Autism Acceptance and Treatment
Can Autism Treatment & Autism Acceptance Coexist?
We believe that autism treatment and autism acceptance not only can coexist but should coexist in a world that values inclusion, encourages personal growth and celebrates our differences. The kind of world we idealize and seek to emulate.
At the same time, we recognize and understand that some people with autism are concerned when treatment is discussed. To these individuals, fully comfortable in who they are, the idea that they need treatment implies they are “less than.” That they need to change in some way to be fully whole and accepted by all.
At Potential, treating someone with autism does not mean teaching them to be just like everyone else. It means coming alongside them, partnering to help reach their goals to be successful in life, whatever that looks like to them individually.
Each one of us is unique, and that is wonderful. At Potential, we provide evidence-based treatment that is tailored to meet the individual needs of each person. This is not because we want to change who they are, but rather because we want to help them live life to their fullest potential. It’s an important distinction.
Many people on the spectrum dismiss the notion that they need treatment. They might tell you their autistic behaviors are actually their superpowers. And indeed they can be!
In fact, we believe that unique “superpowers,” or strengths, such as honesty or a strong work ethic should be encouraged, along with a positive mindset and self-confidence.
“When a strengths-based approach is utilized to support learners, especially when started at an early age, more options and opportunities may become available,” says Karen Yosmanovich, M.Ed, BCBA, LBS, Clinical Manager at Potential.
“We want learners to be able to choose to eat in crowded restaurants or advocate to eat elsewhere. Treatment doesn’t take away from this but helps build strategies and awareness of different ways to approach an identified problem.”
The goal of ABA therapy is not to suppress what makes an individual unique. The goal is to improve everyday life so that the person with autism is living safely and meaningfully. It supports that autism is an integral part of each person living with it.
“ABA uses evidence-based methods to create behavior change that is socially significant for the individual, but it does not change identities,” adds Kristine Quinby, president & CEO of Potential. “The Potential team fully believes ABA-customized treatment plans can help people with autism discover, unleash and develop their unique superpowers.”
We can all be superheroes by bringing more acceptance to our world by recognizing the value and diversity of all individuals.