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Author/Applied Behavior Analysis Trained

Available for Home and School Consultations

Medication Should not be a Replacement

for an Effective Behavior Plan

Medication Needs to Benefit the Individual,

Not an Inappropriate Placement

Located in MASpeth, Queens

Television Interview for Don’t Medicate—Educate! 

One Family, Three Cases of Autism,

Safe Treatment for Dangerous Behavior

Kirkus Review for Don’t Medicate—Educate! 

A psychiatrist details the nightmarish but ultimately rewarding experiences with her autistic family.

In Slaff’s debut book, a psychiatric chronicle that straddles the genres of memoir, case study, and position paper, readers learn the story of one woman’s struggle to care for family members with autism. They also discover what that effort has taught her about medicine, politics, education, risk, and the necessity “to seek my own answers and not blindly follow others.” Born in a time and place that understood autism even less than this era in America does now, Slaff’s twin brothers suffered from both the condition and some of its therapies. Antipsychotics, anticholinergics, benzodiazepines, and beta blockers were loaded into them, stunting their growth and zoning them out. But it wasn’t until Matthew was provided with aversive shocks that he grew better able to avoid injury to himself and others and to be led toward a more pleasant life. The author’s other brother, Stuart, denied admission to the controversial Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Massachusetts by misguided policies in New York state, fared less well. Slaff became a psychiatrist, and her dealings with her two autistic brothers—and a father on the spectrum—later served as helpful case studies when her daughter Talia was diagnosed as severely autistic and “life became a series of doctors’ appointments, therapies, hopes for progress, disappointments.” After this affecting opening, in which the doctor and sister whom readers have come to admire sees her “nightmares of having a child with autism” come true, the book becomes a detailed support manual for people undergoing the same trials and a thoroughly researched testimonial to the effectiveness of aversive therapy. The lucid work also delivers a short, useful history of the ways that therapy has been misused (as a treatment for homosexuality) and mischaracterized (in reports by Geraldo Rivera and Connie Chung). “People do not choose to have autism or any other disability, but we can choose to love and take care of them,” the author reminds readers. She proves herself a fine exemplar of this care and love in this engrossing and persuasive work.

A highly informed and convincing personal defense of aversive therapy.

Advance Praise for Don’t Medicate—Educate!

One Family, Three Cases of Autism,

Safe Treatment for Dangerous Behavior

As a special-education teacher with twenty years of experience working with students with autism, an adjunct professor at Queens College, a board-certified behavior analyst at the doctoral level, and a certified expert in the field of applied behavior analysis, I heartily endorse Dr. Slaff’s insightful description of her journeys encountered through experiences of her twin brothers and daughter, all of whom have been diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). She has identified the elements that have proven to be successful in the treatment of her family members and those that have had little effect. This is an easy read, with many specific examples that are applicable to a multitude of other individuals with ASD.
— Carol Fiorile, PhD, BCBA-D, SAS Thornwood, NY
Here is a brave, wise, and touching book on one of the most complex and devastating disorders out there—autism. Dr. Ilana Slaff’s book describes the tortuous journey of her family members with autism and her own struggles to make the world understand their plight. She’s clearly a tireless fighter for the rights of those with autism and their long-suffering families. This is a very wise book and is required reading for those whose lives are touched by this condition. She offers wisdom and excellent recommendations on how to cope and utilize resources. I highly recommend this book.
— Rakesh Jain, MD, MPH Clinical Professor Department of Psychiatry Texas Tech University School of Medicine Midland, Texas
Dr. Slaff deftly describes the trials and tribulations of navigating the many channels needed to secure quality care for people with autism spectrum disorder. She provides a truly unique perspective integrating experiences as a mother, sibling, and psychiatrist. This book provides valuable information for parents and others hoping to understand the protean world of services arranged for people with autism spectrum disorder.
— Nathan Blenkush, PhD, BCBA-D Director of Research Judge Rotenberg Center Canton, Massachusetts
This was so open, personal, and honest. At times I had tears in my eyes, and at times I laughed. You shared a personal journey of pain, joy, and confusion, but ultimately you educated those around even if they did not respond to you.
I loved how you added your e-mails, which were actually sent by you.
Well done and let’s take a step forward to act for each individual as their needs are their own. One size does not fit all, and one treatment does not help all.
— Lina Gilic, PhD, BCBA-D Assistant Professor Coordinator of Special Education Department of Educational Specialties School of Education St. John’s University Queens, NY
This book provides a unique and realistic glimpse into navigating the challenges of autism across generations. Slaff’s writing blends humor and history in an insightful storytelling approach that is both thought provoking and deeply moving.
— Monica R. Howard, PhD, BCBA-D, LBA Associate Executive Director The ELIJA School Levittown, NY 11756
Dr. Slaff is a tireless, dedicated advocate for her daughter, brothers, and patients. Her open nature allows her to provide a unique perspective from someone who knows autism inside and out.
— Lauren A. Goldberg, Esq. Senior Associate Kule-Korgood and Associates, PC Forest Hills, NY

Continuing Medical Education Lecture at Psych Congress with Carol Fiorile, BCBA-D

“My Personal and Professional Journey Through Autism: Update on Autism Treatment Through the Lifespan,”

Journal article from my lecture at Psych Congress, “Psychiatrist With Multiple Relatives With Autism Shares Treatment Journey,”

Newspaper article discussing my book,  "Theatre's musical magic improves lives,"