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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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Autism and Biowearables: An interview with Matthew Goodwin at IMFAR 2017

Carol Greenburg and Matthew Goodwin at the IMFAR 2017 Press Conference [image: White woman with short platinum hair and glasses posing with a taller white man with a shaved head and goatee.] Northeastern University researcher Matthew Goodwin gave an IMFAR 2017 keynote speech about his work on “Wearable Sensor-Based Physiological and Physical Activity Biomarkers for Use in Laboratory and Naturalistic Environments to Assess Arousal and Repetitive Motor Movements in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism’s Carol Greenburg and Shannon Rosa, and Autism Women’s Network’s Corina Becker, spoke to Goodwin after the IMFAR press conference, about the real-life applications of his work, and how they can benefit autistic people. Carol Greenburg: What constitutes a behavior, insofar as it’s something that needs to be mitigated? A behavior like flapping or other “stims” may mean something different to the person who’s doing the intervention, as opposed to the autistic person themselves.…

Do Me a Favor

Christine Stephan daysixtyseven.blogspot.com I don’t like to advise people. I don’t like being in a position of telling others what to do. But I am a person of strong opinions. And just this once I’d like to tell you to do something. And by “you,” I especially mean those who love and support non-speaking autistic people of all ages. I want you to promise that when you find yourself explaining to someone that you have no idea what your loved one knows or understands that you will also quickly explain that you believe he understands everything and just hasn’t yet found a way to let the world know. When you observe your loved one behaving in a way that you don’t understand and he can’t explain, promise me that you will believe that he is trying the best he can and that he is as frustrated — probably more so…