Neurodiversity Promotes A Peaceful Way For Parents To Live
Autism parents face many challenges in finding and securing the right supports for their children. But the warrior persona , while certainly well-intentioned, can send the wrong message to autistic children. Again, neurodiversity advocates dont wish for the world to be rid of autism, but rather they seek solutions to help autistic people live their lives more freely, independently, and positively as autistic people. Generally speaking, isnt peace and acceptance preferable to war? Embracing neurodiversity does not mean you sit idly by, refuse all therapies, and accept whatever limitations come your childs way, but it does mean that you approach differences with a discerning lens and a lot of humility. Atypicality is not always bad theres much to be learned from the different brains of those around us.
Why Going Gold Is Important On Autism Acceptance Day 2nd April
Featured article – 02 April 2021
Traditionally, 2 April has been known as Autism Awareness Day with jigsaw piece symbols and the colour blue.
The autistic community do not believe in autism awareness as its a passive notion. You can be aware of anything and it not have meaning. Autistic people want acceptance because it means accepting autism as a natural part of the human experience. People are different. Everyone can be aware, but this doesnt lead to acceptance in school, in employment and in the community
Acceptance is key to tackling the loneliness and isolation often felt by autistic pupils and adults. There are groups of autistic professionals out there who are scared to be outed as this might be detrimental to their careers. By showing who we are, what obstacles we have faced or continue to face, this will help children and young people to have a voice. We are not saying we are better than anyone else, but we are different.
Gold as a colour for today is preferred as it is based on the chemical symbol for gold being Au, the first two letters of autism, but also because throughout history gold has been something that is strived for and of immense value often missing from the lives of autistic people. Autistic people are often empathic, sensitive, caring people, but dominant narratives would suggest otherwise and because of that we can spend our lives not being accepted and often not being valued for who we are.
Adele Norman Bcba Director Of Hd Aba Consultancy
I remember the first time I met a child with autism. A friend at University said to me Id be a good tutor and I should go with her and shadow one of her sessions, so I did. He didnt smile when he saw me, nor did he make eye contact. I hadnt experienced this before.
He spoke and spoke well. He said Hello and could tell me what his name was when I asked, James he said.
I discovered the basics of learning with James and I also learnt how to draw the boy in the moon from a popular production company. It was soon after I met James that I was invited to meet the second child I worked with. He was young, 2 years old. I remember thinking, Ill ask him his name and he probably wont look at me, but thats OK. Well no.
Adam was non-verbal and although shy at first, typical to most 2-year olds, he soon came around and was sitting on my knee looking at me right into my eyes. With Adam, I began to learn that Autism is different for different people.I also learned how to promote and encourage speech and heard his first word- biscuit!
I guess what I am saying is I have learned something new from each child I have met, and I still do. Its taught me not to expect anything of anyone. Autism or otherwise.
Note: Names have been changed to protect identity
|*James is now at University studying and Adam is in further education.
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Final Thoughts: Autism And Inspiration
It is clear to see from the responses above that people with autism inspire countless professionals every single day. Organisations and individuals alike unite in their dedication to one cause. Creating a world with understanding, empathy and connection to autism.
Here is my roundup of the 6 top takeaways, cherry-picked from each of our full interviews.
Going Beyond Awareness To Autism Acceptance
Once children with autism become aware of their differences, they face a high risk of depression if the bullying and rejection continues. Kids on the spectrum have expressed disappointment with use of the word awareness rather than acceptance when it comes to autism.
As one 13-year-old told Dr. Beckwith, the term awareness makes him feel that others want to cure him. Because autism makes him who he is, hed much prefer that people practice use acceptance instead.
This patients mother agreed while also noting that society has long implied that autistic people need to change who they are to gain acceptance. By contrast, she only wants her son to be himself and be the best person he can be.
Society can help those like her son by not showing fear of those on the spectrum, and by offering support instead. She also feels strongly that acceptance moves well beyond awareness.
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The Importance Of Autism Awareness And Acceptance
James Guttman is the father of two children, a nonverbal eight-year-old with autism and a non-stop-verbal eleven-year-old without autism. His blog can be found here.
It is amazing what we can get used to. My son has autism and is nonverbal. Yet, to my family, its all just business as usual. There is nothing anymore shocking or confusing about it than there is with raising our neurotypical daughter. We see him as part of us. Hes part of our group. Hes part of our normal.
