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Notes From Your Friendly Neighborhood Inclusionista

Shannon Des Roches Rosa twitter.com/shannonrosa I want to make this as friendly as possible, so I think it’s important to start by clarifying terms: Inclusion, my lovelies, is a real and basic human right, and it simply means autistic and other disabled people have the right to be out and about in the world, and not segregated or hidden away as used to be the default for their community members. Inclusion does not mean forcing people like my high-support autistic son to be in places they don’t want to be, that aren’t set up for them, or in which they aren’t welcome. But even when we embrace inclusion as a disability rights baseline, my son still doesn’t get to do all the things—but that’s because of accessibility barriers, not because inclusion itself is a flawed concept. Even though The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) installed accessibility as the law of our…

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Supporting Autistic People in Health Care, Education, and The Criminal Justice System: An Interview with CRAE’s Laura Crane

Shannon Rosa from Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism and Corina Becker from Autism Women’s Network interviewed Laura Crane from CRAE, the UK-based Centre for Research in Autism and Education about her work in supporting best practices in health care and education for autistic people, and also demonstrating that Autistics, children specifically, can be reliable witnesses during criminal investigations. Laura Crane | Photo: CRAE [image: Smiling white woman with long brown hair.] Shannon Rosa: Why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about the work that you’re doing for CRAE, because it seems like you’re involved in so many things. Laura Crane: My research focuses on two main areas. The first is looking at how we can support autistic children and adults within the criminal and family justice systems. A lot of that work has come from police officers and barristers and other legal professionals assuming that autistic children and…

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Hey Parents of Autistic Kids: Here Are Five Big, Avoidable Mistakes

Shannon Des Roches Rosa www.squidalicious.com Resting after a long hike. Photo © Shannon Des Roches Rosa [image: White teen boy with short brown hair, seen from behind, sitting on a hilltop bench overlooking an ocean.] If you’re the parent of an autistic kid, you probably get advice thrown at your head from every angle, all day long. You may even be all done with advice. And I hear you, because I am you. But I also have had the great good fortune to be connected with some of the most insightful autistic and autism professionals and thinkers on this planet, who have transformed my parenting approach completely, and to the benefit of my teen son Leo, as well as myself. 

 As I have become increasingly devoted to “learn from my mistakes, so you don’t repeat my mistakes,” here are five bonks I made during the early years of parenting…

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Untwisting Perceptions: Autism, Parenting, and Victimhood

Shannon Des Roches Rosa www.squidalicious.com Content note: this article discusses murder, disability, and mental health. There is a horrifyingly typical coupling of devotion with murder, whenever disabled people are the victims. A recent example is Ruby Knox, an autistic young woman, who was murdered by her mother Donella, in Blenheim, New Zealand. Donella drugged Ruby, then suffocated her. Both the reporting and the judge on the case portray Donella as a “loving mum who was driven to kill her daughter.” I’m here to say: Fuck that. I need you — and judges and reporters everywhere — to understand that, however difficult it may be for families to support their disabled loved ones, murder is never excusable. There are always other options. Always. That last message is especially important when you consider that disability-related filicides like Ruby’s are more common than the occasional high-profile story might have one suppose — according to Julia Bascom…

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Going to IMFAR 2016? Read These Articles About Autism Research And Presentations First

Photo © Bobby Wade/Flickr [image: White woman with long brown hair and glasses, giving a presentation at a TEDx autism conference.] Our editors Carol and Shannon are spending the latter half of this week at IMFAR, the International Meeting for Autism Research, which is May 11 – 14 in Baltimore, MD. If you’re going, say hi! You can also follow us on Twitter at @ThinkingAutism, @ShannonRosa, and (Carol) @AspieAdvocate. IMFAR has improved a lot: We are glad to see the annual conference welcome increasing numbers of autistic speakers and attendees, so that autism researchers can listen to the people whose lives they are studying (and ideally trying to benefit), and vice versa. But since our editorial roles include being autism research ethics gadflies, we have to note that IMFAR is still mostly about the medical model view of autism and disability (curing and fixing), rather than the social view (understanding…

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When Autistic Kids and Teens Are Aggressive or Self-Injurious: Overview

–> Shannon Des Roches Rosa Senior Editor, Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism Why do some autistic children and teens become self-injurious or aggressive? How can parents and caregivers help the kids in their care get through meltdowns safely, protect the kids themselves as well as family members, and anticipate and avoid future incidents? This was the topic of a recent workshop I moderated at Support for Families of Children With Disabilities, in San Francisco, with speakers Dr. Clarissa Kripke, Brent White, and Lindsey Anderson. The presenters covered a lot of material, which we’ll publish here in three parts: Overview (Shannon Des Roches Rosa) Medical and trauma-informed practices (Dr. Clarissa Kripke) Autistic professional and personal insights (Brent White and Lindsey Anderson) The workshop was well-attended (standing room only), engaged and productive. One of my favorite parts was that, after a short explanation of why “flappause,” or flapping one’s hands for applause,…

Ableism FUBARs and Constructive Recoveries

Shannon Des Roches Rosa, with Carol Greenburg, Patricia George, and Christine Langager The disability and empowerment-themed website The Mighty recently published a post called Introducing: Meltdown Bingo, and sparked an actual Internet meltdown. In the post (since retracted by The Mighty’s editors), a parent used the popular Bingo Card meme to detail challenging aspects of their autistic child’s meltdowns. The online backlash from autistic and disability activists was understandably swift and strong, underpinned by a history of those activists’ dissatisfaction with The Mighty coupled with dismay over yet another hijacking of autistic children’s most vulnerable and misunderstood moments justified as parenting “honesty.” But here’s the thing most backlash commentary missed or ignored: The mother who wrote the post is autistic. Anyone who clicked on the author bio for the original Meltdown Bingo post would have read the following: “Christine is an adult-diagnosed autistic mother to autistic Cameron, 8.” Also missing…