A Guide to Understanding Your Autistic Child

silhouette of child hands touching a parent's hands against sunset sky forming a heart

Has your child just been diagnosed, or is likely autistic? Are you a therapist/teacher/researcher who is working with autistic kids? Start here! I answer the 5 most common questions I've seen from parents of autistic kids.

Autistic Burnout Is More Than Burnout

skeleton with head on a laptop with sticky notes and a notebook that says S O S in red ink.

I think I just realized why autistic burnout is so bad. When autistic people reach their limits, they continue because they know they have to continue to be considered valuable.

What Autistic Advocacy Really Means

White person looking at a computer in distress putting their hands on their headphones and looking tired.

What I want to talk about is the lasting effects that occur when autistic people are used as a commodity, a political football, a theoretical argument, as exploitation, when autistic people have to witness the dehumanization and legal torture of autistic people.

The Advantage of Pauses

It is important to listen to AAC users and include them in conversations and really listen to what they have to say.

I am not an AAC user. I just have one experience of using AAC temporarily. The one time I had almost no misunderstandings with other people was when I had an issue with my vocal cords for about a month. The day after I stopped using text-to-speech apps and AAC apps, someone misinterpreted my words. And it was because I was physically speaking to them so I didn’t have time to state my thoughts.

If AAC was more generally accepted in society and accommodated by others, I would probably be a partial AAC user right now. However, that’s not the world we live in.

Please share the words of people who use AAC or other alternative communication methods. It’s really, really important. Physically speaking should not be seen as the only way of communicating. This needs to change.

Just Keep Stimming!

Not long after I had posted about a cancer scare I was dealing with recently, I received a very interesting message from an SLP that I’ve been replaying in my head a lot.

“I don’t understand why you’re not verbal.”

They listed all the reasons why they thought I could be nonspeaking, and then asked if it was just because I was more comfortable communicating with a device – as if I needed to justify to a stranger why I use assistive technology.

[Friendly reminder once *again* that I use AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) primarily due to aphasia/brain damage and also autism.]

They then continued with “a device will never be as quick to communicate as a face-to-face conversation.”

At first, I brushed it off gently – thinking maybe I was more upset than usual due to being significantly stressed out.

But then I realized that this was an…

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Sensory Sensitivities Are Not Preferences, They’re Needs

Person with hands over ears looking down, people talking behind them in a large machine building.

I have a request for non-autistic people, and anyone who does not experience sensory sensitivities: Treat sensory sensitivities as disabilities and accommodate them as you would for any other person who is pain. Believe Them.

Yes, It Really Is Legal to Electrically Shock Disabled Children in The US as Punishment #StopTheShock

Is It Legal in the US to Electrically Shock These People or Animals with the Graduated Electronic Decelerator as a Punishment? List: Animals at the Zoo - No. Abled People in Prison - No. Abled Neurotypical Children - No. Autistic Children - Yes. Children with Intellectual Disabilities - Yes. Children with Developmental Disabilities - Yes. Abled Neurotypical Adults - No. Autistic Adults - Yes. Adults with Intellectual Disabilities - Yes. Adults with Developmental Disabilities - Yes. This is not a Treatment or Therapy. This is Torture. #StopTheShock

Please help #StopTheShock - It is legal in the US to shock disabled people right now at the Judge Rotenberg Center. This is not okay.

Be Honest: Autistic vs Neurotypical Honesty

Flow chart with 6 boxes. Top box: Autistic person saying something to a neurotypical. Next box - Neurotypical black box of thinking/emtoions/concepts. Box 1A - Neurotypical Negative Reaction, Box 2A - Autistic person knows to never say those words to anyone ever again. Box 1B - Neurotypical positive reaction. Box 2B - Autistic person knows they can say those words to that one neurotypical in that one context.

I’ve learned a lot recently after asking allistic people on twitter what they truly want to hear from other people when allistic people say “be honest.” Most of them want a very specific “type” of honesty. At least, neurotypical people may consider this honesty.

PRESS RELEASE FROM AUTISTIC SELF-ADVOCATES REGARDING THE COLOR THE SPECTRUM EVENT AND NEXT FOR AUTISM

Press release from autistic self-advocates from the general public regarding, A livestream to support the autism community. Color the spectrum. Mark Rober and Jimmy Kimmel Friday April 30th

Press release from autistic self-advocates regarding the Color the Spectrum event and Next for Autism.

An Open Letter to the Autistic Community Regarding Color the Spectrum

Youtube Originals presents in partnership with Next for Autism, A livestream to support the autism community. Color the spectrum. Mark Rober and Jimmy Kimmel Friday April 30th

A small group of autistic advocates have an announcement regarding the color the spectrum event.