Treasures I found at the Thrift Shop: Autism and Understanding

What we know, and what we don’t know we don’t know, and what we don’t know what others know or don’t know. WHEW!

Thirty Days of Autism

Today my boy and I were skulking in a thrift store – hunting for treasures. It is one of our favourite pass-times: something we can do together, an adventure of sorts, and always there is the promise of finding something absolutely remarkable. For me that would be some lovely 1940’s kitsch, movie memorabilia, photos or art, or old miscellaneous collectible bits and pieces. For H the treasure could include old movies or electronics, retro pop culture stuff, anything Star Wars or Star Trek, or even a really cool hat.

Today we were rummaging in the basement of a store that is the depository for the unwanted items from any number of local thrift stores. The search requires sorting through mounds of junk, loosely organized into boxes so that it remains on the tables (mostly) but with no thought to reining in the chaos beyond that. It is a bit…

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So I actually *am* autistic, but I still maintain that you aren’t helping!

Food for thought – we neurotypicals sometimes really need to get out of the way.

The "Diane is weird" files

Things have been silent recently. I’ve been a bit busy and also I’ve been going in for some testing. Yesterday I’ve had to face a reality that I’ve been cringing away from for years. Namely, that I am actually on the autistic spectrum.

Ideally I’d have been diagnosed when my mother brought me into the doctor as a small child. She knew I was weird.

But way back then, I didn’t fit the diagnostic criteria. Autism was split into several separate disorders, most of which were fairly unknown. Autism, Aspergers, etc.

A few years ago, though, they collapsed all of the disorders into one diagnosis. Autism Spectrum Disorder. They made the criteria much more broad.

So the picture of autism, and Aspergers that I fought for so long is not the diagnosis that I’ve gotten.

I am not Rain Man. I am not a savant, or a beautiful genius who…

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Dangerous Assumptions

Just Stimming...

There is this thing that happens sometimes.

Parent has an autistic child. Autistic child doesn’t speak, or their speech isn’t an accurate window into what they are thinking. Autistic child is presumed to be very significantly intellectually disabled.

Years later, a method of communication is found that works for the child, and it turns out that they are in fact very smart. Very smart! The parents are overjoyed. They begin talking about presuming competence, the least dangerous assumption, that not being able to speak is not the same as not having anything to say.

They are so, so excited.

And they start talking about all the incorrect assumptions they had. If we’d known, they say, we wouldn’t have done X. If we had known they could read, think, hear us.

And it’s a big problem, because the way they talk…..they think the problem was that they treated their child like…

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The 11 Best Pieces of Autism Parenting Advice

K8 Librarian

I googled for thousands of hours to uncover these gems, I hope they help you as much as they helped us! I wrote this article as a catchall to share with friends or friends of friends that are looking for our story of our success. I dare to call it success because at age 8, Brady is doing GREAT. He understands himself, he advocates for himself (sometimes), he is making friends and treating them like friends, instead of like interchangeable people that share a common interest. This is a very exciting year for us, because it is a validation of parenting off the map. There really isn’t a parenting map, but there is the illusion of the map. When Brady wasn’t keeping up with his peers, it was a scary time for us–and every horrible thing we read or heard sounded possible. It’s not scary anymore.

at the Phoenix Art Museum (free on Wednesdays) at the Phoenix Art…

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Cara

Powerful

Lyssa and Me

Cara sits in the chair to my right. She looks everywhere but at me; at the floor, at my desk, at her hands. I read through the notes from my colleague’s consultation last month, and the letters from various agencies. Now twenty-two, Cara crashed out of university in what is described as a psychotic episode four years ago. Called to the lecturer’s office to discuss an unsatisfactory assignment, she refused to speak and ran from the room. Several staff attempted to restrain her, resulting in frantic head-banging until she was removed by ambulance to the local psychiatric department.

The years since then have been a pattern of admissions after similar episodes. Staff on the ward note that once she recovers she is calm and appropriate, but very scared of some of the more labile patients. She has moved from hostel to hostel, and has no friends, or support system

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I Can’t Do Everything: Autistic in the ER

Very important read

The Unpuzzled Project

The following is a submission that deals with an autistic person’s experience in the hospital. If this would be triggering to you, please use your discretion to decide whether or not to read it. –Elliott

I was accepted into the hospital as “an autistic person not behaving appropriately.” This meant I was stimming (flapping hands and pacing) to deal with a trigger (flickering and flashing lights), and had been hitting my head on the wall and pounding my fists against my head. I didn’t see fit to correct anyone as they labeled me in this overly-simplified this way in that moment. It’s not my job to let my own suffering be a constant source of teaching moments.

In hindsight, and now that I am feeling better, I realize how often I am treated like this and that it is a problem. After being taken by ambulance to the hospital, staff…

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