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“Zoom Fatigue”: A Taste of The Autistic Experience

Photo © Sybren Stüvel | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: Frustrated white person at a computer keyboard. Their hands are on their head covering their hair, and they are wearing glasses.] Maxfield Sparrow UnstrangeMind.com Like many folks, I had not heard of Zoom before the pandemic. My friends in IT tell me they were using it for work meetings before much of the United States went into self-quarantine, shelter in place, lockdown, or whatever you want to call the “social distancing” we were urged to observe to help slow the spread of the virus. One bonus for me of the way things have shifted during the pandemic is that I’ve been able to join small groups of people from whom I’m genuinely geographically isolated. For the holy season, I celebrated in community with a Lodge in Sacramento. My friend, Smash Ford, invited me to attend a meeting of the Non-Binary Union…

Disability and Inclusion Strategies During COVID-19

We recently co-hosted a webinar on Disability and Inclusion Strategies During COVID-19 with Magical Bridge foundation, to address some of the issues disabled and autistic people and their families are struggling with right now. Jill Asher from Magical Bridge moderated, TPGA’s senior editor Shanon Rosa ran the questions, and our panelists were three disabled parents of chidren with disabilities: Our own editor Carol Greenburg, and disability consultants Anne Cohen and Deborah Vick. We hope this is the first of many useful sessions! Video and full transcript below. Jill Asher: Hi everyone. Good morning, or good afternoon wherever you are. My name is Jill Asher. I’m the executive director and co-founder of Magical Bridge. We are so incredibly grateful to have you join us today as we discuss disability and inclusive strategies during COVID-19. We hope everyone is safe and health and sheltering in place right now, wherever you are. A…

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Autistic in the Pandemic: A Call to Action

Photo © Katie | Flickr / Creative Commons [image:Black-and-white photo of a person wearing a hoodie and pants, seen from behind near deciduous trees, reaching up and out to the sky.] Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com In the recent WWI movie, 1917, there’s a scene where the reluctant hero encounters a woman hiding behind enemy lines, trying to shush a starving baby. The baby isn’t hers so her body is not equipped to feed it. Lance Corporal Schofield had stopped to fill his empty canteen with milk—the only fluid he could find that was safe to drink—earlier that day. Although we know almost nothing about his life at that point in the film, his words and actions with the baby suggest that Schofield is a father, himself. He gives the milk to the woman and seems grateful to be able to do so. There is a lesson here. None of us are…

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Harriet: A Neurodivergent Film Review

Source: Focus Features [image: Poster for the movie Harriet. A glowing orange-brown background features three Black people, one man and two women, in 19th century clothing. The woman in the center is wearing a wide-brimmed hat and has an unapologetic expression. Below them is a smaller photo of the center woman, in profile holding up at pistol. All-caps white text below her reads, “Harriet”] Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com The movie Harriet (2019) is 125 minutes (two hours and five minutes) long. www.focusfeatures.com/harriet —- The first thing I noticed about the film Harriet was that the showing was sold out. I was eager to see the film and was simultaneously irritated and grateful that I couldn’t get a ticket. Irritated, because it meant buying a ticket for a later showing and finding a way to kill time for a couple of hours. Grateful because Harriet’s story is one everyone should know. Harriet…

CinemAbility: A Review

CinemAbility poster via Amazon.com [image: Movie poster featuring a shadowy photo of a person in a wheelchair, seen from behind. Headshot of the actors Jane Seymour, Ben Affleck, Jamie Foxx, Marlee Matlin, William H. Macy, and Geena Davis are arranged in a diagonal over the wheelchair user, above large white text reading “CinemAbility The Art of Inclusion.”] Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com CinemAbility: The Art of Inclusion (2018) Directed by Jenni Gold, Leomark Studios Closed Captions I recently and eagerly watched the new documentary CinemAbility: The Art of Inclusion via an Amazon rental. Although I have a couple of complaints, I don’t want to lead with them because the documentary overall was amazing and has been sorely needed. For those who only read articles’ opening paragraphs: you must see this film! You will not regret it. The documentary was filled with interview clips—actors, directors, casting directors, academics. I apologize in advance because I won’t…

