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
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).
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.
Daniel Wendler is an author, public speaker, and advocate for people that (like him) are on the autism spectrum. He’s spoken about autism and social skills at conferences around the country, and is the author of a variety of social skills guides including Improve Your Social Skills. This week Daniel shared his advice for parents trying to support their autistic children both at home and in school.
“He’s a little autistic, but he’s fine.” You may have heard someone describe an individual with “high-functioning autism,” Asperger’s Syndrome, or PDD-NOS in this way, actually believing they are being complimentary (See how Ben describes this label in my earlier post). The language used to describe verbal autistics (in terms of how they compare to neurotypicals) leads to some common misunderstandings about autism. Individuals with what some refer to as “high-functioning autism” (See Autism Language Mistakes download for why not to use this term), Asperger’s Syndrome, or PDD-NOS often experience regular discrimination due to these misunderstandings.