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It’s Time to Prepare the World for Your Child

Photo: woodleywonderworks | Flickr/Creative Commons [image: Young white child with short dark brown hair embracing an enormous globe of the earth.] Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com Ray Hemachandra recently published an essay on his blog that reads like a love letter to/about his adult Autistic son, Nicholas. In the essay, Ray muses about how quickly time slips by, and how suddenly it seems that his son is transitioning from school to adult life and all the possibilities and struggles that includes. “For an adult child, parents and families soon no longer have school IEP meetings to fight for rights, accessibility, and inclusion. But many of the same questions we wrestled with in the school setting extend into adulthood and society: Will he or she be isolated or included? How do we foster more inclusive communities broadly, but also more specifically take steps to ensure our child feels a part of the world,…

His Hands Were Quiet: A Review

[image: Brown book cover. Small yellow text at the top reads, “Zachary Goldman Mysteries 2” Next, the title in white all caps text reads, “His Hands Were Quiet.” Next is an image of a yellow triangle with a silhouette of a person bending backwards and being struck in the chest with a bolt of electricity. Large yellow text at the  bottom reads, “PD Workman”.] Maxfield Sparrow His Hands Were Quiet By P.D. Workman Content notes: suicide, abuse, murder, house fires, burn injuries, PTSD, Judge Rotenberg Center, ABA This book review gets all the Autistic trigger warnings. It is a gripping thriller/suspense novel that could help people understand autism and Autistic people better, and it is raw and honest about what some of the most vulnerable Autistic people endure. It will be a tense read for everyone and could be especially triggering for many Autistic people, so proceed carefully with this review and…

See it Feelingly: Classic Novels, Autistic Readers, and the Schooling of a No-Good English Professor: A Review

Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com [image: cover of the book See It Feelingly, by Ralph Savarese] See It Feelingly: Classic Novels, Autistic Readers, and the Schooling of a No-Good English Professor (Thought in the Act) by Ralph James Savarese Foreword by Stephen Kuusisto Duke University Press Books (October 12, 2018) Reading See it Feelingly took me much longer than I expected, because I wanted to stop to take notes with almost every page turn. Dr. Savarese has produced a masterpiece, simultaneously dense and accessible. His voice moves freely—alternating among lyrical, narrative, and instructive—never losing the flow, never dipping into pedantry, never soaring too far toward the abstract for the reader to follow. Not only is this collection of essays brimming with the most important information and ideas about autism, it is a collaboration of rare beauty. See it Feelingly crosses genres effortlessly. The result is a book rich in the neuroscience of autism,…

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Eliminating Restraints and Seclusion Improves Outcomes for Injuries/Trauma, Expenditures, and Student Goal Mastery

Photo: Nancy Marie Davis | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: sepia-tone print of a clenched fist, with superimposed scratched lines.] Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com A little over two years ago, Crystal Garrett wrote an article for Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism about the long-term traumatic effects on her Autistic son of the restraints and seclusion used against him at school. Garrett chose to end her career as a journalist to stay at home and school Zachary herself. Garrett wrote, “We know a restraint and seclusion free environment is realistic. Virginia-based Grafton Integrated Health Network, an organization that works with children and adults with autism and co-occurring psychiatric diagnoses, went restraint and seclusion free ten years ago. Since then, their client and staff injury rate has dramatically gone down, while employee satisfaction has increased. They are now teaching their system, Ukeru, to others across the country, in order to create a trauma-informed…

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Knowing Why Is Everything: An Interview With Editor Elizabeth Bartmess on Adult-Diagnosed Autistic Perspectives

