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On “Energy Budgeting” and Acknowledging Internal Autistic Realities

Photo courtesy the author. [image: Photo of Anne Corwin, as a child of about 7 years old with pale skin  and dark hair with bangs. She is sitting on a tree branch while leaning against the trunk and looking into the distance.] By Anne Corwin Too many of us (autistic people) grow up knowing only how to run on momentum, and operate in a depleted state much of the time without even realizing it… until we “crash,” leaving us and everyone around us asking, “what happened?!” Regardless of whether we are put through formal ABA programs as kids—or even whether or not we’re accurately diagnosed as children—autistic folks often end up learning the polar opposite of “energy budgeting.” This is partly due to a defect in how our society at large operates, of course—but that’s a whole other gigantic discussion beyond the scope of this article. There are still things…

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Elizabeth Torres on Autistic Neuromotor Differences: The TPGA Interview

Photo © Shannon Des Roches Rosa [image: two white kids in bathing suits running on a beach towards some waves.] Elizabeth Torres is Director and Principal Investigator at the New Jersey Autism Center of Excellence, and a researcher at Rutgers University, where her lab “develops new methods for precision medicine and mobile health.” We spoke with Dr. Torres about her work on autism’s motor and movement underpinnings, and why research in this area could lead to autistic people getting greatly improved and highly person-specific accommodations and supports, and why autism research is so rarely truly evidence-based. Why is understanding neuromotor-based factors in autism so important? Elizabeth Torres: As you know, autism is currently defined by observation. Think about a continuum from zero to ten, where at zero you have opinion, and at ten you have hardcore rigorous science, mathematically based. And somewhere in between, you have pseudoscience and soft science…

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“Can My Child Ever Learn to Speak?” Authentic Communication and Autistic People

Photo © Kasia_Jot | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: Photo of a young blonde girl standing outside a wooden door painted with aqua paint. Her legs are crossed at the ankle. She is holding on to the door handle with one hand.] Ann Memmott annsautism.blogspot.com Often, in my consultancy and training work, we get questions such as, “Can my child ever learn to speak?” The answer to this is important, because, for a lot of parents of newly diagnosed autistic children, it’s easy to become misinformed or misled on this point. A number of organisations will be keen to tell such parents that without their ‘ACME Treatment X’ or ‘Potion Y with Added Secret Ingredient,’ their child will never speak, never learn to communicate. The parents may be told that most autistic children who do not use speech at (say) four years of age will never do so. “Early intervention to enforce…

Can People Really Grow Out of Autism?

Emily Willingham www.emilywillinghamphd.com www.forbes.com/sites/emilywillingham Let’s start with the headlines blaring the news about a recent autism study. They almost invariably use the phrase “grow out of autism,” even though the study itself does not use that phrase or even reference “grow” except to talk about head circumference. Instead, the authors of the report, published in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, use the term “optimal outcomes” to describe what they detected in a group of 34 people who were diagnosed as autistic when they were under age 5. As the study authors themselves state, this idea that autistic people might show reduced deficits to the point of losing a diagnosis is not new. In fact, first author Deborah Fein and colleagues cite studies identifying frequencies of “optimal outcomes” as high as 37% among autistic people. The lingering open questions relate to whether or not the autistic people in these…

How I Know Vaccines Didn’t Cause My Child’s Autism

Devon Koren Asdell community.advanceweb.com/blogs/ot_9/default.aspx   Eleven years ago, as I lounged in my mother’s apartment at the tender age of twenty, overwhelmed by the heat of the summer combined with my final trimester of pregnancy, I finally settled on a name for the creature who kept poking her tiny feet into my ribcage, the creature who was poised at any moment to completely and irrevocably change my life. I decided on a name derived from the Irish language — “Aisling,” which meant “Dream,” and “Stoirm,” which meant “Storm.” A Dream Storm. At that moment, I had no idea how completely that name would end up describing my beautiful, blond-haired daughter, who would spend much of her time lost in the dreams inside her head, and who would also grow to rage against the confusing world around her. I did not realize that the child in my womb would be diagnosed…