Towards Acceptance

Emily Brooks 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 While paging through a local special needs magazine, I paused to scan though a section focusing on autism awareness. It informed me that I should care about autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) because there are so many autistic people that unfortunately it was likely I would meet somebody with autism in the near future if I hadn’t already. Being on the autism spectrum myself, I wondered why it would be so unfortunate for someone non-autistic, or neurotypical (NT), to meet me. ASD is — according to that special needs magazine, of all places — unfortunate. If this loaded term is part of “autism awareness,” then…

We’ve All Got Our Something

Emily Willingham emilywillinghamphd.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 What does it mean to be neurotypical or not? Someone told me via email that I seem to be “demand(ing) all the trappings of neurotypical privilege” in public while saying that I’m not neurotypical, and I’m wondering about many aspects of it. First, I’ll establish that I am what I say I am. That means that I’m a scientist, writer, editor, mother, life partner, and friend. There are adjectives to describe me, as well, but that’s a longer list, and I’ll avoid both the embarrassment and the indulgence. What I do know is that I’ve spent a lifetime being anything but neurotypical (I’m…

How to Be Socially Awkward, or, What I Learned In Social Skills Class

N. M. Silber extemporarysanity.wordpress.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 Warning: snark ahead. Over the years many people have “explained” the autism spectrum to me, for which I owe them a debt of gratitude. Without their thoughtful help I would never have guessed that I was cognitively impaired and lacked empathy. Who knew that I would never grasp the subtleties of language or concepts, like irony, sarcasm, or satire? More than anything, though, I deeply appreciate how their expertise helped to blend in flawlessly in social situations. Rather than just staying at home and doing things that make…

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How CalAcademy Could Be a More Autism-Friendly Science Center

Shannon Des Roches Rosa www.Squidalicious.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 My son Leo and I are members at San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences for two reasons: 1) We want to support fabulous, hands-on science, and 2) We depend on members-only early entry hours so we can avoid the crowds and noise that don’t always mesh so well with Leo’s exuberant autism and his favorite CalAcademy routines. Though our CalAcademy trips are usually happy ones, today’s visit was a bit bumpy. Leo’s autistic behaviors — his loud squeals of happiness while watching his beloved Planetarium show, for…

What Autism Means to Me

Logan www.thequirkymustache.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   It is awesome to be different, it’s genetics. Our DNA makes us all different, that is what God wanted. Acceptance is a big word but really, it’s easy to do. Why would God place us all on the earth to be the same, I don’t want to be like everyone else. Why do some accept people in books and movies like Harry Potter, people who aren’t real but I’m real and you don’t accept me? I do awesome things, I’m a great friend, and I’m an awesome gamer and…

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Social Skills: Context Matters

Tasia lifehiswayblog.wordpress.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 Last week Nick’s science teacher mentioned in an email that he was concerned that Nick is isolating himself socially. The other kids don’t know that he’s autistic, and they wonder about his odd behavior and lack of social reciprocation. There appears to be a general atmosphere of acceptance in his science classes, and I am not pressuring Nick to disclose his autism. Still, something seemed lacking in his teacher’s view, because school is seen as a social place and not just an academic place. A child who doesn’t even try…

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Autism Acceptance Month 2013 Begins!

This is Gayle. She is autistic. And she writes, “We love our obsessions! Making Japanese paper!” We love that Gayle loves her obsessions. Her intense joy and skill in paper making is the kind of message we want to spread this April, as we celebrate Autism Acceptance Month. We want to help make April matter, in terms of helping spread the word and further acceptance and understanding of autistic experiences, happiness, and rights for autistic people of all ages and abilities — and we’d like you to participate if you’re willing and available. Here’s what to do: Please send us a post or captioned picture that represents the message or story you’d like share for Autism Acceptance Month. It doesn’t have to be an original submission (we understand that everybody wants something from our community members during April), but you do need to own the copyright. Submissions can be emailed…

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When Strangers Don’t Care About Accommodating Autistic People

Shannon Des Roches Rosa www.squidalicious.com Honestly, I don’t give a fig about strangers judging how I parent my autistic son. I know I’m doing my best with all three of my kids, and am also constantly learning from my mistakes. Plus Leo has the same right to be in public as anyone, as long as (also like anyone) he’s not being disruptive. If he’s having a hard time, there’s always a good reason, and we move on. Riding the Ducks, with our Duck Quackers [image: My three kids using yellow “quacker” whistles. Leo’s sister is helping him with his.] What I do care about is how strangers respond when Leo needs accommodation. And a few months ago, when I reluctantly pulled out the autism card to ask if Leo could jump the queue for a public restroom, a stranger lectured me on how autism did not justify my request, and…

From Autism Stress to Autism Acceptance

Brenda Rothman mamabegood.blogspot.com I had a lovely conversation with another mom of an autistic child, face to face, sipping coffee, while we talked about hot-button issues in the autism community. Without losing respect or good will for each other. Maybe it was the coffee. It was good coffee. We debated “cure:” why some parents want it and why autistic persons are offended by it. She said the desire for a cure would never disappear for some autism parents because their children are more severely challenged. She told me the story of a single mom with an adult autistic son, who was non-verbal, had restricted motor abilities, was self-injurious, and would never live independently.  She related how difficult it is for the single mom to handle her grown child, how distraught she is about how she would care for her child as she aged, who would care for her child after…

Just Say Something

Jennifer Byde Myers jennyalice.com the cashier: Diapers eh? Expensive. I bet you can’t wait until they are out of those. me: Yes, we’ll be rich. Uh, I have a special needs kid, so it may take awhile. Oh, that’s hard. Yes, mostly for him. He gets frustrated. But he’s doing great. He’s a great kid. He goes to the Amazing Autism Wunderskool. Oh, autism.  Is he high or low functioning? Well, those terms really aren’t very accurate. Oh? No. For example, there are some autistics who will go to college, but may still have trouble putting their shoes on the correct foot. I have a friend like that. Does that make sense? Yes. I get it. My son has a lot of trouble with communication. He’s non-verbal, so that makes it more challenging for him to communicate his wants and needs. Huh. I have a neighbor. He’s about 30. He…