This study on autistic burnout from the Academic Autism Spectrum Partnership in Research and Education at Portland State University notes this distinction between autistic burnout and depression. Autistic burnout…

Notably did not include anhedonia (not caring/feeling); if anything there was a pervasive frustration because people continued to care and feel but felt incapable of taking action on their feelings

Source: Autistic Burnout: “My Physical Body And Mind Started Shutting Down”

That aligns with my experience. Pervasive frustration indeed.

What is autistic burnout?

Autistic burnout is a state of physical and mental fatigue, heightened stress, and diminished capacity to manage life skills, sensory input, and/or social interactions, which comes from years of being severely overtaxed by the strain of trying to live up to demands that are out of sync with our needs.

…behaviorism represents a reductive, experience-denying caricature of science that is still trapped in the century-old ideology of logical positivism. It gives real science a bad name.

Source: Autism and Behaviorism – Alfie Kohn

If their theory collapses the richness of human experience into measurable behaviors and their practice relies on objectifying children, is it really surprising that the widespread antipathy for ABA expressed by people who have had it done to them doesn’t seem to faze its practitioners and proponents one bit? Behaviorists see only behaviors. The experience of those to whom they’re doing things is, if you’ll excuse the expression, outside the spectrum of what they’ve been trained to detect and address.

Source: Autism and Behaviorism – Alfie Kohn

ABA is rooted in an ideology that proudly stays on the surface, committed to reinforcing whatever behaviors the people who control the reinforcements endorse and extinguishing those they don’t. This focus on behavior — on that which can be seen and quantified — isn’t just problematic theoretically (reflecting a truncated understanding of human psychology) and ethically; it also fails from a practical perspective, as has been demonstrated repeatedly. If you train an autistic kid to stop rocking or squealing or flapping his hands, you have done exactly nothing to address what elicited that self-regulating or self-stimulating behavior and its emotional significance to him. Kids need to feel safe; ABA just eliminates the (unusual) ways he tries to attain that safety — for example, by elaborately praising him for “quiet hands.”

Source: Autism and Behaviorism – Alfie Kohn

But if your child is getting classic ABA therapy, what you are seeing is an illusion. And what looks like progress is happening at the expense of the child’s sense of self, comfort, feelings of safety, ability to love who they are, stress levels, and more. The outward appearance is of improvement, but with classic ABA therapy, that outward improvement is married to a dramatic increase in internal anxiety and suffering.

I was once an Autistic child and I can tell you that being pushed repeatedly to the point of tears with zero sense of personal power and knowing that the only way to get the repeated torment to end was to comply with everything that was asked of me, no matter how painful, no matter how uneasy it made me feel, no matter how unreasonable the request seemed, knowing that I had no way out of a repeat of the torment again and again for what felt like it would be the rest of my life was traumatizing to such a degree that I still carry emotional scars decades later. It doesn’t matter whether the perpetrator is a therapist, a teacher, a parent, or an age-peer: bullying is bullying.

Source: ABA – Unstrange Mind

Via: Autism and Behaviorism – Alfie Kohn

If you really care about diversity, don’t let unpaid, unrewarded labor be piled on marginalized people – your people.

Source: Whose job is it to D&I anyway?

Don’t make underrepresented people work a second job as diversity champions.Natasha Litt, Data Engineer at New Relic

Source: Is Your Employee Resource Group Helping Or Hurting? | Ellevate

Underrepresented employees already have to overcome discriminatory barriers in their careers; they shouldn’t be expected to volunteer their time to help their companies do the same.

Source: Exclusive: How to Break Up the Silicon Valley Boys’ Club | Vanity Fair

The vast majority of this activism is being led by underrepresented people – some working at tech companies, some starting their own, and many working outside of traditional structures as independent activists or as part of new collectives. In addition to managing the daily toll of existing as a marginalized person in technology, they are also taking on the challenging, taxing and often thankless work of culture change… and it doesn’t come without a cost. Diversity in tech work is having a profound, negative impact on advocates’ happiness, mental and physical health and work/life balance, as well as their safety, relationships, careers and security.

Activist burnout is something more widely documented in other social justice communities, yet less understood and discussed in tech itself. In fact, it remains a highly taboo topic: in our recent informal survey on tech activism and burnout, we found that the vast majority of respondents chose to remain anonymous. Still, their responses made one thing absolutely clear: burnout is one of the #1 challenges facing the movement.

Source: Putting a Spotlight on Diversity in Tech Burnout by The Editor | Model View Culture