processed-with-snapseed

Autistic Inertia: An Overview

Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com Image description: a photo of the Mason Dixon line from about 20 miles away, taken by Sparrow Rose Jones at the Maryland/Pennsylvania border near Clear Spring, Maryland on October 4, 2016 I was talking with my boyfriend yesterday about autistic inertia. I was describing how it affects me and bemoaning the fact that it’s so clearly a real thing that exists but I never see researchers or educators talking about it — just us Autistics. We know it exists, we know it’s a real thing, but it’s not in the official literature and no one is researching it. After I described it a bit, my boyfriend remarked upon how similar it sounds to what people with Parkinson’s experience. Upon reflection, that didn’t surprise me too much since Parkinson’s is linked to dopamine and I’ve read autism research that talks about irregularities in dopamine and seratonin in the…

Max Sparrow, a white man with short gray hair and glasses, leaning against a brick wall and looking to his right.

Never Again: Why The Incoming U.S. Administration Is Dangerous For Autistic People (And So Many Others)

Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com “These are dangerous days / to say what you feel is to dig your own grave.” -Sinead O’Connor Sparrow R. Jones [image: Portrait photo of a white person with short dark gray hair, glasses, and a maroon button-up shirt.] I blame myself. I should have campaigned more strongly. I should have written about the political landscape and how it affects disabled people in general, and Autistics and those who love us specifically. But I have always been told that one shouldn’t talk about politics, sex, or religion in polite company. I’ve already broken the sex talk taboo so many times over that I was reluctant to tread on religious or political ground. And I didn’t really think he would win. I honestly didn’t. Everyone I’ve spoken with who voted against him has said the same thing: we didn’t see this coming. Wow, were we ever wrong. Donald…

life-animated-poster-676x425-9912450

Life, Animated: An Autistic Adult’s Review

Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com [image description: a movie poster for Life Animated. The movie title is in red on a blue background. The top half of Owen Suskind’s head is at the bottom of the image and line drawings of figures from Disney animated movies surround him.] Last week I went with friends to the Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine, to see the indie documentary, Life, Animated. Life, Animated is based on a book by Ron Suskind, a journalist and father to Owen Suskind, the Autistic young man who is the film’s subject and an absolute delight. Owen’s greatest love in life is Disney movies and these films have sustained him through many dark years of isolation and bullying (years Owen calls “glop”) as well as all the disappointments and tragedies a well-lived life can bring. And Owen’s life is well-lived, indeed. He is a charming man, a natural…

angry-4714149

Dear Young Autistic Person: Why We’re Angry

Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com [Image: Young white boy with an open-mouthed, yelling expression, and hands over his ears.] Dear Young Autistic, I am like you. I am Autistic. Now I am a middle-aged Autistic (I’m probably older than your parents) but I was once a young Autistic like you are now. One of my biggest struggles was (and is) with anger. People have commented many times over the years about my anger. You might be angry, too? People around you might talk about your anger to you or to each other where you can hear them. Or maybe people don’t talk much about your anger because you’ve got ways to push it down and hide it from everyone. If you think you aren’t angry at all, check to make sure you didn’t hide it so well you can’t see it yourself. Why was I an angry young Autistic? I felt stuck…

charliebrownanxiety-2321242

How Lack of Accommodations Can Thwart Anxiety and Mental Health Services

Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com [image: The comics character Charlie Brown, sitting up in bed with his head in his hands, under a speech bubble reading, “My anxieties have anxieties.”] I wasn’t sure if I would write about this or not. I have shared many deeply personal and private things with my readers, but this is hard and humiliating and I’m not even sure why this is harder to share, but it is. So please be gentle. I have anxiety so bad and have had it for so long that I didn’t even realize how anxious my baseline state is until the first time I smoked marijuana and experienced what it’s like to feel peaceful. My anxiety makes every day a struggle. Even my good days are riddled with anxiety. As I said, it is my baseline state. I should add that therapy makes me more anxious. Every so often I struggle…

No You Don’t

Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com We’re grateful to Autistic advocate Sparrow for letting us publish her essay, which inspired our previous contributor, parent Beth Ryan, to write The Cost of Compliance is Unreasonable. Please know that Sparrow’s essay may contain triggers regarding autistic girls and conditioned compliance. When I meet parents of young Autistic kids, especially after they find out how much I was like their kids when I was their kids’ age, many of them say “I hope my kid is like you when she grows up!” ~~ I used to say, “I hope she’s much better off than I am,” or simply, “No, you don’t,” but over time I learned that parents refuse to accept that answer. Maybe they think I’m doing that social thing where someone compliments you and you are expected to refuse the compliment a time or two, finally accepting it but maintaining your veneer of humility.…