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ASPartOfMe
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05 Aug 2019, 4:04 pm

“The Autistic Self Advocacy Network condemns Sesame Street’s decision to further stigma against autistic children and adults in their new Public Service Announcements.

For several years, ASAN consulted with Sesame Street on their See Amazing project and the development of their autistic character, Julia. Until this summer, the content Sesame Street produced showed parents that their autistic children could live great lives, and taught autistic and neurotypical children ways to become friends. Through this approach, See Amazing successfully encouraged the inclusion of autistic children in their communities, and had a widespread positive impact.

Sesame Street has now decided to undo that progress. Its latest PSAs featuring Julia promote Autism Speaks’ “Screen for Autism” initiative and their resource for parents of newly-diagnosed autistic children, the 100 Day Kit. Like much of Autism Speaks’ recent advertising, these PSAs use the language of acceptance and understanding to push resources that further stigma and treat autistic people as burdens on our families. The 100 Day Kit encourages parents to blame family difficulties on their autistic child (“When you find yourself arguing with your spouse… be careful not to get mad at each other when it really is the autism that has you so upset and angry”) and to view autism as a terrible disease from which their child can “get better.” It recommends compliance-based “therapies” and pseudoscientific “autism diets,” but fails to educate families about communication supports. It even instructs parents to go through the five stages of grief after learning that their child is autistic, as they would if the child had died.

We discussed with Sesame Street, repeatedly and in great detail, what this decision would mean for the autistic community. We explained to them how these ideas harm autistic children and our families, and reinforce societal prejudice against autistic people. Our contacts acknowledged that the Autism Speaks resources were harmful and portrayed autistic children in a negative light -- yet they were unwilling to reverse course in their plans to promote them. As a result, we have formally ended our partnership with Sesame Street.

Too often, parents of autistic children are bombarded with terrifying messages. They are told that their autistic child will destroy their marriage and their nondisabled children’s lives. They are told that their child’s happiness -- and their own -- depends on the child “getting better” by hiding their autistic traits, and to work toward this goal above all else. They are told to grieve for the hypothetical nondisabled child they had imagined, rather than to love and connect to the autistic child in front of them. These messages hurt autistic people, scare our families, and encourage our communities to fear and exclude us. Autism Speaks has played a central role in developing them.

The See Amazing initiative was groundbreaking because it offered an alternative to these stories. It let families know that their autistic children are amazing, can live happy lives, and are deserving of love. Now, Sesame Street has decided to let See Amazing become just another vehicle for Autism Speaks to spread the same old toxic ideas.

Decision-makers at Sesame Street understand the position they are in. For fifty years, Sesame Street has created content with the explicit goal of impacting the real lives of children and families. It is too late to pretend that Sesame Street can amplify harmful messages without causing harm. We call on Sesame Street to recognize the damage they are doing, end their partnership with Autism Speaks, and commit to producing and promoting only content which increases the inclusion, acceptance and well-being of autistic children.“


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Fnord
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05 Aug 2019, 4:16 pm

This news about Sesame Street going over to the other side f****s up my whole day.

Seriously.


:evil:


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ASPartOfMe
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05 Aug 2019, 5:51 pm

Also, disturbing is that the very influential and powerful Autism Speaks after a few years of becoming less bad is apparently regressing.


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05 Aug 2019, 6:02 pm

Fnord wrote:
This news about Sesame Street going over to the other side f****s up my whole day.

Seriously.


:evil:



Agreed.


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breaks0
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05 Aug 2019, 6:15 pm

Who was the douchebag at the Children's Television Workshop or whoever produces Sesame Street now to take the show from PBS to HBO in the first place? That's not even basic cable. As one kid who did grow up on that show and can thereby speak for at least 3 or 4 generations of kids and families who raised their kids on that show it was a deeply classist and arguably also racist decision. The kids who need SS the most are young children very often kids of color and/or from working class families. Their parents very often can't afford f*****g HBO and other premium cable channels. I've heard they reair eps second run on PBS or something. Is that true? Even if so it's still slighting those whose families are in this sort of position and it just stinks to high heaven. I mean it's one things for CTW to market alot of their "products" to whatever company (I had SS records back in the 70s and I once got a Kermit the Frog puppet for Xmas and I know there are probably a million more things nowadays) for profit. But taking it off PBS is just deeply undemocratic and exclusionary. It's supposed to be an educational show historically THE children's educational show. But now it's only for those who "can afford it". f**k that!



d057
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05 Aug 2019, 8:26 pm

Oh boy, we're regressing back to the "death sentence" claim. Here we go again!


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06 Aug 2019, 8:41 am

I read about this this morning, its to bad they had to ruin a good thing


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d057
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06 Aug 2019, 4:16 pm

What are compliance-based therapies? My parents sent me to a summer day camp back in my elementary school days. It used this point system that was basically intended to reward kids for good behavior and punish them for behaviors they deem as "bad." Earning enough points meant you were allowed to go on a field trip at the end of the week. Not earning enough points meant you had to stay and do chores. Is that an example of a "compliance-based therapy?"

