Statement on Applied Behavioural Analysis from National Autism Charity of Ireland
AsIAm, Ireland’s National Autism Charity, opposes the practice of Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) and associated therapies and practises. We do not undertake, support, or fund any projects which are ABA-based. We do not participate in any research which is ABA-based.
The aim of any evidence-based therapy should be to empower an autistic person to enjoy autonomy, independence their family and community. Any therapy which approaches autism as a deficit, or which aims to make an autistic person conform to neurotypical norms should be avoided as they constitute a breach in the fundamental rights of autistic people. This includes Applied Behavioural Analysis which has a deeply troubling history, and which has been cited by countless autistic people in Ireland and internationally as a source of distress, trauma, and poor mental health. We do not believe that the principles and practices associated with this approach are compliant with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
As a national, non-profit, and autistic founded organisation, we are focused on bringing about a society which accepts and embraces autistic people. This means the correct, neuro-affirmative supports for autistic people and their families, and for communities, public services, and businesses which respect, value and celebrate autistic people. The focus of our advocacy and programmes is in advancing this aim.
In engaging with community members and stakeholders, and in our communication strategy, we take an approach which maximises the opportunity to successfully promote and realise the rights of autistic people. AsIAm exists to serve all autistic people and their families. We deliver our services in a person-centred, non-judgemental, and supportive manner to all who engage in our programmes and activities.
To learn more about non-ABA therapies, read our supports on Speech and Language Therapy and Occupational Therapy.