Is a deep set human craving…and much more rare than any of think.
Even parental love. Perhaps that should read…especially parental love.
From the moment, we are born our parents use their love or the withholding of it to control and condition our behaviors.
You don’t believe me? One word…
Letting your baby cry itself to sleep. (Over simplified I know but that is the gist of it.)
Pavlovian control and conditioning is the core strategy of most Western parenting styles. Or has been until the past fifty years. It still remains the dominant one though.
Despite vast volumes of scientific studies as well as anecdotal evidence from psychologists that document the life-long harm done to the self-esteem and identity of human beings.
Even as we moved away from corporal punishment, we simply substituted one form of control for another…behavior charts.
No, the conditionality of love is not unique to #Neurodivergent little humans.
You have only to visit a traditional home on the day that report cards come out to see the effects of this parenting style.
One child may get special treats or even money for ‘good’ grades. Another will be punished for bad. Regardless of effort or special needs.
But there are other books going into great detail about the dangers of conditional love and controlling little humans through punishment/rewards systems.
This one is specific to #Neurodivergent #autistic little humans. In that vain, I want to examine two specific facets of that conditionality of parental love and engagement.
- ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis)
Applied Behavioral Analysis is a behavior modification technique/therapy that goes back to the 1960s. But it was Ivar Lovaas and Robert Koegel who first founded the UCLA Young Autism project that did much of the groundbreaking work in the area.
Going back to that definition of Acceptance, this is about CHANGING behaviors. Pure and simple.
What is more…the techniques used to ‘positively’ reinforcement ‘good’ behaviors center around parental attention. In other words, parents are withhold their love and attention until the child does something they want him to.
To clear, ABA is used to extinguish…change…many naturally occurring self-soothing behaviors such as stimming (repetitive movements like rocking and hand flapping).
Because parents do not want their child ACTING autistic.
From that standpoint, I suppose it is a chicken or egg question. Is ABA teaching parents conditional love? Or are parents utilizing this controversial methodology because their love is conditional?
Either way…the damage is done.
All you need to do is listen to the #ActuallyAutistic community to know how damaging this ‘therapy’ is to the psyche of developing little humans.
Yet almost fifty years later it is still the dominant early intervention in autism. Sadly, MOST early interventions use its techniques…even if not its name.
Every single piece of advice I have ever been given by ‘experts’ regarding PanKwake’s autism could be linked back to ABA. It underlies all the works in schools. Your child cannot escape it.
And the underlying message is…
If you act autistic, you don’t deserve love or attention.
No where do we see this more than with the issue of meltdowns.