What Does Your Autistic Daughter Wish You Knew?

The Autism Women’s Network (AWN) has been around since 2010. They have built a supportive community and set of resources for autistic people who identify as women. What Every Autistic Girl Wishes Her Parents Knew is their first book release (and their first time as editors of an anthology). The women who contributed to the book come from AWN’s online community—some are writers whose work we’ve admired for years and some will be brand new discoveries for readers. The editors at AWN plan on making this the first of many books covering … [Read more...]

Dealing with Failure is a Learnable Life Skill

By Megan Amodeo Life can be beautiful and wonderful. Life can also be disappointing and frustrating. Many of us on the spectrum see life as black and white or right and wrong. There often isn't any room for those in between ‘gray’ areas of life. You either make the baseball team or you don't. You get a good grade on your term paper or you don't. These seem like clear cut outcomes. Unfortunately, everything in life is not always so literal. Even when things are very black and white, there is always a little bit of gray. Gray areas … [Read more...]

Finding Peace and Calm in a ‘Going Out’ Bag

By Megan Amodeo We all have certain objects, sayings, foods and routines that make us feel comfortable…our creature comforts. You may enjoy a warm blanket, a pair of fuzzy slippers and a good cup of hot cocoa on a winter day. A long hot bubble bath, with no kiddos banging on the door, is a necessary creature comfort for many of us moms. Creature comforts bring to mind favorite foods. I love a cup of chili on a cold rainy day. I'm sure we can all make a list of the things that make us feel happy and comfortable. My family goes on one … [Read more...]

Finding Friendship in the Flub-ups

By Lydia Wayman Every year, I look forward to the OCALICON autism conference in Ohio. The three days are the one time I get to be with my autistic friends who share my passion for advocating. It's an absolute whirlwind from start to finish. Teachers, therapists, and family members come to OCALICON to learn better ways to improve our lives. There are about a dozen autistic adults who attend, and since most of us are good friends, we tend to team up for presentations in different groupings every year. This year was extra special. I … [Read more...]

Why I Stopped Worrying About After-School Activities

By Megan Amodeo When we first set eyes on our tiny little bundles, boy or girl, we have visions of great athletes, scientists and presidential aspirations. The reality is, our children become who they become. We parents can only do so much to shape our children but ultimately, they becomes their own unique selves. My youngest daughter started middle school this year. Of course I had the same concerns that every parent has as their child enters a new stage in life. I worried about her classes, her locker, her friends…a laundry list of … [Read more...]

What Worries You When Your Child Reaches a New Milestone?

Parents often ask with concern why when their child has made a gain of some kind in development do they seem to reverse in others? As an Autistic I can tell you that many times when reaching a new milestone, we may revert to a previous special interest or sensory seeking behaviour for comfort and reassurance. There's nothing wrong with that. What we tend to notice more is the regression Autistic's display if there has been a traumatic experience. But any progress is still a change even if it is good, so a step back in another area … [Read more...]

Why Ben Affleck Has Made My Year!

By Yadira V. Calderon Ben Affleck talked to his kids about autism because of role in The Accountant. He plays Christian Wolff, an autistic math savant with lethal fighting skills. He said talking to them about the role opened the doors to having a conversation with them about autism. He told People Magazine that he told them that “all of us are very different and some of us see the world in really different ways, and this condition that makes you different can also make you very special…and that’s cool as well.” In my world Ben Affleck … [Read more...]

Advantages and Disadvantages of a ‘Tape Recorder’ Mind

By Megan Amodeo I have always been on the autism spectrum. Two of my three daughters have always been on the autism spectrum. By no means do I claim to be an expert in all things autism, but I do have a good sample size in my own home which provides me with a unique window into the minds of autistics. The 'Tape Recorder' Effect One characteristic of autism is what I like to refer to as the tape recorder effect. Hopefully everyone still remembers what a tape recorder is used for and its functions (Hey, I was born in the 70's!). A tape … [Read more...]

Why Do I Love the Things I Do?

By Lydia Wayman Advocacy and Questions Autism advocacy is all about questions – either the ones people ask about their own kids or the issues nobody seems to realize they are getting all wrong. I have a lot of the answers memorized, so often, I can just spout it off verbally. If it’s something I haven’t worked through yet, I usually have to spend some time and then work it out on the keyboard. I might ask that person if I can get their email address and get back to them on it. Why do you freeze in place and stare at the shelves in the … [Read more...]

My Dream for a Safe-Haven Home for the Autistic

By Rowan Nelsen Autism in South Africa Autism is a prevalent topic of conversation in South Africa. With the burden of HIV, Malaria and other diseases, mental health is very much neglected. There are many families, like mine, with loved ones on the autism spectrum who worry about their futures. As a society, autism is highly misunderstood. We have a huge shortage of places where those with autism can go once they reach adulthood. Few Solutions for Autistic Adults There are some private residential homes for adult autistic males but none … [Read more...]