Way of the Cactus has closed. But you can purchase Sways and sensory resources here at The Indie Shop, part of Indie Disability Support

Way of the Cactus has closed. But you can purchase Sways and sensory resources here at The Indie Shop, part of Indie Disability Support

Re-thinking therapy for autistic kids and adults

March 01, 2018

Re-thinking therapy for autistic kids and adults

A quick internet search of a bunch of different dictionary definitions of ‘therapy’ pulls up this – Therapy is:

  • A treatment that makes someone feel better
  • A curative power or quality
  • Curing or healing
  • Having a beneficial effect on the mind or body

 Pretty broad, right?

And yet, if you are the parent of an autistic child, the word therapy has come to define a very narrow set of ‘interventions’, many of them aimed at moulding the autistic child into a person that makes them more palatable in a non-autistic world.

This might include making them make eye contact with others, stopping them from stimming, rewarding behaviours that are deemed acceptable and punishing those that make them stand out from their neurotypical peers.

At Way of the Cactus, we take the broader definition of therapy, believing that what is ‘therapeutic’ for neurodivergent kids and adults is what makes us feel better, in our minds and bodies.

Wearing no clothes in our own homes

Jumping through sprinklers

Squishing our hands into slime

Putting all the couch cushions on top of our bodies

Watching toys spin

Stroking soft fabric

Making a noise that pleases us over and over again

Re-playing our favourite video games

Leaping hard onto crash cushions

Rocking gently in a hammock

Reciting our favourite lines from our favourite tv shows

We reject the idea that we need to be squeezed into mainstream society and instead, believe mainstream society needs to broaden to find a place for us.

We aren’t ruled by the fear that if our children are to ‘fit in’, they need hours and hours of intensive therapy training from age 3 onwards. Instead we trust that like us, they will find a way forward and like us, they will own their place in the world and thrive.

Don’t let your actions now be driven by your fear of the future. There is beauty and rightness in diversity and disability. Help the world to see this.