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Identifying Good People and Avoiding Bad People: How Can an Autistic Person Stay Safe?

Photo © Dee Teal | Flickr/Creative Commons license [image: Blonde white teen girl whispering into the ear of an adult white woman with long brown hair and bangs.] Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com It started as a tweet from @frogautistic to my friend, Shannon: “Would you know of any guides for adult autistics wanting to differentiate between Good & Bad people.” Shannon replied: Some #actuallyautistic guidance from @unstrangemind (who probably has more to say, if he has time): Be wary of people who treat autistic people differently in person than they do via written communications: https://t.co/9u4OM2fEI0 https://t.co/g1f0CMnzYK — Shannon Rosa (@shannonrosa) December 28, 2017  [image: Tweet from @shannonrosa, reading, “Some #actuallyautistic guidance from @unstrangemind (who probably has more to say, if he has time): Be wary of people who treat autistic people differently in person than they do via written communications”] Shannon’s response included a link to my TPGA article about social reciprocity, in…

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Authoring Our Own Lives: How Autistics and the World Benefit from Auti-Biography

Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com Photo © barbara w | Flickr/Creative Commons [image: Hands on a typewriter keyboard, at a sunny wooden desk, next to a drink on a crocheted white doily, amidst some plucked green leaves.] The last decade has seen a blossoming of blogs, articles, books, and documentary films about autism, authored by actually Autistic people. This is an exciting time of growth for Autist-created content about autism, and I want to encourage all Autistic people to document their lives: whether in a private journal, or to share with the public. There are great personal and community benefits that come from Autistic people writing about our lives—especially when we write about emotions, victories, and challenges and not just the factual events by themselves, although any autobiographical writing is helpful to the writer as well as to others if they decide to share what they’ve written. Michel Foucault, the postmodern philosopher,…

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Fast Learners Are Not Better Than Other People

Finn Gardiner expectedly.org (Content warning: ableist slurs.) Photo © U.S. Department of Education | Flickr/Creative Commons [image: Three schoolchildren of different races, sitting together in a classroom reading corner, reading books.] It is not nice to say that fast learners are better than other people. That is because it is mean to people who learn more slowly. It is not bad to learn slowly. It is not bad to be a fast learner either. Everyone can learn something. We just need different ways to learn things. That is OK. But some people treat fast learners like they are better than other people. That is not nice. I am a fast learner. I am not better than somebody who learns more slowly than I do. I just have different learning needs. Some people call fast learners gifted. There are many problems with that. Gifted is not a good word. Calling fast…

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The Taxonomy of Plants: A Tale of Multi-Generational Autistics

Hannah King mystinkybackpack.blogspot.ca GRANDPA If you wanted to talk to my grandpa, plant taxonomy was a good opener. He would take us for long walks in the forests of North Jersey. Be quiet now, don’t scare the wildlife. “What kind of plant is that, Grandpa?” I would whisper. I never remembered the answer. But I liked to hear him talk to me. Photo © Hannah King [image: Close up of a barnacle-covered rock at low tide.] Every July, us kids would stay at their house near the shore. Grandpa, who had been an inventor at Bell labs, kept the tidal charts taped to the side of the refrigerator so he knew when to fish, when to swim and when—at four in the morning—to take the six of us racing down the pebbly sidewalks to collect shells and walk the puddled moonscape of a Jersey low tide. Back home in his…

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Why To Siri With Love Is a Wrecking Ball of a Book

Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com [Content note: possible triggers include: forcible sterilization of minorities including Autistic people, forcible gynecological experimentation on minorities, Judge Rotenberg Center, electric shock, stereotypes about Autistics lacking empathy or a sense of humor, stereotypes about Autistics or Black people lacking the ability to feel pain, snakes and feeding live rodents, harmful Supreme Court verdicts, dehumanizing of Autists, getting drunk, preferring drunkenness to talking with Autistic children, humanizing the author of a grossly dehumanizing book.] Come mothers and fathers / Throughout the land  And don’t criticize / What you can’t understand  Your sons and your daughters / Are beyond your command  Your old road is rapidly aging.  Please get out of the new one / If you can’t lend your hand  For the times they are a-changin’.  -Bob Dylan [image: Book cover: A blue background with informal font white text reading, “To Siri With Love,” with a photo of a…