zero tolerance for intolerance

What she said!

a diary of a mom



{image is a photo of a woman’s feet on a coffee table next to a teacup. Borrowed from here.}


As many of you know, I have what I like to pithily call a “zero tolerance for intolerance” policy on Diary. That seems to confuse some folks, so I thought it might be helpful to answer some of the specific concerns that pop up any time I mention the policy.


“You’re being a hypocrite. You’re insisting that we be tolerant, but you’re being intolerant.”


So let’s start here. “Zero tolerance for intolerance” was supposed to be a cute little turn of phrase, but apparently the words themselves are problematic. Let me break it down and explain what I mean by it.


When I say I have zero tolerance for intolerance, what I mean is that I will not abide ableism, racism, sexism, discrimination against the LGBT…

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important things: everybody stims

“We” bite nails, twirl hair, click pen, tap foot, etc. – “they” stim?….. um, no. The separation isn’t real.

Lemon Peel

I wrote this once. I am posting it here because I feel it strongly. Also because it’s important for understanding a lot of misconceptions about results in autism research, and suchness.

People often stim as a self-soothing tactic. It can be something we do because it just makes us calm or happy, but for many people, it’s also stress response. In fact, it’s actually a universal example of a stress response. As in, it is a type of behavior that virtually all humans display when they are under stress–the level of stress they have to be under before they stim, and the way their stims express, just vary a lot.

That’s not all, though. Almost every other animal species I can think of also engages in self-stimulatory behavior in response to stress. It’s a way that an animal can create predictable and coherent patterns in their sensory information, to help…

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to the autistic people in the crowd

This – all of this. Love it so much!

a diary of a mom

I had made a decision. Before I said anything else, I would say this. Even if it were technically only addressed to 3 out of the 240 people in that room, it mattered. And it mattered that the other 237 hear it.

This is what I said.

I did my best to transcribe the words (below) for those who find auditory processing challenging. Any errors are wholly unintentional.

Thank you so much. Thank you for having me here to all of you and Lisa and Maeghan for all of the incredible that work you’ve done here. I hope you guys can take a minute now that you can breathe and appreciate what you’ve done. This is some pretty amazing stuff. Above all, thank you for ensuring that I am sharing the stage with Michele [Gauvin} who will speak for a few moments later. That’s Saturday, April 4, 2015

” target=”_blank”>really important stuff.

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On assigning friendship…

So much truth to this. Opportunities need to be created for friendship to grow – not as a project, but organically.

Thirty Days of Autism

You mission… should you choose to accept it… will be to be a friend to this other child in your class…

No – really…

This will be really great!

I will give you extrinsic rewards and reinforcements for being a good friend to this child and it will make me feel good as the teacher to know that this child is being included… and you will feel good for helping someone who needs it…

Nevermind that this is stigmatizing…

And… um… let’s just agree to overlook that it reinforces the underlying message that this other child should be pitied and doesn’t merit being included as they are – as our equal – as a human being  – but instead – as a project…

And… um… maybe we can also overlook that somewhere in there as your teacher I am reinforcing the message that this child with a disability is not…

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#689: Did I overreact when my date told me a story about rape and then wanted to get me alone?

This is important for Anyone / EVERYONE. (trigger warning-discussion of rape)

Captain Awkward

Dear Captain Awkward,

I’m newly single, and getting back into dating. I went on a date last night with a guy I met on OKC. We met up at a bar, and he seemed cute and smart, and as we talked it seemed like we had lots in common! But about twenty minutes in, it seemed clear he wanted to do the touching-kissing thing. I had just met this person, and I wanted to get comfortable around him before I let him put his hands on my body (even though he was cute and promising!). So I was sitting kinda sideways and he was sitting facing me, legs apart, physically accessible, etc.

He said something like, “You’re very guarded. I’m in the restaurant business and we read people quickly and I can tell that you’re very guarded.”

I felt weird, but there was this voice in my head saying, “You…

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The Occupational Therapy Fairy

A Quiet Week In The House

ot fairy

My son’s autism diagnosis shocked me less than his proposed therapy schedule. The clinicians proclaimed that he needed 25-35 hours of therapy. Without it, he may not have the tools to be mainstreamed in school.

I struggled with this mightily.

Specialists came to our home and saw him at the early intervention center.  He is not the child you see, I explained. Tyoma was sweet, playful, and bright.  He only ran around maniacally because everything was so new.  Sympathetic smiles and pity faces were stock responses.

Let me emphasize–I don’t begrudge the efforts of the regional autism center.  Several staff members, however,  left me feeling patronized and disbelieved.

For two years I absorbed book after book about autism therapy—A.B.A., Floortime, DIR, and RDI.  All of these treatments had one thing in common–they sort of worked, some of the time.

Ultimately, when Tyoma was in a teachable place—he learned.  When Tyoma was disorganized, these  interventions failed.

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the “effeminate boys” studies

It would be great if we all had social permission to be ourselves. Seriously.

Lemon Peel

in one of my little flurries of tweeting a month or so ago, i made reference to the direct parallels present between current (and past) attempts at gender-role/sexual-orientation normalization therapy and behavioral normalization therapies as practiced upon autistic people. i got a few remarks in response to that tweet specifically, most of which were relatively obnoxious–primarily ableist and accusing me of exaggeration, plus one or two homophobic “pro-neurodiversity” people who wanted to tell me how gay “conversion” therapy actually helps people (yes, really). so this has kind of been sitting around in my head for a while. i, of course, like to do my research. so that’s what i did. i wanted to find some of those “effeminate boys” articles. so that’s what i did.

i want to share some of the articles that i found in part because of how we often discuss ABA nowadays–there’s some assumption that behavioral…

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