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I Identify As Tired

Hannah Gadsby in the Netflix special Nanette [image: Australian comic Hannah Gadsby, speaking into a microphone. White text at the bottom of the image reads, “I identify… as tired.”] Emily Paige Ballou chavisory.wordpress.com I started wondering something explicitly for the first time recently (I don’t even entirely remember why), and that is: How many autistic kids who fly under the radar for years, or forever, present primarily to non-autistic observers as exhausted? I was wondering this as I was recovering from the end of a production a while back, and my main problem was just that I was so exhausted. If I got up at 10:00 AM, I needed a nap by 4:00 or 5:00, and not for having done all that much in my waking hours. I couldn’t exercise the slightest amount of group planning ability outside of work. It took my writing brain a couple of months to…

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How Finding Autistic Community Leads to Self-Acceptance

David Gray-Hammond, photo courtesy author [image: A white man with short brown hair, a beard, and glasses. He is wearing a teal shirt and light brown pants.] David Gray-Hammond @emgntdivergence Developing skills in self-advocacy can often seem confusing and frustrating. It requires us to be aware of our needs in a detailed way, while also being able to communicate them in a world that so often seeks to silence us. I have always argued that self-acceptance is the first step to self-advocacy, but in order to accept ourselves, we must first know ourselves. When I found the autistic community, I found thousands of people who understood my experience in a way that others simply could not. It was in this understanding that they taught me the vocabulary that I needed to describe my strengths and struggles (in fact, I did not even know the words to describe my most basic…

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An Inclusionist’s Manifesto

Photo © Mundial Perspectives | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: A white teacher with shoulder-length straight dark brown hair holding up a globe to a group of young students of varied races, several of whom are raising their hands, all of whom are seen from behind.] Tim Villegas www.thinkinclusive.us I spend a lot of time thinking about inclusion. Most of this energy is spent coming up with ways to explain inclusive education clearly and succinctly so that everyone understands what it is and why it is essential. Because, to me, it is one of the most crucial things we can do for students (disabled or non-disabled). Here’s the challenge. You probably already have thoughts and opinions about inclusion. Maybe you have already decided that the cognitive difficulties or level of autism your child has, would not be appropriate in a general education classroom. Perhaps you have a notion that inclusion…

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Harriet: A Neurodivergent Film Review

Source: Focus Features [image: Poster for the movie Harriet. A glowing orange-brown background features three Black people, one man and two women, in 19th century clothing. The woman in the center is wearing a wide-brimmed hat and has an unapologetic expression. Below them is a smaller photo of the center woman, in profile holding up at pistol. All-caps white text below her reads, “Harriet”] Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com The movie Harriet (2019) is 125 minutes (two hours and five minutes) long. www.focusfeatures.com/harriet —- The first thing I noticed about the film Harriet was that the showing was sold out. I was eager to see the film and was simultaneously irritated and grateful that I couldn’t get a ticket. Irritated, because it meant buying a ticket for a later showing and finding a way to kill time for a couple of hours. Grateful because Harriet’s story is one everyone should know. Harriet…

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Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: An Autistic Autism Researcher’s Insights

Dr. Emily Casanova  [image: Black-and-white headshot of a white woman with medium-dark, chin-length waved hair.] Ehlers-Dahlos syndromes are disorders that affect connective tissues. It is both under-researched, and a common co-occurring condition in autistic people. We wanted to know more about how Ehlers-Danlos gets diagnosed (and overlooked) and the state of the research, so we spoke with autistic autism researcher Dr. Emily Casanova, who presented on this topic at INSAR 2019, the annual meeting of the International Society For Autism Research. Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism: First you can tell us a little bit about you and your work? Dr. Casanova: My work has two major foci. The first centers around the relationship between Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes (EDS)/hypermobility spectrum disorders (HSD) and autism, trying to tease apart their shared biology so we can better define and understand precisely what these overlapping conditions are. The second branch of my work focuses on the…

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Book Review: Communication Alternatives In Autism

[Image: Book cover with a background that is blue on the left and yellow on the right. A red bar in the upper center contains white text reading, “Communication Alternatives in Autism,” followed by smaller yellow text reading, “Perspectives on Typing and Spelling Approaches for the Nonspeaking.” Below, two hands hold a white tablet device with a keyboard visible and white text on black reading, “Hello my name is …” Below, red text reads, “Edited by Edlyn Vallejo Peña”] Communication Alternatives in Autism contains the perspectives of ten autistic self-advocates, who “share their experiences with alternative forms of communication. Their narratives document the complexities that autistic individuals navigate—in both educational and community settings—when choosing to use approaches that utilize letter boards and keyboards.” Review by Olympia Eleni Ellinas Autistic children and adults, around the world, are being treated as if they aren’t humans, as if they aren’t capable of sentient thought.…

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OK, So We have AAC: Now What?

Photo courtesy Miss A [image: An iPad screen with the app Speak for Yourself, and a list of animals in the message bar: banana, cookie, cat, dog…”] Miss A teachingunicorn.com Access to AAC—Augmentative and Alternative Communication for people with speech disabilities—is a fundamental human right, but it’s one still that tends to be forgotten and overlooked in many spaces today. And many people are just hearing about AAC, or gaining access to it for the first time. The first few steps in using AAC can feel overwhelming to families and professionals new to this journey, because it is essentially learning a new language. Many people have fears about “doing it right” and “doing it enough.” I promise that you can do AAC. You can do it. You must do it. And it will be worth every step. How? Get excited. It can be really easy for AAC to be seen as…

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How to Plan Events That Prioritize Accessibility

Color Communication Badges by Button Justice League, on Etsy [Image Description: Three 1.5 inch pinback buttons each with a vivid color, a bold black word and a black shape underneath the text. From left to right: a “Red” button with a octagon, a “Yellow” button with a triangle, and lastly a “Green” button with a circle.]  Lydia X. Z. Brown @autistichoya [Note from Lydia: This originally appeared on Twitter as a thread on 4 June 2018, and is an incomplete list of suggestions.] Some tips on access-centered event/program organizing/planning (some are mine; many I learned from other fabulous folks): (1) When you put information about the event online, whether on (a) a website, (b) in email announcements, or (c) social media, only include images if you include alt-text and text-only captions. (2) Don’t rely on online/email/social media to get the word out. Call people too. Many comrades with intellectual disabilities…