Sunday, November 1, 2015

Tom (Autistic Genius) sends in the following via email:

(please be aware that all the content on the following links have not be viewed for trigger and content warnings)

Hi guys 

My name is Tom I'm 26 and have Aspergers Syndrome, I've created a youtube channel, facebook page and blog all about raising Autism understanding.

Facebook page:

YouTube Channel:

My Blog:

Hope it's useful and thanks for a great cause.

Many Thanks
(Autistic Genius)


Autistic Vegan "Silenced" from Thoughts From An Autistic Vegan

Over the last month, for a variety of reasons,  I feel like I have been effectively silenced. Today is Autistics Speaking Day, and today I want to break my silence. So often non-Autistic people tell us to talk nicely, to understand their point of view, and to quite simply, shut up. 

I am coming up on 1 year since I was informally diagnosed as Autistic. I have attempted to find ways to advocate, and to connect with my community. I am so grateful to my Autistic friends for welcoming me in, and serving as my guides. There have been non-Autistic people that were interested in hearing Autistic points of view as well. Some amplify Autistic voices, and that is wonderful and necessary. Others though, silence us by any means necessary. 

Not long ago I wrote something that criticized parents that publicly display their child's challenges. Yes, many non-Autistic people heard that message, thought about it, and agreed. Wonderful! Others, though, brushed it off with comments of, "what about their need for support?" These are silencing tactics. It's a way of telling us that we are wrong, rather than contemplating our words.

A couple of weeks later, I experienced a far greater silencing. Some internet trolls harassed me on Twitter, to such an extent that I had to block and report hundreds of people, and make my profile protected. My crime? Advocating against people that say Autistic people are dangerous. Fighting for my humanity is met with horrendous, triggering, attacks on my identity. And I was effectively silenced.

But no more. I have been rebuilding again. I am speaking up again. Because what we have to say is important.

Q & A Session: November

The Autistic Family Collective submits "Q & A Session: November"

This is a summary of a Q & A session we held last night as a group. The questions were asked by group members who identify as neurotypical, autistic, or otherwise neurodivergent, but the answers were given by our autistic co-conveners.

Last night, Autistic Family Collective held a Q & A session for our group members. While we plan to do this on a monthly basis, it was fitting that the first one was held on Autistics Speaking Day. We want people to get to know us, so we’re sharing some of the questions and answers from last night’s session, and we plan on doing the same for future sessions.
This post does not contain every question asked because some of the questions and answers were of a personal nature, but we have included the questions that we felt are most valuable to people outside of our group.

Questions of a general nature
I would like to know more about the neurodiversity paradigm, and where I can get more information about this?
Our go to source of information about neurodiversity in general, and the neurodiversity paradigm more specifically is neurocosmopolitanism from Nick Walker. In addition, we also have some information on our website with links to more resources.
Can you tell me what ableist language is? I’d never heard of it until I read through your comments policy.
Ableist language is discriminatory language that expresses bigotry towards disabled people. This link from Autistic Hoya explains that in greater detail.
Questions about Autistic Family Collective as a group
I was wondering if you have any plans to help ‘re-educate’ the professionals – GPs, therapists etc. e.g. factsheets, workshops, etc.?
We have developed a set of guidelines for therapists which are available on our website. At the moment, we’re not proactively sending them to therapists because that would be costly and time-consuming; however, anyone is welcome to print them and share them as needed.
Can you tell me a bit about what you are working on with regards to your focus on the educational settings?
We are currently conducting a survey to assess the experiences of autistic children who have been bullied in educational settings. Through that, we hope to identify what works and what doesn’t in terms of existing anti-bulling policies.
Once you have the information collated regarding what works and what doesn’t in terms of the anti-bullying policies, what do you plan to do with the findings? Do you plan to present it somehow? To Government/Education Departments? Or come up with your own policies?
We’re going to prepare a report from the findings and then carefully plan out the best options in terms of presenting the findings. In addition to sharing the report within this group (because just understanding that others have experienced similar things to you, is very empowering!), we will think about approaching the media, education departments and other disability organisations. Stay tuned!

