Todd Drezner’s Open Letter to Cinema Libre Studio Regarding “Vaxxed”

Todd Drezner lovinglamppostsmovie.com Cinema Libre Studio is the film distributor for Loving Lampposts: Living Autistic. And today, I learned they are now distributing “Vaxxed,” the film by the discredited scientist Andrew Wakefield, whose fraudulent claim that the MMR vaccine caused autism launched a thousand conspiracy theories. The film was dropped by the Tribeca Film Festival, but unfortunately thanks to Cinema Libre, it is getting new life. The note below is the letter I wrote to Cinema Libre. If you’re so inclined, visit their Facebook page and tell them what you think of their decision. Dear Cinema Libre, I’m writing to explain why I’m so disappointed in your decision to distribute “Vaxxed.” I have three main objections: 1) Perhaps of most relevance to Cinema Libre is that Andrew Wakefield has assembled his film using unethical and dishonest editing techniques. As documented here, the “Vaxxed” trailer splices excerpts from two different phone…

Hillary Clinton Advocates Fair Pay for Autistic And Disabled Workers

Shannon Des Roches Rosa www.ThinkingAutismGuide.com Yesterday was my autistic teenage son Leo’s annual IEP meeting, in which various people who help him achieve maximum awesomeness (teacher, speech language pathologist, occupational therapist, school district representative, home program director, etc.) meet at his school, to determine what Leo-appropriate educational goals will be for the following year. These meetings are generally collaborative, positive, and entirely Leo-centric. I usually leave feeling relieved, and that my son is surrounded by the right people (and, knowing that this is not the case for many other families, incredibly lucky). This year, though, I panicked a bit. Not because of the approaching year’s goals, but because this was the first year we talked about a transition plan. About what Leo would do after he turned 22, and would no longer be able to attend his school. And optional placeholders like, “Employment: Day program, supported workplace.” Which made me…

NeuroTribes: A Reminder And Reflection of Our Humanity

M. Kelter theinvisiblestrings.com As an autistic, the impression I was left with after reading Steve Silberman’s book NeuroTribes was one of enormous relief. The book not only avoids the usual pitfalls of fear-mongering and stigmatizing language that surround the topic of autism, but actually explains the origins of those pitfalls — as it pieces together a comprehensive history of both the autism spectrum itself, and the various ways ‘autism’ has been defined over the decades. [Image: The cover of the book NeuroTribes, by Steve Silberman.] Knowing this reaction to NeuroTribes had a lot to do with my own diagnosis, I became curious as to how non-autistics feel about Silberman’s book. The result was conversations with two people who have different connections to autism: Michael McWatters, the father of an autistic son, and Deborah Budding, PhD, a clinical neuropsychologist. Michael McWatters M. Kelter: First off, just a general question: what did…

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Imposter Syndrome and My Late Autism Spectrum Diagnosis

Andrea Michael www.andreamichael.art Django of Cacharel [image: Black-and-white drawing of a dark horse wearing a bridle, with a windblown mane.] I wasn’t prepared for the imposter syndrome that set in after my autism diagnosis. Why? Possibly because, after my diagnosis, I scoured the Internet for autism material, found too many opinions that my version of autism wasn’t “real autism” — and heard more often than not that if I was late diagnosed, that meant I was at the very edge of the diagnosis, just a mild case with no “real” challenges. At the time of this writing, I am in my thirties. I was diagnosed on the autism spectrum three years ago, after seeking answers for troubles that had been ramping up since my childhood. My diagnosis of extreme chronic anxiety as a teen, then one of depression (later extreme chronic depression) in my twenties, while true and correct, were…

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Being Seen: An Interview With Autistic Memoirist Anlor Davin

Interview by M. Kelter theinvisiblestrings.com Anlor Davin is the author of the upcoming memoir, Being Seen. In her book, she describes lifelong struggles with “sensory chaos” and social pragmatics, all of which culminated in an adulthood diagnosis of autism. She was raised in France, but later immigrated to the United States. We recently spoke via email about these experiences, and her thoughts on navigating life on the spectrum.   — M: I hear from many adults who suspect they are autistic, but grew up before spectrum diagnoses were available. They often ask if looking into the possibility of a diagnosis is something they should do, or if it is something they should avoid, since they’ve “made it that far” without one. I wonder if you could address those questions. What did the diagnosis mean for you, in terms of your quality of life? Were there any downsides? Anlor Davin [image: portrait of…

Switched On: A Frank Conversation With Author John Elder Robison

[image: Book cover, with the title, “Switched On: A Memoir of Brain Change and Emotional Awakening”] The new book Switched On is author John Elder Robison’s deeply personal account of seismic shifts in his emotional, social, and perceptual responses to other people, the world, and his own memories — due to participating in brain research on Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and autism. I spoke with Mr. Robison about his hopes in choosing this journey, its costs in terms of his own health and happiness, his autism advocacy, and the risk of frantic parents assuming his story means they need to use TMS on their autistic kids. Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism: Are you concerned that people might see Switched On as an argument for “normalization” treatments for autistic people? Even though you are careful to emphasize that “we cannot know the future, or the potential, of anyone,” even though you…

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Have We Finally Entered the Post-Vaccines/Autism Fear Mongering Era?

Shannon Des Roches Rosa www.squidalicious.com [image: White adult holding the hand of a toddler, in the wave zone of a beach.] The times, are they finally a-changing? Are we entering the era so many of us science-heeding autism-focused writers have hoped for, in which mainstream media outlets assume readers already know the autism-vaccine link is total bunk, and get to focus instead on reminding people why it’s so important to vaccinate their kids in the first place?  I’d really like to say yes, going by two recent articles about the terrible real-world consequences of the vaccine avoidance movement: Over Half Of Measles Cases In U.S. Outbreaks Are Unvaccinated — Often Intentionally by Tara Haelle, at Forbes; and Why Vaccinating Your Kid Shouldn’t Even Be a Question by Maressa Brown, at Cosmopolitan (of all places). Neither article mentions autism once. Reading vaccine articles that don’t include at least one mention of…

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Autism Acceptance Month 2016 at TPGA: Calling All Accommodations

Flickr photo by Laura Wechsler. Creative Commons License. [Image: East Asian person wearing blue headphones, seen through the door window on a NYC subway car.] At TPGA, April is Autism Acceptance Month. In keeping with (and quoting from) The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network’s Autism Acceptance Month project: “April is Autism Acceptance Month. During Autism Acceptance Month, we focus on sharing positive, respectful, and accurate information about autism and autistic people.  “Autism Acceptance Month promotes acceptance and celebration of autistic people as family members, friends, classmates, co-workers, and community members making valuable contributions to our world. Autism is a natural variation of the human experience, and we can all create a world which values, includes, and celebrates all kinds of minds. “In a nutshell, Autism Acceptance Month is about treating autistic people with respect, listening to what we have to say about ourselves, and making us welcome in the world.” For Autism Acceptance Month…