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How Lack of Accommodations Can Thwart Anxiety and Mental Health Services

Maxfield Sparrow unstrangemind.com [image: The comics character Charlie Brown, sitting up in bed with his head in his hands, under a speech bubble reading, “My anxieties have anxieties.”] I wasn’t sure if I would write about this or not. I have shared many deeply personal and private things with my readers, but this is hard and humiliating and I’m not even sure why this is harder to share, but it is. So please be gentle. I have anxiety so bad and have had it for so long that I didn’t even realize how anxious my baseline state is until the first time I smoked marijuana and experienced what it’s like to feel peaceful. My anxiety makes every day a struggle. Even my good days are riddled with anxiety. As I said, it is my baseline state. I should add that therapy makes me more anxious. Every so often I struggle…

Everything Is Always Shifting and Inconsistent: Autism, Language, and Listening

TPGA is observing Autism Acceptance Month by featuring accounts from autistic people about the differences accommodations (or lack thereof) make in their lives. Today’s story is from M. Kelter, about how listening — really listening — to autistic people about their experiences is a crucial accommodation, even when it’s a work in progress. M. Kelter theinvisiblestrings.com In 2005, after a long period of social isolation and depression, I began therapy and received an autism spectrum diagnosis. I discovered early in this process that describing my internal experiences was easier if I wrote them down. After each session with the psychologist, I would go home and write out everything I could remember from our discussion. I would then read that “transcript” to myself several times, so that I could go into the next session with a sense of what to elaborate upon. Basically, writing out our discussion functioned as a thought…

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Alternative Autism Science: Don’t Believe the Hype!

Shannon Des Roches Rosa www.squidalicious.com My son has had a challenging few months. We have been scrambling, hard, to figure out the best ways to support him, help him feel comfortable and settled. Medical treatments have helped, as has a forensic approach to figuring out stressors in his environment, as has looking back through his daily record for patterns in sleep, illness, exercise, and routine. But when he’s still unhappy or dysregulated despite all our best efforts plus the efforts of his extended team of doctors, educators, and therapists, I feel like I’d do anything to help him. An autism parent at such a loss is in a potentially dangerous spot. Their autistic child more so. Because if mainstream medicine and legitimate therapies and approaches can’t provide answers, that’s when parents tend to look elsewhere. That’s when they risk exposing their child to therapies that can cause physical harm (e.g.,…

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The Cost of Compliance Is Unreasonable

Beth Ryan loveexplosions.wordpress.com Today I sat in my dentist’s reception area waiting for my appointment. This time my panic had nothing to do with my fear of all things dentist. I had just read this blog entry [Unstrange Mind’s No You Don’t]. It is certainly not for the faint of heart. My husband wept after reading it. This woman articulated so many of my feelings about Evie’s autism — giving them credibility and reason coming from a woman who has autism. Last year at school, Evie was “flopping” often. Flopping meaning sinking to the floor. Some of her special educators felt like it was a behavior and by allowing it to continue, they would be reinforcing the behavior. I felt like maybe it was a behavior sometimes. Maybe it was a function of her motor planning/neurological disorders. We went back and forth about it. Me stating that she needs time…

The Various Ways of Being Excluded

Estée Klar www.esteeklar.com My son Adam has been in “therapy” since he was 20 months of age. I have reams of notes and binders used to create his programs, track his progress, develop his plans with other professionals who use ABA, RDI, Floortime and other methods. I have a decade of experience with autism education and various therapies, many of the approaches dubious. I’ve witnessed improvements in the field, and I continue to have a watchful eye. I predicted Adam would be forced into an ABA program, and here we are, in an segregated school for autistic children. Not that it’s a “bad” thing. I am actually grateful to be in a system that is set up more for him rather than completely disregards him. Adam, for now, is happy there and he is learning, but it’s a fact that it’s still exclusion which we mitigate with other inclusive programs.…