You are all putting in a lot of time, and a lot of yourselves in to this collective, and it is all on a voluntary basis which I am so grateful for, and I know you don’t expect to get paid, but do you think down the track you will be able to get some sort of funding for the group for research or special programs, projects etc.?
We’re not actively chasing funding, and definitely not intending to incorporate as an organisation, but if we can at some point, it would be good to have resources to support both the community development aspect of this work, and some very specific campaigns.
Questions specifically related to being autistic and neurodivergent
Does anyone have any thoughts on introducing neurodiversity to children – e.g. 5 year olds?
Alexandra: I have autistic children and I am raising them with the knowledge that they are autistic. I think this is important because being autistic is significant – and neurodivergence simply in naming it and understanding it, is not in itself inherently medical or clinical or pathologised. I aim for being autistic and neurodivergent to be just a part of life, no big deal in many ways, but also impacting upon life in ways we can explore and discuss.
Briannon: I would definitely tell children they are autistic from as young as possible – both that they are autistic and explain disability to them without shame. We do in our family. It is an open and ongoing conversation.
Cas: While not neurodiversity-specific, more general books to introduce the concept that difference is ok and valuable are useful. As an example, Todd Parr’s “It’s ok to be different.” Briannon also just reminded me that I have written something about this.
I love how everyone on this thread is so proud of their autistic identity. But I imagine it wasn’t always that way for everyone here. I’m wondering if anyone could comment on finding that sense of self-assurance. Will that be something the collective might touch on?
Alexandra: My own experience with loving my autistic self, is that the pathologisation of autism had a large part in my feeling like I needed fixing or feeling like I needed to work on myself in an ableist way (yes, ableist toward myself!). By rejecting the pathology paradigm of autism, and valuing neurodiversity – I moved away from that ableism that I had spent my life being taught. It is an ongoing journey for me, because there is a lot of conditioning to undo and challenge.
Briannon: I identified I was autistic after my children, and so I had come to work through my own ableism and feelings about difference and disability first.
I spent a lot of my life feeling I didn’t fit in with my peers, and not knowing my sensory or cognitive needs, and so I worked very hard and it absolutely impacted on my mental health. At least once I experienced what I would now call ‘autistic burnout’ and that was 100% from not knowing I was autistic and doing things that were completely unnatural to my needs for too long.
Being a queer woman has impacted in both positive and negative ways on my Pride, and I wrote about that last week on Respectfully Connected.
Cas: I was fortunate to discover my autistic identity later in life and it helped me make sense of my life. Going through life feeling different and having parents who were quite authoritarian damaged my self-esteem extensively, so finding my autistic identity made everything make sense to me. It helped me feel whole.

I imagine that people who have grown up with an earlier diagnosis may have very different experiences formed through their interactions with teachers and parents.
Leia: The number one thing that has influenced my ability to accept myself as an autistic person is best summed up by something Nick Walker said recently: “A label is community”. It really wasn’t until I started making connections with other autistic adults that I began to accept myself.
On the subject of books, any films or books that autistic adults feel accurately represent their experiences?
Cas: The books and films question is quite a challenging one for me to answer because there is such diversity among autistic people. I relate to what has been written by many bloggers – my personal favourites being Radical Neurodivergence Speaking and Unstrange MindI personally don’t watch many movies or much TV, but generally I find that when autistic people are being portrayed by non-autistic actors, their autistic traits are over-acted and it feels a little icky.
Leia: I would recommend two books: “Neurotribes” by Steve Silberman and “The Real Experts”, edited by Michelle Sutton (who is one of our co-convenors). That latter would be really great for non-autistic parents of autistic kids.
What are your personal opinions / experiences around the various medications often recommended for children on the spectrum?
Briannon: My personal opinion (not as convenor or admin): I would never medicate to make my children change to fit in. I have had to proactively resist paediatricians wanting to give my children scripts as a first resort. The best ‘autism therapy’ we have had has been radically reducing people and sensory pressures, unschooling, moving to a quiet location, and getting really good at saying No. 

Change the world for my kids, not my kids for the world. 

