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Eye Contact

Beth Wilson www.doodlebeth.com [image description & transcription: A full-color hand-drawn comic strip. The first row contains two panels. The left hand panel has a green background. A blond white person on the left is talking and maintaining eye contact with the olive-skinned person with long dark hair on the right. Black all-caps hand-lettered text on a white background above their heads reads: “For allistic people (non-autistic) eye contact is a way of connecting with others in conversation.” The right hand panel has a blue background. On the left A black person with a natural hairstyle is looking down, with an uncomfortable expression on their face while on the right a white person with long straight hot pink hair and bangs has their eyes closed tightly. Black all-caps hand-lettered text on a white background above their heads reads: “For autistic people, it’s different. Eye contact is uncomfortable and invasive.” The second…

(Not) a Little Slow

Cynthia Kim musingsofanaspie.com There is a moment I dread in conversations with strangers: the moment when that stranger — that person I’ve been talking to for a minute or two or five — decides I’m “a little slow.” It doesn’t happen with every stranger, but it happens often enough that I can pinpoint the moment a conversation turns. To start, we’re both on our best interacting-with-a-stranger behavior, a bit wary, a bit too friendly, whatever. Then I slip. I miss some key bit of information, ask the other person to repeat something one too many times, stutter, backtrack, repeat myself, interrupt again, lose the thread of the conversation, take a joke literally, perseverate. There are a lot of ways it could play out. The response — the one that makes my skin heat up and my heart race and the blood in my ears pound — is subtle but sudden.…

The Eyes of Autism

Brenda Rothman mamabegood.blogspot.com It was a coolish summer day, no humidity, a perfect day on the porch. We have an old-fashioned front porch, meant for eating, for socializing, for calling out over the railings to neighbors and friends. A large, narrow-planked porch with columns, rockers, sofas, ceiling fans, and lemonade. We dragged the sand box, literally a box filled with sand, to the middle of the porch. I lugged buckets of water from the kitchen and kaplooshed the water into the water table. I fetched a spoon and a tin of baking powder and Jack was set. Jack: Then a little salt and a little more sand and stir, stir, stir. I could watch him do this all day. When he was three and the other three-year-olds at preschool were doing this, Jack wasn’t. He wasn’t talking, he wasn’t interacting, he wasn’t playing. And he was worried. More worried than…