500 signatures reached
To: Minister Anne Rabbitte
Abolish conversion Practices on Neurodivergent People
We call on Minister Rabbitte to ban the use of all behavioural interventions on Neurodivergent people in this state, thereby upholding our right to safe and dignified access to education, healthcare and other services.
Why is this important?
The phrase ‘conversion therapy,’ brings to mind harmful efforts to ‘cure’ gay, trans and other queer people… Now imagine similar coercion and trauma were inflicted on Neurodivergent people - Autistics, People with Down Syndrome, People with Intellectual Disabilities and others…
You don’t need to imagine. (1) It’s real, it’s been going on for 60 years, and it is happening right now across Ireland in schools, in adult and child services, and in peoples’ homes.
How could this be? Is this legal?
Yes, it’s legal… It is the go-to ‘therapy’ for many Neurodivergent people of all ages to make us appear ‘normal,’ taught to psychologists and psychiatrists, social care workers, SNAs, and special ed. teachers.
That is why we need your support.
Behaviourist conversion methods hide behind a plethora of credible-sounding names - Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA), Positive Behavioural Support (PBS), Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention (EIBI), Social Skills Training, PECS, ‘behavioural plans,’ and others. They are so ingrained into the practice of Irish professionals that many are oblivious to the harm.
It’s just ‘what you do’ for ‘those people.’
We are ‘those people,’ and we’re telling you: this is doing us real lasting harm.
Almost half (46%) of those subjected to ABA display PTSD symptoms.(2) This is why our communities oppose all such ‘therapies,’ including the so-called ‘gentle ABA.’ All variants assume we are defective humans who must be shamed and bribed to mimic ‘normal.’ All it really does is teach us to silently suffer the trauma of living a lie.
The UN agrees:
“Autistic persons are particularly exposed to professional approaches and medical practices which are unacceptable from a human rights point of view. Such practices … violate their basic rights, undermine their dignity, and go against scientific evidence.”(3)
Behaviourist conversion methods ignore our human rights. They do us terrible harm. They don’t work. We do not consent. This has to stop. Now.
And yet it continues. Ireland is even hosting an international ABA conference in September,(4) possible only because this kind of conversion ‘therapy’ remains legal here.
Prioritising a diversity of Neurodivergent voices in the upcoming Autism Innovation Strategy as per UNCRPD(5) may help, but will not secure our safety in law.
Therefore, we call on Minister Rabbitte to ensure Neurodivergent citizens are protected from further harm by banning all behavioural interventions in this state.
To find out more about behaviourist conversion, the harm it causes, and further steps you can take to help, follow the links below
Follow similar campaigns internationally:
#BanABA #SayNoToABA #BetterWaysThanABA #StopTheShock
1. Ole Ivar Løvaas: Originator of ABA & Gay Conversion methods https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2021/03/man-behind-ex-gay-conversion-therapy-started-trying-make-autistic-children-normal/
2. Kupferstein, H. (2018), "Evidence of increased PTSD symptoms in autistics exposed to applied behavior analysis", Advances in Autism, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 19-29. https://doi.org/10.1108/AIA-08-2017-0016 or https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/AIA-08-2017-0016/full/html
3. UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 2015 Special Report: https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2015/04/discrimination-against-autistic-persons-rule-rather-exception-un-rights
4. Applied Behavioral Analysis International, ABAI Conference 2022: https://www.abainternational.org/events/international/dublin-2022/conference-home.aspx
5. UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, 2006: https://www.un.org/disabilities/documents/convention/convention_accessible_pdf.pdf