replay-8319566

Autistic Replay: Both Involuntary and Misunderstood

Photo © Dean Shareski | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: Close-up photo of a remote control’s “Replay” and “Rewind” buttons.] Emma Dalmayne www.Autisticate.com Content note: This article discusses trauma and an infant being assaulted Have you ever watched an autistic individual joyously laugh or begin to sob broken heartedly for no reason apparent to yourself? It’s very likely they are replaying a memory of an event that has passed, possibly as recent as that day or even months or years ago. We can feel the exact same intensity that we felt at that moment, see the same sights, smell the same smells, and hear the same sounds. Depending on if it’s a pleasant memory, we may sit there smiling, giggling, or laughing uproariously—to the amazement of anyone nearby. Similarly our distress is absolute if it’s a depressing memory: tears will run, and the devastating sadness experiences at that time will…

img_3588-8715289

How Being a Minority (of Mixed Race) on the Autistic Spectrum Shaped My Life

Emanuel Frowner www.instagram.com/emanuelfrowner Emanuel Frowner (photo courtesy the author) [image: A smiling mixed race man with short black hair in a natural style, and a mustache. he is wearing a collared orange-and-blue Knicks pullover.] I grew up mostly in the Bronx with my dad and my grandmother, and I still live there. The neighborhood was dangerous during my childhood because of fighting and drugs—a few people were killed. Therefore, I could not go out alone (until I was 17) and my folks were very protective of me. I would see my mom on the weekends. Sometimes, I would hang out with my siblings (with my folks). They had a different mom than I did, but we had the same dad and grandmother. Even though my grandmother looked very white, she called herself black, but my dad did not agree with her on that. My mom called herself black as well.…

14940981438_9971e7a042_m-1099508

Running Away: Autism and Elopement

Photo © Gonsalo Gomes | Creative Commons / Flickr [image: Sepia-toned photo of a small child with short dark hair, seen from behind, running.] Marie Porter www.celebrationgeneration.com In an effort to raise a bit more “AutismAwareness,” I’d like to discuss “elopement.” I invite other autistics to add in their own experiences in the comments—this could be educational! But as far as what I’m about to say, I’m really just speaking to my own experience and thoughts. First, I’d like to say that “elopement” is a ridiculous term. Right up there with “differently abled,” IMHO. It’s running away. It’s wandering. Call it what it is! Secondly—and this is in response to an “autism warrior mom” who recently came at me to defend ABA—no one “dies from elopement,” just like no one dies from “running away.” Yes, there are all kinds of ways that one can meet their end running away, but those…

27553463376_e332741d3d-5083594

Hard Truths: Disability and Poverty Go Hand in Hand

Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com Photo © *Hajee | Flickr/Creative Commons [image: Person with black hair and a blue coat. They are holding a hand-lettered cardboard sign over their face. Sign reads, “VERY HUNGRY PLEASE HELP!”] I am not the only Disabled person economically struggling, as disability and poverty go hand in hand. Why is that? The answer is complex, since disability leads to poverty and poverty leads to disability. It’s a vicious cycle and sometimes a downward spiral, leading people to lead lives perpetually circling the drain, always on the edge of annihilation. Let me see if I can untangle some of it for you. “You’re dooming yourself to a hand-to-mouth existence.” That’s what my parents told me when I dropped out of high school. And they were right. Well, they were half-right, anyway. I have spent the last three decades living hand to mouth, but it is not a fate…

5135306732_7cd98b3e39-1453269

Parents: Don’t Hide Your Children’s Autism Diagnoses From Them

Reid Knight Dear Parent who is considering not telling your child about their autism: Like many autistics, I found out about my autism through Google. Unlike many autistics, Googling didn’t lead me to a self-diagnosis of autism (though I view self-diagnosis as just as valid as a professional diagnosis). My parents only told me I was autistic after looking at my internet history, and finding out that I already knew. I was fourteen years old when, out of curiosity, I Googled the doctor I had been seeing for as long as I could remember — and discovered that the medication cocktail I had been taking since I was a toddler was actually an “alternative” treatment for autism. For twelve years, I was given 10 to 20 pills each day, without being told what they were for. I was also subjected to Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and other therapies without being…

life-animated-poster-676x425-9912450

Life, Animated: An Autistic Adult’s Review

Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com [image description: a movie poster for Life Animated. The movie title is in red on a blue background. The top half of Owen Suskind’s head is at the bottom of the image and line drawings of figures from Disney animated movies surround him.] Last week I went with friends to the Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine, to see the indie documentary, Life, Animated. Life, Animated is based on a book by Ron Suskind, a journalist and father to Owen Suskind, the Autistic young man who is the film’s subject and an absolute delight. Owen’s greatest love in life is Disney movies and these films have sustained him through many dark years of isolation and bullying (years Owen calls “glop”) as well as all the disappointments and tragedies a well-lived life can bring. And Owen’s life is well-lived, indeed. He is a charming man, a natural…

angry-4714149

Dear Young Autistic Person: Why We’re Angry

Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com [Image: Young white boy with an open-mouthed, yelling expression, and hands over his ears.] Dear Young Autistic, I am like you. I am Autistic. Now I am a middle-aged Autistic (I’m probably older than your parents) but I was once a young Autistic like you are now. One of my biggest struggles was (and is) with anger. People have commented many times over the years about my anger. You might be angry, too? People around you might talk about your anger to you or to each other where you can hear them. Or maybe people don’t talk much about your anger because you’ve got ways to push it down and hide it from everyone. If you think you aren’t angry at all, check to make sure you didn’t hide it so well you can’t see it yourself. Why was I an angry young Autistic? I felt stuck…

15811491971_e3d9bf7313-5143525

I See All These Amazing Programs for Children

TPGA is observing Autism Acceptance Month by featuring accounts from autistic people about the differences accommodations (or lack thereof) make in their lives. Today’s story is from Mel Baggs, about the assumption that all kids should be able to work and play in groups — and that kids who can’t cope with group scenarios are just being difficult. Mel Baggs I see all these amazing programs for children Like really, really cool stuff, stuff that looks fun and educational at the same time, stuff that looks far more educational and far more rewarding than the school system, etc. I see them in documentaries, in videos online, in articles, etc. But then I’m always stopped short by something. Photo © Norton Gusky. Creative Commons License. [image: Schoolchildren of various races talking while gathered around a table.] Unless something fundamental changed about children between then and now. And in how children are…

screenshot2014-02-13at10-12-50pm-5496104

For Colin, on His Viral Eleventh Birthday

Shannon Des Roches Rosa  www.squidalicious.com By now you’ve probably heard of the Happy Birthday Colin effort, in which a socially isolated (though not autistic) boy’s mom created a Facebook page to cheer him up for his eleventh birthday — and the page went viral, with nearly 2 million Likes as of this writing. Colin’s mom writes: “I am Colin’s mom, I created this page for my amazing, wonderful, challenging son who is about to turn 11 on March 9th. Because of Colin’s disabilities, social skills are not easy for him, and he often acts out in school, and the other kids don’t like him. So when I asked him if he wanted a party for his birthday, he said there wasn’t a point because he has no friends. He eats lunch alone in the office everyday because no one will let him sit with them, and rather than force someone…