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Parents, Do Not Infantilise Your Teenage and Adult Disabled Children

Finn Gardiner expectedly.org Photo © G_Jewels | Flickr / Creative Commons [Image: Black infant in a wooden high chair, being spoon-fed by an off-camera adult.] If you’re a parent of a teenage or adult child with a disability, it’s important to avoid infantilising them. What is infantilisation? It’s treating people who are no longer children like children in a way that restricts their ability to be fully integrated with their age-peers. It’s talking to them in a condescending voice, dismissing their ideas and opinions, acting as though you will always understand them better than they understand themselves, or going out of your way to shield them from everything you think may be even slightly dangerous. Infantalisation is treating your child as though they will always be a child, whether they’re five, fifteen or thirty-five. Infantilisation is different from recognising that disabled people have support needs. That’s part of what being…

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When Autistic People Have Epilepsy

Photo © Ivo Dimitrov | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: Illustration of a human brain, in profile, made of colorful cogs in various sizes and shapes.] Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com [Content note: This post discusses suicidality, mental health, and death.] In the early 1990s, I was engaged to a man with epilepsy. He had tonic-clonic seizures and he was a big guy, so I was always alert to the possibility of an episode. I knew there were stores we couldn’t shop in, and roads I couldn’t drive down. I caught his body and lowered him safely to the ground more times than I can remember. I guarded him from the pressing crowd of curious onlookers when he came around after a public seizure. And I worried, feeling helpless, when his medication levels were off, and he had seizure after seizure. I can’t know what it is like to have epilepsy or…

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Against The Autism Parent Feedback Loop of Woe

Kerima Cevik http://theautismwars.blogspot.com “Please try to remember that what they believe, as well as what they do and cause you to endure does not testify to your inferiority but to their inhumanity.” -James Baldwin The Fire Next Time Photo © Kerima Cevik, posted with subject’s permission [Image: The author’s biracial nonverbal autistic son,  at about age five, expressing shock through the  gestural language he created.] San Francisco Autism Society Board Member Stephen Prutsman recently posted an opinion piece* to his organization’s blog, and while browsing newsfeeds on social media, I read it. The blog post disturbed me so much I posted a brief response in the comment section (which they did not publish). Mr. Prutsman headed his article with two images, a rainbow infinity symbol image he meant to represent the neurodiversity movement, and a disturbing photograph previously posted by his ASA chapter president (now removed), alleging to show property damage to…

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Autism and Psychiatric Medication: Caution Advised

Photo © RoseFireRising | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: Mandala made out of different colored and shaped pills, on a dark blue background.] Kit Mead kpagination.wordpress.com [Note: This post discusses anxiety, medications, and chemical restraints. It is meant to caution against overmedication and about risk factors in medication for autistic people, with the understanding that many autistic people rely on psychiatric medication for their health and well-being.] I would need more than two hands to count the psych meds I’ve been given. There are enough that I don’t remember all of them; it started in the first grade. Some were just regular ADHD meds—which I needed—not psychotropic. As years passed, others were anti-anxiety SSRIs, and then antipsychotics; many well before I’d hit the end of middle school (these include Risperdal, Paxil, and Wellbutrin). While I was not diagnosed autistic until I was 14 or 15, the logic under which these…

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INSAR 2018: Autism and Suicidality Special Interest Group (SIG)

Sarah Cassidy’s INSAR 2018 SIG on autism and suicidality brought ~60 autistic people and autism researchers and professionals to discuss research on, and factors underlying and mitigating, suicidality in autistic people—as well as next steps for researchers. The statements and images below are from our original Twitter Moment compilation/report on this SIG. We then heard back that Twitter feeds can be difficult to parse and access for some, so we’ve created this version as well, edited for readability. Uncredited statements are from the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism Twitter feed. —- Jon Spiers: Morning session on suicide and autism starting now at INSAR 2018 – a top priority for Autistica and Mental Health in Autism. At INSAR 2014, Sarah Cassidy was the only poster on suicidality. Now there is an entire INSAR 2018 track on autism, suicidality, and bullying. At IMFAR (INSAR) 2016, the SIG goal was to identify priority topic areas.…

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I’m Not Just Socially Awkward

Photo courtesy the author [image: Blurry photo of a pink ride-on bouncy balloon with an animal face and two “horns” for handles. Overlaid white text reads, “I’m not just socially awkward.” Smaller white text in the lower right corner reads, “@oufoxgloved” and “Autnot.Wordpress.com”] Rhi Lloyd-Williams autistrhi.com When I tell people I’m autistic, it usually goes one of two ways; either they can’t make me fit into their idea of what autism is and completely reject it, or they mark me down as “socially awkward” and leave it there. Autism explains my lack of constant contact, it explains my monologuing about things that interest me, it explains why on social occasions I move around a room like a loose cog in a machine—catching on things, getting stuck in places, jarring against this and that before being knocked into a corner and staying there. Those are the things about me that you…