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Grieving While Autistic

Jess Hudgins sawfishladyblog.wordpress.com Content note: This essay discusses death, disordered eating, and suicidality. The Beginning  On January 11th 2021, at 10:20pm, my father died. My heightened sensitivity to sensory input decided to record all of it, so very many things I don’t want to remember. The smell of sanitized plastic, the warmth of his skin against my cheek fading away, the way I held on to him until hospital security dragged me out screaming.  I would like to draw you a picture of that day. I would like to explain in the vivid details that for better or worse I can’t forget. I would like to tell you exactly what it feels like to have someone call a time of death for your father who can’t possibly be dead, except he is. Instead I’ll describe the bright white light of the moon that was streaming into my bed room the…

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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.…

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The Best Bar Mitzvah Boy

Todd Drezner www.lovinglamppostsmovie.com Dov and Sam | Photo © Brad Alpernin [image: Two white Jewish pre-teen boys, wearing suit jackets and ties at their Bar Mitzvah service, posing together and smiling for the camera.]   We told our son Sam that there is no applause at Bar Mitzvah services. But when he finished his speech, a wave of clapping and cheering burst forth from the crowd—a genuine display of emotion that no religious custom could have stopped. There was a lot of feeling behind that applause. Love, certainly. Appreciation of a job well done. But also amazement. It’s probably safe to say that not everyone in attendance had expected to see what they’d just seen. And here is where the story gets interesting. But first some background. A Jewish boy becomes a Bar Mitzvah when he turns 13 (a Jewish girl becomes a Bat Mitzvah). Traditionally, the Bar Mitzvah leads…

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How Visual and Literal Thinking Can Shape Autistic Experiences

Patricia George www.persnicketypatricia.ca Literal Thinking [image: Two stills from the movie Singin’ in the Rain: Top: Gene Kelly as the popular actor Don Lockwood being mobbed by fans, with white overlaid text reading, “Hey, Cos, do something. Call me a cab!” and bottom: Donald O’Connor as Cosmo Brown, speaking nonchalantly with white overlaid text reading, “OK, you’re a cab.”] Before starting school, and before Mom remarried when I was five, it was just me, Mom, Grandmother, Grandfather, and a few other beloved close family members (my biological father was out of my life before I could remember him). I didn’t know how different I was from other people back then, not really. I felt different somehow; I always have, as though the most important secret in the world was whispered in my ear the day I was born, plus I just knew stuff even though I couldn’t express that knowing…

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What Surfside Beach Did For Us On Our Spring Vacation

John Ordover John Ordover recently wrote about Surfside Beach, South Carolina declaring itself an autism-friendly family vacation destination. In April of this year, John, his wife (TPGA editor) Carol Greenburg, and their 13-year-old autistic son Arren spent a week in Surfside Beach, and had a blast. This is his report on their trip. —- Arren in the airport waiting room Photo: John Ordover [image: white tween boy lying on top of a carpeted cubby] On landing in Myrtle Beach airport after an uneventful flight, we were met at the gate by Becky Large of Champion Autism Network (CAN). Becky is the person who had pushed for Surfside Beach to make its commitment to hosting autistic families in the first place. Becky took us to the lovely small airport’s special waiting room for autistic kids who might need some chill-out time. Arren took to it immediately and enjoyed snuggling into its…

What Autism Means to Me

Logan www.thequirkymustache.com We want April — Autism Acceptance Month — to matter, to help further acceptance and understanding of autistic experiences, happiness, and rights for autistic people of all ages and abilities. We will be publishing your Autism Acceptance posts and pictures all month long. If you want to participate, contact us at thinkingautism at gmail dot com. -TPGA Editors   It is awesome to be different, it’s genetics. Our DNA makes us all different, that is what God wanted. Acceptance is a big word but really, it’s easy to do. Why would God place us all on the earth to be the same, I don’t want to be like everyone else. Why do some accept people in books and movies like Harry Potter, people who aren’t real but I’m real and you don’t accept me? I do awesome things, I’m a great friend, and I’m an awesome gamer and…

Autism Sweeps

Jennifer Byde Myers jennyalice.com I get a note each afternoon from my son’s teacher. She emails me and let’s me know what Jack did that day, any struggles he had, and provides information about what’s happening in the classroom, and around the school. It’s efficient, an easy way for me to catch up on what he’s doing in school, and a great way for each side of the equation to have context for conversation with Jack.  When we go out to dinner at Jack’s favorite restaurant, I write his teacher, then she and the aides can ask him questions about what he did the night before. It’s also great that the email goes to both my husband and me. So many times in the past I would read Jack’s little school journal, or talk to the teacher when I picked up Jack from school, and that information would never make…

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Reflecting on My Future Self

Jennifer Byde Myerswww.jennyalice.com Grocery shopping this morning,  a mom and her son passed by me in the floral department. She is probably in her 50’s because her son looked about 10 years older than mine… and yes, her boy plays for our team: Autism. Right down to the 6 foot 2 inches of young man flapping his hands next to the strawberries and “oooo–Wheeeeing” in the dairy section. I could tell before the stims though, it’s amazing how quickly I can spot a person with autism who’s in the same part of the spectrum as Jack. When I see another family with a special needs child, I always try to smile — at the child, or the parent, hopefully both, to show that, even though I don’t have a stamp on my forehead or my son in tow, I understand a little bit about their life. I always hope that…

Stop and Smell the Roses but Be Wary of the Thorns

Heather E. Sedlock I remember the first time I heard that phrase. My mother was attempting to explain to me why I could not always be allowed to stop when we were on our way to something. Say, while crossing the street in the middle of a busy intersection. I would eagerly cross the street with her, my hand in hers, racing to get across before those lights change and cars come rushing at us. Mommy did not like it when the cars came at us. That was okay because I did not like some things too; I understood that much. But I did not understand why she did not like the cars to come at us. One particular, fine, sun-shiny day, we were crossing the busy street again (I do not remember where this was or where we were going however), and I stopped to stare up at the…

Why I’m Wearing Black

Corina Lynn Becker nostereotypeshere.blogspot.com April is an emotionally charged month for me, April 1st especially. Up to grade six, it was because I dreaded April Fool’s Day, a day dedicated to pulling pranks I did not enjoy. However, in grade seven, I was given more reason to not like the day. On his 77th birthday, my Grandpa had a massive stroke. The damage was severe enough that any operation would just leave him in a vegetative state. It was decided that Grandpa, a man dedicated to his work as a minister, would not be happy in such a state. So we just sat there for three days, waiting for him to die. On April 1st, at 8:30 AM, Grandpa passed away. It was the first time I experienced the loss of close relative. To me, it was losing a huge chunk of my foundational support. I had always assumed he…