When I first heard someone on the spectrum talk about “passing,” I didn’t realize how this prevalent and conscious this effort was on the account of many autistics. The person I was speaking to was referring to “passing for neurotypical,” in other words, acting neurotypical enough that someone else wouldn’t recognize they were autistic. Outsiders often dismiss the severity of any disabling conditions when they see autistics who act non-autistic. However, many can pass for neurotypical only with great effort and feel pressured to act this way, living in constant stress over every small behavior and decision they make and never feeling accepted for who they are. To deepen understanding of the autistic pressure to pass for neurotypical, it’s important to read what other autistics are saying about passing and examine situations in our lives where we create this pressure for our children or for others.
For years, autistic people have been condemning the use of the colorful jigsaw puzzle piece that stands as an international symbol for autism awareness. But their voices haven’t been able to overpower the media push to use the symbol. It’s everywhere: on clothing, keychains, coffee mugs, license plates, organization logos and promotional materials. Many families use the logo to advertise “autism awareness,” their personal connection to autism, or their commitment to finding a cure. The symbol represents the complexity of autism and how little is known about it. On the surface, it seems like a memorable and harmless advocacy symbol. But I don’t buy anything with a puzzle piece on it because of how autistics have condemned the use of this symbol. This post discusses the reasons why the puzzle piece logo has become so problematic.
Parents want their children to grow into confident, caring, and capable adults who respect everyone, including those with disabilities. In families with a disabled sibling, parents often additionally encourage acceptance of differences in a more personal and immersive way than those without one. The challenges of devoting individual time to each child’s personal development is coupled with extraordinary opportunities to teach disability acceptance and advocacy. This article discusses the unique power siblings have as disability advocates and outlines 6 tips for helping your other children learn to advocate for their siblings and others on the spectrum.
Parents of autistic children are at war. Autism tends to produce polarizing supporters, perhaps because of the spectrum of symptoms. One major argument comes from parents of “higher-functioning” autistic children advocating for neurodiversity and even the perspective of embracing autism as a “gift” while parents of more severely disabled or “lower-functioning” autistic children insisting that autism is no “gift” but rather something they would shed in a second if they were given the option. Unfortunately, this debate has been as much in the public view as information about the complexities of autism itself.
When autistic children are young, their loving parents and families are their best advocates. But autism self-advocacy is crucial for achieving varying levels of independence and improving confidence and accessibility for all autistics.
Jalapeño Pringles, chocolate chips, and Pediasure. This was my son’s breakfast, lunch and dinner for weeks at a time. Every couple weeks it might change to one specific type of dry cereal and chocolate or saltine crackers. And that was it. Nothing else. As I detailed in my previous post, Mikan had a complicated medical history that led up to severe oral aversion and oral sensory difficulties. But we have seen significant progress since his first solid feeding attempts.
This post contains a variety of different feeding strategies that might help children with oral sensory issues. I am not a doctor or therapist, and this shouldn’t replace medical advice. I am writing based on anecdotal experiences I’ve had from the past seven years of working with my son and my own personal research. Some of these topics are specific feeding strategies for different ways to help your child interact with food. Other suggestions illustrate how to communicate a positive attitude during meals. I hope some of this information will help you to safely encourage your picky eater to gain more confidence in eating skills.
It’s a gross understatement to say my son is a picky eater. The eating progress I could brag about would horrify the typical parent. I am grateful for each of his successes and his potential to continue improving. Many individuals on the autism spectrum have feeding challenges; however, they differ in their specific difficulties and needs. This is my son’s story and a summary of what I want other parents to know about their own feeding journey.
This week’s post is a continuation of Part One on autism and education based on the advice from autistic professor, author and international speaker Dr. Stephen Shore. In this week’s post, Dr. Shore emphasizes the importance of identifying and developing a student’s strengths in order to achieve academic and personal success and how best to go about accomplishing this.
Dr. Stephen Shore is a professor at Adelphi University, autism author, music teacher, and international autism speaker. He recently spoke with me about his experience living with autism and offered educational advice for autistic students. Part One of this post offers an overview of his personal schooling and suggestions for families trying to help their children transition into general education settings and get the most out of an I.E.P. conference. His answers from our interview have been transcribed below.