to prove that you exist

Please do what you can, however you can, to share and support!

a diary of a mom

{Image is a photo of Sharisa Kochmeister  – source.}

Sharisa Kochmeister is, in many ways, severely disabled. At 36 years-old, she is non-verbal. She requires significant support.

Sharisa Kochmeister is, in many ways, unquestionably competent. Able to type with a single finger when supported by her sister or father, she obtained dual degrees, with honors, from the University of Denver. As a member of the Autism Society’s Panel of People on the Spectrum, tasked with providing “expertise and guidance to the Autism Society in all aspects of its work,” and including “some of the most recognized and influential names in the autism community,” she was described as follows:

Sharisa Joy Kochmeister is a writer/advocate/researcher/educator regarding the rights of children and adults with disabilities. She holds an honors degree in sociology and psychology from the University of Denver. Ms. Kochmeister publishes and manages a new electronic free magazine called 

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People Who Matter: The Dunkin’ Donuts Guy

Pucks and Puzzle Pieces

I found myself at my local Dunkin’ Donuts Sunday. Don’t judge. I was only getting iced coffee, I swear. OK, so I thought about getting a doughnut and eating it in the shop to hide the evidence from Veronica. But I didn’t. Besides, that’s not the point.

When I walked in the store, there was a man with (I presume) his two children. There was a boy who looked to be about Ryan’s age and a much younger daughter. The daughter flitted about, asking if she could have this doughnut or that one. She was adorable.

But my attention was focused immediately on the son, who was clearly developmentally impaired. I recognized the somewhat stilted speech. Right away, I realized what the father was doing. He was working with his son to place his order and handle the entire transaction himself.

I was glad to be the only other person…

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Autism moms warrior blogs

Every parent of an autistic child needs to read this. Every person who works with or knows/loves an autistic person needs to read this. Every. Single. One.

helpfulhev

I am not going to sit here judging someone on their journey, and I am not going to tell any moms that they can’t express their woes or life challenges.  Often writing down issues and sharing with others provide a vital outlet for both venting and reassurance.  This is human nature, and writing this blog I am doing exactly this too. 
image

But I have something to say and I want you to listen.  I am not criticising your parenting skills, I am not sugarcoating your difficulties, I am not underestimating how difficult life often is for you.  I respect your right to freedom of speech, and I don’t want you assuming that I am dictating to you how you should run your family or look after your kids.  As you often rightly say, I don’t live in your house, I have no idea of your challenges.  I just want you…

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Chia Pet Neuroscience

Sa-sa-sa-sarcasm (and “science”) 😉

Lemon Peel

So a few days ago, my friend Julia sent me a link to an article on Disability Scoop titled “Miniature Brains Reveal An Outsized Secret About Autism.” Because Julia knows my tastes in science. Always a quality trait in a friend. The only other thing in her message, besides the link, was: “Enjoy.”

In that spirit, I decided to fucking enjoy myself. Please read the article itself (it’s relatively brief) before reading my comments, as they won’t make much sense without context. That said, once you’ve read the article, my comments were written in response to things in the order that they appear in said article. And I have done my best to indicate sarcasm where it occurs, especially since oftentimes I’m being sarcastic about science that I don’t expect every reader to already know. That said, please enjoy your lovely selves.

MY COMMENTS. AHEM.

  • When you’re…

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What’s wrong with Autism Speaks from an Autistic point of view #BoycottAutismSpeaks

Crusading Against Hate: Why I #BoycottAutismspeaks

Written by: Autistic Vegan

Originally posted HERE

It seems everyone is aware of autism these days. I can’t think of anyone I have met, who has never heard of autism.  Autism Speaks has made sure that we are all aware.  Their latest awareness piece came in the form of an article in People magazine, proclaiming Bob and Suzanne Wright to be heroes, battling the autism epidemic.  Battling. Epidemic. The hate speech never ends with Autism Speaks.  It is as if they are unaware that Autistic people don’t want you to go to war with our brains.  My family became aware of our own autism, right at the same time that Autism Speaks was getting off the ground, and becoming a widely known entity.  So they made sure that we knew that autism was something to be afraid of.  My Autistic son was 5 years old in 2009, when Autism Speaks stated, “I…

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“Special Interests” are for everyone

“Special interests” or “obsessions” – people on the autism spectrum often have them. Depending on what you read and who’s writing it, this can be a bad thing (often, parents/professionals fall into this category) or a good thing (#actuallyautistic people fall into this category).

I recently read this post on Special Interests – and commented (autistikids). It struck a nerve for me because,  while some autistic people might be LASER focused on a special interest – which we neurotypicals find “strange”, “weird”, “obsessive” – we neurotypicals seem to act like we don’t have them. And that, to be frank, is bullshit.  (Warning: I get a little ranty-pants below)

Are you a sports fan? Do you have a favorite team? Do you watch EVERY game if you can? Do you know all the players’ names? Can you rattle off statistics?

Do you have a favorite TV show that you always turn in to and/or record to watch later? Do you know all the main characters, and possibly their family members’ names? Can you rattle off episode descriptions?

Do you have a favorite band? How many of their CD’s do you own? How many concerts have you gone to? Do you know the words to all their songs?

Do you collect anything? Do you look for that thing wherever you go? Do you remember where you got each piece?

Is there anything that, when you see, hear, etc., it fills you with a burst of “YES!” or a feeling of “Ahhhhhh”, or gives you the urge to sigh happily?

If you’ve answered “yes” to any of the above questions – congratulations – you have a “special interest”. They shouldn’t be referred to as “special” because autistic people have them or because autistic people are “special”.  They’re special because of the deep feeling of joy they carry – for EVERYONE.

A few days after reading the postI mentioned above, I went to Half Price Books – and there it was. The FEELING. One of my special interests is books/reading.  I knew it before, but that day I KNEW it. Later in the week I walked into the library, and there IT was again. And knowing what it was, I reveled in it.  I also watch Dr. Who – a show I’ve been a fan of for THIRTY-THREE YEARS. Yep – the feeling’s there, too.

I think, in the case of “special interests”, the social “awkwardness” or “lack of social awareness” that many autistic people have allows a level of true enjoyment of an interest that we neurotypicals have squashed out of us as we mature.  “You’re too old for that”, “that’s stupid”, “why are you so excited about x?”, and the list goes on.  Sure, we can go full out on music/sports/TV because they are “socially acceptable”, so that’s what we non-autistic adults focus on.

But ask yourself what you might still enjoy if you let yourself. What are you glad that your kids (if you have them) love so you can vicariously swim in their joy in that thing? Then give yourself permission to take that joy and enjoy it fully yourself.

We neurotypical’s need to take our “special interest” back, and we need to let others have theirs in peace.