YTread Logo
YTread Logo

Letting Go of Control and Rethinking Support for Autistic Individuals | Amy Laurent | TEDxURI

Jun 20, 2024
Twenty years ago I was a newly minted occupational therapist and accepted a job working with children diagnosed with autism. Now I had never worked with an

autistic

child before and, as far as I know, I had never met an

autistic

individual, so I did what you do and Those Moments When You Have No Idea What's Going On and I started reading and While doing so I came across many worrying issues. Children with autism are like empty fortresses. You have to break down walls to get to them. They are insensitive. They live in emotional blindness. It was a troubling topic that I encountered again and again and was presented by Dr.
letting go of control and rethinking support for autistic individuals amy laurent tedxuri
Ivar Lovaas, who was considered the preeminent authority on the education of children with autism at the time, he used behavioral principles in this theory. When he worked with a child with autism, he started from scratch, he had a child in the physical sense, hair, ears, nose. eyes, but not in the psychological sense, you had to build that child and often to build that child and scaffold development, you had to eliminate interfering behaviors. Now you can imagine I was quite worried and wondering what I had gotten myself into and I was also very curious to know what my qualifications were as a recent graduate in children's construction so I felt some trepidation when I went to my first day of work and was about to meet my first client.
letting go of control and rethinking support for autistic individuals amy laurent tedxuri

More Interesting Facts About,

letting go of control and rethinking support for autistic individuals amy laurent tedxuri...

I look across the waiting room and there sits Corrie with a startling look on her face. like a whole kid now, before I can even say hello to Corrie, her behavioral therapist quickly takes me to the side of the room and I hand her a behavior management plan and in this plan is a list of all the things she doesn't have allowed to do: jump, turn, flap. his hands talk silly and all I can handle at that moment is why can't Corrie do these things and the answer comes to me super fast they are autistic behaviors they are stimulating they are non-functional and they are disruptive actually use this chip board to encourage him to not participate in them.
letting go of control and rethinking support for autistic individuals amy laurent tedxuri
She handed me the token board. She handed me the behavior plan and we entered into our session. Now what you need to know is this environment. The entrance we entered was like a giant playground. inflatable cushions there were slides swings we're talking about fun Corey and I started playing and as we played we jumped we crashed we spun we laughed and it was very evident that I wasn't good at inhibiting forbidden behaviors when I was actually involved in them myself, because I was lost in the game, it was also very evident to me that every time Cory got excited, he would jump, drop, jump, slap, and laugh every time and I would say, "You look really excited." and the behavioral therapist would say quiet hands and I would respond to any sound, so I shouldn't be surprised that I was relieved of the chip board and the responsibility of implementing that behavior management plan before the session was even over.
letting go of control and rethinking support for autistic individuals amy laurent tedxuri
I left my first encounter with an autistic child with two thoughts: the first was that I was really bad at behavior management plans, the second was a question, a question of why Cory was engaging in these behaviors, did they seem functional to me now? I settled into my new job. It became clear to me that this question of why didn't apply just to Cory, it applied to all the children in my case group, so every time a behavioral therapist came to a session with me, he asked the same question: Why does the child participate? in these behaviors and the answer was always the same because they have autism and I would answer: well, that's quite circular because they only qualify for an autism diagnosis because they participated in these repetitive, restrictive and stimulating behaviors, they focus on extinguishing and getting rid of them.
Autistic behaviors form the basis of almost all of my clients' educational programs, this was quite uncomfortable for me because, as I said, while they look slightly different from the norm, like Cory jumping and flapping his wings every time he got excited, they seemed functional and this idea that a child could be fixed or these

