply proper science?

Ms Dawson's position lacks any credibility.

Anonymous said...

"Autistics should benefit from the same ethical and scientific standards as the rest of the community."

Than I hope Ms. Dawson realizes that the so called "scientific" and "ethical" standards "imposed" on the non-autistic "community" are not different from the standards for autistic people. In fact, the standards for non-autistic people are much more lax since we do not have a severe disability. If Ms. Dawson "imposed" the same "standards" to the non-autistic community we wouldn't have much, would we?

"Pro or anti ABA, doesn't come into it."

That's really all of it.

"Pro-evidenced based interventions is what is being sought."

What autism treatments have been proven to work through double-blind studies? And are they as endorsed as ABA?

Don't forget,

"Ms Dawson, and you, would have us believe that the AAP, the NYSDOH, the US Surgeon General, the hundreds of professional members of the Association for Science in Autism Treatment, the professionals of the MADSEC Autism Task Force, and the professionals at the May Institute, the Lovaas Institutes, the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities who actually work with and treat autistic children don't apply proper science?"

drcward-goldsmith said...

ABA is known as one of the most effective therapies for kids with autism and ASD. We have similar problems here in Ireland where the local authority is supposed to provide funds and uses every loophole to avoid doing it. This is a disgrace as it's children's futures that are being gambled here with.

Dr Caroline Ward-Goldsmith
EU Parliamentary Advisor
Director ATC Treatment Centre Ireland
www.atctreatment.com