Autistic Disturbances: A Review

[image: Book cover with a black background. At the top, large white text & then yellow text reads “Autistic Disturbances” then smaller yellow text reads, “Theorizing Autism Poetics from the DSM to Robinson Crusoe”.  A large photo in the center features a storage rack with stacked cylinders, with different whimsical buttons on the lid of each cylinder White text below the graphic reads, “Julia Miele Rodas”. Smaller yellow text below reads, “Foreword by Melanie Yergeau”.] .  Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com Autistic Disturbances: Theorizing Autism Poetics from the DSM to Robinson Crusoe By Julia Miele Rodas, University of Michigan Press, 2018. “Autism has a particular language, one that has been extensively recognized, researched, and described by clinical theorists, literary scholars, and autism (self)advocates” Rodas writes in her groundbreaking book on Autistic poetics, Autistic Disturbances. Through discussing the features of Autistic voice and examining various novels, short stories, and even diagnostic literature through…

His Hands Were Quiet: A Review

[image: Brown book cover. Small yellow text at the top reads, “Zachary Goldman Mysteries 2” Next, the title in white all caps text reads, “His Hands Were Quiet.” Next is an image of a yellow triangle with a silhouette of a person bending backwards and being struck in the chest with a bolt of electricity. Large yellow text at the  bottom reads, “PD Workman”.] Maxfield Sparrow His Hands Were Quiet By P.D. Workman Content notes: suicide, abuse, murder, house fires, burn injuries, PTSD, Judge Rotenberg Center, ABA This book review gets all the Autistic trigger warnings. It is a gripping thriller/suspense novel that could help people understand autism and Autistic people better, and it is raw and honest about what some of the most vulnerable Autistic people endure. It will be a tense read for everyone and could be especially triggering for many Autistic people, so proceed carefully with this review and…

See it Feelingly: Classic Novels, Autistic Readers, and the Schooling of a No-Good English Professor: A Review

Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com [image: cover of the book See It Feelingly, by Ralph Savarese] See It Feelingly: Classic Novels, Autistic Readers, and the Schooling of a No-Good English Professor (Thought in the Act) by Ralph James Savarese Foreword by Stephen Kuusisto Duke University Press Books (October 12, 2018) Reading See it Feelingly took me much longer than I expected, because I wanted to stop to take notes with almost every page turn. Dr. Savarese has produced a masterpiece, simultaneously dense and accessible. His voice moves freely—alternating among lyrical, narrative, and instructive—never losing the flow, never dipping into pedantry, never soaring too far toward the abstract for the reader to follow. Not only is this collection of essays brimming with the most important information and ideas about autism, it is a collaboration of rare beauty. See it Feelingly crosses genres effortlessly. The result is a book rich in the neuroscience of autism,…

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Eliminating Restraints and Seclusion Improves Outcomes for Injuries/Trauma, Expenditures, and Student Goal Mastery

Photo: Nancy Marie Davis | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: sepia-tone print of a clenched fist, with superimposed scratched lines.] Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com A little over two years ago, Crystal Garrett wrote an article for Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism about the long-term traumatic effects on her Autistic son of the restraints and seclusion used against him at school. Garrett chose to end her career as a journalist to stay at home and school Zachary herself. Garrett wrote, “We know a restraint and seclusion free environment is realistic. Virginia-based Grafton Integrated Health Network, an organization that works with children and adults with autism and co-occurring psychiatric diagnoses, went restraint and seclusion free ten years ago. Since then, their client and staff injury rate has dramatically gone down, while employee satisfaction has increased. They are now teaching their system, Ukeru, to others across the country, in order to create a trauma-informed…