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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…

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It’s Time For Autism Research To Do Better By Autistic People

Photo: Charlene Croft | Creative Commons / Flickr [image: hand of a person with light skin arranging long red, green, and yellow construction blocks in a line.] Shannon Des Roches Rosa @shannonrosa Autism research is mostly failing my teenage son and his autistic community. Saying something so forthright may seem harsh, but this is the Greta Thunberg era—and we’re now telling people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. I’ve been going to autism science conferences and scrutinizing autism research for nearly a decade, and during this time most autism studies have remained mired in areas like causation—a pursuit that does absolutely nothing to improve the lives of autistic people who are here already. Even more frustratingly, when research does address the needs of existing autistic people it does so with the goal of “intervention,” rather than focusing on quality of life, and largely neglects those…

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Autism and Self-Injury: Talking With Dr. Rachel Moseley at INSAR 2019

Dr. Rachel Moseley and Carol Greenburg [image: Photos of two smiling white women wearing glasses posing together. Left, Rachel Moseley has shoulder-length light brown hair. Right, Carol Greenburg’s hair is in a platinum bob.] Content note: This interview discusses self-injury and suicidal behavior. Oftentimes the most rewarding findings at INSAR, the annual meeting for the International Society for Autism Research, emerge during the pre-conference sessions. We went to the 2019 pre-conference on autism and mental health and were impressed by Dr. Rachel Moseley’s presentation on self-injury in autistic people without intellectual disability—and are grateful that Dr. Moseley was able to make time to talk with TPGA editors Carol Greenburg and Shannon Rosa about her research. Shannon Rosa: Dr. Moseley, can you first tell us a little bit about yourself, and your background and affiliations? Dr. Moseley: I’m a researcher at Bournemouth University. I did all my studying and my PhD…