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Live-tweeting Vectors of Autism with Laura Nagle: An invitation

Thirty Days of Autism

Vectors of Autism posterAutistic people and those who love and support them are working hard to take a stand against negative and stigmatizing messages about the experience of being Autistic. It can be exhausting and can feel like an uphill battle counter the caustic vitriol that spews from powerful organizations such as Autism Speaks.

A few weeks back, my friend, Lei Wiley-Mydske, and I live-tweeted as we watched Autism Speaks’ gross docutrauma (frickety frack, I love neologisms) “Sounding the Alarm: Battling the Autism Epidemic” which you can read about here and here.

But fortunately there is a flip side to this negativity.

There are films and voices and resources that are created by or involve Autistic people in an honouring way, and that give insight into the experience of being autistic. These contain important and helpful messages and information about the kinds of supports that are needed and how we might accommodate…

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Paying Attention While Autistic

REALLY interesting, and an important issue – definitely helps a parent manage their frustration to know this – and it helps us be better parents to know this too!

Autistic Academic

The first draft of this post started with the phrase, “When I was a kid….”  But that’s not entirely true.

When I was kid, and to this very day, when I go out in public with my mother I can count on at least one exasperated command to “pay attention!”  Usually, she’ll say it while she’s yanking me out of the way of some grocery cart or stroller I didn’t see coming; my failure was in paying adequate attention to my surroundings (and, presumably, embarrassing her).  Once in a while, though, it’ll be when we’re trying to find one another in a crowd, or in a grocery store.  “You were looking right at me!  Didn’t you hear me calling you?  Pay attention!”

I have never not been paying attention.

I have, this past week, been reading Olga Bogdashina’s Sensory Perceptual Issues in Autism and Asperger Syndrome*, in which…

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Progress, In a Picture

This is lovely because of the progress that Ryan has made. But the first have speaks to me so much as it regards my own son. “What is important is for Ryan to understand himself, and how others perceive him. For him to be able to judge reactions and seek out as companions those who react positively to him.” So much this. For our spectrum kiddos, and for every child.

Pucks and Puzzle Pieces

Ryan and the dog This scene would have been unthinkable a few years ago.

I have a number of ideas for posts swimming in my head, but I’ve had a hard time trying to crystallize into words what we’ve seen the last several months.

Change. Progress. Self-awareness. Self-advocacy. Giving words to emotions. Yes, hormones. All at a speed that makes it difficult to process.

Some of that is the product of simply being 13, but not all. Veronica and I used to talk about how our hope was that as Ryan got older, he would gain the self-awareness that would allow him to fit in. Like many of my thoughts about autism, that has changed. We still seek self-awareness, but not necessarily so Ryan can regulate himself in an effort to be like everyone else. He’s not like everyone else, of course, and though we’ve long known that, we now understand that simply…

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how about love?

THIS – “All of these kids and adults who are searching for safe places, just tiny squares of space to be free to be themselves, to do things like sing with their entire beings and to shout with joy when the song is over and to be met with nothing but love when they do.”

a diary of a mom

As a parent, watching your child perform in a chorus, well, it’s kind of like this ..

 mariah

{image is a photo of Mariah Carey singing with a choir behind her}

Ya know, there’s your kid. And then there are all these other kids who are clearly just there to sing back-up for her.

Don’t get me wrong, the other kids are adorable and fabulous and I know full well that to their families they’re Mariah and my kid is that smiling lady squeezed somewhere between the trumpet and the flute, as it should be, but I know what I see. Well, except the dress. What is that, Mimi? A car wash for your legs? Anyway, moving on.

My girl sang her little heart out the other night. She radiated joy and as she sang the music just exploded out of her in a glorious, kinetic burst of God, life, energy and…

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Easing the Transition to a New Grade/Teacher – A Resource

I found this letter online last year and thought it was a wonderful resource. I sent it to a retired teacher friend (35 years of 3rd grade), who thought it was fantastic and wished it was something every parent would do. I put it together for my son and sent it in to his new teacher, as well as his speech and OT providers at the school. They appreciated it very much. His teacher, who had not had much experience with a student on the spectrum, told me it helped her a lot – especially with the eye-contact “thing”. Because she had and read this, she took the time to really watch when he didn’t appear to be listening. She saw that though the eye contact/APPEARANCE of attention wasn’t there, that the attention was. It really helped. I hope it can help others.

The original looks to be written by the parent, from the perspective of the child. I’ve edited it to differentiate MY observations of how my child responds from my son’s direct input and advocacy.  The top section can be personalized to add the child’s input, or to replace the parent’s observations with the child as they become more adept at communicating and advocating for themselves.

I have learned and believe it is best to separate out these perspectives – I can advocate for my child, but he has his own voice. I can’t speak for his experience directly, only my observations.

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A Letter To TheTeacher – 15 Things About My Child Continue reading