Don’t Be Blue

“Awareness disguised as tolerance is not the same as love”

Emma's Hope Book

Mom prepares me,

but nothing can inoculate fear colored blue

masked in lights, shining brightly.

The terror seeps through.

Awareness disguised as tolerance is not the same as love.

An uneasy embrace may appear affectionate,

but can feel worse than a slap.

Words said with anger are not kind,

no matter what each word means by itself.

Look kindly

choose many feelings,

but please do not choose blue.

#WalkinRed2015 #WalkinRed2015

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Breaking Down ABA, Again: Part 2: Goals and Underlying Philosophy

Restless Hands

[This post continues a series started here]

UNDERLYING PHILOSOPHY

One major way in which schools of ABA can differ is in their primary goal, their understanding of how ABA methods should be used.

***

1) Traditional Approach: Fighting Against Autism

Traditional ABA practitioners believe that it is inherently good for autistic children to appear, act, and communicate as “normally” (neurotypically) as possible. The gold standard here is the phrase “indistinguishable from one’s peers,” the idea that no one even has to know that this person is autistic. Many people even misunderstand this to mean that the person who attains indistinguishability has been “cured” of being autistic. That claim makes about as much sense as the notion that a person who wears a realistic wig has been cured of being bald. Sure, they may get fewer stares, but nothing about them has actually changed. And that wig might be uncomfortable…

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They Don’t Care About What We Say

If you are not autistic, and you begin to feel defensive when you read what autistic people have to say… stop & sit with that feeling… breathe… and listen. Because that feeling means there is something important that you really need to know. There is no growth without discomfort.

Parenting Autistic Children With Love & Acceptance

Remember a few years back when the Temple Grandin movie came out? The part that really sticks out for me was at the end of the film. When Temple stood up at the conference and told the room that she was Autistic. All of the parents and professionals were so excited and practically begging to hear her voice. Maybe it was different for Temple Grandin. Maybe they added that part for dramatic effect. Maybe that particular autism conference took place in an alternate reality….like Bizzarro World. Because in the real world, nobody cares about what we have to say.

As a parent of an Autistic child, I am usually seen as an “authority” on autism. That is, until I also disclose my own diagnosis. I am Autistic too, and the things I have to say often conflict with what people think they know about autism. I know that I am…

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Just a little bit autistic = autistic. It’s kinda like pregnancy that way

I am not autistic, but quite a few people in my extended family are. Because I love them, and because my personality is such that when something is important to those I love, I dive in and learn about that thing. In this case, it was autism.

Sad to say, since their marketing is ridiculously prevalent, I found Autism Speaks first. Luckily, I pretty quickly found A Diary of a Mom, and through her I hit “paydirt” – autistic bloggers. Life Changing!

Something else I found, and this is really upsetting, are the non-autistic parents of autistic children who DISMISS autistic people because – in the eyes of these NON-autistic parents – the autistic people aren’t autistic ENOUGH.  Let me let the massive irony of that sink in – NON autistic (people who are not autistic AT ALL) are telling AUTISTIC people that they don’t have ENOUGH autism to share their experiences… yeah.

Apparently, to share information about autism, autistic people have to go through some sort of “E-Harmony dating site” of autism where you have to match up in “29 key dimensions” in order to be allowed to share your autism experiences. <sarcasm>

I’m going to illustrate something with a simple comparison. Let’s assume, for the sake of this post, that being autistic is like being pregnant (except you can choose to get pregnant, and you have a baby at the end).

You either ARE pregnant, or your NOT pregnant. It DOESN’T MATTER how pregnant you are, you are. Once you are pregnant, you are considered to have been pregnant – Primigravida. The fact of your pregnancy doesn’t go away.

little bit

NOW, as a pregnant person, I CAN tell you about MY pregnancy, because something about my pregnancy may mirror yours. It won’t be the same, but the root is the same = pregnant. If I’ve been pregnant before, or am farther along in my pregnancy (i.e. the pregnancy is OLDER), I can share MORE stories about how my body/life/experiences have changed during the pregnancy. Again, my experience will be different, BUT the root – pregnancy – is the same.

A person who is 3 months pregnant has a shorter experience of pregnancy than an 8 month pregnant person – but the 3 month person isn’t considered “not pregnant enough”, they are just at different points in the pregnancy experience. And is the experience of pregnancy at 3 months the same as the experience at 8? No. Pregnancy, like people, change over time as they grow/mature.

A NON pregnant person can share what pregnancy LOOKS like, what they’ve been TOLD it’s like, what it appears to be like, but they have NO experience with pregnancy as a pregnant person.  Their best resource for experiential information is to LISTEN to PREGNANT people.

Same with autism. A person either is or ISN’T. A person isn’t “a little bit autistic”, but AUTISTIC.   A person isn’t “not autistic enough”, but AUTISTIC. An autistic child will not remain an autistic child – they will grow, and change, and mature, into an autistic adult. They are not in stasis.

It really is THAT simple.

So please, for the sake of your children, and those you love who are on the autism spectrum – STOP with the “not autistic enough to share” bull. It’s hurtful, and it’s flat out wrong. It’s hurtful to the autistic person you’re dismissing because they don’t “match” your experience. But you are also hurting YOUR CHILDREN, and to YOURSELF, when you don’t listen to autistic people about autism.

It’s That Time of Year Again….

Yes

Parenting Autistic Children With Love & Acceptance

by Geek Maker
This post was originally published here.

*Image description: Super cute little girl with blond hair, pink sunglasses and a pink tee shirt that reads ‘Autism Speaks does NOT speak for me’.

We’re rapidly approaching the month of April which means you’ll be seeing people post ‘autism awareness’ images and ‘lighting it up blue’.
You will also see the Autistic community and their allies bitching about it.
See, ‘awareness’ sucks. ‘Awareness’ is prevalence rates and tragedyspeak and ‘we need to find a cure’ crap. It’s a money grab by Autism $peaks and the scarier they can make the ‘awareness’, the more cash will flow into their coffers. And Twizzler Challenges? No.

We’re all about ‘Autism Acceptance’ up in heyah. Acceptance is understanding that it’s not all doom and gloom. That, yes, some times are really rough but many are beautiful and full of joy and that’s what we…

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