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Autism and Self-Injury: Talking With Dr. Rachel Moseley at INSAR 2019

Dr. Rachel Moseley and Carol Greenburg [image: Photos of two smiling white women wearing glasses posing together. Left, Rachel Moseley has shoulder-length light brown hair. Right, Carol Greenburg’s hair is in a platinum bob.] Content note: This interview discusses self-injury and suicidal behavior. Oftentimes the most rewarding findings at INSAR, the annual meeting for the International Society for Autism Research, emerge during the pre-conference sessions. We went to the 2019 pre-conference on autism and mental health and were impressed by Dr. Rachel Moseley’s presentation on self-injury in autistic people without intellectual disability—and are grateful that Dr. Moseley was able to make time to talk with TPGA editors Carol Greenburg and Shannon Rosa about her research. Shannon Rosa: Dr. Moseley, can you first tell us a little bit about yourself, and your background and affiliations? Dr. Moseley: I’m a researcher at Bournemouth University. I did all my studying and my PhD…

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Countering Neurodiversity Misinformation on KPCC’s Air Talk

Rosa’s son out in the community, enjoying a local aquarium [image: White teen boy with short curly brown hair, seen from the back, in front of a large public aquarium.] Shannon Des Roches Rosa @shannonrosa I was recently invited to be a guest on National Public Radio affiliate KPCC’s AirTalk, to provide a contrasting perspective to science writer Moheb Constandi’s Aeon article Against Neurodiversity. What follows is the transcript of our conversation, which was only 23 minutes long and in which I suspect neither of us covered all the points we wanted to make. However, before diving in, I have to state that I truly regret not speaking out about how absurd it is when writers like Mr. Costandi claim to champion autistic self-advocates with intellectual disability or speech disabilities, yet don’t even bother to get a single such person’s opinions. To see what self-advocate Ivanova Smith has to say…

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Autism And The Gut Microbiome: An Interview With Dr. Ruth Ann Luna

Dr. Ruth Ann Luna and Shannon Rosa. Photo © TPGA [image: A Latina woman with long dark brown hair, and a white woman with chin-length fluffy red hair and glasses, smiling and posing together.] Our editors Carol Greenburg and Shannon Rosa spoke with Dr. Ruth Ann Luna about her research on autistic kids and their incredibly diverse gut microbiomes during INSAR 2019, How her research is not about “special diets for autism,” how GI issues are co-occurring conditions and not a core trait of autism, how there’s no one universal single bacteria that is associated with autism, how GI profiles are ofter family- rather than neurotype-specific, and how this research may translate into real world supports for autistic people. —- Shannon Rosa: Thank you so much for being here. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and what brought you into this area of autism and gut microbiome research?…

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The Problem With Autistic Communication Is Non-Autistic People: A Conversation With Dr. Catherine Crompton

Dr. Catherine Crompton is doing ground-breaking research on autistic social dynamics and communication, so we were thrilled to interview Dr. Crompton about her work on Information Transfer between Autistic and Neurotypical People during INSAR 2019. We were fascinated (and gratified) to learn about her findings that when there are communication disconnects between the two groups, it tends to be a mutual hiccup rather than an autistic-specific problem. Shannon Rosa of Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism (TPGA): I’m speaking with Dr. Catherine Crompton from the University of Edinburgh. Catherine is working on a project that examines whether performance on cultural transmission tasks varies, depending on the diagnostic status of the social partner, which basically, if you want to summarize that in layman’s terms? Dr. Crompton: It means that we’re looking at how autistic people interact with other people, whether that is different, depending on whether the person they’re interacting with is also…

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What the College Admissions Scandal Reveals About Privilege Inequality For Disabled Students

Photo © US Department of Education  | Creative Commons / Flickr [image: Three students at computer workstations, seen from behind.] Shannon Rosa Senior Editor Wealthy people using their privilege to bypass regular people problems like paying taxes is nothing new. But using that clout to exploit disability accommodations—to give their college-aspiring children truly unfair and also illegal advantages—is infuriating on multiple levels. As disability policy professional Rebecca Cokley noted at Teen Vogue: “This behavior is harmful because when celebrities and others with privilege use a marginalized community’s civil rights as a ‘VIP pass,’ it frames reasonable accommodations as something ‘special’ that you should be able to buy, versus actual civil rights that give people with disabilities an equal seat at the table.” Adrienne Wichard-Edds reported on the scandal for the Washington Post, from the perspectives of several irate parents of students with disabilities: “For children who really do struggle with…

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Autism and Suicidality: Conversations Between Researchers and Autistic People

Photo © Gayan Gunawardana | Creative Commons [image: Backlit photo of a sad ponytailed person with their head down, in profile in front of an ocean sunset.] Dr. Sarah Cassidy co-chaired a SIG (Special Interest Group) on Autism and Suicidality at IMFAR 2016, in Baltimore. We weren’t able to attend her session, but Dr. Cassidy was kind enough to take time, later that same day, to talk with TPGA editors Shannon Rosa and Carol Greenburg, autistic autism researcher Dr. Steven Kapp, and Autistic Self Advocacy Network Executive Director Julia Bascom. The following is a transcript of our conversation. —- Shannon Rosa: Tell us about what you discussed in the SIG. What has your research revealed about suicidality in autistic people? Dr. Cassidy: We’ve published two studies so far. The first study we did, which is free to access in the new Lancet (Psychiatry) journal, was a medical chart review, a…