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The Unrecovered

Photo © Lluís Ribes Mateu | Flickr / Creative Commons  [Painting of the Ancient Greek demigod Hercules and the giant Antaeus, c. 1570, Oil on canvas. from the collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.] Emily Paige Ballou chavisory.wordpress.com This is the reaction I wrote in response to the article The Kids Who Beat Autism, originally published in the New York Times Magazine in 2014. While I have no doubt that the parents and therapists profiled believe they have these kids’ best interests at heart, I was—and am—angry and frustrated at the celebration at their “recovery” on the part of people who are not the ones who are actually going to bear the consequences for the rest of their lives. I’m sad for the kids who are. The parents, teachers, and therapists and researchers without a clue who celebrate “recovery” because they still wrongfully define autism as a fixed set…

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On Autism and Social Camouflaging: An Interview With Lily Levy

Lily Levy at INSAR 2018 [image: Lily Levy, a white British woman, presenting a poster at an autism conference.] INSAR 2019, the International Meeting For Autism Research, starts in three days. Before we begin our coverage, we’d like to emphasize research and themes from last year’s conference INSAR 2018, in Rotterdam—so we can proceed with a grounded sense of how the two conference’s priorities compare and contrast, especially in terms of research that affects autistic people’s quality of life (QoL). A consistent QoL theme of INSAR 2018 was autistic camouflaging, also known as “masking” or “passing.” We spoke with Lily Levy, who led the INSAR 2018 presentation For Better or for Worse? Social Camouflaging, Mental Health and Wellbeing in Autistic Adults.  Content note: Discussion of suidicality, bullying, and trauma. Shannon Rosa of TPGA: I’m at INSAR 2018 with Lily Levy, whose group presented the poster on Social Camouflaging, Mental Health and Wellbeing…

Kerima Çevik, a Black woman over 50 with braided gray hair wearing Neurodiversity 3.0 by ThinkGeek, a black T-shirt with a world globe design on the upper chest area in the shape of a human brain, colored in physical map fashion i.e., water is colored light blue and land masses green, clouds white, looking to her left over bent wire-rimmed glasses in that way that mothers look at their children when an outrageous behavior has just ensued.

#AutisticWhileBlack: Diezel Braxton And Becoming Indistinguishable From One’s Peers

Kerima Çevik theautismwars.blogspot.com The author’s idea of what displaying autism positivity looks like [Image: a Black woman over 50 with braided gray hair wearing Neurodiversity 3.0 by ThinkGeek, a black T-shirt with a world globe  design on the upper chest area in the shape of a human brain, colored in physical map fashion i.e., water is colored light blue  and land masses green, clouds white, looking to her left  over bent wire-rimmed glasses in that way that mothers look at  their children when an outrageous behavior has just ensued.] There is an article in a paper called The Daily Net, about singer Toni Braxton’s 16-year-old son Diezel working as a professional model for the past two years. The article refers to him as “formerly autistic.” It goes on to say he has, “fortunately, moved past” autism and is now a celebrity himself. Apparently, when her son was thirteen, Ms. Braxton…

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Autism, Transmasculine Identity, and Invisibility

The Transgender Pride Flag By SVG file Dlloyd based on Monica Helms design [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons [image: A flag with five horizontal stripes. The center stripe is white, flanked by two pink stripes, then a light blue stripe at the top and the bottom. Devin S. Turk @devinst97 Everyone in my life knows that I’m transgender. Comparatively, very few people know about another major part of me: that I’m autistic. At age twenty-one, I’ve come to understand that many of my young adult years have centered around trying to bridge the gap between my two ways of being: The way that I present myself to the world, and the way that I perceive who I am. I imagine that someday, hopefully soon, those two components of my life won’t feel far apart. And hey, sharing this essay might even help. I realized I was trans when I was…

