twin2bpeaks2bjo2bpaul2btheresa2bnatalie2bzelly2bleo-5721087

Your Lax Social Distancing Is Stressing Out Autistic People

Carol Greenburg twitter.com/autisticenough Image © Shannon Des Roches Rosa [image: Photo of six people, seen from behind looking at downtown San Francisco from atop Twin Peaks.] Now that every rule of social engagement we’ve painstakingly tried to learn has been turned upside down by social distancing, it’s not just our routines that are disrupted: It’s our whole concept of the importance of Rules. I’ve heard many parents say their autistic kids are “rule-followers” and bitten my tongue wanting to ask if they thought it’s because we’re naturally rigid, or because we’ve been undergoing compliance training for as long as we can remember. Regardless of the origin, many of us cling desperately to whichever skills that get us approval rather than admonishment. Not always a bad thing, many rules certainly do make sense in appropriate context. All we-were-made-for-this jokes aside, social distancing is a stark example of a good rule in…

71555044_1316fcdc3c_b-3789860

Autistic in the Pandemic: A Call to Action

Photo © Katie | Flickr / Creative Commons [image:Black-and-white photo of a person wearing a hoodie and pants, seen from behind near deciduous trees, reaching up and out to the sky.] Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com In the recent WWI movie, 1917, there’s a scene where the reluctant hero encounters a woman hiding behind enemy lines, trying to shush a starving baby. The baby isn’t hers so her body is not equipped to feed it. Lance Corporal Schofield had stopped to fill his empty canteen with milk—the only fluid he could find that was safe to drink—earlier that day. Although we know almost nothing about his life at that point in the film, his words and actions with the baby suggest that Schofield is a father, himself. He gives the milk to the woman and seems grateful to be able to do so. There is a lesson here. None of us are…

img_3417-3596487

“I think we all need people in our lives who share our identities”: The Power of Autistic Mentorship

Photo courtesy Anne Borden [image: Two white people: A boy with medium-short dark blond hair, and a woman with short dark brown hair, posing for the camera. They are sitting on a wooden bench next to a large bush.] Anne Borden and Raya Shields live in Toronto, where Raya is an autistic mentor to Anne’s son Baxter. Both Anne and Raya are members of Autistics for Autistics (A4A), an autistic self-advocacy organization. In this conversation, they discuss autistic mentorship: what it is, why it’s important, and how we can forge new approaches to autism through autistic-led and directed projects. —- Anne: Raya, how would you describe what you do? Is it autistic mentorship, or what term would you use? Raya: I refer to myself as a mentor and to the work that I do with children and young people as mentorship. I also have my Bachelor of Arts in Child…

ann2bmemmott2b2brude2bgraphic-4211147

Ridiculously Misguided Autism Research Strikes Again!

Ann Memmott annsautism.blogspot.com In the recent Lancet article The gut microbiome in neurological disorders by Cryan et al, confused researchers have mistaken reducing stomach pain for curing autism (yet again). Now, autism researchers, when was the last time you had a hurty tum? How was your behaviour? Having an ‘aha!’ moment now? Thank you. If you want a hint of the joys within the Lancet paper: it references Tomova et al’s 2015 paper Gastrointestinal microbiota in children with autism in Slovakia, which involves nine autistic children ages 2-9, in an unblinded study (meaning they knew which kids got the probiotic supplement) and parent reports of “behaviour.” Apparently after the treatment autistic children showed less “challenging behaviour” which led to the the supposition that “…appropriate… microbiota is required for normal social development.” The problem is that autism isn’t a behaviour, any more than being Deaf is a “behaviour.” The cited quest to…

21431069418_207bdca2e3_k-5393653

How to Create Social Groups for Autistic Teens and Adults

Photo © Jonathan Nowak | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: Adults of varied races sitting and standing around a gaming table.] Jeff at Spectrum Disordered www.facebook.com/asdisordered I have a long history with successful autistic social groups. I started my first in 2006, and although I moved out of the area eight years ago, it remains thriving and still operates under the same general principles. I’ve started several groups in rural areas (where people tell me “there isn’t enough interested people to make this work”). Putting a social group or club together doesn’t have to be super complex, but I think people need to have a clear sense of what it is and what it is not. If you are looking at setting up your own, I would offer the following guidelines. The Social Group is the Speed Date Speed Dating is a type of get-together in which people interested in…