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Invisible Differences: A Review

[image: Cover of the graphic novel Invisible Differences. The title is at the top in red block letters. Under is a grayscale illustration of a woman with straight dark hair, looking perplexed. She is wearing red Converse-style sneakers and is standing in front of many people walking by, intent on their own business.] Sonny Hallett twitter.com/scrappapertiger Review of Invisible Differences by Julie Dachez, illustrated by Mademoiselle Caroline One of the most valuable moments for many, on their journey to realising that they’re autistic, is recognising themselves through reading biographies and seeing other representations of autistic experiences. Autistic representations can provide such an important sense of validation and community, for those of us who may have never experienced much of either before.  As more works emerge by actually autistic creators, we are also seeing greater range, nuance, authenticity, and celebration of our diversity and differences, rather than pathology-based models or crude caricatures. In this…

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“Our Own Little Worlds”

Photo © Jill at Blue Moonbeam Studio | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: A wooden gate in a botanical garden, with the Austin skyline in the background, as seen reflected in a crystal ball.] Devin S. Turk twitter.com/AuroralAutistic As I have become more involved with the autistic self-advocacy movement, I’ve found myself paying more and more attention to how non-autistic populations talk about us. I have often heard my beautiful, vibrant community described by non-autistics with words like “disease” and “epidemic.” Even if it’s not as blatant, the language our wider society uses to talk about autistic people is reflective of a deep-seated discomfort and even disgust with the non-normative.  One example is the idea that autistic people are in our “own little worlds.” “They’re in their own little world” alludes to the intensely ableist trope of the “mysterious autistic” person, someone who is “trapped” within their “Autism-ridden” body or…

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Why Doesn’t Respect for Communication Diversity Include Non-Speaking Autistic People?

Photo © Pier Paolo Tosetto | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: Photo of a young child wearing a white baseball cat crouching down and talking at a brown bunny.] Emily Paige Ballou chavisory.wordpress.com One day, when I was 15 or 16, I was making my way through the crowded halls of my high school as I did most days, wondering for nowhere near the first time in my life how it could possibly be that I felt so isolated and cut off from most of my peers. Even ones I considered friends, or generally got along well with. There was some quality of their relationships with each other that just wasn’t there when it came to me. Everybody seemed to know things I didn’t, all the time. And finally, that day, I thought, “It’s almost as if I’m blind and deaf.” Not in the literal sense of not being able…

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Autistic Replay: Both Involuntary and Misunderstood

Photo © Dean Shareski | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: Close-up photo of a remote control’s “Replay” and “Rewind” buttons.] Emma Dalmayne www.Autisticate.com Content note: This article discusses trauma and an infant being assaulted Have you ever watched an autistic individual joyously laugh or begin to sob broken heartedly for no reason apparent to yourself? It’s very likely they are replaying a memory of an event that has passed, possibly as recent as that day or even months or years ago. We can feel the exact same intensity that we felt at that moment, see the same sights, smell the same smells, and hear the same sounds. Depending on if it’s a pleasant memory, we may sit there smiling, giggling, or laughing uproariously—to the amazement of anyone nearby. Similarly our distress is absolute if it’s a depressing memory: tears will run, and the devastating sadness experiences at that time will…

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Conflicts of Interest in Early Autism Intervention Research: A Conversation with Dr. Kristen Bottema-Beutel

Photo courtesy Dr. Bottema-Beutel [image: Formal photo of Dr. Bottema-Beutel, a smiling white woman with medium-length side parted brown hair.] Advocates of early autism interventions often claim such approaches are “evidence based,” whereas critics have long pointed out individual flaws in cited studies. We were glad to learn about Dr. Kristen Bottema-Beutel’s analysis of general conflicts of interest in early autism research, and talk with her about how her findings complicate assertions about being early autism interventions being evidence based, and what else she and her team discovered. —- Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism: Can you tell us why you decided to pursue this analysis of conflicts of interest (COIs) in early autism intervention research? Bottema-Beutel: The short answer is that I’ve been following Michelle Dawson on Twitter (her handle is @autismcrisis). Michelle is an autistic researcher who has been sounding the alarm on undisclosed COIs for more than a decade—before I…

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“Zoom Fatigue”: A Taste of The Autistic Experience

Photo © Sybren Stüvel | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: Frustrated white person at a computer keyboard. Their hands are on their head covering their hair, and they are wearing glasses.] Maxfield Sparrow UnstrangeMind.com Like many folks, I had not heard of Zoom before the pandemic. My friends in IT tell me they were using it for work meetings before much of the United States went into self-quarantine, shelter in place, lockdown, or whatever you want to call the “social distancing” we were urged to observe to help slow the spread of the virus. One bonus for me of the way things have shifted during the pandemic is that I’ve been able to join small groups of people from whom I’m genuinely geographically isolated. For the holy season, I celebrated in community with a Lodge in Sacramento. My friend, Smash Ford, invited me to attend a meeting of the Non-Binary Union…