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Autism and Normalisation

Oolong oolong.co.uk Normalisation is the process of making or becoming normal. ‘Normal’ can mean a great many things in different contexts, but here I mean it in a social sense: to be normal is to conform to society’s norms. You Will Be Assimilated [image: black-and-white illustration of a Borg drone, by Sonya Hallett] Within this context, there are two very different meanings of ‘normalisation’: to make normal, or to become normal; to normalise the individual, or what makes them stand out. Normalisation in the first sense is what the Borg does in Star Trek: individuals are assimilated by having their rough edges, their deviations from what is expected, removed, or hidden. Normalisation in the second sense is what the writers repeatedly do in Star Trek: groups once seen as monstrously beyond the pale, like the Klingons, are slowly seen to have more in common with ordinary humans than it first…

A Critical Response to “The Kids Who Beat Autism”

Steven Kapp, PhD I critically lectured on autism and “outcomes” like “recovery” for my UCLA Autism and Neurodiversity class the day the New York Times article The Kids Who Beat Autism came out, then saw a related statement I wrote* for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network shared widely later that same day — so I mulled over how much more attention to give the NYT story.  I finally decided to write an updated response for my students, focusing on the cited research, including Catherine Lord’s critiques of Deborah Fein, my critiques of Lord, and my critiques of the new article. I otherwise sat on the response for days but decided to share it on Facebook as a status update and then, with my friend Amy Sequenzia’s encouragement, as a public Note. Now, following several TPGA editrixes’ well-deserved vacations, I am honored to give the response wider exposure through my first…

Asperger’s Syndrome Meets Alpha Male Syndrome

M incipientturvy.blogspot.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 Autism Acceptance posts and pictures all month long. -TPGA Editors 7a.m., Monday morning. I make a rare appearance in the break room at work. I’m sipping coffee, trying to wake up. I’m standing in the corner hoping to avoid people, but a co-worker makes intentional eye contact and starts walking towards me. I think, “Why, god? Why?” I can’t remember his name or which department he’s from. The protective social mimicry kicks in. Co-worker: Dude, can you believe it? Me: Dude, I really can’t. I have no idea what he’s talking about. Co-worker: You know what I’m talking about … right? Me: Of course. You’re talking about … you know, what a surprise it…

The Third Glance

E thethirdglance.wordpress.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 On the surface, I am a young PhD student, studying my absolute favorite subject. I am independent from my parents. I am asexual. I have a super cool secret life based on a hobby I have. I can speak in English, and I know French, and some American Sign Language. I am a voracious reader, both of fiction and non-. I love playing the piano. I am Autistic. And I have a story that wants to be told. At first glance, I pass. I can enter into the neurotypical world…

Passing

Kate It happens, not every day, but often. You’re at a social gathering, feeling good, feeling alive, and this conversation leads to that leads to “Oh yeah, I’m autistic. I have Asperger’s syndrome.” And the almost-inevitable response. “Really?  You don’t look/seem/come off as autistic.” I can never quite decide if this is supposed to be a compliment or not.  To take it as a compliment would mean accepting the premise that to be autistic is something bad, which it’s not,  that my social skills are good enough to ‘pass’ for neuro-typical in public and that is a good thing, since people have so many ‘bad’ stereotypes of what autism is and might misjudge me. Which is weird, because I’m pretty sure that anyone who makes a statement that I don’t look autistic doesn’t know me well, and doesn’t know autism well. Here’s the thing.  I can ‘pass’ for neuro-typical in…

Passing: How to Play Normal

Larkin Taylor-Parker iamthethunder.tumblr.com I look like someone you might trust to hold the spare key if we were neighbors. We could eat at the same restaurant or cross paths in the grocery store. We might forage the same yard sales. I look like I could be someone you know. You might not believe me if I told you I was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at age six. Unnoticed, I often overhear your discussions on what to do with us. I have heard your opinion on DSM changes. I saw your puzzle piece tattoo. I listened as you equated my label with violence, called people like me “unemployable” claimed it is irresponsible of us to have children, suggested we would be happier in institutions. I heard your retard joke. You never guessed an autistic might be listening. I look “normal.” That does not make me part of the over-diagnosis epidemic if…