Autism: When the Right Message Goes Mainstream

Jennifer Byde Myers jennyalice.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 When we first started Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism (TPGA), our goal was to put, all in one place, the best information from autistics, parents of autistic children, and the professionals who serve our communities. We always felt it was key to deliver this information with frankness and with honesty, especially regarding autistic struggles, and challenges with aspects of education and parenting. We did not want to seek pity, or place blame. Instead, we sought to highlight neurodiversity as part of the fabric of humanity, part of what it means to be human. We wanted to present a variety of perspectives about…

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How CalAcademy Could Be a More Autism-Friendly Science Center

Shannon Des Roches Rosa www.Squidalicious.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 My son Leo and I are members at San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences for two reasons: 1) We want to support fabulous, hands-on science, and 2) We depend on members-only early entry hours so we can avoid the crowds and noise that don’t always mesh so well with Leo’s exuberant autism and his favorite CalAcademy routines. Though our CalAcademy trips are usually happy ones, today’s visit was a bit bumpy. Leo’s autistic behaviors — his loud squeals of happiness while watching his beloved Planetarium show, for…

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Let Me Stim, Let Me Stim, Let Me Stim

The holidays are upon us, and that means hanging with folks who might need a nudge or a gentle reminder about holiday kindness and accommodation for autistic kids and adults, on being nice about understanding autistic behaviors versus assuming naughtiness. One thing we’ll be seeing in our house as my son adjusts to an atypical schedule is stimming. Lots of stimming. Some of Leo’s stimming needs redirecting, but most of it is functional and self-soothing. Our friends and family get why Leo stims and what he needs, they have his back; Leo will be fine, we’ll be fine. But if you or your child need stimming functionality backup or want to help understand why stimming doesn’t just matter but can be very necessary, I suggest citing Zoe’s About Stimming, or Julia Bascom’s The Obsessive Joy of Autism. Or, you could just sing folks this song, which I came up with…

The Stories We Shared

On March 24, the editors issued this invitation: TPGA would like to share an autism perspective: yours. As members of the autism community, we know that awareness is only a first step. Increased awareness brings opportunities to share our experiences and strive for what people with autism deserve: understanding, and acceptance. …Please send us a short essay on one thing you want readers to know about autism — as it relates to you. Share what you’ve experienced or witnessed. Tell readers about a formative experience; something joyful, or a brief moment of despair. Share your hopes, dreams, past, or future. Anecdotes laced with humor — however dark though not mean-spirited — are especially appreciated. We published 22 stories, vignettes, and interviews. Six personal stories from people with autism Corina Lynn Becker, Why I Am Wearing Black For this young adult with autism, April “is month of reflection, of remembrance. It…

About Stimming

Zoe illusionofcompetence.blogspot.com I used to go everywhere with a rubber bouncy ball in each hand. The weight and pressure of these in my palm, and the position of my hand as I curled my fingers around them, became second nature. Probably they provided reassuring proprioceptive feedback — not that I knew or cared about this. My rubber bouncy balls comforted me. But when I stopped being a toddler and started being a child, there were so many things I had to do with my hands. I had to learn to make letters and tie knots. I couldn’t hold onto a rubber ball while doing that. And there were more and more places where it was really not “appropriate” for someone my age to carry a set of bouncy balls around. So I stopped carrying the bouncy balls. I used to flap my hands and arms. Sometimes I would jump up…