cosmobrown-3971498

How Visual and Literal Thinking Can Shape Autistic Experiences

Patricia George www.persnicketypatricia.ca Literal Thinking [image: Two stills from the movie Singin’ in the Rain: Top: Gene Kelly as the popular actor Don Lockwood being mobbed by fans, with white overlaid text reading, “Hey, Cos, do something. Call me a cab!” and bottom: Donald O’Connor as Cosmo Brown, speaking nonchalantly with white overlaid text reading, “OK, you’re a cab.”] Before starting school, and before Mom remarried when I was five, it was just me, Mom, Grandmother, Grandfather, and a few other beloved close family members (my biological father was out of my life before I could remember him). I didn’t know how different I was from other people back then, not really. I felt different somehow; I always have, as though the most important secret in the world was whispered in my ear the day I was born, plus I just knew stuff even though I couldn’t express that knowing…

calacademy2bindia2breading2bin2blibrary-6005669

Gifts Autistic People Actually Want, According to TPGA Community Members

by Shannon Des Roches Rosa Finding gifts autistic kids and adults appreciate isn’t that hard — if you actually find out what individual people like, and you remember that everyone has their own interests and preferences (and that they’re sometimes the exact opposite of other autistic people’s interests and preferences). We asked TPGA’s community of autistic people, parents, and professionals about The Very Best Gifts, and compiled what they said below. Keep in mind that while disability representation among toy companies is improving, it still tends to be underwhelming. And not all gifts will be realistic for every person’s or family’s budget. But hopefully this list will be useful for thoughtful gift-givers. Books  Books Rule [image: white child lying on an orange beanbag in a library, reading a book titled The Fossil Factory] At least five people told us they, or their kid, just wanted books. Specific advice included: Picture…

inigo2bmontoya-8363130

Why Belittling Self-Advocates Hurts Autistic People of All Ages and Abilities

Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com [image: Screenshot of Inigo Montoya and Vizzini from the movie The Princess Bride, with white overlaid block text reading, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.] Last week, the San Francisco Autism Society of America (SFASA) held its 16th annual conference at Stanford University. In her opening comments, Jill Escher, the president of SFASA, went through a few words and phrases, claiming to “defuse some autism vocabulary stinkbombs.” I disagree with so much of what she said about … well, about pretty much everything she talked about. But I want to focus in on one word that I feel she completely misrepresented on so many levels that it was mind-boggling: Self-advocate Escher chose to show a 20 second video clip of her son to the audience, to illustrate her lack of understanding of the meaning and expression of…

alex-spourdalakis-14-a-4163415

How to Avoid More Cruel Injustices Like the Alex Spourdalakis “Involuntary Manslaughter” Verdict

Shannon Des Roches Rosa www.squidalicious.com Alex Spourdalakis [image: Smiling white teenage boy with shaved dark hair, wearing a coral colored tank top.] Alex Spourdalakis was brutally murdered by his mother and godmother three years ago. Somehow, those women were allowed to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter* and will likely be released with time served — even though they had been planning Alex’s killing for a week. As reported by Matt Carey at Left Brain/Right Brain: “When they carried out their plan, they poisoned Mr. Spourdalakis with sleeping pills. When this did not work quickly enough, the mother and caregiver stabbed him. Not once, not twice, but four times, including two stabs to the heart. When even this proved not fast enough, the mother and caregiver slit his wrist. Slit so deeply that reportedly his hand was nearly severed from his arm. When Mr. Spourdalakis finally passed, the mother and caregiver…

processed-with-snapseed

Autistic Inertia: An Overview

Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com Image description: a photo of the Mason Dixon line from about 20 miles away, taken by Sparrow Rose Jones at the Maryland/Pennsylvania border near Clear Spring, Maryland on October 4, 2016 I was talking with my boyfriend yesterday about autistic inertia. I was describing how it affects me and bemoaning the fact that it’s so clearly a real thing that exists but I never see researchers or educators talking about it — just us Autistics. We know it exists, we know it’s a real thing, but it’s not in the official literature and no one is researching it. After I described it a bit, my boyfriend remarked upon how similar it sounds to what people with Parkinson’s experience. Upon reflection, that didn’t surprise me too much since Parkinson’s is linked to dopamine and I’ve read autism research that talks about irregularities in dopamine and seratonin in the…

sparrowjones-6935910

Never Again: Why The Incoming U.S. Administration Is Dangerous For Autistic People (And So Many Others)

Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com “These are dangerous days / to say what you feel is to dig your own grave.” -Sinead O’Connor Sparrow R. Jones [image: Portrait photo of a white person with short dark gray hair, glasses, and a maroon button-up shirt.] I blame myself. I should have campaigned more strongly. I should have written about the political landscape and how it affects disabled people in general, and Autistics and those who love us specifically. But I have always been told that one shouldn’t talk about politics, sex, or religion in polite company. I’ve already broken the sex talk taboo so many times over that I was reluctant to tread on religious or political ground. And I didn’t really think he would win. I honestly didn’t. Everyone I’ve spoken with who voted against him has said the same thing: we didn’t see this coming. Wow, were we ever wrong. Donald…

unnamed-9472147

Supposed “High Functioning” Autism, and Maladaptive Behaviors

Kaelynn Partlow Facebook.com/AutisticAngle I’m an adult with supposed “high functioning” autism. I drive my own car, and for the most part, I have many self help skills. There is nothing obviously different about the way I speak. I also work as a therapist, with young autistic children. Due to the nature of my job, I am required to get a tuberculuosis (TB) test every year. The test involves a needle, and I’ve had a severe phobia of needles for as long as I can remember. To be perfectly honest, I’ve always had a general phobia when it comes to medical procedures, even the painless ones. So, when it came time for my yearly test, my supervisor accompanied me to provide extra support. She and I have been close for several years and she has been there to support me in many other ways, even before my employment. In the waiting…

ivanovatestifying-4966086

How I Deal With Arguments In Support of Institutional Care

Ivanova Smith @lauralovesian1 My name is Ivanova Smith and I am a proud autistic activist advocate. I advocate at the Washington State legislature! I testify at bill hearings about policies that affect me as a developmentally disabled person. One of the bills I put the most attention to is to shut down state institutions. [Image: Ivanova Smith testifying against a Bill that allow respite to be provided at an institution! They have brown hair. They are wearing black suit with grey shirt and tie. They are speaking into a microphone.] There are four state-run institutions in Washington, and they hold 800 people with Intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD). These used to be called training schools. I have heard the arguments for support of these institutions many times while I have waited to give testimony. I have had to listen to all these arguments on why it OK to imprison people like me.…

14404947216_78f5807db4_n-8861109

Electroconvulsive Therapy and Autism: Caution Advised

Shannon Des Roches Rosa  Photo © Skyseeker, on Flickr. Creative Commons license. [image: lightning striking a cityscape, at night.] Spectrum News recently published How ‘Shock Therapy’ is Saving Some Children with Autism. The article was also published in The Atlantic. Like many of you, my initial reaction was “WTF.” Which, to be fair, was in part primed by the the misinformation spread by existing autism and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) proponents. But I am always worried about articles about “treatments” for autistic people who self-injure, because of the focus on treatments rather than sourcing out causes. So here’s what I think you should know about reading articles like this, and about ECT and autism in general. Spectrum is dedicated to covering developing autism science, and articles of interest to the autism science and research communities. Ideally, those readers already understand that there is very little research into autism and ECT, that…