There was a time when that wasnt the case, though. There was a time before him when I was not only fearful of what autism was, but ignorant to what it even meant. I was one of the many people who was more in tune with things that had personally affected my own life.
Thats nothing to be ashamed of. We can all understand that. Talk to a person whose parent is going through chemotherapy and youll learn quickly that they are aware, educated on, and dealing with cancer. Everyone has personal expertise on issues that affect those they love. It could be mental illness, physical ailments, food allergies, or anything. Whatever the case, there are many things that profoundly impact individuals and their inner circle.
Perhaps the best example of this was a young family friend who, upon meeting Lucas, wanted to know why he wasnt saying anything to her. My wife looked at her and explained that he didnt speak and that he had autism.
Yeah? Hmmm. I know a person with autism.
Reflections On Profound Autism
But we dont live in a vacuumwe live in communities, societies, and social networks. Acceptance within ourselves without acceptance from others is limited. As a therapist, an autistic woman, and a mother, I’m requesting acceptance. If this day leads to acceptance through awareness-raising, I support it if not, it is not helpful for me and my world.
Accept us as we are. If you want to be an ally to autistic people, everything else is nice, but not enough.
No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow. Alice Walker
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A Few Tips From Young Adults On The Autism Spectrum
Though using person-first language to describe people with disabilities has gained traction in the last few decades, not everyone favors it. Some prefer that others refer to them as an autistic person rather than a person with autism. They feel that autism is a part of who they are and that separation isnt needed.
One example is that very few people would say people with Australian citizenship instead of Australians. Many think saying people with autism sounds just as strange. However, it is advised to ask people on the spectrum which option they prefer.
Some autistic people have no desire to live their lives just as other people do. They are okay with others seeing their signs of autism. These signs include little things like not making eye contact or body movements that some might think arent normal.
Many with autism would instead prefer greater support for those on the spectrum. Steps that would better support those on the spectrum include:
- Accommodations and support for daily living
- Reducing anxiety
- Assistance finding employment and on-the-job support
- Educational assistance
Make Accommodations By Listening To Their Needs
With uniqueness in mind, individuals in the workplace need to understand and know autistic people as individuals. If you are a manager or colleague of an autistic person, you should give them a space to express their preferences and needs. Accommodations could make a real difference in an autistic persons life. Some accommodations that may help some people could be:
- Permitting flexible work patterns or working from home when necessary
- Offering them some breaks during long meetings
- Providing clear expectations and writing important points for better communication and structure
- Setting predictable schedules to help with time management and structure
- Providing noise and/ or light reduced environments
- Allowing them to do what makes them comfortable, such as wearing earplugs, sunglasses, or stimming when they are happy or anxious
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Autism Inspiration The Key Question
I interviewed each person using the same question:
What have you learned from working with children with autism? How did having them in your life make you grow as a person?
Read on to find out what they had to say. Dont forget to click the links included below to find out more about these professionals
Behaviour Babble Note: You will see the words BCBA and ABA crop up a lot in these interviews. If either of these terms is new to you, dont panic! BCBA stands for Board Certified Behaviour Analyst. It is a professional certification which takes years of training and experience to obtain. You can find out more about it here. I explained what ABA is on my about page.
What Is Autism Acceptance
With organizations like the National Autism Association, and the Autism Society of America along with initiatives like End the R-Word, I would hope that someday discrimination against those with disabilities will come to an end.
That maybe someday, individuals with autism and other related disabilities wont be judged by how they outwardly behave. That theyll be valued just as much as any member of society.
Because thats what they are.
Autism only defines a part of who they are but it does not, and should never, entirely define who a person is. Autism, for our family, has put a label on things that I didnt understand before. It helps me to get what I need for my daughter but autism is not and will never be everything that she is. Sweet B is far more than her autism- as are all individuals with autism or any disability.
To me, autism acceptance means looking past the disability.
It means looking past the labels.
It means valuing individuals for what they can do instead of what they cant do.
It means valuing strengths instead of focusing on weaknesses.
It means changing the world around us, instead of trying to change my daughter for the world.
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Do The Best You Can Until You Know Better Then When You Know Better Do Better
Its official. Wisconsin shifted language from Autism Awareness Month to Autism Acceptance Month this April. Now, its time for our actions to reflect our change of language. As we reflect on the past month, I wanted to share some of the lessons Ive learned on my journey towards better. I also share an invitation to continue on the autism acceptance journey all year round, with five steps to start:
1) ACCEPT that Awareness Isn’t Enough
Awareness says I see you. I see others like you. I see your label. On a good day, it says I see your differences. On a really good day, Awareness says I see that society was not designed to support you. But thats not enough. Its not changing our mental model of autism. Its not rethinking our support. Its not creating a community of inclusion and belonging. Its not healing the mental & emotional burdens of being viewed as problematic or wrong. Not. Enough.
