He’s Going to Make It: A Story of Autism Perseverance and Acceptance

Individuals on the spectrum shouldn’t have to fight to survive and function each day. I’ve heard individuals on the spectrum often speak about the exhaustion of managing their schedules each day because they are trying to live in a world that isn’t always aware of and sensitive to their needs. Jodie Van de Wetering, an autistic writer from Australia, explained this to me once, saying,

“It is over and above what a neurotypical person would need, and it is disheartening sometimes that I need three timers, a whiteboard and endless reminders and checklists to achieve what other people seem to be able to do with nothing more than a slim diary. But it’s not about doing what other people do, or looking sleek and elegant. It’s about getting the job done, and this is what I need to do that.”

This reminded me of how my son fought for survival after being born 3 months early and the subsequent obstacles he has faced with a diagnosis of cerebral palsy and autism. This week I wanted to share a personal essay I wrote almost 4 years ago about how my son had been putting up a daily fight to survive and then develop after his extreme premature birth. He hadn’t yet been diagnosed with autism, but the specialists were already swarming with predictions about his future. Writing this was one of the first steps to understanding the variety of different ways autistic people experience the world and beginning to work towards supporting their needs and advocating for autism acceptance.

Enjoy!

Interview with Dr. Carrie Hastings: Autism and Sports Part 1

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As a follow up to last week’s post on autism and sports, this week we have an interview with Carrie Hastings, Psy.D, a sports psychologist who specializes in helping individuals on the autism spectrum and their coaches. Dr. Carrie Hastings is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where she was a sprinter and hurdler on the track team. She obtained her master’s and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology at Pepperdine University, where she has worked as part of the adjunct faculty and as a therapist in the student counseling center. She presents nationally on the topic of bullying, and specializes in sports psychology, neuropsychological testing, and individual therapy. Dr. Hastings provides clinics for coaches and parents as part of Notre Dame’s Play Like a Champion Today program, a national outreach initiative promoting the moral atmosphere of sports and the potential for sports to build character. She conducts research for the organization and has developed extensive resources for athletes with exceptionalities (e.g., ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disorders).

Autism and Sports

autism and sports

The benefits of competitive sports are accessible to all children, even those on the autism spectrum. If your child shows an interest in sports, that’s great! There are many benefits to participating, including healthy exercise and learning important life skills like cooperation, teamwork, overcoming obstacles, and the rewards of hard work, among others. Parents may be apprehensive about signing up their autistic child for a particular sport, but with the right amount of support, these activities can turn into wonderful opportunities for social and emotional development. This article helps parents identify and address potential obstacles to sports success so they can advocate for their child’s needs in the sports environment.

Autism Interview #9: Lydia Wayman on Autism and Hospital Stays

Lydia Wayman

 

Last week’s article discussed some of the ways parents of children on the spectrum can prepare for a hospital stay with minimal stress. This week Lydia Wayman discusses her personal experience with this topic and strategies that have helped her as an autistic adult. Lydia is a writer, speaker, and advocate who encourages people to see greatness in others not despite our differences but because of them. She speaks to parents and professionals at autism conferences and other events about many facets of autism, including the practical challenges of medical care. She answered several questions about her personal experiences with a complicated medical condition and navigating hospitals as an autistic adult.

Hospital Stays and Autism: How to Prepare

hospital stays and autism

The hospital environment is often overwhelming for individuals on the spectrum. The sounds and smells are all completely different from home, and it is difficult to control the routine. A lack of staff knowledge about autism can add to this stress, resulting in a terrifying experience for autistic children and their parents. Although it’s impossible to control everything and plan for every potential issue when preparing your autistic child for a hospital stay, the guidelines in this article are a good foundation for ensuring your child experiences minimal stress.

Education Tips for Students with Asperger’s

Education tips for students with asperger's

Parents, teachers, and counselors all work together to support the academic success of the autistic student. Parents have a responsibility to constantly assess their autistic child’s progress and needs, but it is sometimes difficult for us to visualize the daily school ritual and help their children accordingly. We need our educational allies. This post contains advice to help educators better understand the needs of an autistic student. Parents may also benefit from communicating any applicable suggestions to their child’s teacher(s).

Public Vs. Private Schools for Autistic Education

autistic education

Some parents insist a particular school model is best for autistic students, but the truth is, there is no perfect solution for every child. Every child has needs and considerations that vary in priority, and schools are staffed with personnel who vary in their ability to meet those needs, regardless of the institutional structure. This article will outline some of the main benefits and drawbacks of both public and private schools for autistic education as well as a list of essential considerations for selecting the right educational solution for your child. For a discussion on homogenous classrooms in an ABA setting, refer to our previous articles on this form of autistic education: Part 1 and Part 2.

Autism Interview #8: Paul Isaacs on Personhood and Autistic Identity


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Paul Isaacs is an autism advocate, trainer, and public speaker from England. He says that public speaking about his experiences and the experiences of others has helped him find his voice and develop a true skill. He always emphasizes the positive aspects of how life can be lived with autism. He uses the acronym PEC to describe the qualities people who work with autism should have: Positivity, Empathy, and Compassion. He is also a published author and blogs at Autism from the Inside.

Autism and Ableism This Holiday Season

autism and ableism

It’s the time of year when many people start thinking more about others, and charitable opportunities abound. While it’s wonderful to participate in various charitable activities, it’s also a good time of year to reflect on the difference between charity and ableism and how our own holiday activities and “charitable” mindsets might be assessed within these categories, especially towards individuals on the spectrum. Many autistics are outspoken on the topic of autism and ableism, yet many parents are completely unfamiliar with the term.