That said, we do use medication in this house, for sleep (and would consider for other reasons in the future if needed). One of the ways I support my children is to talk to them about what it is and how it works and help them learn about their bodies and how medication impacts it so they are building skills to be informed consumers of health services & pharmaceuticals.
Cas: This represents my personal opinion on medicating *for* autism, but please note that I do think medication can be useful when it is aimed at improving quality of life, rather than trying to reduce autistic behaviours.
Leia: In my experience of talking about medication for autistic kids with quite a few autistic adults, I think I would say that most of us believe that it is a last resort, when all other methods have been explored.

We would like to thank all of our group members who participated in the session, and we hope that people who read this will be able to develop a better understanding of the values and purpose of Autistic Family Collective.
We look forward to presenting you with another summary of our Q & A session next month.

Appliances Talk

Savannah Logsdon-Breakstone "Autistics Speaking Day 2015: Appliances Talk"on Cracked Mirror in Shalott

I don’t have any great topic to talk about that I’m up for assembling today, so I’m going to write a bit about some of the household appliances that are important in my life, and ones that are helping me live a better life.
Last weekend, my Oster Kitchen Center (which is a stand mixer that can change out parts to be a food processor, or a blender, or…) died. Specifically, the motor burned out.  This mixer has been an important part of my life for the past few years, and I have a strong emotional attachment to it. It was the perfect mixer- two bowl sizes, including a huge one, set so that it can mix even the smallest amounts of egg in the bottom. Able to handle dough and meringue, it was a great treasure for me, a dear friend.
The Oster came from my mother for my birthday a few years ago. She’d gotten it from a yard sale barely used- the woman’s grandmother had given it to her for her wedding 20 years before and it had mainly sat in a cupboard for most of that time as the woman wasn’t a wiz in the kitchen. My mom picked it up for something like $30; a good mixer with a dough-tolerant motor today is several hundred dollars, and that’s without the attachments. (Turns out that kitchenaide considers making bread for your family once a week is “commercial level of use” according to the reviewers who have reached out to their customer service on the more recent models.)
I formed a strong emotional attachment to the Oster. It was a friend to me. Just seeing it in the kitchen and knowing I’d be using it over the weekend would give me a smiling feeling.

I have a voice - Autistics Speaking Day 2015

Irma Zoulane "I have a voice - Autistics Speaking Day 2015" on autism[e] + s[é]rendipit[é]

“… if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves.” — Junot Diaz
Autistics Speaking Day 2015I have a voice.
Before last year, I could talk. I made all sorts of sounds that were words and these words went together and produced sentences and meaning. The meanings worked and allowed me to communicate, or so I thought. I made a lot of sounds. A lot of words.
Though I could talk, for most of my life I was not able to speak my mind.
There is this knowledge that came to me last year that I am Autistic. And this meant that for the first time, I was able to understand who I am, and care about myself.
Now I speak for myself.
The reason I can now truly communicate isn’t just that I found out I’m neurodivergent and can now understand a lot better who I am in relation to the world. That’s only a small part of it.
There are two more fantastic, beautiful reasons I can now speak my mind: the first is reading other Autistics expressing themselves, their joys, their fears, their fights to have our rights respected.
Autistics speaking all over the Internets, saying I am, we are, we matter, we rock! Solidarity, exploring knowledge, beauty in sharing and empathy. This is what makes me not a monster – being able to relate with others, a reflection of myself, in multiple variations and nuances.
The second reason I can now speak my mind is being with Autistic friends. Sharing their presence, our mutual acceptance, all of us discovering our values and our caring, our shared experiences and our discoveries. Just being together, and understanding what human relating is really about. I see you.
So yes, Autistics speaking, through talk, presence, typed words, gestures, glances, Autistics speaking to each other, with each other and to the world, being able to truly be who we are, becoming, valuing and protecting each other, and the young ones. To me, this is our common treasure, and it should be protected with all our fierceness and love.