ASPartOfMe wrote:
“The Autistic Self Advocacy Network condemns Sesame Street’s decision to further stigma against autistic children and adults in their new Public Service Announcements.

For several years, ASAN consulted with Sesame Street on their See Amazing project and the development of their autistic character, Julia. Until this summer, the content Sesame Street produced showed parents that their autistic children could live great lives, and taught autistic and neurotypical children ways to become friends. Through this approach, See Amazing successfully encouraged the inclusion of autistic children in their communities, and had a widespread positive impact.

Sesame Street has now decided to undo that progress. Its latest PSAs featuring Julia promote Autism Speaks’ “Screen for Autism” initiative and their resource for parents of newly-diagnosed autistic children, the 100 Day Kit. Like much of Autism Speaks’ recent advertising, these PSAs use the language of acceptance and understanding to push resources that further stigma and treat autistic people as burdens on our families. The 100 Day Kit encourages parents to blame family difficulties on their autistic child (“When you find yourself arguing with your spouse… be careful not to get mad at each other when it really is the autism that has you so upset and angry”) and to view autism as a terrible disease from which their child can “get better.” It recommends compliance-based “therapies” and pseudoscientific “autism diets,” but fails to educate families about communication supports. It even instructs parents to go through the five stages of grief after learning that their child is autistic, as they would if the child had died.

We discussed with Sesame Street, repeatedly and in great detail, what this decision would mean for the autistic community. We explained to them how these ideas harm autistic children and our families, and reinforce societal prejudice against autistic people. Our contacts acknowledged that the Autism Speaks resources were harmful and portrayed autistic children in a negative light -- yet they were unwilling to reverse course in their plans to promote them. As a result, we have formally ended our partnership with Sesame Street.

Too often, parents of autistic children are bombarded with terrifying messages. They are told that their autistic child will destroy their marriage and their nondisabled children’s lives. They are told that their child’s happiness -- and their own -- depends on the child “getting better” by hiding their autistic traits, and to work toward this goal above all else. They are told to grieve for the hypothetical nondisabled child they had imagined, rather than to love and connect to the autistic child in front of them. These messages hurt autistic people, scare our families, and encourage our communities to fear and exclude us. Autism Speaks has played a central role in developing them.

The See Amazing initiative was groundbreaking because it offered an alternative to these stories. It let families know that their autistic children are amazing, can live happy lives, and are deserving of love. Now, Sesame Street has decided to let See Amazing become just another vehicle for Autism Speaks to spread the same old toxic ideas.

Decision-makers at Sesame Street understand the position they are in. For fifty years, Sesame Street has created content with the explicit goal of impacting the real lives of children and families. It is too late to pretend that Sesame Street can amplify harmful messages without causing harm. We call on Sesame Street to recognize the damage they are doing, end their partnership with Autism Speaks, and commit to producing and promoting only content which increases the inclusion, acceptance and well-being of autistic children.“


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ASPartOfMe
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06 Aug 2019, 6:27 pm

d057 wrote:
What are compliance-based therapies? My parents sent me to a summer day camp back in my elementary school days. It used this point system that was basically intended to reward kids for good behavior and punish them for behaviors they deem as "bad." Earning enough points meant you were allowed to go on a field trip at the end of the week. Not earning enough points meant you had to stay and do chores. Is that an example of a "compliance-based therapy?"

That is an example.


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Mona Pereth
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06 Aug 2019, 7:32 pm

d057 wrote:
What are compliance-based therapies? My parents sent me to a summer day camp back in my elementary school days. It used this point system that was basically intended to reward kids for good behavior and punish them for behaviors they deem as "bad." Earning enough points meant you were allowed to go on a field trip at the end of the week. Not earning enough points meant you had to stay and do chores. Is that an example of a "compliance-based therapy?"

What kinds of behavior were deemed good or bad? Did they try to make you conform to neurotypical standards of eye contact, facial expressions, body language, etc.? Or did "good behavior" just mean things like playing fair, and did "bad behavior" just mean things like hitting or stealing from other kids?

Personally I see nothing wrong with using punishments and rewards up to a point, as long as they are not used to instill an excessive degree of social conformity, and as long as the punishments are not injurious or otherwise excessive.

What's objectionable about ABA, in my opinion, is (1) its traditional goal of making autistic children "indistinguishable from their peers," (2) its traditional LACK of interest in finding out and encouraging the child's strengths, and (3) its traditional LACK of interest in using the child's own special interests/fascinations as an educational tool, except as a reward for good behavior.

Regarding the goal of making autistic children "indistinguishable from their peers," I am especially concerned that the emphasis on eye contact may harm at least some autistic children's ability to learn, and I am concerned about the lack of willingness, on the part of both the ABA establishment and the autism research establishment, to even entertain the idea that the emphasis on eye contact might possibly be anything other than an an unalloyed good with no conceivable bad side effects whatsoever.


