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What Is Light Sensitivity Like for One Autistic?

Photo © Jasper Nance | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: Photo of lightning exploding in a purple night sky above silhouetted conifer trees.] M. Kelter theinvisiblestrings.com I’ve had a life-long aversion to lights. I wanted to share what this means in terms of the subjective experience, and how this sensitivity generally seems to operate. The concept of a sensory aversion is probably self-explanatory, but it can include more subtle effects that may not be as apparent. I’ve noticed two primary factors that can cause my eyes to feel pain (no surprises here): brightness levels, and sudden changes in lighting. What are the types of “pain” involved, specifically? This can vary. Certainly an intensely bright light can cause a sharp pain, but that’s probably true for many people. Let’s define “intensely bright” as something akin to a camera flash. That can cause a sharp, stabbing pain, and that pain can persist…

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I Might Be You / Neurodiversity: A Review of Two Books

[image: Cover of the book “I Might Be You,” showing two seating white women facing and engaging with each other.] Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com I Might Be You: An Exploration of Autism and Connection (2012) By Barb Rentenbach and Lois Prislovsky; Audio version (2013) read by Lois Prislovsky PhD and Ariane Zurcher Neurodiversity: A Humorous and Practical Guide to Living with ADHD, Anxiety, Autism, Dyslexia, The Gays, and Everyone Else (2016) By Barb Rentenbach and Lois Prislovsky; Audio version (2016) read by Chad Dougatz, Lois Prislovsky PhD, Carol Riggs Holloway, John Bond, and Jery Yarber I read “I Might Be You” in 2014 and loved it, but never thought to review it back then. When I discovered that Barb Rentenbach and Lois Prislovsky had a second book out, I got it in an Audible version and, on a whim, decided to get the Audible version of “I Might Be You” as well, and…

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Hoshi and the Red City Circuit: An Excellent Debut by a Neurodivergent Author About Neurodivergent Protagonists

[image: Illustrated cover of the book Hoshi and the Red City Circuit, by Dora M Raymaker, featuring a person in silhouette sitting on the ground fending off rays of power from a pitchfork-wielding person silhouetted in red.] Kelly Israel Introduction Hoshi and the Red City Circuit, the debut work by Dora Raymaker, is first and foremost an excellent page-turning detective story about private investigator Hoshi Archer’s race to discover who murdered three Operators. Operators are a caste of people with disabilities. They are also the only people who have the ability to run the multi-layered, complex technology of the future. It is next a story about Hoshi herself and the many friends, allies, acquaintances, enemies, and lovers she has known and cared for on her way to becoming the person that she is. Hoshi is also a story that grapples with the intellectual and developmental disability (I/DD) community’s ghosts and…

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Are Co-occurring Conditions Part of Autism?

Photo © NASA Goddard Space Flight Center | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: Photo of two neutron stars ripping each other apart.] Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com Sometimes when I’m talking with someone about autism it feels like we’re talking about two different things. For example, I’ve had countless conversations that go something like this: “You’re nothing like my child. My child has the serious kind of autism,” they might open with.  “Autism is serious stuff,” I respond. “It’s important to take it seriously.”  “No, I mean my child has the autism with digestive stuff and physical involvement. The severe autism.”  “I have intermittent gastroparesis that has sent me to the hospital multiple times. I have a connective tissue disorder that has caused pelvic organ prolapse. These things aren’t autism.” And it’s the truth: the co-occurring conditions we cope with are not autism; they are the “genetic hitchhikers” that love to travel…

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International Day of the Stim: The Worry Stone

Photo © the author [image: Close up of fingertips grasping a worn black pottery shard.] Hannah King mystinkybackpack.blogspot.ca September 17, 2018 is International Day of the Stim! For more articles and information, see dayofthestim.blogspot.com. I found this old piece of pottery at the beach. It’s been worn smooth from the waves, and it fits perfectly in my hand. My thumb rub it over and over and over and over—it feels great. My thumbs are major in my stimming, always have been. I think one reason my thumb stims survived the years of stim-suppression I underwent at school and home is that I could stim—surreptitiously—with my thumbs. It was easy to tuck my hand into the folds of a cardigan sweater and reach for the nubby underside of a button, or to slide my thumbs and fingers quietly along the coolness beneath a school desk. And while I loved to glide…

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The Protective Gift of Meltdowns

Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com Photo © 2017, Maxfield Sparrow [image description: a turtle in the middle of the road on a hot, sunny day. His skin is dark with bright yellow stripes and his shell is ornate, covered with swirls of dark brown against a honey-yellow background. The turtle is rushing to get across the street and his back leg is extended from the speed and force of his dash toward freedom.] I hate meltdowns. I hate the way they take over my entire body. I hate the sick way I feel during a meltdown and I hate the long recovery time—sometimes minutes, but just as often entire days—afterward, when everything is too intense, and I am overwhelmed and exhausted and have to put my life on hold while I recover. I hate the embarrassment that comes from a meltdown in front of others. I hate the fear that bubbles up…

Kerima Çevik, a Black woman over 50 with braided gray hair wearing Neurodiversity 3.0 by ThinkGeek, a black T-shirt with a world globe design on the upper chest area in the shape of a human brain, colored in physical map fashion i.e., water is colored light blue and land masses green, clouds white, looking to her left over bent wire-rimmed glasses in that way that mothers look at their children when an outrageous behavior has just ensued.

#AutisticWhileBlack: Diezel Braxton And Becoming Indistinguishable From One’s Peers

Kerima Çevik theautismwars.blogspot.com The author’s idea of what displaying autism positivity looks like [Image: a Black woman over 50 with braided gray hair wearing Neurodiversity 3.0 by ThinkGeek, a black T-shirt with a world globe  design on the upper chest area in the shape of a human brain, colored in physical map fashion i.e., water is colored light blue  and land masses green, clouds white, looking to her left  over bent wire-rimmed glasses in that way that mothers look at  their children when an outrageous behavior has just ensued.] There is an article in a paper called The Daily Net, about singer Toni Braxton’s 16-year-old son Diezel working as a professional model for the past two years. The article refers to him as “formerly autistic.” It goes on to say he has, “fortunately, moved past” autism and is now a celebrity himself. Apparently, when her son was thirteen, Ms. Braxton…

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In Silence and in Sound: Autistics Do Not Benefit From Presumptions of Deficit

Photo: Ian Chen | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: Close-up black-and-white photo of a young East Asian child, with one finger over their lips in a position indicating “hush.”] Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com When an academic writes accurately about aspects of autistic lived experience, some people grumble. “All they needed to do was ask me and I would have told them,” some will say. “We’ve known this for years but they act like it’s a shocking new revelation,” others might add. I, however, rejoice. Formal confirmation of autistic common knowledge is exactly the kind of research we need out there. I am so happy when an academic paper states the obvious (at least obvious to us autistics) because it means there is finally an information source that “the system” will respect. Do I wish people would actually listen to actual autistics? Most definitely, I do. But until we manage to shift…