Podcasting From Autistic Space

Nat / @quarridors posts "Podcasting From Autistic Space" on Graphic Explanations

By coincidence, I reached the ‘In Autistic Space’ chapter of Steve Silberman’s New York Times bestselling, excellent, but often harrowing autism history book NeuroTribes on the morning November the 1st, Autistics Speaking Day. I’d just finished chapters detailing the pathologization of autistic people’s interests and social behaviours, the abusive origins of ABA and how the early US autism parents movement was derailed from its initial aim of services and acceptance by pseudo-scientific promises of cures and scare stories about causes. So it came as a relief to read about the development of the early online autistic community and in person autistic spaces, of ANI and the first Autreat, and of the birth of the neurodiversity movement.
It was a timely reminder of the importance of autistic people, regardless of where we are on the spectrum, having a voice to counter the stigma and the stereotypes spread by cure-focused charities, autism ‘experts’ focused on a deficit model and the mainstream media outlets that often amplify these messages. Thankfully NeuroTribes is full of profiles of and perspectives from autistic people, and its positive message has been getting widespread media coverage, countering many myths and putting the call for services and acceptance back on the agenda.
The other thing I was doing today was working on the 4th episode of Autistic Flappy Hour, the podcast I co-host along with two other autistic adults, Laurine, who initially suggested the idea on the #autchat Twitter chat, and Cisco, who is one of the founding moderators of #autchat.
There are some challenges in producing a regular hour-long podcast when everyone involved is autistic and busy with many other things. We originally aimed to produce our episodes every 2 weeks, but this quickly proved to be impractical given the amount of preparation and editing required and we’re now aiming to be monthly, although not always succeeding.
In order to make the process of recording accessible to all of us, we write out at least 80% of what we’re going to say in advance using online collaborative document sharing with multiple revisions as we each add comments based on the others’ responses. Even with a script and lots of preparation, during recording we may ramble, misspeak and repeat, or need to stop for breaks or to ask questions. Some of us tend towards saying too much and others tend towards being extremely concise, so balancing how much we each speak can be a challenge. When I’m moderating, I often lose track of the need to be brief and go off on elaborate tangents. All this means that editing involves more work that many podcasts do, and I also have the tendency to be over-perfectionist resulting in even greater editing time.
Early on we made the decision never to release episodes unless we had a full transcript available, because this is an important accessibility aid for any audio-based medium but especially important for a podcast aimed at autistic people, given how many of us have trouble with audio processing. Transcription does sometimes cause additional delays to our release schedule, but we’ve worked out a process to do this in parallel with the editing, and the tendency to script out most of what we’re going to say in advance usually makes thing a little easier. I think Laurine does an amazing job.
All in all, it’s a lot of work, but I think the amount of effort we put in and the different ways we’ve found to make podcasting work have resulted in some very strong episodes. We’ve been getting some positive feedback from people who have found it useful and affirming, including saying how great a feeling it is to hear other people talking about being different in the same way you are.
I think my favourite response came from Ari Ne’eman of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network who said:
The establishment of Autistic-run media is vitally important to our community. Kudos to @quarridors @AskCisco @laurinegrmo for doing this. (@aneeman)
Happy Autistics Speaking Day everyone!

Autism Dos Speak, But Who Exactly Is Talking?

Zoey G. has posted "Autism Dos Speak, But Who Exactly Is Talking?" on Jumping Out of the Fishbowl.

Please follow the link to the post!

Life as an Autistic Person Confounds Me and it is Awesome!

Tina Brooks brings us "Life as an Autistic Person Confounds Me and it is Awesome!" from Confessions of a Chilihead

Life with autism confounds me, or I should say it used to until I learned I was autistic and suddenly life made sense.

When I was little people were the most confounding creatures. I found my mother illogical and weird, and she found me cold and distant; occasionally mean. I didn't know I was autistic then. I was just me.

When I was little, everything seemed to be as big as the universe. Nothing was ever a little deal. I've since learned that I have hypersensitivity. Things don't just seem a bigger deal to me. They are a bigger deal. But when I was little, everyone just thought I was melodramatic. So it confounded me.

My mom is a pretty good cook. It's a wonder that she has no idea how nice she was to me considering I had no idea why I didn't like food then, either. Sometimes the way food felt in my mouth bothered me. I like peas, but they explode in my mouth, so I don't like peas. I like potatoes, but everytime I'd ever eaten them, they'd come right back up. So food confounded me.

Read the rest here! 

Honoring the founders of Autistic Community. Whom I feel grateful to & for on Autistics Speaking Day.

Cara Flower writes "Honoring the founders of Autistic Community. Whom I feel grateful to & for on Autistics Speaking Day."

