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Autism and Normalisation

Oolong oolong.co.uk Normalisation is the process of making or becoming normal. ‘Normal’ can mean a great many things in different contexts, but here I mean it in a social sense: to be normal is to conform to society’s norms. You Will Be Assimilated [image: black-and-white illustration of a Borg drone, by Sonya Hallett] Within this context, there are two very different meanings of ‘normalisation’: to make normal, or to become normal; to normalise the individual, or what makes them stand out. Normalisation in the first sense is what the Borg does in Star Trek: individuals are assimilated by having their rough edges, their deviations from what is expected, removed, or hidden. Normalisation in the second sense is what the writers repeatedly do in Star Trek: groups once seen as monstrously beyond the pale, like the Klingons, are slowly seen to have more in common with ordinary humans than it first…

The “Out-of-Sync” Child Grows Up: An Autistic Perspective

Sara M. Acevedo [image: Book cover of The Out-of-Sync Child Grows Up: Title in teal text, on background photo of five older kids running across a field, from behind.] The Out-of-Sync Child Grows Up is the newest book from Carol Stock Kranowitz in her “Out-of-Sync” Child series. Subtitled “Coping With Sensory Processing Disorder in the Adolescent and Young Adult Years,” the book focuses on the everyday experiences of parents, caregivers, and medical professionals who support adolescents and young adults marked oppressively by diagnoses like Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Although a significant number of the concepts and practices included in this book are discredited and marked as abusive by autistic and other neurodivergent people ourselves, the book has received substantial praise from non-neurodivergent authorities in the therapeutic professions, as well as from clinicians, parents, and educators. The book has also been praised by The Children’s Hospital in Boston, and contributors of…

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Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter

Today would have been Rosemary Kennedy’s 98th birthday. In her honor, we are are featuring autistic writer Kate Ryan‘s review of the book Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter, by Kate Clifford Larson. —- Rosemary Kennedy [image: Black-and-white photo of a smiling white young woman with dark 1940s-style coiffed hair.] Growing up in the Boston area, I knew about the Kennedys.  It seemed to me, as a child and an adult, that everyone knows about the Kennedys, and their big, boisterous Catholic family that would leave such an impact on Massachusetts and the world. About their political aspirations and horrific assassinations, about their charitable foundations, about their triumphs and tragedies.  About Jack and Teddy and Eunice and Rose. Until recently, however, I have known very little about what is perhaps one of the saddest tragedies to come out of the Kennedy family: that of Rosemary Kennedy. A new biography by Kate…

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My Experience at AACC 2014

[image: Black horizonal rectangle with white text on the left reading “Association For Autistic Community,” and a green, blue, and red infinity sign on the right.] Zoe Cannon When I decided to go to the first Association for Autistic Community Conference in 2014, I had been lurking on the outskirts of the online autistic community for years. At first I wasn’t sure whether to go at all. Aside from the practical issues — travel drains my inner resources like nothing else — I didn’t know whether I was willing to step into a group of autistic people and claim that I was one of them. They might tell me I was lying; they might turn me away. But I was hungry for a taste of belonging, hungry enough to face packing and plane tickets and a crowd of strangers … and if I didn’t belong, I would rather find out…

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Life, Animated: An Autistic Adult’s Review

Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com [image description: a movie poster for Life Animated. The movie title is in red on a blue background. The top half of Owen Suskind’s head is at the bottom of the image and line drawings of figures from Disney animated movies surround him.] Last week I went with friends to the Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine, to see the indie documentary, Life, Animated. Life, Animated is based on a book by Ron Suskind, a journalist and father to Owen Suskind, the Autistic young man who is the film’s subject and an absolute delight. Owen’s greatest love in life is Disney movies and these films have sustained him through many dark years of isolation and bullying (years Owen calls “glop”) as well as all the disappointments and tragedies a well-lived life can bring. And Owen’s life is well-lived, indeed. He is a charming man, a natural…

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OASIS: A Groundbreaking New School for Autistic Students

The specific learning needs of Autistic students are not always met in traditional special education, or even in specialized autism classes or schools. We talked with Susan Walton, founder of the new OASIS school near Santa Cruz, California, about ensuring her autistic son had access to an educational environment that not only helps him learn, but lets him thrive. TPGA: Tell us about OASIS. Who are your ideal students? [image: the OASIS school sign outside an exterior building door.] Susan Walton: OASIS, the Outdoor Autism and Special Issues School, is a new Non-Public School in Freedom, California, which is in Santa Cruz county. We’ve developed a program that we are excited to offer to new students. We serve seriously autistic students between Junior High and school completion. But more specifically, we cater to those autistic students who need a lot of activity. Our students crave movement and need variety. They…