On Deconstruction, Speaking, “Speaking,” and Digital Spaces: #cwcon Presentation

Here are my working outline and slides for the talk I’m giving at the Computers & Writing conference tomorrow at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

The tl;dr version: “Stop telling autistic people we can’t speak when we are allll up in your Internet talking our brains out.”


3 thoughts on “On Deconstruction, Speaking, “Speaking,” and Digital Spaces: #cwcon Presentation

  1. Why were you doing ABA if you were never diagnosed? Where your parents therapist? How was the therapy validated by insurance?


    1. I’m confused by this comment. For one thing, I think it’s to the wrong post; my #cwcon presentation had nothing whatsoever to do with either behaviorism in general or ABA in particular (it was about deconstructing popular autism discourse). I think it’s actually a response to the post that follows this one.

      Nevertheless, I’ll do my level best to answer:

      Why were you doing ABA if you were never diagnosed?

      I wasn’t. My parents used behavorist models and methods; they did not use ABA.

      To clarify: ABA is behaviorist in nature, but it uses specific methods to apply behavorist models and theories in practice. All ABA is behaviorist, but not all behavorist practices are ABA.

      Where your parents therapist?

      Where did my parents therapist? Unfortunately for me, everywhere. As both Lovaas and B.F. Skinner note in their work, behavorist methods effect the most obvious and lasting changes when they are reinforced in every environment in which the subject will operate. For me, as a child, that meant being subjected to behavorist responses at home, at school, during extracurriculuar activities like Girl Scouts, with family, in the car….

      I love the use of “therapist” as a verb, btw. Brilliant!

      (EDIT: It has been brought to my attention that this question may have been intended to read “Were your parents therapists?” The answer to that question is no. My parents have never been trained as therapists of any kind; they were simply among the thousands of parents of the early 1980s who read the most popular behavorist claptrap – including Lovaas’s The ME Book, in which he specifically states that the behavorist tools included in the book are written in “plain language” so that they can be used by parents, teachers, and other caregivers who have no formal therapeutic training.)

      How was the therapy validated by insurance?

      I’m very confused by this question. Insurance companies do not validate treatments; they either pay for them or refuse to pay for them. Determining whether a particular treatment is valid for a particular condition is the domain of various regulatory bodies, some of which are non-governmental (like the American Psychiatric Association) and some of which are governmental (like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration).

      At any rate, since I did not have a diagnosis, I was not being treated by a licensed therapist, and no behavorist-modeled therapies were approved by any insurance company in the early 1980s for the treatment of autism, insurance wouldn’t have covered what I went through. Insurance does not cover parenting.


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