oolongimage-8944868

Starting Points for Understanding Autism

Oolong oolong.co.uk Photo courtesy the author [image: Photo (light-painting) by the author: a spectral outline around a hand and arm, raised as if to flap.] I believe that the best way to understand autistic minds is in terms of a thinking style which tends to concentrate resources in a few interests and concerns at any time, rather than distributing them widely. I wrote in some detail about how this explains the observed features of autism in Me and Monotropism: A Unified Theory of Autism. Here, I want to distill what this means for living and working with autistic people, expanding on the six starting points for understanding autism that I identified in ‘Theories and Practice in Autism.’ I’m writing in the first person here, as a late-identified autistic adult who has worked and talked with many other autistic people in various contexts over many years. I believe that everything I…

4439728388_632a943fb3_o-4070905

Parents, Do Not Infantilise Your Teenage and Adult Disabled Children

Finn Gardiner expectedly.org Photo © G_Jewels | Flickr / Creative Commons [Image: Black infant in a wooden high chair, being spoon-fed by an off-camera adult.] If you’re a parent of a teenage or adult child with a disability, it’s important to avoid infantilising them. What is infantilisation? It’s treating people who are no longer children like children in a way that restricts their ability to be fully integrated with their age-peers. It’s talking to them in a condescending voice, dismissing their ideas and opinions, acting as though you will always understand them better than they understand themselves, or going out of your way to shield them from everything you think may be even slightly dangerous. Infantalisation is treating your child as though they will always be a child, whether they’re five, fifteen or thirty-five. Infantilisation is different from recognising that disabled people have support needs. That’s part of what being…

14349536624_cd5bebc819-3826564

Could Do Better: To Professionals Working with Autistic Mothers of Autistic Children

Photo © Georgie Sharp. Creative Commons License. [image: Reclining white mother with dark hair, seen from the side, looking at an infant lying on her lap.] 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 Autisticmotherland, on what professionals need to know about supporting — and diagnosing — autistic parents of autistic children. Autisticmotherland www.autisticmotherland.com In early March 2016 I spoke at the National Autistic Society’s Professional Conference on the topic of “Support and diagnosis of autistic mothers.” The talk and subject matter proved popular with the audience and I decided to write it up as a way to both summarise and explore the issues. The essay which follows is part of a three part linked series of blog posts (which I hope you will read!). This was and is my platform…

Why Don’t You Just Learn X?

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 Savannah Logsdon-Breakstone, about getting comfortable with asking for crucial accommodations — and setting one’s own boundaries about those supports. Savannah Logsdon-Breakstone crackedmirrorinshalott.wordpress.com When I first moved out, we didn’t realize that I needed the support that I do. I’ve talked about some of these things before on this blog, so I’m going to give each of them a paragraph. I understand general concepts around money management, but am unable to consistently apply it to my own life. (Example: I might need something but not get it, because I’m worried I won’t have enough money, even though it’s what the money is supposed to be there for.) Additionally, I have executive functioning issues that mean that making sure the right things happen at the right time…

We Fight the Fights That are Worth Fighting

Elise, A.K.A. aspergers2mom asd2mom.blogspot.com  Fifteen years ago, my oldest son was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified). At the time, we had no idea what kind of future he would have — if he would have at a future at all. Autism was not even a word on anyone’s lips at the time; no one was talking about it and no one was even acknowledging the epidemic that it was becoming. Luckily, I had a cousin whose son had been diagnosed years earlier and I called him for some advice. The best thing that he ever said to me and what I pass on to others is: Do not project the future for your child. Take each day, each moment if necessary, and do what needs to be done at that time. Then one day you will look back and see how far your child has come.…