Two Canada geese swimming in a pond with a fluffy gosling.

Dangerous Assumptions

These revelations, about presuming competence, human dignity, and the least dangerous assumption—they don’t apply only to kids who are secret geniuses. They apply to everyone. They are the most important for the kids who really do have intellectual disabilities, who really can’t read or use full sentences and who really do need extensive support.

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Against The Autism Parent Feedback Loop of Woe

Kerima Cevik http://theautismwars.blogspot.com “Please try to remember that what they believe, as well as what they do and cause you to endure does not testify to your inferiority but to their inhumanity.” -James Baldwin The Fire Next Time Photo © Kerima Cevik, posted with subject’s permission [Image: The author’s biracial nonverbal autistic son,  at about age five, expressing shock through the  gestural language he created.] San Francisco Autism Society Board Member Stephen Prutsman recently posted an opinion piece* to his organization’s blog, and while browsing newsfeeds on social media, I read it. The blog post disturbed me so much I posted a brief response in the comment section (which they did not publish). Mr. Prutsman headed his article with two images, a rainbow infinity symbol image he meant to represent the neurodiversity movement, and a disturbing photograph previously posted by his ASA chapter president (now removed), alleging to show property damage to…

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I’m Not Just Socially Awkward

Photo courtesy the author [image: Blurry photo of a pink ride-on bouncy balloon with an animal face and two “horns” for handles. Overlaid white text reads, “I’m not just socially awkward.” Smaller white text in the lower right corner reads, “@oufoxgloved” and “Autnot.Wordpress.com”] Rhi Lloyd-Williams autistrhi.com When I tell people I’m autistic, it usually goes one of two ways; either they can’t make me fit into their idea of what autism is and completely reject it, or they mark me down as “socially awkward” and leave it there. Autism explains my lack of constant contact, it explains my monologuing about things that interest me, it explains why on social occasions I move around a room like a loose cog in a machine—catching on things, getting stuck in places, jarring against this and that before being knocked into a corner and staying there. Those are the things about me that you…

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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…