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A Conversation About “The Pattern Seekers” by Simon Baron-Cohen

“There are so many basic human rights that autistic people are being denied just because society isn’t accommodating autistic people.” Read about this issue and more, such as why just because autistic people are good at “systematizing” doesn’t mean they are all destined to be engineers, and “how a different style of education is appropriate for a systemizing thinker.” Our editor Carol Greenburg and NeuroTribes author Steve Silberman join Simon Baron-Cohen for a Zoom discussion on Baron-Cohen’s new book on autism, The Pattern Seekers.  —- Katherine Hill: Hi everyone, I’m Katherine Hill for Basic Books, and I’m excited to welcome you to today’s conversation about Simon Baron-Cohen’s new book, The Pattern Seekers: How Autism Drives Human Invention.  Joining us is Steve Silberman, author of the award-winning NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity. Steve’s articles have appeared in Wired, New York Times, New Yorker, and many other…

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Losing Hard-Won Freedoms: The Pandemic’s Toll on People With I/DD

Photo: Cristian | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: Olive-skinned person with short dark hair, wearing swim briefs, sitting wide-legged on a dune and tossing sand with outstretched hands.] Ivanova Smith twitter.com/LauraLovesIan1 My passion for advocacy has always been about freedom! The idea that all people should get to be free to be in their community is my purpose. I am very passionate about freedom, because I know what it is like not to have it. I was institutionalized for the first five years of my life. We had no holidays, no birthdays, and no family. We were stuck inside the institution everyday. Everyday was the same. That is why these things are  important to me. When I became a disability civil rights activist, I met many leaders who I thought had my same values of freedom. Sadly now I see that is not the case. It is nine months into…

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Recognizing How Autistic Children Express Love

Image © Farid Iqbal Ibrahim | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: The fingers of two silhouetted hands forming a heart shape.] Ann Memmott annsautism.blogspot.com I want to talk about how autistic children might express love for their parents or carers.  A well known book about ‘five love languages‘ says that these languages are: Words of affection. Doing things for someone Giving gifts Quality time together Physical touch It’s certainly true that there may be a good few autistic young people who express their love for their closest family using one or more of those. But there are other ‘languages of love’ in autistic communities: 1) “I love you, so I won’t cause you a brain event by overloading you with eye contact and other social/sensory stuff.“ But of course in the world of non-autistic people, this may be deemed rude, aloof, ‘in their own world.’  A misunderstanding. 2. “I love…

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Do You Want to Play?: A Children’s Book on Autistic Play Written by Autistics

[image: Cover of the book Do You Want to Play: Making Friends With an Autistic Kid. The background is purple on the top and white on the bottom. On the left is a large illustration of white kid with short curly red hair bedecked with a  blue bow, holding a yellow toy dump truck, and looking at the viewer.] Jess L. Cowing jesslcowing.com “Sometimes it’s nice just being beside you…” As publishers continue to release and market books that pathologize autistic kids such as Finding S.A.M. by Mary Bleckwehl, it is refreshing when a children’s book about autism includes an autistic character who is just an ordinary kid playing in the sandbox after school. So often depictions of autistic children for non-autistic people portray autistic kids as oddities and problems who must conform to neurotypical social norms in order to make friends and build community.  Written by Daniel Share-Strom with a…

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Pablo: A Show For And Featuring Autistic Kids!

Sparkle, a seven year old autistic vlogger was asked to review Pablo, the CBeebies children’s programme, which she throughly enjoyed doing! Photo courtesy Sparkle and Family [image: Sparkle, a little mixed-race girl, pointing at the title image for the series Pablo, which is playing on a TV screen.] Pablo is explained on the BBC website as “Five-year-old Pablo is on the autistic spectrum. He creates imaginary friends who come to life, and together they go on fun adventures and cope with tricky day-to-day situations.” (In the U.S., Pablo is available via Netflix.) Sparkle is familiar with Pablo having watched it for the past few years; she watched two episodes to recap so she could give a fresh perspective.  First was ‘The Sparkles’: Pablo goes for a walk on the beach, and is enchanted by the beauty of the reflection of the sun as it glistens on the sea surface. As…

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An Autistic Perspective on Becoming a New Mom

Photo © Howard Ignatius | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: A newborn baby being held up for the camera.  The baby’s mother is in the background, lying agains a pillow and blurred.] Amber Bond It’s been 20 days and motherhood hasn’t been what I expected. As an autistic person, I have incredible sound sensitivities. On the morning of my scheduled C-section, a man wheeled his tiny toddler—who wailed impossibly, seemingly uncontrollably—past the waiting room in a stroller, at least thirty times for at least thirty minutes. I messaged my mother that I was reconsidering my life choices.  This was, of course, met with emoji laughter—though I wasn’t sure I was joking, as the sudden, shrill, and very loud sound of other people’s children crying has always cut through me. I had inquired the previous day if earplugs might be a reasonable choice for motherhood. I used to shirk away from…

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Autistic with Cancer: Six Tips for Navigating the Medical System

Photo © wp paarz | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: Person with white-appearing skin, wearing a disposable exam gown, from shoulders to hips, hands folded, waiting in a medical exam room.] Anne Borden twitter.com/againstcures I’m currently going through breast cancer treatment, and have encountered barriers to accessing accommodations while autistic. Based on my experience, I wrote this article to help autistics and other neurodivergent (ND) folks navigate the medical system. In this article I cover both sensory and communication issues, with strategies that have worked for me and other ND cancer patients I’ve talked to. I’ve also included some scripts. I hope it can be helpful in some way!

 Background
 There is very little accurate information available to help health providers understand and support autistic communication and sensory experiences. As a result, autistic patients are left to navigate a system that often misunderstands and mistreats us. It’s difficult. In fact,…