support

ive behaviors were issues that go back to that early reading I did that saw autism as something different and something deficient now the voices of autistic adults are very clear telling us that This extinction approach to autistic behavior is flawed, in fact, you can't change the underlying neurological differences by simply getting rid of some behaviors.
You can't uncover a hidden neurotypical child by extinguishing hand flapping, so we have increasing evidence telling us that these behaviors are the result of differences in sensory processing, differences in incidence, social communication, and neurophysiological differences. risk factors and these risk factors are best understood by listening to the voices of people with autism, so I will invite you to do just that. Now let's talk about some risk factors for dysregulation for those of us with sensory issues. They include noisy restaurants and other places, labels on clothing and also lighting fixtures that are too bright and especially recessed lighting fixtures that we commonly find in ceilings.
Social environments. Certain social environments can also dysregulate any activity where social interaction is the primary goal rather than executive functioning activity thinking about thinking, for example, having to keep track of too many things without a schedule or something to refer to them just not having a plan to make things predictable assumption of knowledge that I don't have automatically just not having

control

over my environment, so, you know, there's all the cumulative cognitive brain there or how much energy I've used, how much energy I've used for a moment in my day, whether sensory or social or for task performance and The demands on the client's language processing or their language are too much for me to see this environment is often overwhelming.
We have research that validates these feelings. Research that not only validates them but expands them. Studies showing that an individual's average resting heart rate. with autism is much higher than a neurotypical Pierre's studies demonstrating elevated levels of cortisol in the context of social interactions with other people in studies clearly showing an under- and over-response to sensory information in the environment and in this context we begin to Understanding these risk factors and their impact on the experience of an individual with autism results in increased reactivity, increased states of arousal, and sometimes behaviors that may expire, so again we must ask why this occurs and when.
We ask that question becomes very It is clear that risk factors result in an intensity of experience that cannot be contained. My internal state isn't really reflected in a way that I'm a neurotypical person and I might recognize that as joy, but I will say that a lot of it might be things like slappy aunt and I like things that bounce and sway like that. Hey, I'm real cats and I'm happy to share my school. I feel stress and anxiety every day when I feel like I am out of

control

of my life. I experienced, tense the sir. well my body and others see us as if they don't listen to us and call us positive, experiencing stress is overwhelming expressed in the worst way, it's like it can't be contained, it has to come out and not in words, in fact it really doesn't.
I think or experiment. words, when I'm stressed it's a very physical experience in the middle of that, in a moment when I'm very stressed, you know, I chase and grab my head and I scratch my scalp, I bite my cuticles and my hands deeper, deeper and stronger than I usually feel like I'm in this chaotic chaos and like I have to throw myself with all my might against a wall or smash things and in my most stressed moments, some of these behaviors sound very familiar, things we might do in times of intense stress and anxiety, some of them are less familiar, but they are all based on neurological development.
It is human nature to seek repetitive rhythmic actions, especially combined with pressure. When we experience extreme stress and extreme arousal, we begin to understand that the intensity of the experience of an individual with autism resorts to these explosive behaviors that occur much more frequently. Given this knowledge, it is time for educational practice to reflect what we know we know best we understand. The risk factors and intensity of experiences that we actually need to improve again as adults with autism are crystal clear, challenging us to rethink the status quo of behavior management by trying to make them seem indistinguishable from the neurotypical population even though they have a unique neurology.
We need to understand the behavior, but understand that within the context of autism the behavior in question was more than just a behavior to lie at the very core of who I was and I don't know why I had that instinct, but I just had it and that made me The pain was doubly worse because not only were they criticizing the behavior, but they were criticizing the very fiber of who he was, so as we communicate our emotions, these behaviors can be stifled and trained to eliminate the feeling that the therapist mother or society wants to fix me and not free our personality to control those emotional experiences and how they look is to control me and who I am not only do I feel drug addicted or tired or bored not only is it unpleasant but it feels like living hell like a total confusion and a sense of being lost or incompetent again the weight of these feelings the rawness of them cannot be ignored, it is time for educational practice to reflect our knowledge, our knowledge of research and our knowledge of the voices of autistic