I know there are many others who have worked to make autistic community happen, I will speak of some I know...
In the beginning three autistic adults got together and formed a friendship. That was good, not only for them, as it resulted in the formation of A.N.I. Autism Network International. This was the first attempt at creating a "safe" place for autistics to get together. We did so via a web site, newsletter and email list groups. This led to a desire to get together "IRL" which led to the creation of Autreat. (An annual gathering planned and managed by & for autistic people and our friends.) The first Autreat was held in 1996, the last in 2013. Even tho Autreat is now defunct, its history and impact needs to be remembered. This is how we found each other, over many miles and difficult obstacles. To the founders of A.N.I.I want to say "Thank You" for opening the door to the possibility of acceptance. Thank you Donna, Xenia & Jim.

Cages and Sanctuaries

Catsidhe posts "Cages and Sanctuaries" on LiveJournal

Content Warning for discussion of isolation and restraints.

What is the difference between a cage and a sanctuary?
Autistics Speaking 2015 Participant

Who Do I Speak For? - Autistics Speaking Day 2015

Sparrow Rose Jones "Who Do I Speak For? - Autistics Speaking Day 2015" from Unstrange Mind

It’s the first of November again and that means it’s Autistics Speaking Day. Autistics Speaking Day has been happening every year since 2010, steadily gaining attention and this year I heard a criticism leveled at the annual event.
A parent of an Autistic child declared that the event is mis-named and should be called “Autistics Speaking for Themselves Day” because she wanted to make it clear that those of us who are able to write about our Autistic lives and experiences are not like her child. She presumes that her child will not grow up to be someone who can write about their life and apparently presumes that none of us were ever like her child when we were very young, too.
I’ve written before about the insult and injury of assuming that adults with various competencies are not in any way similar to children still learning basic skills. Today I want to talk about who I write for. It’s an important question — the mother who complained about Autistics Speaking Day wants to make sure everyone knows that we are not speaking for her child.
I do speak for her child. I speak for all the children.
Let me unpack that a little bit. 

Autistic ear, autistic voice

Nightengale "Autistic ear, autistic voice" from LiveJournal

As a (still) mostly closeted autistic, I didn’t participate in Autistic Speaking Day last year. The year before, I had written about why I was still in the shadows. And so last year, when the day came and went, I couldn’t think of anything to add.

I felt that way for much of this year as well. But then I thought about the ways I speak, and listen, as an autistic, for autistics, even when closeted.

Unusually (but not uniquely), for an autistic, my voice has long been my strength. I used words early and often. I wanted to know the name of everything. I puzzled over dogwood trees that didn’t bark (I barked at them) and a city called Braintree where there were no brains on the trees. I read and read and read. To this day, there are still words I know from reading which I have never heard spoken, which makes pronunciation a challenge if I ever do attempt to use them myself. I still read and read and read. I love that the words “read” past tense and “read” present tense are spelled the same but pronounced differently. I hear words spoken out loud in my head when I read or type. I cannot think in pictures without translating them into words first.

When older, I studied other languages. Latin, then French, then American Sign Language. Frustrated when my English teachers did not show us how to diagram sentences, I loved the structured way Latin grammar was taught. I loved my French 1 teacher’s insistence that French was not a code of English and the idea that languages were more than lists of words. I loved the grammatical markers of ASL, even though my visual processing challenges made and make them hard for me to see and master. I loved understanding English words with Latin roots and Greek roots and German roots and Arabic roots, and how that leads to multiple synonyms. I agree with Mark Twain, who is attributed to having said that the “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is the difference between a lightning bug and lightning.” Thinking about that quote makes me think about the way I learned the ASL for “lightening bug,” a story I cherish, and all the difference in nuance between “lightening bug” and “firefly” describing the same insect species. 

Read More Here. 

Yes, That Too: Autistics Speaking Day 2015

Alyssa originally published this piece on Yes, That Too.

Autistics Speaking Day 2015 was a day when I did not speak aloud.

Not because I couldn't.

Because I didn't need to.

I used social media sites to talk to the people I wanted to talk to, today.
I rode my bicycle around the town, exploring, and then I sat and watched a river flow by, today.
I worked on applications to PhD programs, today.

And because I did not spend the energy on speaking aloud, I have the energy for other things.

I write.

