Whose Planet Is It Anyway?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Lovaas Safari Tours at Erik's Ranch

Guest post by Rita Skeeter, award-winning journalist and ultra-reliable source for all the dirt you've ever wanted to read.

You're probably wondering what a journalist of my incomparable reputation is doing on a lowly Muggle blog. Well, yesterday while I was working on a much more important article about the Ministry of Magic's investigation of marauding trolls in the countryside, I just happened to come across a blogger trying to fight off three trolls who had been lurking under a bridge. Of course, all I had to do was flap my lips a few times, and the trolls ran away screaming. I don't know why you inept Muggles can't manage that.

Out of the kindness of my heart, I took the blogger to a nearby tea shop and bought her a nice cup of tea to settle her nerves. Then I slipped a few drops of a truth potion into her cup when she wasn't looking. I never go anywhere without it, naturally. A few minutes later I had this blog's password, and I took the opportunity to do a bit of snooping. Well, wouldn't anybody?

In the drafts folder, I found a half-finished post about a proposed residential facility in Montana for autistic adults, called Erik's Ranch, whose advisory board includes the well known behaviorist Dr. Lovaas. Of course, he's not as well known as I am. Because I'm of the mind that all Mudbloods belong in institutions, I decided to rewrite the post to include a few of my own keen insights.

It seems that Dr. Lovaas' public image has been refurbished somewhat since the days when he boasted that he could cure autistic kids by slapping and screaming at them. Even the cleverly named Autism Speaks, which has never actually had any autistic people speaking for it, has jumped on the rickety old Lovaas bandwagon by touting ABA-centric autism insurance legislation. Now, I told the Wrights they ought to hire a witch or wizard to put a repair spell on that old bandwagon before the wheels fall off. Even a first-year Hogwarts student could do that. But did they listen to me? Nooooo, like all Muggles, they're much too full of themselves.

This morning, just because I don't like being ignored, I stuck a few pins into a voodoo doll where Suzanne Wright's heart ought to be. I still haven't figured out why it had no effect whatsoever. Not that I care what happens to anybody who's as incompetent as she is. I'll just point out here that You-Know-Who does a much more effective job of eradicating bothersome minority groups, as well as dealing with obvious Mudblood sympathizers like Brian Reichow of Vanderbilt University, who, along with his co-authors in a 2008 study, had this to say about autism treatment hype: “There have been a number of different reviews of evidence-based practices of treatments for young children with autism. Reviews which have critically evaluated the empirical evidence have not found any treatments that can be considered evidence-based.”


Anyway, back to Erik's Ranch, which is described on its website as "a structured environment for lifelong learning that encourages participation by residents, and serves as a destination location to attract family and friends to share experiences with their loved one. The ranch will offer horseback riding, photo safaris and other ecotourism adventures…"

The website is full of nice warm fuzzy cheerful happy-sounding buzzwords like community, inclusion, and the often repeated phrase "lifelong learning." However, there's no mention of what happens when residents decide that they don't want to stay there lifelong. Too bad for them, I guess. They should've made more of an effort to become indistinguishable from their peers. Then they wouldn't have had to face the consequences of being, in the website's own terms, "children who didn’t make it to the recovery we all hoped for."

Residents will be given "work" opportunities (the website's authors are the ones who put the term "work" in quotes, which shows what they think of it) and will be placed in jobs as groundskeepers, tour guides, and other service positions. Visitors to the ranch will enjoy this fascinating opportunity to create photos and videos of the lovely Montana scenery and wildlife—and, presumably, of the curious behaviors of the savage autistic natives on the reservation. It'll be just like taking photos on an old-timey colonial safari a century ago, when the sun never set on the British Empire, and when nobody except common riff-raff cared about such foolishness as human rights and respecting the dignity of other cultures.

If I were in charge of running Erik's Ranch, though, I'd have better sense than to let the general public roam randomly around with video cameras. After all, what if a slapping and screaming incident, or some other abuse or molestation of a resident, ended up on the evening news? No hype-mongers worth their salt would risk letting their public image get out of control like that. It's all about careful manipulation of the media, people. But then Muggles can't be expected to have the natural journalistic savvy of a brilliant reporter such as myself. I figure they'll just have to learn the hard way.

Gotta run now—there's a hot new rumor about Harry Potter to investigate! I'll just put a Confundus Charm on this blog so that abfh will be too confused to notice the new post. Silly Muggles are always so easy to fool.

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  • This post needs a beverage spew warning. I haven't laughed so much in weeks.

    By Anonymous sanabituranima, at 1:23 PM  

  • Awesome, awesome post. Your Rita Skeeter voice is spot on!

    (I hope we'll be seeing more of her around here).

    On topic now: since intentional communities are one of my areas of interest, my ears always perk up when I hear about one of these "structured environments" for autistic adults. I actually think something that actually *WAS* a community of and for autistics --- i.e., one in which the members pooled resources, helped each other with daily-living challenges, made sure each person got the supports they needed and could do the work they wanted, and in which membership was totally voluntary --- would be great. Unfortunately, most of the time these places turn out just to be institutions dressed up like quaint, relaxing rural retreats.

    By Blogger Lindsay, at 4:51 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger John Best, at 5:28 PM  

  • Lindsay, It should be ran by aspies/auties as well including all businesses and shops. I have a lot of computer skills including programming to offer if such communities existed. I know the basics of computer networking so I could help to set up Local Area Networks.

