(I am posting this video here again because it is so representative of so much that I want to discourage, and I'm discussing it again in this post)
Obviously there certainly is a great deal of new thinking about autism that is very important.The problem is that the exclusivity and ablest views that have made teaching others to respect autistic people so difficult are too often being blatantly (and even proudly) reinforced by those who claim to be advocating for us. The video is an example of that.
ABA should never be confused with what neurodiversity is. That doesn't mean that anyone who agrees with one can never agree with something about the other, but they are contradictions. Neurodiversity means liberating people who think differently by discouraging exclusive standards. ABA endorses a brand of psychology that demands a type of hierarchical standard of behavior that compliments what autistics are typically not. The video does the same thing but glorifies an even broader and even more exclusive set of typical standards.
The goal of ABA is normalization or the promotion of societal standards. It is often mistaken as an educational approach. It is not and because it's popular to call it that doesn't make it true. It is the presumption of behaviorists that all human actions can be categorized as behavior. The idea that "When you're a hammer, everything can look like a nail" describes a marketing technique that is used by the industry of ABA. If all actions can be described as behavior then each behavior can be judged by how a behaviorist defines it.
With enough power companies are able to create demands rather than just catering to the demands that already exist. Wherever there are few or no regulations a company can prey on peoples fear and insecurity by displaying images and sound that show that if they don't look or act the way that the purchase of their product will better enable them to then society will exclude them and severely devalue their existence.
What's the difference between the term behavior modification and the term manipulation to promote exclusive standards? The answer is that the difference is that the term manipulation to promote exclusive standards is not as effective at promoting ABA.
You see misunderstood or alternate forms of expression are how ABA is shown to be less valuable so the standard expressions they promote must be very narrow and must appeal to peoples emotion rather than reason in order to sell the ABA product.
A product that is used to control others is much easier to market than one that takes time and effort to understand and encourage people. This is how impulse fear-based buying is promoted.That is part of the frantic lifestyle of the modern society that considers itself sophisticated and how fear-based marketing is justified. Psychology as something that claims to aid people in countering their dysfunctions often has a built in justification for products that can be of used to control and herd groups of people. Ridding yourself or your children of what society views as dysfunctional is very fashionable and the over-emphisis is often very destructive.
Of course this is the way that the brand of psychology known as behaviorism was bought by public schools and the schools have further justified this controlling "psychological" tool by describing it as "educational support". This controlling tool aids teachers as well as further allows them to better herd children, exclude many of them by glorifying a narrow set of typical standards, and justify how they continue to not take the time and effort to understand and empower unique expressions and unique individuals.
Once a company is resourceful and powerful enough to create a demand rather than find one to fill the cycle that leads to them having more resources and power will include political backing and the right to use pseudoscience to prove what doesn't exist otherwise.
All this begins by selling people on a narrow set of exclusive standards that can then be used to control them. Unregulated commercialism sells people on the idea that a narrow set of exclusive standards is how people should be controlled by encouraging them to have aspirations that promote products and corporations who then buy their rights and liberties.
The ABA supporters who made this film not only showed their support for a set of values that inspire this type of oppressive and exclusionary elitism and ableism by the way the film was made, but they stated clearly in words that the marketing means they were using were justified by what they hoped would be the result. Claiming that the ends justify the means is a short term impulsive emotional decision at the expense of the long term more important but more complicated goal.
As a political group ASAN who is aspiring to advocate for the neurodiversity movement (who has also shown their support for ABA )and who helped to make and promote this video needs to be careful of how they might promote ableism so as not to offend the broader disability community to which autistics belong. It's important that they show a willingness to understand the views of as broad of population of disabled people as possible so that it doesn't appear that their political aspirations as a group outweighs the needs of the people they aspire to be helping (since so many other political groups are doing just that).In other words, it's important to show that you are not impulsively claiming that the end justifies the means at the expense of those you're advocating for.
Behavior modification has always been a tool used in marketing to create demands for products and services that the public would not otherwise see a need for. The more sophisticated marketing techniques become the less subtle they need to be. That's how behavior modification and conditioning works. Once the demand has been established for a particular product or service the marketing means don't need to be nearly as subtle for people to accept them and the values that are being sold along with the product or service (no matter how corrupting) don't require nearly as much justification.
The following comment by Sadderbutwisergirl on my last post concerning this video put so much of what believe in so few of her own excellent words:"Sadderbutwisergirl said...
Vector: The whole point of this post is that the Rethinking Autism people are speaking up for neurodiversity, which is a good thing, but they're only using people who can be confident, sexually appealing actors for the video to spread their message. It's a few non-autistics speaking for a large population of autistics who have lots of needs. You could argue that they don't want to stereotype autistics as being less than confident, but I say that that plays right into the hands of people who believe that autistics are just a population who should be kept around so that they can learn appropriate, non-autistic ways of behaving from their non-autistic peers. And, to bring up the Animal Farm analogy again, if a small elite is given the power to speak for the many, it has the potential to turn into that elite becoming our new oppressors. We'll be left outside in the cold and stables while the elite of our non-autistic spokespersons are in a comfortable house, playing cards with our old oppressors. And it'll be hard for us to tell which is which"
It has already been shown how elitist values that ultimately serve a minute portion of the population who can actually meet the standards these values promote can and do lead to harsh methods of excluding and disrespecting disabled people as well as even eugenics. This set of values cannot go unchallenged. Autistic people will not be liberated or empowered by showing that some will be able to meet already established unreasonable standards. The arrogance of believing that anyone other than the already established elite will ultimately be able to survive the ever-changing demands that large corporations are given the power to make is very self-destructive. I hope the people will be careful to not promote someone's agenda that ultimately does not empower or promote them.