Today, like every Autistics Speaking Day, is November 1st. That's the first day of National Novel Writing Month. I am a bit of a NaNo Rebel this year, because what I am working on is not a novel, but I am participating. I have quite a bit of writing that I am working on -- statements of purpose and personal history statements and various other essays that I need as I apply to PhD programs, short fiction with autistic characters, either of the two novel ideas I've got on the back burner, blog posts, poetry, narrative of some sort for Autonomous Press -- the list goes on, I'm sure.

I read.

Like most writers, I read a lot. I read fiction, both in the genres I write (science fiction and fantasy, mostly) and in other genres. I re-read Watson and Holmes: A Study in Black today. I started reading Accessing the Future today. I read blogs. I read non-fiction. Right now I'm reading Biopolitics and Utopia, and also Neurotribes.

I meditate.

Like many Autistic adults, I have pretty bad anxiety. Meditation isn't a miracle cure, not by any stretch, but it calms me down a little. One more tool in the box is always handy, in any case.

I speak, metaphorically.

Because I have the time and energy and platform to do so, I can tell my stories to anyone who'll listen. I can tell people how oral speech doesn't matter that much to me, that whatever they might imagine being unable to speak is like (for the folks who have to imagine), that's probably not how it is for me.

Here's the thing:

I don't actually care when speech gives out on me, not in itself. I might be annoyed about the reason, like when flickering lights gets me. I might be frustrated if it's disproportionately hitting one activity (sorry, measure theory.) I might be scared if I'm around people whose reactions to speech going offline are as yet unknown, because sometimes people do react poorly. I might need to think about the logistical question of how best to communicate without speech, if it's the first time I've needed to in a given environment.

These are all different from being upset about the inability to speak. Some of them boil down to being upset about ableism, whether about access barriers or about biases against people who don't speak with their mouths. Even the logistical question could fit under that category, since there'd already be an easy answer if society were really set up for people who don't speak orally.

My concern about disproportionately losing speech during one particular class I'm less certain on how to classify. Partially, as much as the professor and my classmates seem to be totally fine about my not always being able to speak and my writing on the side board instead when I can't, I'm worried about what they're going to think. As a teaching assistant, I teach a class, face-to-face. As much as I know teaching without speech can be done, as much as I know people who do it, I haven't done it yet. Not classroom teaching with 30-50 students in a lecture, while I can't talk.

I've done tutoring without speech, and I gave a conference presentation without speech, but I've not done regular classroom teaching without speech yet and I don't really want my colleagues wondering how I would manage that until after I've got an answer I know works.

Whatever it is, it's still not finding the inability to speak inherently frustrating. And I've solved the logistical questions for most of the environments I spend much time in.

And here's what I don't do:

I don't purposefully avoid methods of communication I know I can use, and effectively. I don't think that doing so would teach me what it's like not to be able to use those methods, because times when speech is working fine but I am choosing not to speak for some reason (someone else is talking, sore throat, not actually having anything to say) are very different from the times when speech isn't working.

That's what Communication Shutdown would have been, and it's what taking an hour of silence (at a time you choose, too!) to try and understand what it's like not to always being able to speak would be. 

Why Today Is Important To Me

Annette Sugden from Dancing With Aspergers  

"Why Today Is Important To Me"

#ActuallyAutistic #AutisticsSpeaking2015 This day is important to me because not only am I autistic, but I work with other autistic people, including kids. Plus I'm involved in many online autistic communities. We all "speak." Online, in social media, nobody can tell if a person can talk or not. Many non-speaking autistic people are brilliant and articulate writers. 

Don't assume that a person online can talk. How do you know? All you see are typed words. Plus even those of us who do talk, doesn't mean that we don't communicate better through text. I do. I'm more confident, assertive, open, and myself in writing. My sass, sarcasm, and outspoken personality comes through, as well as my caring, empathy, and compassion. But also my tough times like my sadness, pain, anger, and health issues. In person I can appear aloof, or shy, or shut down. But it's not about me, or any one autistic person. It's about all of us. It's about not letting other people speak for us without our permission, and without input from us. 

Today came about because an ignorant group in Australia (this time not Autism $peaks), decided to have a "Social Media Shutdown" every year on Nov 1, to mimic the experience of non-speaking autistics by having participants not post online, ignoring the fact that autistic people, including non-speaking autistic people are very vocal online, and that we have a vast social network online. 

