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At Home in Ourselves: A Mindful Acceptance of My Autistic Son

Photo © Stuart Anthony | Flickr/Creative Commons [Image: Two backlit people attempting to jump over a horizon-adjacent sun.] Leslie J. Davis www.dharmamamas.com “When I practice breathing in and I say, ‘I have arrived,’ that is an achievement. Now I am fully present, one hundred percent alive. The present moment has become my true home. When I breathe out I say, ‘I am home.’ If you do not feel you are home, you will continue to run. And you will continue to be afraid. But if you feel you are already home, then you do not need to run anymore. This is the secret of the practice. When we live in the present moment, it is possible to live in true happiness.” –Thich Nhat Hanh, “No Death, No Fear: Comforting Wisdom for Life” Every Monday night I sit with my meditation group and practice breathing in and out in an attempt…

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Mental Health and Autism: Why Acceptance Matters

Photo © Mariana Zanatta | Flickr/Creative Commons [image: Hand-drawn black-and-white outlined block letters spelling “anxiety” on a background of “anxiety” written repeatedly in black & filling all space.] Christine Motokane www.workingthedoubleshift.com It is well known that individuals on the autism spectrum are likely to have co-occurring mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. However, mental health is a less-discussed topic surrounding autism, compared to behavior and social challenges, etc. As an autistic young adult with anxiety,  I can give personal insight on this high prevalence. A big part of our susceptibility to issues like anxiety has to do with how we were slowly socialized, either implicitly or explicitly, to believe that an autistic lifestyle is something that is defective and therefore needs fixing. A recent Independent article sums up the strong link between lack of autism acceptance and the development of mental health disorders in autistic people: Research shows that lack…

Parents: Let’s Talk About Grief and Disability

Spectrum Disordered www.facebook.com/asdisordered Let’s talk about grief. To be specific, let’s talk about a specific way the term “grief” is used: as a suggested framework given to parents to process the news that their child has some type of disability. I’ve encountered this outlook throughout my life. My parents, by well-meaning professionals, were set up to view my disability as a loss: I was not normal, and would have to fight against my deficits for my whole life. They would not know what my future looked like and could not plan. They should feel Very. Sad. About. This. Having a grief mindset instilled into my parents was the single most devastating thing that has happened in my entire life. I learned very quickly that I was broken, and that there was something wrong with me. I learned very quickly—and at a very young age—that my parents would have preferred a…

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The Best Bar Mitzvah Boy

Todd Drezner www.lovinglamppostsmovie.com Dov and Sam | Photo © Brad Alpernin [image: Two white Jewish pre-teen boys, wearing suit jackets and ties at their Bar Mitzvah service, posing together and smiling for the camera.]   We told our son Sam that there is no applause at Bar Mitzvah services. But when he finished his speech, a wave of clapping and cheering burst forth from the crowd—a genuine display of emotion that no religious custom could have stopped. There was a lot of feeling behind that applause. Love, certainly. Appreciation of a job well done. But also amazement. It’s probably safe to say that not everyone in attendance had expected to see what they’d just seen. And here is where the story gets interesting. But first some background. A Jewish boy becomes a Bar Mitzvah when he turns 13 (a Jewish girl becomes a Bat Mitzvah). Traditionally, the Bar Mitzvah leads…

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Why Everyone Should Read The ABCs of Autism Acceptance

Patricia George www.persnicketypatricia.ca The ABCs of Autism Acceptance [image: Book cover, with white text reading “The ABCs of Autism Acceptance” on a background of multicolored representations of letters of the Roman alphabet, above black text on a white background, reading, “by Sparrow Rose Jones.”] I’ve been an avid reader my whole life, so when I was asked to review The ABCs of Autism Acceptance by Maxfield Sparrow, and saw that it was “only” 152 pages, I thought, “this won’t take long to read, so sure, I’d love to!” 

I was wrong. This is the largest 152-page book I’ve ever read. In fact, I wrote more notes for this book than I did for a 500-plus page book I reviewed in 2015.

 The book’s title is straight-forward: Maxfield uses the Roman alphabet as a way to educate the reader about autism acceptance from an autistic person’s point of view, while interlacing…

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How Apple Is Honoring World Autism Acceptance Day and Month

How excellent to see major cultural influencers like Apple honor Autism Acceptance during April, like this an Apple announcement about the month’s strategy and events, and descriptions of the apps in their Autism Acceptance Collection—including some excellent app discounts: From Apple: Sunday, April 2 is annual World Autism Acceptance Day, which kicks off Autism Acceptance Month. One in 68 U.S. children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to the CDC. Since we introduced iPad in 2010, we’ve heard from many parents, children, adults and therapists that iPad has been a key communication tool for Autistic people. And there are now some wonderful apps for Apple Watch as well, such as Proloquo4Text which now not only offers the ability to show your message to your communication partner, but version 3.1 also allows you to speak the message aloud right from your Apple Watch. But perhaps even more moving…