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For Colin, on His Viral Eleventh Birthday

Shannon Des Roches Rosa  www.squidalicious.com By now you’ve probably heard of the Happy Birthday Colin effort, in which a socially isolated (though not autistic) boy’s mom created a Facebook page to cheer him up for his eleventh birthday — and the page went viral, with nearly 2 million Likes as of this writing. Colin’s mom writes: “I am Colin’s mom, I created this page for my amazing, wonderful, challenging son who is about to turn 11 on March 9th. Because of Colin’s disabilities, social skills are not easy for him, and he often acts out in school, and the other kids don’t like him. So when I asked him if he wanted a party for his birthday, he said there wasn’t a point because he has no friends. He eats lunch alone in the office everyday because no one will let him sit with them, and rather than force someone…

Why It Hurts Your Child to Be an Autism Cure Chaser

Susan Walton This week in a local parent forum, a member spoke up about MMS, a “treatment” that TPGA has examined (with horror) in the past. (See TPGA science editor Emily Willingham’s Dangerous Interventions: MMS and Autism.) A TPGA Editor was present during the MMS forum discussion and suggested we are reprint the conversation, with permission from that forum’s Moderator. Maybe there should be a 12 step program for autism parents who have fallen for misguided and misdirected “hope.” —- I am the father of a 5.5 year old ASD kid. He was diagnosed with autism three years ago. For the last three years, we tried many “treatments” including Andy Cutler protocol [chelation], multi-vitamins, Methyl-B12 shots, GFCFSF diets and various therapies. At one point in time, we were giving around 35 supplements and medicines per day. We saw some improvements for each of the above therapies. But they were MINOR.…

Where Was I When Kelli Stapleton Needed Help?

Beth Ryan www.loveexplosions.net So, as an administrator of Parenting Autistic Children with Love and Acceptance, I’ve seen a lot of questions from parents asking, “Where were you when Kelli Stapleton needed help with her daughter, Issy?” And, “Did you donate to Issy’s treatment?” These questions are asked of Autistic activists and parents of Autistic children who are outraged at the attempted murder of Issy by her own mother, Kelli. Those that have zero empathy for Kelli. Those that believe that parents that would murder their own disabled children are as accountable as parents that murder their own non-disabled children–and that the prosecution of these criminals should reflect that without exception. Oh no, you do not get to lay the blame of this massive tragedy at my feet or at those of Autistic activists. Let me start by telling you where I was. I was first, and foremost, taking care of my own…

Letting Tears Flow

Melody Latimer asparenting.com At some point, everyone will have to deal with loss and grief. Whether it’s the loss of a pet, relative, or friend, it can affect us in ways we never expected. I recently suffered a loss that was unexpected and quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever had to endure in my life. We hear sayings like, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger?” and “There’s a purpose in everything.” In the moment, these things can sound like, “You’re making a bigger deal out of this than is necessary.” I’ve been lucky to not hear any of those dismissive statements. But there are some lessons I have learned: Take your time. There’s no set amount of time that you are supposed to handle getting over the loss of someone or something you care about. Sometimes, you never get over the loss, and it’s just a matter of…

TPGA’s Position on Autism Organizations That Support Autistic People

Our editorial team frequently discusses our expectations for autism organizations, both internally and during outreach efforts. We thought it time to formalize those expectations here on our site, as a resource for like-minded individuals. -The Editors At Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, we believe organizations that support autistic people must adhere to the following five principles: Support, not cure: autism is a naturally occurring human neurological variation and not a disease process to be cured. Medical or health issues that may accompany autism should be addressed independently. Evidence-based medical and clinical interventions: from our inception, we have advocated for helping autistic individuals in ways that are based on peer-reviewed empirical studies and which have been deemed effective by the wider scientific and academic communities. Inclusiveness: Autistic people must have significant, meaningful, and primary roles in all aspects of the organization, especially at board and executive levels with regards to planning…

Healing

Kate   When I was a fifteen years old, my psychiatrist told me that in ten years’ time, there would be a machine that would scan my brain and tell the doctors exactly what medicine to give me to make me normal, to make me whole. That was thirteen years ago, and though I have not yet heard of any such machine, I’ve realized that I never needed it. What I needed was acceptance. What I needed was love. These are the things that made me realize that I had, in fact, been whole all along. Sometimes, I feel as if my life were a long, cold winter, and that spring took a very long time coming. Like many autistic adults, I did not have an easy time of it growing up. Even in adulthood, I struggled with loneliness, employment, and a host of other issues. Though I was almost…

DSM 5 Autism Criteria: Clarifying Impact, Taking Action

Interview with Dr. Gil Tippy Clinical Director of The Rebecca School, Manhattan, New York www.drgiltippy.com How are the DSM criteria for autism changing? From the official site: “A single spectrum disorder [i.e., folding in Asperger Disorder and PDD-NOS] is a better reflection of the state of knowledge about pathology and clinical presentation; previously, the criteria were equivalent to trying to “cleave meatloaf at the joints.” “Three domains become two: 1)     Social/communication deficits 2)     Fixated interests and repetitive behaviors “[because] Deficits in communication and social behaviors are inseparable and more accurately considered as a single set of symptoms with contextual and environmental specificities.” We spoke with Dr. Tippy about what the proposed revisions to the DSM 5 will mean for Autistics, autism families, and autism professionals. Dr. Tippy also outlined actions everyone in the autism communities can take to prevent these changes from cutting off critical autism services and support. Why…

Tired (of Autism Misrepresentation)

Lydia Brown autistichoya.blogspot.com From the editors: We hope that even veteran autism parenting advocates and self-advocates will consider this post part of their neurodiversity education, along with Todd Drezner’s recent HuffPo article Nickels, Dimes and ‘High-Functioning’ Autism — and that it leads to productive reflection and discussion. From the author: Trigger warning: This is mostly about ableism and a response to other, very triggering things, as well as including lots of direct quotes of ableist stuff. An accessible audio recording: Tired – Autistic Hoya by autistichoya I’m tired of being misrepresented. I’m tired of seeing the principles of self-advocacy misrepresented. And I’m tired of seeing the autism rights movement misrepresented. Let me be clear. I’m not talking about allies, or about people who were just thrust into Autismland and don’t yet know much, if anything, about the constant conflicts that erupt here. This isn’t about you. This is about people…

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Reflecting on My Future Self

Jennifer Byde Myerswww.jennyalice.com Grocery shopping this morning,  a mom and her son passed by me in the floral department. She is probably in her 50’s because her son looked about 10 years older than mine… and yes, her boy plays for our team: Autism. Right down to the 6 foot 2 inches of young man flapping his hands next to the strawberries and “oooo–Wheeeeing” in the dairy section. I could tell before the stims though, it’s amazing how quickly I can spot a person with autism who’s in the same part of the spectrum as Jack. When I see another family with a special needs child, I always try to smile — at the child, or the parent, hopefully both, to show that, even though I don’t have a stamp on my forehead or my son in tow, I understand a little bit about their life. I always hope that…