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Recognizing How Autistic Children Express Love

Image © Farid Iqbal Ibrahim | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: The fingers of two silhouetted hands forming a heart shape.] Ann Memmott annsautism.blogspot.com I want to talk about how autistic children might express love for their parents or carers.  A well known book about ‘five love languages‘ says that these languages are: Words of affection. Doing things for someone Giving gifts Quality time together Physical touch It’s certainly true that there may be a good few autistic young people who express their love for their closest family using one or more of those. But there are other ‘languages of love’ in autistic communities: 1) “I love you, so I won’t cause you a brain event by overloading you with eye contact and other social/sensory stuff.“ But of course in the world of non-autistic people, this may be deemed rude, aloof, ‘in their own world.’  A misunderstanding. 2. “I love…

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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It’s Time For Autism Research To Do Better By Autistic People

Photo: Charlene Croft | Creative Commons / Flickr [image: hand of a person with light skin arranging long red, green, and yellow construction blocks in a line.] Shannon Des Roches Rosa @shannonrosa Autism research is mostly failing my teenage son and his autistic community. Saying something so forthright may seem harsh, but this is the Greta Thunberg era—and we’re now telling people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. I’ve been going to autism science conferences and scrutinizing autism research for nearly a decade, and during this time most autism studies have remained mired in areas like causation—a pursuit that does absolutely nothing to improve the lives of autistic people who are here already. Even more frustratingly, when research does address the needs of existing autistic people it does so with the goal of “intervention,” rather than focusing on quality of life, and largely neglects those…

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Things Left Unsaid: “I Am Autism” 10 Years Later

[image: Screen capture from the Autism Speaks video I Am Autism, with an African American child sitting on a slide, facing away from the camera. The YouTube video toolbar is visible, above title text reading, “I Am Autism commercial by Autism Speaks”.] Zephyr Ash Ostrowski thefilmroom.org “Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance.” –St. Francis of Assisi “There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.” –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe “Where ignorance exists, myths flourish.” Norman Begg and Angus Nicoll It doesn’t take long for a hurtful word or comment to make its way across the globe. The media eagerly reports on officials’ latest xenophobic remarks within minutes. Protesters will gather and complain for a corporation to sever ties with a controversial program or person. But this outrage somehow doesn’t happen with organizations that are directly tied to “helping” certain groups of marginalized people—and when…

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Dangerous Assumptions

Photo © Lucy Downey | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: Two Canada geese swimming with a fluffy baby gosling.] Julia Bascom juststimming.wordpress.com There is this thing that happens sometimes. Parent has an autistic child. Autistic child doesn’t speak, or their speech isn’t an accurate window into what they are thinking. Autistic child is presumed to be very significantly intellectually disabled. Years later, a method of communication is found that works for the child, and it turns out that they are in fact very smart. Very smart! The parents are overjoyed. They begin talking about presuming competence, the least dangerous assumption, that not being able to speak is not the same as not having anything to say. They are so, so excited. And they start talking about all the incorrect assumptions they had. If we’d known, they say, we wouldn’t have done X. If we had known they could read, think,…

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Parenting Kids With Disabilities: How to Get Through Tough Times

Shannon Des Roches Rosa www.squidalicious.com Content note: This article discusses abuse and murder. Photo © Steve Silberman [image: a white woman, standing behind a white teen boy with brown curly short hair. He is looking at the camera. Her arms are over his shoulder, his arms are up and tickling under her chin.] When parents like me talk about our kids with disabilities and intense support needs, we have to be thoughtful. We need to make it quite clear that our kids are much-loved and very awesome human beings. We should never, ever state or imply that any challenges we face as a parent are our children’s fault. We need to handle their privacy with delicacy. And we shouldn’t accidentally enable disrespect towards children who are already too-frequent magnets for morbid fascination, and pity. But we do need to talk, because our parenting gig is not like other parenting gigs.…

I’m The Parent of a “Severe” Autistic Teen. I Oppose the National Council on Severe Autism.

Shannon Des Roches Rosa squidalicious.com Leo making me make fart noises, because that is never not funny to him. [image: Photo of the author’s teen son squeezing her cheeks so she will make a raspberry sound with her mouth. Both are wearing hats, outdoors.] Last week my son Leo and I had a pleasant arm-in-arm walk* around a fancy shopping center while his sibling was at an appointment. We strolled past the coin collector’s shop and the jodhpurs boutique, then popped into the housewares store—just in case they had any unintentionally awesome fidget toys (which, being gadget central, of course they did). Finding delight in utilitarian objects is part of what being autistic means for my son. Another part is being a traveling one-person party. I go with his flow, as long as he’s not being disruptive. So as we wound our way past the store’s racks of remarkably specialized cooking…