Physical restraint, shame and humiliation are the best way to treat autism…

Claire
6 min readSep 27, 2023

…says specialist centre somewhere in the world.

Photo by Orlando Allo: https://www.pexels.com/photo/broken-brown-wooden-wall-2273521/

I just saw a post on Instagram highlighting abuse of people being ‘treated’ for autism and/or other intellectual disabilities. I think there is a video but I didn’t scroll. I read the blurb instead.

I may have had a panic attack, at least an anxiety attack, the ‘impending doom’ feeling usually used to differentiate between the two was felt, but not for my survival, more for the “if this is the world I am in, what’s the point” and I could not see one.

I reached out to some counsellor friends to see if anyone was available to ‘talk me down’. I didn’t quite know how that would be, and was able to feel a little reluctance to asking because it would be sharing my distress with them and trusting they could handle me/it/themselves. I was in such a panic though I felt the best thing was to ask for help.

After a minute or two (I know, this age of instance gratification is problematic! but this was mini-crisis territory) I realised I was going to have to sort myself out, allow myself to calm down, bring myself back into my moment holding onto the fact that I was safe, there was nothing I could do immediately to make any change to the situation I had discovered, that it was okay to reduce my arousal, communicating to my nervous system there was nothing currently to fight.

And yet, there is. Abuse is happening all the time. I don’t know how to fight it. I can’t see/hear it happening, walk over and say “Stop” and then it’s done. It’s so much more complicated than that and I don’t know what to do about it.

Once I had stopped crying, my breathing returned to normal and my body was less shaky, I knelt in child’s pose and stretched out my arms feeling tension release from my shoulders and back. Almost immediately my brain starts thinking about what I can do. I don’t know if this is the correct thing. Maybe I needed more time to self-sooth and regulate my physical body, but I also think there is value in using this fire to plan an action. To try and do something. Within twenty minutes I’d been to fetch my laptop to start to write this.

What can I possibly do to stop all the…

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Claire

Adventurer, word-lover, nature-enthusiast, psychotherapist, creative.