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

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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).

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4 Ways to Make a Parent of a Child With Autism Feel Uncomfortable

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You’ve probably encountered a well-meaning fellow parent who tries to offer a compliment or advice about your child, but leaves you feeling uncomfortable deciding whether to ignore it or politely educate them on autism or disability advocacy. Below are some cringe-worthy situations I’ve been in and suspect other autism parent advocates may also be familiar with.

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Autism Wars: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

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autism wars

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.

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