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Forcing Friendships Doesn’t Equal Autistic Youth Gaining Social Skills

My son’s first friendships were with family. [Image of a hug between Mu and his adult big sister. His back is to the camera. His sister is smiling. Posted with the permission of the subjects. Image by their father, Nuri Cevik.] Kerima Çevik theautismwars.blogspot.com “How do I handle my child seeing the children of every new family who moves into the neighborhood surrounding us included in outdoor play knowing he is being excluded from the group?” I saw another parent posting this question as one of the most frequent questions autism parents ask as their kids become preteens and teenagers, and I cringed a bit. It is a common concern for all families with autistic youth trying to navigate a world where they are often othered and mistreated. My son and I also see them when we hang out on our deck or the backyard in the summer, or on…

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Why I Hate ABA: A Personal Opinion

Cos Michael www.autismage.com Cos Michael | photo courtesy author [image: Photo of a white British woman with short-ish curly platinum hair.] ABA (Applied Behavioural Analysis) as a discipline, requires autistic children to appear as if they are typical children. It doesn’t matter how kind and well meaning the teacher, whether they are autistic or not, a loving parent or not—the outcome is that the “successful” autistic child ceases the behaviour that defines them as autistic. They never stop being autistic. Once you realise that an autistic child will never stop being autistic, it becomes clear that they are suppressing their natural responses. It is masking, or “camouflaging.” Asking a child to mask all of the time causes a build up of stress. Stress is both mentally and physically damaging. When that child grows up, they are likely to exhibit the mental and physical effects of their stress. Autistic people are…

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You Are Not Your Child

Sara Luterman www.NosMag.org Sara Luterman [image: Headshot of a smiling white person with short dark hair & glasses.] Recently, Amy Lutz, a parent advocate, wrote an opinion piece for Spectrum News titled, Adults with disabilities deserve the right to choose where to live. I wholehearted agree with that sentiment. Unfortunately, the article that follows argues nothing of the kind. It is, in fact, an argument to return people with developmental and intellectual disabilities to institutions. These new institutions have organic-biodynamic farms, swimming pools, and fluffy pillows. They are, however, still secluded and subject to all of the abuses of Willowbrook and Pennhurst. Amy Lutz and others who mask new institutions as a “choice” do not draw a healthy or appropriate distinction between themselves and their own children. When they say, “adults with disabilities deserve the right to choose,” they mean is that their opinions are their children’s opinions. They do not…