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Mona Pereth
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06 Aug 2019, 11:57 pm

Fnord wrote:
This news about Sesame Street going over to the other side f****s up my whole day.

Seriously.

:evil:

Disappointing, but not a surprise to me at all, alas.

See my separate post about The current state of the autistic rights movement.


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07 Aug 2019, 12:17 am

I'm late to the game here. Sesame Street was my first special interest and it was my intended career trajectory. I wanted to be a PhD educational consultant / writer for the show. I embarked on this educational path until Jim Henson died, and my fantasy bubble exploded. I haven't seen the show in years but it was my understanding that the character of Julia was a (somewhat) positive step toward autism acceptance. I'm gutted to see what ASPartOfMe has posted, to the contrary. The fact that they are also moving to HBO just adds insult to injury.

Boo. Excuse my French, but this sucks.

:(



ASPartOfMe
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07 Aug 2019, 5:12 am

Huff Post snd The Hill have posted articles about this.


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ASPartOfMe
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07 Aug 2019, 5:29 am

Mona Pereth wrote:
d057 wrote:
What are compliance-based therapies? My parents sent me to a summer day camp back in my elementary school days. It used this point system that was basically intended to reward kids for good behavior and punish them for behaviors they deem as "bad." Earning enough points meant you were allowed to go on a field trip at the end of the week. Not earning enough points meant you had to stay and do chores. Is that an example of a "compliance-based therapy?"

What kinds of behavior were deemed good or bad? Did they try to make you conform to neurotypical standards of eye contact, facial expressions, body language, etc.? Or did "good behavior" just mean things like playing fair, and did "bad behavior" just mean things like hitting or stealing from other kids?

Personally I see nothing wrong with using punishments and rewards up to a point, as long as they are not used to instill an excessive degree of social conformity, and as long as the punishments are not injurious or otherwise excessive.

What's objectionable about ABA, in my opinion, is (1) its traditional goal of making autistic children "indistinguishable from their peers," (2) its traditional LACK of interest in finding out and encouraging the child's strengths, and (3) its traditional LACK of interest in using the child's own special interests/fascinations as an educational tool, except as a reward for good behavior.

Regarding the goal of making autistic children "indistinguishable from their peers," I am especially concerned that the emphasis on eye contact may harm at least some autistic children's ability to learn, and I am concerned about the lack of willingness, on the part of both the ABA establishment and the autism research establishment, to even entertain the idea that the emphasis on eye contact might possibly be anything other than an an unalloyed good with no conceivable bad side effects whatsoever.


If you look at any discussion involving ABA therapists or parents trained in it they use the expression “tantruming”. The non understanding of the difference between a tantrum and an Autistic meltdown is very bad. Beyond autism subjecting young children to 25 to 40 hours of training reinforced at home which is required is completely unnatural. While ABA is not solely used on Autistic children they are the main targets. Many children have mental illness caused behavior problems that ABA is not the “gold standard” treatment for. That should tell you something that is not good.


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d057
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07 Aug 2019, 9:03 pm

Yes, the camp was basically used to make me neurotypical. You would lose points for all kinds of things such as complaining, not making eye contact with someone or using inappropriate facial expressions. It was really intended for children with ADHD.

Mona Pereth wrote:
d057 wrote:
What are compliance-based therapies? My parents sent me to a summer day camp back in my elementary school days. It used this point system that was basically intended to reward kids for good behavior and punish them for behaviors they deem as "bad." Earning enough points meant you were allowed to go on a field trip at the end of the week. Not earning enough points meant you had to stay and do chores. Is that an example of a "compliance-based therapy?"

What kinds of behavior were deemed good or bad? Did they try to make you conform to neurotypical standards of eye contact, facial expressions, body language, etc.? Or did "good behavior" just mean things like playing fair, and did "bad behavior" just mean things like hitting or stealing from other kids?

Personally I see nothing wrong with using punishments and rewards up to a point, as long as they are not used to instill an excessive degree of social conformity, and as long as the punishments are not injurious or otherwise excessive.

What's objectionable about ABA, in my opinion, is (1) its traditional goal of making autistic children "indistinguishable from their peers," (2) its traditional LACK of interest in finding out and encouraging the child's strengths, and (3) its traditional LACK of interest in using the child's own special interests/fascinations as an educational tool, except as a reward for good behavior.

Regarding the goal of making autistic children "indistinguishable from their peers," I am especially concerned that the emphasis on eye contact may harm at least some autistic children's ability to learn, and I am concerned about the lack of willingness, on the part of both the ABA establishment and the autism research establishment, to even entertain the idea that the emphasis on eye contact might possibly be anything other than an an unalloyed good with no conceivable bad side effects whatsoever.


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Mona Pereth
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08 Aug 2019, 12:39 am

ASPartOfMe wrote:
If you look at any discussion involving ABA therapists or parents trained in it they use the expression “tantruming”. The non understanding of the difference between a tantrum and an Autistic meltdown is very bad.

WTF???? Still??? That's unbelievably ignorant. Even Autism Speaks knows the difference between a tantrum and a meltdown.


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