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Learning Life Skills or Just Playing a Game? Why Can’t It Be Both? An Autistic perspective on TTRPGs

Shawna Spain twitter.com/LikeSevenSpoon Photo courtesy the author. [image: Woman with braided hair and purple glasses is bent over a notebook with a  character sheet for “Veri Truestone.” There are various dice around her, a rainbow set, a ceramic set, some resin sets and two metal dice in a tiny glass jar. There is a dice vault with rainbow colors, another with wood burning of a map, and then a dice bag with purple fabric.] I didn’t know I was Autistic when I started playing Shadowrun, a table top role playing game. My boyfriend at the time was playing, and I overheard a couple of sessions where they seemed to be telling a collaborative story—and I never heard any arguments or weird pauses, which is how most of my social interactions went at the time. So I asked a lot of questions:  Like, you all agree to the same rules?  Yes, he…

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How to Create Social Groups for Autistic Teens and Adults

Photo © Jonathan Nowak | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: Adults of varied races sitting and standing around a gaming table.] Jeff at Spectrum Disordered www.facebook.com/asdisordered I have a long history with successful autistic social groups. I started my first in 2006, and although I moved out of the area eight years ago, it remains thriving and still operates under the same general principles. I’ve started several groups in rural areas (where people tell me “there isn’t enough interested people to make this work”). Putting a social group or club together doesn’t have to be super complex, but I think people need to have a clear sense of what it is and what it is not. If you are looking at setting up your own, I would offer the following guidelines. The Social Group is the Speed Date Speed Dating is a type of get-together in which people interested in…

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Keep the Season Bright (Despite Being Light-Sensitive)

Photo © Damian Gadal | Flickr/Creative Commons [image: Photo of out-of-focus multicolored holiday lights] Emily Brooks www.emilybrooks.com Winter holidays are all about people. And as hard as that is for me as an adult with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and anxiety disorders, that’s also why I love them! In the hope that other adults or teens with ASD can benefit from my mistakes and experiences, I’ve compiled my tips for dealing with the holidays. Give When You’re Out of Money and Ideas If you’re like many adults with ASD, you struggle with employment or finances. Try not to panic if you can’t afford expensive presents. When choosing and making presents for your loved ones, it’s keep in mind that gifts are less about the actual objects and more about showing people you care. If you have a little money but you aren’t sure where to spend it, search through cheaper…

Meeting Myself for the First Time

Robert Moran blog.robertmoran.org Today I went to my first meetup for autistic people. It was both eye opening and interesting, I honestly had never spent much time with other autistic people. In fact I have never met any other autistic people in real life before. All of my friends and coworkers are neurotypical. So it was like meeting me for the first time. The last time I had ever spent any time with an autistic person was when I met Temple Grandin at an autism conference at UCLA 20 years ago. Yes that Temple Grandin and yes 20 years ago. The group was fairly diverse in ethnicity and age. As I looked around the room I saw myself being reflected back at me. That was not something I could ever experience with my neurotypical friends and coworkers. I sometimes felt that they did not understand me. That was probably because…

Getting Through the Holidays!?

We chose the punctuation above for a reason — cautious optimism and the hope that, with the right guidance and attitude, we can make it through the winter holidays, possibly even with some happy memories. So if you, your families, and your friends are hunkering down for the holidays; and if you, like some of us are also a bit … stressed about changes in routine, location, or faces — consider what the wise folks below have to say about navigating this most tumultuous time of the year. And if you have any advice, please leave it in the comments below! Happy Holidays, friends. -The Editors —- Self-advocate Annabelle Listic: …it is especially important, during the holidays, for any autistic person to have:  A way to communicate basic needs, emotions, opinions (a travel dry erase board, sticky notes with simple language on each, a typing program on a phone, tablet,…