    I would need help with cleaning and organization and planning which I have major problems in.

    I say we should have a council of elders that we all vote on based upon certain knowledge of Philosophy, science, critical and lateral thinking as well as psychology instead of voting based upon bullshit public image. I would nominate ABFH and Timelord as being on this council and David Andrews as well.

    I do not want to be because I am no leader and I hate conflict.

    If this was ever set up, I would take both of my ASD cousins and we would emigrate to these communities in a heartbeat if they both wanted to go.

    This would be so freaking awesome. Maybe we could even create a better model than the NTs have. Who knows?

    By Blogger A better future for all, at 5:34 PM  

  • This is going to sound weird to everyone on here.

    I had a dream when I was 19 years old. This was long before I knew I had aspergers.

    I was thrown out by my parents into the street. I ended up becoming homeless. I met folks such as myself. We all talked and we philosphized about different things including our experiences. We all finally concluded we couldn't make it in what we called normal society at all anywhere. Instead we decided to form our own society and our own community in Central Europe. I was then given a bird's eye view of the continent of Europe and I was told this by a loud and thundering voice.

    It said "You and people like you will not make it in their world. This is going to happen in some form. You will meet others like yourself and you will talk and philosphize and you will form your own society and communities and I was to help to do this. Their world is not meant for you."

    This dream was the most realistic dream I ever had. It felt so real.

    Guess what two of these things have become reality. I've discovered who I am and met others like myself. We have all philosphized and talked. I dismissed this as nonsense and as a dream when I was 19 but at 30 I still have vivid memories of this dream and now I'm begining to wonder if this is what needs to be done. I probably sound really crazy even to the aspie/autie community. Sometimes I wonder if I'm crazy myself lol. Does anyone have any opinions?

    We seem to be a distinct culture with our own moores and customs.

    By Blogger A better future for all, at 5:51 PM  

  • For a long time I didn't believe in the Judeo-Christain God but sometimes I wonder. The bible does not make sense and seems illogical to me and I have plenty of questions but my fiance did tell me this. If God was telling me something and it was by God, it would be comfirmed at least 3 times. Well it seems like I've had plenty of comfirmations by my fiance and others and by what I have witnessed and seen for my dream. Again, maybe I'm insane and deserve to be locked up. If I deserve to be locked up than John Best Jr. deserves to be locked in the cell next to me.

    I would ask Mrs. Sheila Schoonmaker about this but she apparently does not want to be contacted.

    By Blogger A better future for all, at 6:06 PM  

  • Sanabituranima: Those who spew beverages in response to my writings do so at risk of being turned into toads, which might be an improvement for some Muggles.

    Lindsay: (preens) I always enjoy it when my readers are suitably appreciative of my superlative talents.

    Foresam: I do not suffer fools gladly -- or at all. Begone, troll, lest you be imprisoned in stone unto eternity!

    Cube Demon: May you dream long and happily.

    By Blogger Rita Skeeter, at 6:29 PM  

  • Pssst! Rita, please go to:
    and banish all the annoying trolls to some nasty netherworld where they'll only be able to annoy each other. Feel free to give them scabies and rabies, and poxes and boils and anything else you can think of with that wonderful imagination!

    By Blogger Clay, at 11:13 PM  

  • Clay: You'd be surprised by what they already have. (Of course, I know everything.)

    By Blogger Rita Skeeter, at 8:18 AM  

  • No, no, Rita. I know everything!

    (If you believe our enemies that is! LOL!)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:55 PM  

  • Rita

    Do you know of any good quality teas that could relax me and calm my nerves?

    By Blogger A better future for all, at 12:04 AM  

  • Cube Demon: Twinings tea is quite good. You may want to try their blend of Egyptian Camomile and Apple; it's very calming.

    By Blogger Rita Skeeter, at 9:16 AM  

  • You I wonder what curbie wizards do to their autie wizardlings? *hmmm* I don't think their is a spell for autism...

    Anyway, Lovaas is another example of doing ABA WRONG. *sigh*

    By Blogger Bard, at 10:49 AM  

  • "Anyway, Lovaas is another example of doing ABA WRONG. *sigh*"

    Actually, that's pretty correct. Lovaas' understanding of behaviourist psychology was not very good; he started as a psychoanalyst and he never really took a good understanding of behaviourism...

    And from that poor understanding came some nasty stuff.

    By Blogger David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E., at 6:17 PM  

  • I agree... this is an awesome post!

    Cube Demon,

    I had my reasons for not wanting to be contacted and hope people can accept how different I am in how I think and live my life.

    Back in the middle of May, I added an e-mail contact image.

    Today, I went one step further and am experimenting with leaving a reply window available on my home page.

    I'm not sure if it's a mistake to explain why I am like I am about comments for posts. I was told that doing so makes an individual appear vulnerable and/or guilty.

    I hope you see this message Cube Demon, because I don't know how else I can let you know I'm willing to communicate with you (no debates, please).

    By Anonymous Sheila, at 11:15 AM  

  • I would like to point out that Montana winters are not very nice. I think whoever is planning this faux-community needs to be more considerate that they wish to jeopardize people's health in subfreezing temperatures from november to february.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:06 PM  

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