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Wouldn’t You Want to Know If Your Autistic Child Was Being Harmed?

Created by Ezra Katz, Wikimedia Commons / Creative Commons [image: Simplified all-black figures of an adult holding the hand of a child while they stand side-by-side, on a yellow background.] Autistic Science Person twitter.com/AutSciPerson I am exhausted by non-autistic parents who: Ignore the experience of autistic people who went through ABA  Say ABA “was never like that” for their child  Assume their child cannot be traumatized long-term because they “seem happy”  Think we’re saying they’re trash parents You can’t speak for your kid. You can’t know what they think, what they feel, and what may have caused them long-term trauma that they’ll have to work through. You. Can’t. Know. That. Right. Now. That’s not how mental health effects from masking and from sensory invalidation work. And then I try to remember that when I’m talking to one parent who is speaking over their kid and their experience, five or ten…

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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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Things Left Unsaid: “I Am Autism” 10 Years Later

[image: Screen capture from the Autism Speaks video I Am Autism, with an African American child sitting on a slide, facing away from the camera. The YouTube video toolbar is visible, above title text reading, “I Am Autism commercial by Autism Speaks”.] Zephyr Ash Ostrowski thefilmroom.org “Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance.” –St. Francis of Assisi “There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.” –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe “Where ignorance exists, myths flourish.” Norman Begg and Angus Nicoll It doesn’t take long for a hurtful word or comment to make its way across the globe. The media eagerly reports on officials’ latest xenophobic remarks within minutes. Protesters will gather and complain for a corporation to sever ties with a controversial program or person. But this outrage somehow doesn’t happen with organizations that are directly tied to “helping” certain groups of marginalized people—and when…

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Autism Is Not “Behavioral”

Cal Montgomery Photo © Teresa Alexander-Arab | Flickr / Creative Commons [Image: A green buoy on the surface of a body of water on a sunny day.] Autism is not behavioral. Atypical behavior is not autism. It is a consequence of autism. It is surface markers by which what is underneath may be suspected, diagnosed, and investigated. Altering behavior doesn’t alter autism. Everything we recognize has surface markers. Fear, for instance, may look like a cold sweat, breathing hard, and dilated pupils, but that is not what fear is. ABA, the most popular monopoly for interacting with autistics, denies the “underneath.” It says that the surface markers are all that matter. It is profoundly dehumanizing. It is also a worldview that is almost impossible to maintain. When you call autism a behavioral disorder—and I am not touching the “disorder” part right here but I also do not accept it—you are focusing…

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It’s Time to Prepare the World for Your Child

Photo: woodleywonderworks | Flickr/Creative Commons [image: Young white child with short dark brown hair embracing an enormous globe of the earth.] Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com Ray Hemachandra recently published an essay on his blog that reads like a love letter to/about his adult Autistic son, Nicholas. In the essay, Ray muses about how quickly time slips by, and how suddenly it seems that his son is transitioning from school to adult life and all the possibilities and struggles that includes. “For an adult child, parents and families soon no longer have school IEP meetings to fight for rights, accessibility, and inclusion. But many of the same questions we wrestled with in the school setting extend into adulthood and society: Will he or she be isolated or included? How do we foster more inclusive communities broadly, but also more specifically take steps to ensure our child feels a part of the world,…

His Hands Were Quiet: A Review

[image: Brown book cover. Small yellow text at the top reads, “Zachary Goldman Mysteries 2” Next, the title in white all caps text reads, “His Hands Were Quiet.” Next is an image of a yellow triangle with a silhouette of a person bending backwards and being struck in the chest with a bolt of electricity. Large yellow text at the  bottom reads, “PD Workman”.] Maxfield Sparrow His Hands Were Quiet By P.D. Workman Content notes: suicide, abuse, murder, house fires, burn injuries, PTSD, Judge Rotenberg Center, ABA This book review gets all the Autistic trigger warnings. It is a gripping thriller/suspense novel that could help people understand autism and Autistic people better, and it is raw and honest about what some of the most vulnerable Autistic people endure. It will be a tense read for everyone and could be especially triggering for many Autistic people, so proceed carefully with this review and…