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Aisling Alley and Autism Acceptance Month

Here at TPGA, we’re featuring “Slice of Life” conversations with Autistics of all ages — kids through adults — throughout April’s Autism Acceptance Month. We’re thrilled to launch the series by talking with Aisling! What is your name? Aisling Alley. Do you have a website? No, but my “MOM” does: http://community.advanceweb.com/blogs/ot_9/about.aspx What would a one-sentence description of yourself sound like?   Aisling: A “not-so-average” kid who is a remixer (Not on songs, but plays), artist, and a HUGE great actor (I think I should be in drama). Do you have any autistic superpowers? What are they?  Unlike some autistic kids, I’m one of the lucky ones who can speak. However, I tend to have a short fuse, but I don’t show the anger that often. Often my mind is creative. I also have a great memory, so I can remember my past. What are some situations that make you happy,…

Autistics’ Slice of Life: Autism Acceptance Month on TPGA

Because we consider April Autism Acceptance Month, Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism will feature “Slice of Life” conversations with Autistics of all ages — kids through adults — for each of the month’s remaining 29 days. We will profile a different autistic person every day, answering the same set of questions — in a similar spirit to (although for copyright purposes otherwise unlike) the Proust questionnaire capping each issue of Vanity Fair magazine. Why? We’d like to help our non-autistic readers get to know autistics as people who have interesting, complicated lives, and who are as diverse and varied as any other random population united by a label. We are the people in each others’ neighborhoods, and the more we know about each other, the more visible we and our children are, the more common Autism Acceptance will be. That is our hope. We’d also like to encourage you to…

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TPGA Welcomes Five New Affiliate Editors

Update: TPGA reorganized in Spring 2014, transitioning from a mostly-publishing focus to a mostly social media and information sharing-focus — and parted ways with our affiliate editors at that time. We remain grateful for their positive contributions to our community. —- We have big, wonderful, very exciting news: Five new affiliate editors have joined Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism: Kerima Cevik Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg Rob Gross Kassiane Sibley Sandy Yim We believe our new editors will bring unique perspectives to TPGA, and make us a better, more inclusive autism resource. We chose them because we respect them, we think they’re smart, compassionate, and fair, and we think they’ve consistently shown us where the holes lie in our autism coverage. You’ll see them on our Twitter and Facebook streams, as well as commenting on this site for TPGA. Please join us in welcoming them, heartily: Kerima Çevik is the neurotypical, married mother…

The Most Spectacular Thing of All

Susan Senator www.susansenator.com In 1993 when Nat was first diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, (PDD) under the “Autism Umbrella,” I asked the doctor what do you do about that, what is the treatment? “Education,” he replied. He went on to tell me that no one really knew which approach was best, and that there were many schools of thought. “It is up to you to observe and figure out what works for Nat. When something is right for him, you’ll know,” he continued enigmatically. But I envisioned Nat at school — though back then I could barely picture that, he seemed so little and vulnerable — and this advice seemed wrong.  He needed me, not school, I remember feeling. He would be bewildered by school. Lost. But the doctor was saying that he should actually be in school for as many hours as possible. (No one said “at least 30-40…

Remember One of Our Own: George Hodgins

Zoe Gross illusionofcompetence.blogspot.com Zoe and her father Rob light candles in honor of George Hodgins. Photo © 2012 Steve Silberman Zoe is an autistic self-advocate. She recently organized and led a vigil to remember and honor George Hodgins. She read the words below at the ceremony, which was attended by self-advocates and their supporters — many of whom had been part of George’s life. Many of whom spoke out themselves. —- Last Tuesday, George Hodgins was shot and killed by his mother, who then killed herself. George lived here in Sunnyvale and he was 22 years old. I didn’t know George, but I can’t stop thinking about him. Maybe it’s because we have a lot in common — we lived near each other, we were the same age, we’re both autistic, although we led very different lives. I would like to have met George, but I can only mourn him.…

“Don’t let your children grow up in a world where society devalues their lives.”

Lydia Brown  autistichoya.blogspot.com To the parents of Autistic children: We need you. Sometimes in public discourse, Autistic adults and non-Autistic parents disagree over very important issues that affect each of us personally. Sometimes this disagreement is spectacularly explosive. But there is no way for the autism and Autistic communities to move forward without creating some type of group cohesiveness. Yes, that means that we will have to enter into painful dialogue and discourse, and yes, that means we will have to accept the validity and legitimacy of the ideas and feelings of people with whom we may disagree. It does not mean that we have to set aside all of our differences, because that would make us self-deceivers. But it does mean that we have an obligation to each other and to ourselves to recognize what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called “inescapable mutuality.” Every Autistic child, youth, and adult…

California’s Autism Advisory Task Force Needs Autistic Representation!

Sarah Pripas www.autisticadvocacy.org “Nothing about us without us” is the unofficial motto of the disability rights movement, yet discussions of disability continue to occur without people with disabilities at the table. One of the latest occurrences of this is in California, where the Department of Managed Healthcare recently announced the formation of an Autism Advisory Task Force. Of the eighteen people appointed to the task force, not a single one is autistic. While it is, unfortunately, commonplace for autistic people to be absent from government-appointed task forces related to autism, that doesn’t make it acceptable. The California chapters of the Autistic-Self Advocacy Network (Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Jose) are asking that the Department of Managed Healthcare rectify this omission by appointing at least one autistic person to the task force. If you would like to tell the Department that autistic people should be represented on this panel, please sign…

Take Offense, Create Change

Rob Gross I read a post recently in which the author imagines creating a “grand new conference consisting of members of the disability community of all stripes” including disabled people, their parents, professionals, writers and journalists.” He continues, “This mythical conference of ours would have only one rule. No one would be allowed to be offended” (emphasis added). The author states that by following this rule, “no one [would be] silenced…dismissed… [or] called out for the way they make their argument.” In response to this post, many parents of disabled children commented on how refreshing this would be. However, numerous Autistic adults took strong exception to this, as did some parents. Why? What could possibly be wrong with allowing people to speak their minds without restriction? Two weeks ago, one parent did just that. On her Orange County Register blog, Jo Ashline, the mother of an Autistic child, said that…

Why “My Kid Isn’t Like You(rs)!” Isn’t The Point

Melody Latimer  www.ASParenting.com There are re-occurring themes among the Autism/Autistic online worlds. The most current, though it comes and goes, is when parents of Autistic kids insult Autism because of their child’s difficulties, summed up by “You can’t understand because you’re high-functioning/have Asperger’s.” I’ve wanted to rebut this several times (and often do when getting into a comment exchange on other blogs): No. I am not like your kid. Because I’m an adult. No, I am not where I’m at because my parents helped me. I didn’t receive any Special Education or 504s or anything. Actually, when I went to college, this is where I found that I couldn’t even stand on my own two feet. I have had to have several years of therapy and medication, much thanks to my husband, to overcome my previous years. For years, I couldn’t even do household chores because of the resulting, built-up…