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Book Review: The State of Grace, by Rachael Lucas

Elizabeth Bartmess elizabethbartmess.com Book Cover via GoodReads.com [image: Cover of the book The State of Grace: A medium-green background covered with rows of lighter green happy face emojis tilted sideways, except one pink sad face emoji on the lower right. Large white text in an all-caps informal font reads: “The State of Grace” Smaller text in white script reads, “Rachael Lucas” Smaller white all-caps informal text in the upper right reads, “Sometimes fitting in means standing out.”] The State of Grace is a young adult novel narrated by Grace, a fifteen-year-old high school student who deals with common teenage issues like dating, friendships, family conflict, and birthday parties, while also being autistic in a world not designed for autistic people. Grace is a well-rounded and sympathetic character. She has various interests (horses, wildlife, Doctor Who, My Little Ponies), rides and cares for a horse, has friendships and complex relationships with…

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Why Do So Many Autistic People Flap Our Hands?

Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com [image: rainbow colored hands in silhouette, upraised and reaching out with joy.] The saying goes, “if you’ve met one Autistic person, you’ve met one Autistic person.” That was really hammered home for me today as I watched a short video in which an Autistic man explains why Autistic people flap our hands … and pretty much nothing he said matched up with my own experience. A few of the things he said even bothered me. My intention is not to erase what he said, however. His view of why he used to flap his hands is just as valid as my view of why I still flap my hands. There are many ways of being Autistic. (Since the video was not captioned, I took the time to make a transcript of it for those who can’t hear or understand it. That was fortunate as the original video…

Switched On: A Frank Conversation With Author John Elder Robison

[image: Book cover, with the title, “Switched On: A Memoir of Brain Change and Emotional Awakening”] The new book Switched On is author John Elder Robison’s deeply personal account of seismic shifts in his emotional, social, and perceptual responses to other people, the world, and his own memories — due to participating in brain research on Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and autism. I spoke with Mr. Robison about his hopes in choosing this journey, its costs in terms of his own health and happiness, his autism advocacy, and the risk of frantic parents assuming his story means they need to use TMS on their autistic kids. Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism: Are you concerned that people might see Switched On as an argument for “normalization” treatments for autistic people? Even though you are careful to emphasize that “we cannot know the future, or the potential, of anyone,” even though you…

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Raising Cubby: An Interview With John Elder Robison

[image: Excerpts from the cover of Raising Cubby: A white background with black block text reading “John Elder Robison” atop larger red block text reading “Raising Cubby” atop smaller black block text reading, “A father and son’s adventures with Asperger’s, Trains, Tractors, and High Explosives”. On the right is a toy motorcycle with two riders, including a child in a sidecar.] John Elder Robison’s book Raising Cubby is a must-read for unabashed geeks and parents alike. His wry and affectionate memoir describes, in part, what it’s like to be a late-diagnosed “Aspergian” raising a son who, it turns out, is also Autistic. But the book’s strongest themes are Mr. Robison’s obvious delight in parenting, and his determination to help Cubby thrive (which he has) despite friction with the educational, and later legal, systems. We spoke with Mr. Robison about various elements of Raising Cubby, as well as his next steps…

Fish Out of Water

Lydia Wayman autisticspeaks.wordpress.com I take in a gulp of air and shut my eyes tight before I plunge beneath the surface. One, two, three… It starts to feel like my brain is tingling from the inside. Four, five, six… I’m not counting in seconds, not in minutes, but in hours. Seven, eight, nine… I search for anyone, anything who will ground me through my ever-increasing internal chaos. Ten! When given the cue, I cannot break the surface fast enough, gasping for breath. I’ve done this thousands of times, and yet, after twenty-five years of daily descents, I am no more sure that I will survive the next one. —- I’m really not a writer.  Writers have readers.  I write because it’s the only way for me to get from one day to the next without semi-spontaneous internal combustion taking effect. I’m not a writer.  I’m a processor of the world, an organizer…

Imagine

David M. Davison fightingforhope.wordpress.com Imagine needing order in a disorderly world. Imagine creating order, and being laughed at for doing so. Imagine needing precision in an imprecise world. Imagine being precise, and being told it is often unnecessary. Imagine needing structure in an unstructured world. Imagine creating structure, only for people to tear it apart. Imagine needing words to have their literal meaning. Imagine taking words literally, only for people to consider you stupid. —- Imagine order is innate, and you have to work out when order is not required. Imagine precision is innate, and you have to work out when precision is not required. Imagine structure is innate, and you have to work out when structure is not required. Imagine taking words literally is innate, and you have to work out when the meaning is not literal. —- Imagine becoming anxious when you see the ‘Random’ button on your…

Asperger’s Syndrome Meets Alpha Male Syndrome

M incipientturvy.blogspot.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 Autism Acceptance posts and pictures all month long. -TPGA Editors 7a.m., Monday morning. I make a rare appearance in the break room at work. I’m sipping coffee, trying to wake up. I’m standing in the corner hoping to avoid people, but a co-worker makes intentional eye contact and starts walking towards me. I think, “Why, god? Why?” I can’t remember his name or which department he’s from. The protective social mimicry kicks in. Co-worker: Dude, can you believe it? Me: Dude, I really can’t. I have no idea what he’s talking about. Co-worker: You know what I’m talking about … right? Me: Of course. You’re talking about … you know, what a surprise it…

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My Anxiety Is Not Disordered

Cynthia Kim musingsofanaspie.com I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about anxiety recently. When I was diagnosed with Asperger’s, I was also diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder. Here’s how I feel about that: Social Anxiety? Yes. Disorder? Not so much. Disorder implies that my social anxiety is irrational. Is it? Consider this: “Anxiety at appropriate levels is important for adaptive functioning. There are many environmental hazards that must be avoided and these are often learned through the process of anxiety induction. The resultant anxiety response is learned through the association of certain stimuli with unpleasant consequences.” (from “Autism and the Physiology of Stress and Anxiety,” Romanczyk and Gillis) Anxiety, like fear, protects us from danger. It raises our guard and makes us wary. In this way, it’s healthy. Without it, we might be less motivated to get an education, to work, to care for our loved ones and ourselves. What…