Words from a RBT and Parent


Words from a RBT and Parent

Hi everyone! My name is Vanessa Pacheco-Ramos and I am a RBT in NYC. I also have a beautiful son named Elias who is on the spectrum. I decided to enter the field of ABA during the pandemic when my son was receiving early intervention services. It’s been almost a year now and I couldn’t have done it without the help from Anna. Behavior works and ABA source helped me get started when I felt “thrown into” the field.

There are a lot of things that need to be improved in our field but I’d like to focus on one part. Ableism.

I am in school for disability studies. One of my courses was “autism narratives.” It was designed and taught by an autistic professor and boy, did I learn so much. One thing she shared with us was a commercial that autism speaks created called “I am autism.”

As a parent, when I first read it I was terrified and in disbelief. The commercial made it seem like my son being autistic would be the worst thing of my life. It warned that autism would ruin my marriage and would make me bankrupt. It was a terrible thing to see.

Even towards the end, when the commercial was supposed to be at the “good part” it still sounded terrible. It says, “Autism, if you are not scared, you should be. When you came for my child, you forgot: you came for me.”

The thing is, autism is part of who my child is. This made it seem like autism is the enemy. Our children will grow up thinking they are the enemy, broken.

My son  is not “trapped behind a wall” because of autism. Society has built the wall and it needs to be knocked down. As providers we need to reflect on our own ableism, intentional or not.

I decided to make a blackout poem using the words from the “I am autism” commercial.

Here it is:

I am visible
I live too
All of you know no morality
Your language and voice take away my own self
Don’t make it impossible for me
Don’t pretend I don’t exist
I am great
I will fight to make sure you care
The truth is
I am me

I am stronger
The love and strength can push this message
You forget who we are
We are united
We are coming together and growing
The only language that matters: love
Love is a community
A voice
You cannot hear my child behind a wall
Knock it down
Are you listening?

As a parent, I would like you all to reflect, are you truly putting your client first? Do you see autistic individuals as broken and needing to be fixed? Do you agree that labels are harmful?

We need to check our ethics and remember that we work with amazing human beings.

In no means am I a perfect parent or RBT. I make my mistakes and that’s the beauty of this blog. To learn from each other and improve our field.

Thanks for reading!

Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing
You have successfully subscribed!
This email has been registered