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Dear Young Autistic Person: Why We’re Angry

Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com [Image: Young white boy with an open-mouthed, yelling expression, and hands over his ears.] Dear Young Autistic, I am like you. I am Autistic. Now I am a middle-aged Autistic (I’m probably older than your parents) but I was once a young Autistic like you are now. One of my biggest struggles was (and is) with anger. People have commented many times over the years about my anger. You might be angry, too? People around you might talk about your anger to you or to each other where you can hear them. Or maybe people don’t talk much about your anger because you’ve got ways to push it down and hide it from everyone. If you think you aren’t angry at all, check to make sure you didn’t hide it so well you can’t see it yourself. Why was I an angry young Autistic? I felt stuck…

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How Lack of Accommodations Can Thwart Anxiety and Mental Health Services

Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com [image: The comics character Charlie Brown, sitting up in bed with his head in his hands, under a speech bubble reading, “My anxieties have anxieties.”] I wasn’t sure if I would write about this or not. I have shared many deeply personal and private things with my readers, but this is hard and humiliating and I’m not even sure why this is harder to share, but it is. So please be gentle. I have anxiety so bad and have had it for so long that I didn’t even realize how anxious my baseline state is until the first time I smoked marijuana and experienced what it’s like to feel peaceful. My anxiety makes every day a struggle. Even my good days are riddled with anxiety. As I said, it is my baseline state. I should add that therapy makes me more anxious. Every so often I struggle…

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The Faith Community and Social Justice: How to Prioritize Disability, Low Income, and LGBT Needs

Kris Guin queerability.tumblr.com Source: Mel Green/Flickr [image: Church wall hanging: rectangular quilt reading “Welcome” in blue letters, surrounded by red hearts in white diamonds, on a swirly rainbow background.] I think that communities and people of faith should make social justice work a priority. Not only do I think that people of faith have a moral imperative to make the world a better place, but I think it’s good for the faith community. I don’t know how non-Christian faith communities are, but I think the Church and church* are inaccessible to many folks. Dressing up in nice clothes is a social standard in many churches because of the belief that you need to “dress up for God.” This prevents many people from being able to go to church on Sundays because some people might not be able to afford nice clothes, or some people might have sensory issues with nice…

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We Must Eliminate Restraint and Seclusion in Schools: Zachary’s Story

Crystal Garrett Snoopy Souce: www.peanuts.com [image: the cartoon dog Snoopy, doing the “Snoopy Dance.”] Zachary’s laughter has been called infectious. One specialist even opined it sounded much like Charles Schultz’s famous character, Snoopy. Those breath-taking sounds of pure joy that burst forth from deep inside his belly are a special treat these days. Zachary doesn’t laugh much anymore. There’s a reason my six-year-old’s giggles have been replaced by meltdowns. And his story deserves to be told because he is not alone: There are many traumatized autistic children just like him—their stories must be heard, too. And if we have any compassion, we must listen to them. This is Zachary’s story. It was only the third day of first grade — Aug. 26, 2015 — that my child was involuntarily committed to a hospital more than two hours from my home. Zachary had not been properly diagnosed yet, but we would…

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Holly Robinson Peete on Including and Understanding Autistic People Like Her Teen Son RJ

 Holly Robinson Peete | Photo: Gatepath [image: Candid photo of actress & author Holly Robinson Peete] Actress, author, and philanthropist Holly Robinson Peete spoke at a Gatepath event near San Francisco last week. She talked about her new book Same But Different: Teen Life on the Autism Express, which she co-wrote with her autistic son RJ and his non-autistic twin sister Ryan, about understanding and including autistic people, about supporting autistic kids with high support needs who don’t have the resources her family does, and why “We need to spread the word about how neurodiversity is another form of diversity.” TPGA’s Shannon Rosa talked with Holly after the event, which was nifty because Shannon worked with the HollyRod foundation during the earliest part of the iPads for Autism movement, including developing a spreadsheet of recommended autism apps, had interviewed Holly, and had featured her writing here on TPGA — but…

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What Surfside Beach Did For Us On Our Spring Vacation

John Ordover John Ordover recently wrote about Surfside Beach, South Carolina declaring itself an autism-friendly family vacation destination. In April of this year, John, his wife (TPGA editor) Carol Greenburg, and their 13-year-old autistic son Arren spent a week in Surfside Beach, and had a blast. This is his report on their trip. —- Arren in the airport waiting room Photo: John Ordover [image: white tween boy lying on top of a carpeted cubby] On landing in Myrtle Beach airport after an uneventful flight, we were met at the gate by Becky Large of Champion Autism Network (CAN). Becky is the person who had pushed for Surfside Beach to make its commitment to hosting autistic families in the first place. Becky took us to the lovely small airport’s special waiting room for autistic kids who might need some chill-out time. Arren took to it immediately and enjoyed snuggling into its…

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Black and Autistic – Is There Room at the Advocacy Table?

Dr. Poinsett aka Godmother Doc and @yayayarndiva [image: photo of a Black woman with short silver-and-black hair.] Dr. Pierrette Mimi Poinsett Over the last year, the Nation of Islam — which does not represent mainstream Islam — has resurrected the fallacious “CDC Whistleblower” argument that vaccines, and the MMR vaccine in particular, is causing autism in Black males. That autism is something to be feared, eradicated. At times the rhetoric has gone so far as to accuse vaccines of killing black and brown children. As both a Black pediatrician and mother of a son with severe mental health and learning disorders, I know that vaccines prevent diseases, save lives, and do not cause autism. Many studies unequivocally show that there is no connection between vaccine components and the development of autism. Autism manifests independently of the vaccine schedule. The reality is that autism is a complex neurodevelopmental condition that likely…