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Tom Perez: The Political Leadership Our Disability Community Needs Right Now

Tom Perez, upholder of the ADA source: Wikimedia Commons [image: Tom Perez, a Dominican- American Man with a goatee and glasses, in front of a sign reading “Next 25 Years of the ADA”] The bigotry-rooted horrors of the first two weeks of the Trump administration have been coming at dismayed Americans almost faster than we can keep up with them. Those who are reeling, from today’s appointment of civil rights slackard Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, yesterday’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch—who has ruled that autistic students don’t deserve equal education rights—for the empty Supreme Court justice seat, or public schools enemy Betsy DeVos’s pending confirmation as Secretary of Education, may be wondering who we can rely on to protect our community’s rights. I have an answer for you: Tom Perez. Former Obama Labor Secretary Perez is running for chair of the Democratic National Committee, the organization that guides the Democratic…

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My Experience at AACC 2014

[image: Black horizonal rectangle with white text on the left reading “Association For Autistic Community,” and a green, blue, and red infinity sign on the right.] Zoe Cannon When I decided to go to the first Association for Autistic Community Conference in 2014, I had been lurking on the outskirts of the online autistic community for years. At first I wasn’t sure whether to go at all. Aside from the practical issues — travel drains my inner resources like nothing else — I didn’t know whether I was willing to step into a group of autistic people and claim that I was one of them. They might tell me I was lying; they might turn me away. But I was hungry for a taste of belonging, hungry enough to face packing and plane tickets and a crowd of strangers … and if I didn’t belong, I would rather find out…

In A Different Key: One (Deeply Flawed) Story of Autism

M. Kelter TheInvisibleStrings.com 
 In A Different Key, by John Donvan and Caren Zucker, is described by its publisher as “the definitive history of autism.” Its story begins in the 1930s, with a portrait of “autism’s first child” Donald Triplett, then moves to “father of child psychiatry” Leo Kanner, who was the one to diagnose Triplett with autism. In the following decades, readers encounter a variety of researchers and parents as they grapple with questions about the origin and nature of autism. This history is a complex and nuanced one, yet Donvan and Zucker tell a fairly straightforward David and Goliath narrative. The role of the villain, Goliath, is played not by a person, but by autism itself. Anyone fighting autism becomes the book’s sympathetic, underdog David. Which means that, unfortunately, In A Different Key becomes a chronological collection of anecdotes about these “heroic” battles. [image: Book cover: Beige background…

A Critical Response to “The Kids Who Beat Autism”

Steven Kapp, PhD I critically lectured on autism and “outcomes” like “recovery” for my UCLA Autism and Neurodiversity class the day the New York Times article The Kids Who Beat Autism came out, then saw a related statement I wrote* for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network shared widely later that same day — so I mulled over how much more attention to give the NYT story.  I finally decided to write an updated response for my students, focusing on the cited research, including Catherine Lord’s critiques of Deborah Fein, my critiques of Lord, and my critiques of the new article. I otherwise sat on the response for days but decided to share it on Facebook as a status update and then, with my friend Amy Sequenzia’s encouragement, as a public Note. Now, following several TPGA editrixes’ well-deserved vacations, I am honored to give the response wider exposure through my first…

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Keep Calm and Think Critically: The CDC’s 1 in 68 Autism Numbers

Shannon Des Roches Rosa  www.thinkingautismguide.com Yesterday the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) held a media briefing to announce and discuss readjusted estimates for autism prevalence: 1 in 68 children. But what does that estimate actually mean? Well, that takes some critical analysis, digging, and sifting, which we’ll walk you through, starting with the CDC’s Dr. Colleen Boyle’s opening statement: “CDC estimates that one in 68 children has been identified with autism. This estimate is based on information collected from health and special education records of children who are eight years old and living in 11 communities in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, north Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin in 2010. These data are from CDC-sponsored autism and developmental disabilities monitoring network. The new estimate exceeds previous overall estimates, roughly it’s 30 percent higher than our last estimate of one in 88 children. To better…

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How Will the Affordable Care Act Affect People With Disabilities?

Come October 1, Americans will be able to start enrolling in Affordable Care Act (ACA, “ObamaCare”) health insurance programs, which will then be implemented January 1st. Since health care policy is so complex, we spoke with The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network‘s Ari Ne’eman about specific advantages, opportunities, and sticking points of the ACA for People with Disabilities. In addition, The Autistic Self Advocacy Network has just released a policy brief on the impact the Affordable Care Act is likely to have on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and what advocates can do to encourage state and federal policymakers to make the most of the law. TPGA: What are ASAN’s primary concerns about how the ACA will affect people with disabilities? Is there a significant component to how the ACA will affect people with intellectual & developmental disabilities? Ari Ne’eman: We view the Affordable Care Act as a significant opportunity for…

Book Review-And Straight On til Morning : Essays on Autism Acceptance

And Straight On til Morning : Essays on Autism Acceptance edited by Julia Bascom Published by the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network  We want April — Autism Acceptance Month — to matter, to help further acceptance and understanding of autistic experiences, happiness, and rights for autistic people of all ages and abilities. We will be publishing your Autism Acceptance posts and pictures all month long. If you want to participate, contact us at thinkingautism at gmail dot com. -TPGA Editors In keeping with Autism Acceptance month, there probably isn’t a more appropriate book to share than And Straight On til Morning : Essays on Autism Acceptance, which contains the work of wonderful Autistics and allies, including Zoe Gross, Shain Neumeier, Lydia Brown, as well as Kassiane Sibley, and Shannon Des Roches Rosa from TPGA.  Julia Bascom edited the collection, and in its current  format, an ebook, it is available quickly, and very…

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The Birth of an Ally

Jean Winegardner www.stimeyland.com We want April — Autism Acceptance Month — to matter, to help further acceptance and understanding of autistic experiences, happiness, and rights for autistic people of all ages and abilities. We will be publishing your Autism Acceptance posts and pictures all month long. If you want to participate, contact us at thinkingautism at gmail dot com. -TPGA Editors Each year there is a  Disability Day of Mourning to honor and remember disabled people killed by their parents or caregivers. Vigils are held around the country for people to gather for this purpose. I had been to last year’s vigil and decided to go again this year, but this year I was going to bring my kids. At first, the idea of taking my kids, at least one of whom is autistic, to an event where people would be talking about parents killing their autistic children seemed wildly…