Please, don't assume anything about autism, and autistic people. We are all different. Don't assume if someone can't talk, or talks in lines from shows and movies, that they aren't intelligent, and can't communicate in other ways. Don't assume if someone can speak, that they are good at speaking, and that they don't have issues getting what they want to say to come out correctly and how they mean it to. If you've met one autistic person, you've met one autistic person. We aren't all alike. We do grow up and become autistic adults. How we were at 4 was not how we are at 20, or 30, or 40, or 50, and so on. Get to know us. Don't speak for us. Ask us.

Green Canoe 1 & 2

Sonia Boué has sent in "Green Canoe 1 & 2" from The Other Side

Details from two paintings made last February (2015). Processing a sudden loss I imagined a final journey by canoe – these works were the result of a process of coming to terms with a painful truth. I had lost something intensely precious and beautiful. Painting eased my heart and enabled me to let go.

Autistics Speaking Day 2015

R. Larkin Taylor-Parker posts "Autistics Speaking Day 2015" on Traveling Show

TW/CW for mentions of death.

This is a great time of year for a holiday, as the seasons wind down into winter and many cultures of the northern hemisphere take time for the past, the ancestors, and the dead. We are starting to have a past together. It is good to take time to think about that but even more important for us to think about having a shared future, though many of us find that challenging

Read More Here

Autistics Speaking Day, the Oberammergau Passion Play, and Vera

Mx. Vera Didenko has submitted "Autistics Speaking Day, the Oberammergau Passion Play, and Vera" on This, That, and Vera

Content warning for brief mentions of masturbation and antisemitism

his is my participatory blog post for Autistics Speaking Day, which is November 1, 2015.

We all know that autistics can "speak," right? Some of us use our mouths, some of us use our hands, some of us use an AAC device, etc.

But I bet you're curious as to what do autistics like to "speak" about.

Now, I can not speak for other autistics on what we like to talk about. However, I can say that we autistics, in general, do talk about what we are interested in to the point of this so-called "fixation."

Okay, Mixter Brattissime. So is this post going to be all about the Rolling Stones?

You're lucky, Dear Reader. It's not going to be all about the Rolling Stones. Unless you want this post to be all about the Rolling Stones.

OH, HELL NO! I'm good, Vera.

Damn. I mean, okay then. Heh.

My latest interest revolves around a book I scored while doing my volunteer page work at synagogue.  One of the tasks I had to do was to cancel books, that were not being utilized or checked out, out of the library system. My job was to mark each book with a "C" for canceled, remove the library rental card, and remove the bar code from the back of the book.

This book I found was "A Rabbi's Impressions of the Oberammergau Passion Play," by Rabbi Joseph Krauskopf, D.D.

Autism Walking A Red Road

Kathy McKeown "Autism Walking a Red Road" on

“There is no quiet place in the white man’s cities, no place to hear the leaves of spring or the rustle of insects’ wings. Perhaps it is because I am a savage and do not understand, but the clatter only seems to insult the ears.”

These are some of the well known words attributed to Chief Si’ahl, known in English as Chief “Seattle”. He was a great leader and wise man of the Dkhw’Duw’Absh (“Duwamish”) Nation.

My name is Kathy McKeown and I understand these words. I am a person with Asperger Syndrome, a human from the autism spectrum.

These words are some of the only words that have ever understood me.

I relate to Chief Si’ahl because I was born with a few autistic “hyper”-sensitivities. One of the predominant ones is to industrial sounds. Fumes are also not good for me.

I have only known my “diagnosis” for the last two years. I am now, as of this writing, sixty years old. I hope that I have acquired some wisdom that I can share with you, so that autism is better understood.

My intention is to communicate in my language of autism, for my language of autism, and to apply my functional autism in speaking up for the silent and the silenced human beings, the animals and plants, that well known web of life that is our habitat, the diversity of our survival.

If I am a “savage and do not understand”, then I am happy to be one.

I am new on Twitter as SheSpeaksAspergian@SpeaksAspergian and the author of the web content (partly copied here and very much in development) at The .com is for community in my savage mind.

/S/ Kathy McKeown