Sarah Kurchak www.riskyfuel.com The Knowing Why book cover [image: Book cover with a black background, with silhouettes of people of all sizes and a dog, in a rainbow of colors. Rainbow-colored text  at the top reads, “Knowing Why: Adult-Diagnosed Autistic People on Life and Autism.] There are many problems with the ways in which autism is currently seen and represented in the media and public discussion. When the face of autism is still predominantly white, cisgender, heterosexual, middle or upper class boys, it erases autistic people of color, LGBTQA autistic people, and poor autistic people from the conversation and denies them vital supports and resources. It also ignores the fact that there’s an entire segment of the autistic population that spends their entire childhoods and adolescences not knowing that they’re autistic at all. As someone who wasn’t diagnosed until I was 27, I grew up knowing that I was different…

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Neurodiverse-Friendly Workplaces in Your Community: A Symposium Report

Photo courtesy Max Sparrow [image: Symposium organizers and presenters stand in front of the Dirt Coffee Truck while the Dirt workers smile from the left window of the truck. From left to right, the people pictured are: Dr. Elaine Meyer, Bill Morris, Lauren Burgess, Kris Harrington, Drew Webster, Dr. Stephen Shore, Dr. Kristie Koenig, Thomas Koenig, David Finch, Becca Lory Hector, Philip Tedeschi, Antonio Hector, Erica Elvove.] Maxfield Sparrow UnstrangeMind.com I am sitting in Dirt Coffee in Littleton, Colorado. Ryan, an outgoing young woman with enormous blue eyes, has served me a massive Americano to which I’ve added tons of cream. “Do you know about our mission?” she asks me. I do know the mission of Dirt Coffee, but I let her tell me anyway because I want the joy of hearing the words again.  I discovered Dirt Coffee earlier today when I attended a symposium at the University of Denver’s…

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Rethinking Autism and “Picky Eating”

Photo © Melissa | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: Lunch box with each food type in a different compartment. Foods include pretzels, jellybeans, raspberries, sliced cucumber, and whole wheat sandwich bread in a butterfly cutout.]  Alex Earhart autisticallyalex.com For as long as I can remember, I’ve been ashamed of what I do and don’t eat. The stigma of being a “picky eater” has followed me my whole life, bringing comments (and no small amount of exasperation) from family, friends, wait staff, and strangers. I’ve recently been examining why I struggle with certain foods, and have come to the same conclusion as I have with much of my post-autism-diagnosis self-exploration: I’m actually incredibly strong, and my experiences are real and valid. Why am I so “picky”? Well, if you could experience my senses for a few hours, I bet you’d be more understanding, less judgmental, and I’m fairly certain you’d stop…

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On ABA: They hate you. Yes, you.

Amanda Forest Vivian adeepercountry.blogspot.com Content note: Includes discussion of discrimination and abuse by teachers and ABA practitioners, and a photo of a child in ABA therapy receiving an electric shock. —- I always think about Danny, who was not really named Danny. It’s too bad I can’t use his real name because it’s one of my favorite names. I’m sure he’s forgotten me, but I can remember his name, his face, his favorite subway train, and the words he made up. He was a kid I met this summer at the school where I interned. I have written about him several times, sometimes at length. And although he was my favorite kid at the school, that isn’t why Danny is always surfacing in my mind, tiny in his big t-shirts, flinging himself around and reciting things. It’s through Danny that I found out for sure, this stuff is about me.…

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Review of Killer Caregiver (Lifetime Movies)

[image: Promotional graphic for the movie Killer Caregiver, with a black background, a woman’s face with a malicious expression and a red filter, and bright orange block letters reading, “Killer Caregiver”.] autisticaplanet through1filter.blogspot.com Content note: Some plot spoilers, mentions of violence. Killer Caregiver stands out from the rest of Lifetime Movie Thrillers. First of all, the adults in the movie actually dress and act like believable adults, not petty, spoiled man-boys or woman-girls—though they do live in a McMansion like nearly every Lifetime movie family in the 2000’s through the present. This thriller also differs from the Lifetime norm as the main character Mariah’s son, Jacob, has autism. When a male client makes an unwanted aggressive advance on Mariah (Nicole Hayden), she jumps from her van in an attempt to escape. He then becomes pinned to an entrance gate by the rolling-in-neutral car. He dies and Mariah survives, though she…