My Introduction to the Autism Spectrum
I first learned about autism when my younger brother was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. Growing up with a sibling on the autism spectrum gave me some insight into the challenges of autism and the need for a more accepting society. When my first son was born prematurely (at 1lb, 12oz), and later diagnosed with autism (and cerebral palsy), I was even more motivated to learn about the autism spectrum in order to provide him with the best opportunities to learn, grow, and achieve his full human potential. I left my job as a high school English teacher to do so. I began connecting with other families who had children with disabilities and immersed myself in the advice of medical specialists in order to understand more about my son’s conditions and how my husband and I could help him.
But I felt limited in my pursuit of the medical, psychological, and behavioral advice from the “experts” and began seeking advice from autistic individuals themselves. I knew there were well-meaning organizations (led by doctors, scientists, and researchers) whose mission was to help parents sort out the fact from the fluff within the media barrage of treatments, therapies, medications, and diet advice. But I wanted to know how autistic individuals felt about these ideas. So I began interviewing adults on the autism spectrum and learning what parents, friends, or teachers had done for (or to) them that helped and hurt their development.
This pursuit has led to the creation of a book: Parenting Advice From 12 Autistics (available in 2016) and the development of this website which will continue to serve as a platform for autistic voices.
I am excited about communicating with individuals on the autism spectrum as well as their families. Feel free to email me with any comments or questions or engage in discussions on the Learn From Autistics Blog.
About This Site
The purpose of this website is to promote autism advocacy by connecting parents with autistic voices, an underrepresented population in the public conversation on autism. The material on this site is NOT meant to:
- Suggest that all individuals on the autism spectrum are the same and share the same opinions and beliefs.
- Condemn parents, autistics, or other organizations working toward autism prevention or treatment.
Learn From Autistics is founded on the following core beliefs:
- Listening to what autistics have to say is valuable.
- Embracing and teaching neurodiversity is a key strategy to improving the lives of many autistics.
- There are concrete ways society can help improve the lives of individuals on the autism spectrum.
- Promoting acceptance and respecting the dignity of all people is beneficial to all of society.
I hope you find the articles and resources on this site useful for you and your child. Thanks for visiting!