I just got finished reading this excellent article: http://www.assistiveware.com/are-our-assumptions-about-autism-and-aac-all-wrong Fortunately, I've only once seen a case where an autistic client's AAC was used in the horribly restrictive way that this article warns against. I have also been privileged to witness some wonderful AAC uses, and I'm in the process of learning how to encourage even… Continue reading Notes About Learning Language
I… wow. Just wow. This is important.
As Amy Sequenzia so eloquently states: “ABA is not only abusive to Autistic children, it makes ableism and abuse acceptable. “Experts” want 40 hours/week of this and parents who don’t comply can lose their children. ABA creates a culture of normalized abuse.”
The following is a guest post composed of a series of writings by Bernice Olivas, who has generously agreed to share her experience. Hers is a harrowing story, but one that illustrates the dangers of demanding compliance on so many levels – and it is a story that needs to be understood.
It’s been two years since Nebraska’s Child Protection Services threatened to take away her children because she refused to place them in full-time (40 hrs/week) compliance-based training.
She and her husband were never accused of abuse or neglect, the only reason CPS was involved with her family was because her children are autistic and some…
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A good essay about an important event in the history of Disability Rights
A determined Georgia woman and her lawyer changed the landscape for thousands of institutionalized persons with developmental disabilities who yearn to live in their communities.
©Robin Nelson All rights reserved
Decatur, GA — Lois Curtis blew the chalk dust from her finished portrait and handed it to her young visitor. “That’s you!” beamed the 43 year-old self-taught artist. “I like to do pictures,” she exclaimed. Lois began sketching another face, of no one in particular, while humming a favorite tune to herself.
She might sketch a dozen pictures in an afternoon, or be content to write letters to friends, acquaintances, anyone for whom she might have an address. “Give me your address so I can write to you,” she said to her visitor as she reached for her ever-present cigarettes. “I like to write letters, too.”
Lois fills her days at the Peer Center in Decatur, a peer-run alternative…
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Are you planning an Autism Acceptance Event this April? Something that challenges traditional “awareness” by centering the voices and experiences of Autistic people?
PACLA wants to know about your event! We want to put together a resource for others to be able to participate and contribute to events in their neighborhood or city, or online where anyone can participate!
We’ve had enough “awareness”, let’s celebrate Autistic people this April with positive messages that embrace acceptance, inclusion and neurodiversity!
Image: Red text in upper left corner reads: Are you planning an Autism Acceptance Month Event? PACLA wants to hear about it! Red text in lower right corner reads: “We want to signal boost your Autism Acceptance Event onour blog! Live events or online events! Any event that celebrates Autsitic culture, pride…
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I work with kids of all ability levels. To me, they are all brilliant in some way, and I celebrate their every accomplishment.
There are the ones I know will go far, assuming no one breaks them too badly– the ones who show that “genius” streak already, in spite of language delays or motor skill difficulties.
There are the ones whose intelligence and potential I cannot judge at all.
And there are, at times, those I think will always need major support.
And I adore them all. I respect them all. They all deserve to be acknowledged as individuals and treated as real people. They deserve friends, fun, loving families. They deserve to have their preferences noted and their personalities appreciated. They deserve to be talked to, listened to (even if they can’t use words), read bedtime stories. They deserve to be dressed in nice clothing and taken out for treats. They deserve a turn at activities. They deserve the chance to try to do things themselves– over and over and over. They also deserve to have someone do things for them or assist them when needed.
There is this thing that happens sometimes.
Parent has an autistic child. Autistic child doesn’t speak, or their speech isn’t an accurate window into what they are thinking. Autistic child is presumed to be very significantly intellectually disabled.
Years later, a method of communication is found that works for the child, and it turns out that they are in fact very smart. Very smart! The parents are overjoyed. They begin talking about presuming competence, the least dangerous assumption, that not being able to speak is not the same as not having anything to say.
They are so, so excited.
And they start talking about all the incorrect assumptions they had. If we’d known, they say, we wouldn’t have done X. If we had known they could read, think, hear us.
And it’s a big problem, because the way they talk…..they think the problem was that they treated their child like…
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[Update!! Those who want a tool similar to this can download one for free from http://autismandhealth.org/%5D I have heard many complaints from autistic people and other people with disabilities about their struggles in communicating with healthcare professionals, etc.. I propose a simple questionnaire for professionals to use. These would be standard intake questions, and the… Continue reading Suggested Questionnaire for Healthcare and Related Professionals – please share widely
This post is my new manifesto. I wish every parent, therapist, teacher, doctor, and autism researcher in the world had to read it. It may not be perfect, but it's pretty darn close.
This is a really valuable reminder. It’s equally important to remember that 1) “behavior” isn’t always voluntary and 2) even involuntary actions have reasons and causes that need to be understood and respected.
A few weeks ago, my client, Ethan, came in for his session very upset and agitated. We began our lesson and tried working through his irritation to no avail. Ethan was becoming more and more distraught. So, we took a short detour from our lesson to discuss the issue. I am a big stickler for doing lessons in RPM sessions – it is part of how RPM works – engaging the brain and then body in cognitive lessons. However, sometimes the situation calls for a change in plan and this was one of those days!
Elizabeth: Let’s break for a moment Ethan. I can see you are really upset. What’s going on?
Ethan: I AM UPSET BECAUSE I AM NOT KIDDING AROUND AND I CAN NOT HELP IT WHEN MY BODY ACTS OUT.
Elizabeth: Let’s try writing a letter to your body.
I DO NOT LIKE YOUR BEHAVIOR TODAY!…
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Yes, this. Very much this.
Being tired, even being exhausted, is not the same as the kind of fatigue that people with chronic illnesses are dealing with day to day. And I knew this, intellectually. But after going on steroids to treat adrenal insufficiency, and getting some stamina back, it’s like a revelation.
I haven’t really had much in the way of clinical fatigue since I got on steroids. I only feel it on my bad days, and my bad days aren’t all that bad compared to how they used to be.
I do get tired. I get exhausted. But even at my most exhausted it’s not the same.
Fatigue, when talking about in a medical sense, is more than exhaustion. It’s a sense that everything is drained from your body. You don’t just feel tired, you feel sick. Your body doesn’t work right.
I wish I could just upload the feeling into people’s heads…
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Another wonderful article!