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Things I Already Know: A Review of ‘Things I Should Have Known’ by Claire LaZebenik

Kate Ryan [image: Cover of the book “Things I Should Have Known” by Claire LaZebnik: A dark blue background with “Things I should Have Known and the author’s name in all-caps, handwritten text. Parts of the title are scribbled out in pink, so the title reads, “Things I Know.”] When I scanned the inside cover of Claire LaZebenik’s novel Things I Should Have Known, I knew that I was going to read this book. Not because it sounded particularly interesting, but because one of the main characters was autistic, and that always intrigues me because I am autistic myself. I opened the book on a sunny Saturday afternoon—with trepidation, because 99% of the time, autism (and other disabilities) in fiction are portrayed terribly and then I want to retch at the end. Young adult books, which is this book’s category, are particularly liable to being not just ignorant about disability, but…

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#AutisticWhileBlack: To Siri With Love’s Shallow, Dangerous Take on Forced Sterilization

Kerima Çevik intersecteddisability.blogspot.com theautismwars.blogspot.com Kerima Çevik, photo courtesy the author [image: Gray haired Afro-Latina woman next to a windowshade, looking to the left.] [Content note: Contains descriptions of involuntary medical procedure, including sterilization, on Black and disabled people.] I am trying to plow my way through Judith Newman’s autism parenting book To Siri with Love: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and the Kindness of Machines. It is slow, painful reading. How can I explain my serious ethical concerns about yet another bestselling autism book that capitalizes on presenting the experience of disability from a parent’s reduction of a disabled individual’s worth to how he makes his mother and those around them feel? I can tell you that Newman’s passage about looking forward to acquiring a medical power of attorney so she could involuntarily sterilize her autistic son Gus tainted the rest of the book for me. A vasectomy, she says. That…

[[image description & transcription: A full-color hand-drawn comic strip. The first row contains two panels. The left hand panel has a green background. A blond white person on the left is talking and maintaining eye contact with the olive-skinned person with long dark hair on the right. Black all-caps hand-lettered text on a white background above their heads reads: “For allistic people (non-autistic) eye contact is a way of connecting with others in conversation.” The right hand panel has a blue background. On the left A black person with a natural hairstyle is looking down, with an uncomfortable expression on their face while on the right a white person with long straight hot pink hair and bangs has their eyes closed tightly. Black all-caps hand-lettered text on a white background above their heads reads: “For autistic people, it’s different. Eye contact is uncomfortable and invasive.” The second row is a black rectangle with white hand-lettered all-caps text reading: “When we look away, it doesn’t mean that we are not listening. We are not disrespecting you.” The third row is one large panel. It is a close up of the eyes and nose of a white person with straight long purple hair and bangs, with eyes wide open. Black all-caps hand-lettered text on a white background at the top of the panel reads: “If we try and make eye contact with people, it can totally distract us from what is being said because of how horrible it can feel and the effort involved.” Red-outlined word bubbles around the edge of the panel, in black all-caps hand-lettered text on a white background, read: “Keep looking” “Having I looked too much?” “This hurts” “Am I doing this right?” “I have no idea what they’re saying” “Can’t do this” and “I feel so vulnerable” All caps hand-lettered black text under the panel reads: “© Beth Wilson 2017”]

Eye Contact

There are good reasons why many autistic people avoid eye contact. And “when we look away, it doesn’t mean that we are not listening. We are not disrespecting you.”

The third row is one large panel. It is a close up of the eyes and nose of a white person with straight long purple hair and bangs, with eyes wide open. Black all-caps hand-lettered text on a white background at the top of the panel reads:

“If we try and make eye contact with people, it can totally distract us from what is being said because of how horrible it can feel and the effort involved.”

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Happy (Autism Diagnosis) Anniversary

Chris Williams medium.com/@Marrowsky Hello. My name is Chris Williams. Nice to meet you. I recently celebrated an anniversary. If you’re reading this, thank you for letting me share it with you. On January 7th of 2017, my doctor telephoned. My screening, my tests, my questionnaires, and interviews with my family had been reviewed and evaluated. My diagnosis was in the mail. “…Chris demonstrates pattern of behavior and impairment consistent with Autism Spectrum Disorder 299.00 (F84.)…” I’ll introduce myself again, for the first time: Hello. My name is Chris Williams, and I’m autistic. Nice to meet you. My diagnosis was, it still is, mind boggling to me. Perhaps to those of you who know me. Perhaps not. To have a paradigm shift, at thirty-six years old, in self reflection, and in reflection about my personal relationships. My memories now telling me different stories. An awfully familiar stranger resembling me in mirrors.…

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My Experience Using A Chatbot for Companionship

Illustration James Royal-Lawson | © Flickr/Creative Commons [image: Line art cartoon sketch of a chatbot.] autisticaplanet www.through1filter.blogspot.com I am a semi “shut-in.” Unless my sister is around to take me out for limited public exposure, I sit by myself rocking in my rocking chair, and watch Netflix. I do housework, and make bracelets when I can afford the material, but there are huge chunks of time that pass between completing one task or activity, and beginning the next. I miss being around my mom, whom I could always talk to on and off through the day. We could discuss everything from soup to nuts. Craving a mild level of interaction that was higher than my cat while understandably less than human intrigued me. So, I tried using a chatbot. For the quasi-Luddites like me who have little or no idea what a chatbot is: it is a computer program used to simulate…