Autism Politico

Discussing the politics of autism.

Editorial #15: Bait and Switch.

Some of Autism Politico’s editors have been attending autism conventions for years.  We make it a point to stop at the bookseller’s table or kiosk to see what they are selling each time we go.

Surprise! Surprise! They are selling what sells.

The year before last it was mostly books on ABA. Last year it was books on Floortime. 

When asked why it is the booksellers aren’t displaying ABA books anymore, the response was obvious and predictable.

Many states in the United States are agreeing with insurance companies that ABA is an educational treatment and not a medical one, and therefore, insurance companies should not be required to pay for ABA.

JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KBIA) – Molly Schad is the mother to 8 year-old Harry. After years of fighting with insurance companies to get his behavioral treatment covered, she brought her fight to the Missouri Capitol. The problem is that Harry has autism…a disorder treated by Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA…a treatment not covered by most insurance companies. They say it’s educational, not medical, and should be covered by the state.

That voids a good chunk of book sales to people who were hoping to look into ABA as a medical treatment.

A secondary problem is that school districts are now dropping ABA. Why? It doesn’t work. The entire Canadian province of British Columbia is stopping funding for ABA in schools:

Polak said the ministry found little improvement between children in the intensive program than those in regular autism treatment programs.

“We have to look at the outcomes and when it comes to what was occurring, . . . we were not seeing any appreciable improvements in the outcomes for those kids,” she said.

Additionally, ABA therapists have very few qualifications. If you go to the Oregon Speech Hearing and Language website, you can search for an article entitled “Ethical Considerations When Asked to Collaborate with ABA “Therapists.”  which states:

Although many ABA practitioners in the field are skilled, the area of ABA is loosely structured and poorly regulated. Board certification has been slow to catch on and essentially anyone can hang a shingle proclaiming expertise in Applied Behavioral Analysis. In the State of Oregon there are only two “board certified” analysts (BCABA).

And of course, as we all know, ABA is thought be some to be abusive. So with ABA book sales down, booksellers have changed over to selling Floortime books.

The problem: There is no real evidence that Floortime works for treating autism either.

Autism Politico believes that if you are looking for reliable information on autism, the place to find it is NOT at an autism convention’s book kiosk, but in medical journals or in a doctor’s office.

When you attend an autism convention, you only have limited break times to buy things with the result being that you are more likely to spend money on impulse buys, or on items that are not thoroughly looked at first. Don’t be swindled by booksellers at conventions who are only interested in making quick cash grabs when you are pressed for time. They arenot interested in selling you reliable information about autism. They are only interested in selling the books that most people are likely to buy, whether those books contain valuable informamtion or not.

Autism Politico says save your cash! Ask your doctor what to read and go to a library to find what you need.

Replies to this editorial are welcome.


February 4, 2010 - Posted by | Autism & Exploitation, Autism & Schools | , , , , , , , ,


  1. I own a “floortime” book. My son with asd threw it at me. Selling these books at intermission is actually a rather brilliant selling technique because you are praying on VERY deperate parents….like myself. But I’m too cheap and bought mine used on Amazon.

    I don’t mean to go off topic here but Does Autism Political have a blog regarding the DAN (Defeat Autism Now) protocol? Just interested in your thoughts. We attempted this “curing” method back in 2004 untill we realized that we weren’t going to be able to make our house payment if we continued this expensive alternative treatment.

    Comment by Mandi | February 4, 2010

  2. Autism Politico does NOT have a blog regarding the DAN protocol, nor do the editors of Autism Politico endorse DAN protocol.

    Thanks for you comment.

    Comment by Autism Politico | February 4, 2010

  3. Unqualified ABA Therapists are rampant. Be very careful when you look into ABA programs for you child. The field is unregulated and many companies are pocketing taxpayer monies and providing questionable ABA services. I am currently investigating this topic in my own blog and would appreciate any further information.

    Comment by CGelsinger | April 17, 2010

  4. Autism Politico thanks you for your comment.

    Comment by Autism Politico | April 19, 2010

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: