Behavior is communication. It is so easy to make assumptions – we all do it. we really need to try our best not to.
“We ALL Fit! – This is reclaiming of the puzzle piece symbol at its best — Autistic people aren’t the puzzle; the entire human race is the puzzle and you can’t see the picture until you fit ALL the pieces together.” Unstrange Mind, via The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism Facebook page
This post follows extremely well with yesterday’s reblog [Self-Awareness]. The focus is on OTHER-awareness, the expectations we bring with us into communication/relationship, and the pitfalls that can come when we are not aware of the innate bias we bring with us.
As one commenter says:
“We must presume competence as a way of acknowledging that competencies exist independent of our ability to identify and interpret them.” THIS is what I have been trying to hammer home to my son’s school teams year after year. I think this year’s team is getting it.
And this– “When I think about parents or teachers hopefully working, and waiting, for a child/student to “develop” normalcy, I am struck by the impossible task that child has been given.” This is the thing which causes me to yell at interns in our OT’s office or school staff (not on Nik’s team!) who DEMAND a specific social script from my son regardless of *his* needs and wants instead of meeting him where he is.”
I very much like this post for giving a clarification of what neurotypicals perceive as reality for people on the spectrum, vs. what IS reality (for this poster and probably many others).
A neurotypical commenter noted a particular observation – “maybe consider that there’s a good reason for that, instead of assuming said instinct must simply be overactive because you aren’t having any problems.” and stated “how logical is the thinking of “I don’t have any problem so YOU’re fine”
This is important, because it makes NO sense to – judging people’s thoughts/feelings/reactions/experiences as wrong or not valid because they are not mine. It points to a lack of awareness, perspective and empathy in the person making the judgement.
I’ve been wanting to talk about self awareness for a while now, but it always feels so tricky to me. Like empathy, ‘self awareness’ is actually a pretty broad concept that seems to mean different things at different times.
First of all, just let me say, people need to stop saying that autistic people lack self awareness. When it is said without further context or clarification it’s downright harmful to us, so cut it out. In it’s most basic form, self awareness means nothing more than awareness of oneself. I know I’m here. Clearly, I am self aware.
Sometimes self awareness seems to mean social awareness. I really hate this definition. This is when we are supposed to be aware of what other people think of us – which is actually being aware of other people’s thoughts and feelings, not our own. If I have trouble knowing what other people…
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Found this video on Facebook – per the info “the video was co-written by a group of Autistic activists (mostly young adults). Every single line in the video is something that had actually been said to at least one of the co-authors, by a non-autistic person, at least once. ”
I had to share it – I honestly don’t know what to say, other than don’t say the stuff that people said to these kids when you meet someone who is autistic. In the comments posted on the Facebook page, MANY of the autistic commenters said they’ve gotten these comments.
There is a sentence that the author uses in their post that pretty much says it all for me. I follow her lead.
“My position on Autistic “vs.” “has autism/person first” is that it is UP TO THE PERSON who has the disability to name themselves. When a person has a clear preference, other people should respect it.”
In my meanderings through the blogosphere and Facebook, I found that ABA is a huge hot-button topic. I haven’t had experience with it, personally, but have found that among autistic bloggers/writers, it was used in such a way that they were incredibly harmed by it and suffered greatly. This post from Diary of a Mom addresses the issue from personal experience, and from experiences shared with her by autistic adults. For those who practice non-manipulative ABA – who are child-centered/led and who use analysis to understand and help, thank you.
Behavior is communication – children who are non-verbal can tell us with their actions that something is unsafe/unhealthy. We have to listen. I highly recommend the book Loud Hands Anthology for those seeking a variety of autistic voices and perspectives.
Unless the person who is stimming is endangering themselves or others with the stim, there is no reason to try to stop them.
I have received a number of requests for printable copies of this poem. Here it is – as a jpeg – which should be easy to print if you so choose.
Again, I could write more about this… but I still think this visual pretty much sums it up for me right now. Additionally, there are already some amazing posts that say what I would like to say or consider… so I am linking them up here:
Socially Inappropriate by Musings of an Aspie
A Cognitive Defense of Stimming (or Why “Quiet Hands” Makes Math Harder) by Musings of an Aspie
Things my autistic kids love: Public transit by Small But Kinda Mighty
Way-To-Stim Wednesday: Video Series by Anabelle Listic
Stimming by Outrunning the Storm
Quiet Hands by Julia Bascom
The Dark Side of the Stim: Self-injury and Distructive Habits by Kirsten Lindsmith
30 Days of Autismis a…
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Awareness is great. Thank goodness there’s more of it – that Rain Man isn’t the only thing that comes to mind when people think of autistm. We have Temple Grandin, Daryll Hannah, Dan Akroyd, Susan Boyle. But awareness isn’t enough. Acceptance, on a general social level is “OK”, but on a personal level – it’s still not enough.
The author shows her journey – and her ideal: Awareness –> Understanding –> Value –> Support –> Celebration.
I love this – now as a parent, I’m gonna celebrate my kid (don’t worry, I don’t expect anyone else to do it like I do, LOL). But we can all certainly strive to understand/value/support each other through our journey in this world together.