Autism Interview #51: Brent White on Autism Advocacy

Brent White is autistic, dyslexic and multiply neurodivergent. He designs and directs adult programs for neurodivergent young adults for a non-profit in Berkeley, California. Programs include an adult transition program for the he designed for the Berkeley Unified School District. Brent White is a grassroots researcher, scholar and advocate. This week he shared some insight for non-autistic parents and other autism advocates who are trying to support their loved ones in the most respectful and meaningful ways.

Why I Can’t Call Myself an Ally (and Neither Can You)

autism ally

It’s a point of contention between some people on the spectrum and neurotypical autism advocates. How we advocate really is just as (if not more) important the intention to simply advocate at all. In particular, let’s explore the right to identify as an autism ally and the traits needed to genuinely support those on the spectrum. Not everyone who calls themselves one is really on the side of autistics. In any disagreement, a dose of humility and introspection is needed if anyone is expected to learn anything or if any progress will be made (See my previous post: The Roles and Responsibilities of the Neurotypical Autism Advocate). This week I’m asking neurotypical parents to review why autism advocacy issues exist and consider ways to improve their efforts. The more I read and listen to people on the spectrum, the more I learn about better ways to support and accept them. Let’s listen to autistic advocates and be open to change.

Don’t Perpetuate Ableism This Halloween

Are you participating in any Halloween activities that stigmatize individuals on the spectrum? Like all holidays, there are a variety of social activities and traditions that may be exclusionary or unwelcome to autistic individuals. (See this previous post for ways to make Halloween more inclusive for autistics). However, even more disappointing are the rituals and social activities people participate in that contribute to the stigma of those on the spectrum. Some of these traditions are so entrenched in our culture that many are unaware of their damaging connotations. This article examines the playful and harmful aspects of Halloween so interested readers can ensure they are celebrating the holiday appropriately and not contributing to ableist stigmas.

Understanding Autism

Unicode

The following article was originally published on http://franklludwig.com/ by Frank L. Ludwig. It offers a careful analysis and explanation of a variety of autistic behaviors in an effort to help neurotypicals better understand, support, and accept people on the spectrum. It’s a great read for parents, families, and educators of autistic children and adults. It is reprinted here with the author’s permission.

Resource Hubs That Prioritize Autistic Voices

There is plenty of information about autism available online. This website attempts to aggregate information from a variety of autistic sources. Some organizations that place autistic individuals at the forefront of the public conversation about autism are listed below. Ollibean “Our content is centered on full inclusion and acceptance, disability pride and culture, neurodiversity, parents…

Autism Interview #45: A.J. Mahari on the Stigma of Asperger’s Syndrome

A.J. Mahari is a counselor, life coach, mental health and personal development coach, and author on the spectrum. A.J. was diagnosed with Asperger’s at age 40 and manages the website aspergeradults.ca, which seeks to talk about not only her own experience and insights as an adult with Asperger’s, but also call attention to the gender differences in females and males with AS. This week A.J. shared some of her experiences as a counselor to other individuals with Asperger’s, the stigma of autism, and how to advocate for people on the spectrum.

 

Ways to Connect with the Autistic Community

Engaging with individuals on the spectrum should be a foundational part of any parent’s plan to support their autistic child. It’s relatively easy and comfortable to access resources from doctors, therapists, and other parents of children on the spectrum. Communicating with or accessing resources from people who are #actuallyautistic is sometimes, unfortunately, an afterthought; however, there is plenty of information easily available from autistic sources for anyone interested.

Autism Interview #34: Savannah Logsdon-Breakstone on Autism Advocacy

Savannah Logsdon-Breakstone has led advocacy campaigns at national, state, and local levels. Savannah is an active member of and social media coordinator for ASAN (Autistic Self Advocacy Network) and board member and current vice president of the PA based SAU1 (Self Advocates United as 1). She blogs at Cracked Mirror in Shalott and writes for many other multi-contributor blogs. This week she shared some of her experience advocating for herself and others on the spectrum, offering practical ideas for parents and educators who want to support their children.

Understanding Autism: 10 Reasons Why You Should Prioritize Autistic People in the Conversation About Autism

understanding autism

You’ll find several mentions on this website about the importance of prioritizing autistic individuals in the conversation about autism. But, like anyone, not all autistic people think and believe the same things, so why is this consultation useful? Is it necessary? Is it enough to steadfastly follow the advice of your child’s doctors and therapists? If you think this is enough, you’ll be missing the best piece of the picture to understanding autism (Notice I’m deliberately not using a puzzle piece analogy here for reasons described in this post.). And while it’s important for people to understand that people on spectrum do NOT exist solely to educate others about autism, there are nevertheless numerous autistics willing to share their knowledge in the hopes of better informing families and society about autism (and some make their living doing so). They write and speak regularly about their experiences.

Below are 10 reasons why you should engage with autistic individuals and include them in the conversation about autism (identifying symptoms, useful therapies, supports, describing personal experiences, and how it should be addressed in society).