“Ethics and Adoration”
When people from a specific profession talk amongst themselves, it’s a guarantee that there will be some topics that sound ‘off’ to those on the outside.
Having said that, some of these topics have a direct impact on people we love, so when our attention is drawn to them, we should want to perk up our ears.
Such a thing happened very recently. A fellow parent alerted a bunch of us to an ABA conference. One of the workshops is going to discuss the efficacy of skin-shock treatment for people with severe problem behaviors.
I had not finished picking my jaw off the desk when I found myself scrolling through their other offerings. One was on cultural competency in providing ABA. I cannot even touch this topic without igniting in flames, and since I want to stay alive and be present for my kids, I’m not sacrificing myself by talking about why white-centric groups talking about diversity is so unconscionable. I trust that you, my readers, can take this walk on your own, and if you cannot, you will find ways to be educated.
Then I found a workshop that, I wish I was kidding, talked about how ABA trained professionals can leverage their expertise to work with dogs. After all, enthuses the writer of this abstract, bites by poorly trained dogs are frequent and serious. But there are, apparently, limits to professional skills across species, so fear not, those will be discussed too! Thank goodness. I was so worried they wouldn’t get to that part…
Our kids can be a skills training pathway to dog whispering.
When you peek in on rhetoric that you probably weren’t meant to see, this is what you can stumble on. I’m not going to debate this with any of you, so if you want to talk about how it doesn’t sound awful to you because you love your dog like your child, you can take that discussion to your own friend circle.
I feel like I need a cleanse after reading this stuff, so I’m going to talk about my own family now.
We human-ed through the week. The kids were their wonderful selves. Every day when they left for school, I looked at their departing pant legs (I don’t know why, but they are so endearing to me when they walk) and marveled at the family we made.
I had to drive R someplace off the Garden State Parkway South, which is always stressful for me, and after tackling that level of speed and aggression with the help of Google Maps, R waited till we had reached familiar roads, then played all sorts of wonderful Bollywood selections so we could restore ourselves to normalcy. He did whine that we had not been able to listen to the good stuff on the Parkway, then grinned with satisfaction while I Boomer-ed my way through how I cannot hear Google Auntie properly if we are also blasting music.
Yesterday, he started to tell me about a discussion on cultural appropriation in class, and I must have looked stricken, so he assured me that the teacher did not fail in his obligation to speak on behalf of people whose cultures are regularly pilfered. I just adore that kid. His generation will do amazing things. Holding ourselves accountable is so crucial, and this is what they are doing with such passion.
Meanwhile, our little bleater, A, seems to grow taller every night. I just got him some new shirts, and he looks fancy and fabulous, as I tell him very solemnly in the mornings. I so want some sensory friendly clothing company to hire him as a model, and have someone pay this clothes horse to do what he loves—stimming, bellowing, and stomping—while looking like a gorgeous beanpole with the lush, glossy black hair that young Indian guys sport with such careless disregard.
A went to Dunkin Donuts last night, and ran into one of his old babysitters. It took A a moment to recognize who the guy was, then he broke out of the line, ran up to him, and hugged him repeatedly, laughing with joy. After he got home, he sat in his room and wept loudly for an hour. Emotions are overwhelming. I couldn’t help feeling awed by his capacity to feel them with such self-unsparing power.
I don’t usually write such treacly details about my kids. I believe strongly that no matter how old they get, or what unpalatable behaviors A is having, they are still deserving of respect and full inclusion in the world. I also do not ever want my blog to serve as a feel-good way station, where, just by reading, people can feel like they did something noble.
But lately, I’ve been feeling like it’s important to say: these kids are my everything. Every step forward, every painful retreat back, every entity I trust or don’t, it is for them. Standing with them is the easy part. Everything else is the difficult stuff.