2) ACCEPT the mistakes of our past
Admitting that we have been wrong is our first step. Its emotional. We have to forgive ourselves for what we didnt know, and hold ourselves accountable to changing our approach. Rejecting deficit-thinking and presuming competence is our key to rebuilding our mental model of autism. First, as individuals. Then, as a society. Read on!
3) ACCEPT the Social Model of Disability
Our understanding.researchfunding and related services and supports have been deeply entrenched in deficit-based assumptions which lead to deficit-based outcomes.
Th April Extinct Animals Presentation
Our friends in the National Museum of Ireland have kindly agreed to provide a family fun event that is sure to be a hit with all lovers of history! Keeper of the Natural History Museum, Nigel Monaghan, will share a video presentation on extinct animals and then be on hand to take your questions!
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Say Yes To Autism Acceptance: Asiam And World Autism Month 2021
We are delighted to announce our events and webinars for the month of April as part of our World Autism Month campaign. These events will feature members of the Autistic Community and relevant professionals to cover the many aspects of Autism Acceptance and understanding.
Too often autistic people face invisible barriers because of how the world works and the judgement and attitudes of others. They are so used to being told No. We want people to say Yes for a change: Yes to employment, Yes to education and Yes to community inclusion. Help become part of this move for change by sharing #AutismMonthSayYes on social channels.
The Neurodiversity Movement Demonstrates Ways To Help Your Child Develop Positive Self
Isnt this a goal of every parent? To raise a happy, confident child? Autistic individuals face many obstacles to achieving this peace. They can experience a regular assault of social confusion, isolation, and ostracization. In addition to these difficulties, if they are raised to believe that autism is something they should hide or rid themselves of, it will be difficult to develop good self-esteem. The guiding principles of neurodiversity teach that autism is tied to ones identity and that a willingness to accept and embrace neurological differences allows for autistic individuals to develop a positive autistic identity. They can learn to love themselves for who they are rather than what they can be with help or fixing.
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What Services Are Available To Young Children With Asd Under Idea
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is a federal law that requires that all children suspected of having a disability be evaluated without cost to families to determine if they have a disability and are eligible for services under IDEA. For children under 3 years of age, these services are provided through a States IDEA Part C early intervention system. For children older than 3, IDEA Part B services are available through the public school system.
The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities provides information and resources about IDEAVisit disclaimer page . For information on early intervention services in your state, please visit the Early Childhood Technical Assistance CenterVisit disclaimer page .
Embracing Autistic Identity Offers Your Child More Varied Support Network Opportunities
Once youve established an environment that allows your autistic child to live freely with autism and not feel pressured to hide every trace of it, he may feel more comfortable connecting with the autistic community . Theres a whole world of self-advocates who embrace their autistic identities and support others to do so. If you are a neurotypical parent, the autistic community offers your child something you cant: expert experience navigating a strange world.
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Autism Acceptance Or Autism Awareness
What is Autism Acceptance, as opposed to the usual Autism Awareness, asks Penni Winter?
AUTISM AWARENESS grew out of an earlier era, when few people knew what autism was, and so parents of autistics began public education campaigns.
But from the beginning autism was cast as a problem, with a focus on getting help with coping with autistic children and the images were always of children while words like disorder, illness, and disease were used to describe us. Cure talk was rampant. Videos and billboards implied we were a sort of modern plague.
This has led to todays situation, where most people now know that autistics exist. But were still mostly portrayed in very negative terms, particularly in the mainstream media, books by parents of autistics and in a lot of parent groups online. Were described as an epidemic, a tragedy, a burden, and the cause of family breakdown. The increase in diagnosis of autism is cast as an increase in the occurrence of it, and dire predictions made of a future groaning under our weight.
Meanwhile, an entire autism industry does its best to milk panicking parents of their last dollar in vain attempts to cure us, through sometimes dangerous therapies designed to force normal on us.
Thats what autism awareness has brought us to.
THE SO-CALLED LOW FUNCTIONING
AUTISM ACCEPTANCE IS THE GOAL
Were here. Weve always been here. Were human. Accept us. Embrace us. Include us. You might be surprised at what happens.