The 4th of July can be complicated for people both on and off the spectrum. As a teenager in the summer, I worked in a seasonal store my aunt managed that sold fireworks. I remember the excitement of customers purchasing explosives sure to fuel spectacular shows. The 4th of July was always fun and just a little bit bit dangerous (My cousin burned his hand badly enough one year to land him in the hospital and justify all my mom’s warnings about firework safety). No matter where we celebrated, cookouts and quality time with friends and family were always a part of the holiday. Now that I’ve grown older and had kids, the holiday brings a mixed bag of feelings. Loud fireworks after bedtime outside of whatever celebration we are participating in are not welcome. The 4th of July also presents unique challenges for individuals on the spectrum. Despite these challenges, there are ways to accommodate for a safer and more enjoyable holiday. This begins with learning about auditory sensitivities and how they impact people.
Do you consider yourself an autism advocate? Are you advocating in ways that the autistic community would appreciate? How do you know? Reaching out to the autistic community takes a dose of humility, but that’s only the first step. To what degree and the manner in which we reach out is even more important. The basic seeds of advocacy must begin on a foundational respect for the humanity of individuals on the spectrum.
This post was originally published on Amy Gravino’s blog on February 28, 2016. Amy Gravino is a Certified Autism Specialist, author, autism consultant, and public speaker. She runs a private consulting business in New Jersey called A.S.C.O.T. Coaching. She is an autism consultant and college coach for individuals on the spectrum and also advocates for autistics through her work as a member of Autism Speaks’ Awareness Committee and the Self-Advocate Advisory Board for the Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation. Amy speaks regularly about autism and sexuality and has written a book relevant to this under-addressed topic, a memoir titled The Naughty Autie.
Lisa Jo Rudy is a writer, editor, and autism consultant. She provides consulting and presentations on community inclusion and education for museums, community groups, and parent groups. She developed the website autisminthemuseum.org, a hub of best practices and resources about how to make museums, zoos, aquariums, and other educational settings more inclusive for individuals on the spectrum and their families. This week she shared some of her background with museums, her perspective on their importance, and her mission to make them more accessible to individuals on the spectrum.
The following post was originally published on the blog Life with Aspergers on March 4, 2017. It was written by Gavin Bollard and has been reprinted here with his permission.
He doesn’t look autistic to me…
It’s a phrase that every parent of a child on the autism spectrum dreads. Apparently it’s meant as a compliment but in reality it’s a fairly impressive bit of “multiple insulting“.
Parent Interview: “It’s Not About Turning Him Into Someone Else.” Jim Hines on Supporting His Autistic Son
Jim C. Hines is the author of twelve fantasy novels, including the Magic ex Libris series, the Princess series of fairy tale retellings, the humorous Goblin Quest trilogy, and the Fable Legends tie-in Blood of Heroes. He’s an active blogger, and won the 2012 Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer. This week he shared his experience as a parent of an 11-year-old on the autism spectrum.Jim reveals some of the ways he has learned to help his son develop his own unique identity.
Valentine’s Day can mean cute cards and fun (or stressful) holiday parties for young kids as well as bring a mixed bag of emotions for teens and adults on the spectrum. There has been a lot of media buzz about autism and relationships recently, even more so since the release of the documentary Autism in Love. Here are some suggestions from people on the spectrum about things to consider around Valentine’s Day or with romantic relationships.
With the colder weather, comes the need for additional layers, and, in our house, additional stress from sensory sensitivities. All of my children have varying degrees of tactile sensory issues that are exacerbated with additional clothing. They all seem to warm up quickly and grow uncomfortable in long sleeves. In this article, I’ll share some of the approaches that have succeeded and failed as I’ve tried to protect my children from the elements over the last several years.
Should you have more kids? What are the benefits and drawbacks of having larger families if at least one of the children is on the autism spectrum? There are plenty of factors to consider when deciding whether or not to expand your family. This is true for families with typically developing children and for those with one on the spectrum. Although every family’s individual needs will vary and thus this can’t be discussed holistically, from our family’s perspective, each new sibling has offered our autistic son many irreplaceable benefits we are grateful for.
Rickkie Johnson is an autistic parent of 3 daughters, two of whom are autistic, and lives in Melbourne, Australia. Rickkie is an advocate for neurodiversity and writes about the full acceptance and protection of autistics. Rickkie manages the website proudautisticliving.com and contributes to the Penfriend Project autistic writing team on geekclubbooks.com. This week Rickkie shared with me an evolving perspective on autism, and how to raise autistic children using a “person-centered approach.”