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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…