individuals

and When we do, we need to rethink this by focusing on extinguishing controlling and complying behavior because the voices of our autistic adults are too. very clear about the really dangerous and harmful results of such an approach rather than focusing on making them indistinguishable from their peers, which means getting them to simply get along and that can result in very tragic results, another area that is important direction is plans behavioral symbolic economics focus on compliance-driven programs and how they can be potentially dangerous and harmful and in some cases create post-traumatic stress syndrome in artistic people also results arise when anxiety increases and there is internal damage because our communication is not respected and strong emotions such as anger such as anger if the destruction of B's ​​room or suicide these lived experiences of long-lasting educational programs that focus on behavior management and focus on trying to do If someone seems indistinguishable despite their unique neurology should become a thing of the past, we must move forward, so the question is what is the change if behavior management is not the way the change is from behavior management? to emotional regulation.
Let's take the focus off of that observable Stimme autistic behavior and focus on the unique underlying experience. of the individual with autism plagued by those risk factors and that intensity of reaction. I'm going to embrace that neurological diversity. Let's move away from managing this external locus of control where I'm implementing some arbitrary plan to control. your behavior so that you look like you fit in and I'm going to change that to regulation regulation is a developmental construct where we teach people with autism new tools and strategies to be able to navigate their days successfully to regulate those strong emotional reactions so that we can move away from the behavior management, this external locus ventral to emotional regulation, a focus on developing skills within the autistic individual and in that way we empower them, we enable them to navigate their days successfully and when we do so we maximize their potential, is vital importance Remember that autistic people are not a collection of behaviors that need to be changed, but rather

individuals

to

support

so that we can use the strengths they have to lead full and productive lives and make that the rule rather than the exception.
I just think we need to focus on helping new kids and adults maximize their potential and become the baby that is people who can include their disability in all my years running the world's largest adult membership organization on the spectrum. I certainly understood that all of this was a double task. road street then the rest of the world had a lot of work to do and we had something to do as individuals on the spectrum. I don't know what that percentage is between the two of how much work needs to be done, but I know. We firmly believe that, for our part, 90% of our problems as adults in life are caused by the inability to manage our emotional regulation challenges, so as we make this change in thisemotional regulation, we form a partnership, a partnership in which we help develop skills. and skills so that individuals are able to regulate their emotions and deal with the risk factors that they have, but also a partnership that recognizes that we need to make adaptations to the environment so that they are not so overwhelming or activities and is within the context of This partnership That our question begins to transform is no longer just a question of why, but it now becomes a question of how do you start the conversation with the individual by asking how can I help and I believe that many emotional regulation strategies can really benefit me from that same concept but it's hard to feel tense it's hard to feel angry it's hard sometimes it's hard for me to breathe deeply when I'm really angry it would be if we had some space and stuff and we had some time alone in our rooms and I relaxed and did some good things, but I think the help that someone would benefit the most is recognizing that all of these behaviors are just communication and they are valid messages, valid communication and it's not just autism Hartnell, so in the shift towards emotional regulation.
We form a society and honor and recognize and empower, teach new strategies and also accommodate unique neurological differences and it is a change, a paradigm shift that begins with that question of why, but reflects that we now have much more knowledge and that we must abandon the educational practice. behavior management that is rooted in a limited understanding behind that we need to move on and in this context we understand that it was never about building up a child or inhibiting behaviors when interacting with Cori, but rather about helping him learn new things in different ways for the emotional expression. and to manage those risk factors and in that partnership it is also about me accommodating him so that the world is not so overwhelming for him and in the partnership it is also essential to recognize that we have a lot to learn from people with autism, for example , Cori.
He taught me that autism is really just a different way of being and honestly the best lesson is to jump in and let yourself fall, it's an amazing way to let the joy flow through you. Really give it a try after you're done here now, since this is a partnership and I've been joined by seven wonderful autistic adults who I'm very lucky to call my dear friends. I would like to step aside and let you listen to them and learn from them one last time. let go of control, don't try to change us, learn from them. respect us support us empower us thank you very much

If you have any copyright issue, please Contact