Author Archive

your dreams will be reduced down to breathing, and you will be grateful

The thing about not-being-a-person is: They will say those people and the price of being a person is to nod and agree that yes, those people aren’t people at all. They will have no idea who they are talking to. You yourself will start to forget, too. They will say a million small things that sow the seeds for violence done against you, and you will smile and let them. You will do math, constantly. How much do I want to be a person today? How much do I want this project to succeed? How much honesty can I afford? How much dishonesty will kill me? What is the cost of coming out? Is there a way to delay, soften, transmute? How long can I survive as half a person? Ever since the world ended ... I don't go out as much. People that I once befriended, just don't bother to stay in touch. Things that used to seem so splendid, don't really matter today. It's just as well the world ended -- it wasn't working anyway. Your dreams will be reduced down to breathing. [Read More]

on 03/5/12 | 2 Comments | Read More

Can One Assign the Wrong Intentions to Triangles?

I’ve recently run across two studies in which an ability to impute mental states and empathize with others was measured by having the research participants look at inanimate objects moving across a ...[Read More]

on 01/16/12 | 6 Comments | Read More

Saving a Theory, Dismissing its Subjects

I’ve been spending the weekend putting together my preliminary research questions and a working bibliography for my graduate program. To my great surprise, I’ve actually been able to read some of ...[Read More]

on 01/3/12 | 1 Comment | Read More

The Path That Chose Me

These past few days, I’ve been realizing that, from the time I was small, I’ve lived with an odd kind of bifurcated consciousness about myself. On the one hand, I was The Child Destined to Do Gr...[Read More]

on 12/23/11 | 2 Comments | Read More

The Perfect Answer

Why do you stay in the marriage? An acquaintance recently asked my husband this question. He asked it not because my husband had expressed any unhappiness with our marriage, but because I have As...[Read More]

on 12/9/11 | No Comments | Read More

Navigating Competing Worlds: The Elusive Ideal of Normalcy

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been very busy with my job and with getting acclimated to the routine of my graduate program. I’ve formed a great connection with the little guy I care for, and in ...[Read More]

on 10/28/11 | 2 Comments | Read More

Unwarranted Conclusions and the Potential for Harm: My Reply to Simon Baron-Cohen

I want to thank Simon Baron-Cohen for taking the time to respond, in his September 10th post on the Autism Blogs Directory, to one of my early pieces on autism and empathy. I am very gratified that h...[Read More]

on 09/21/11 | 9 Comments | Read More

Thoughts on Visual Thinking and Empathy

A comment left on one of my posts a few weeks back got me wondering about the connection between visual thinking and empathic response. About the idiom “It’s raining cats and dogs,” Lauren wro...[Read More]

on 09/15/11 | 1 Comment | Read More

The Vividness of Memory

On September 16, my daughter will fly to California to begin life at UC Santa Cruz. These days, I find myself reliving much of her childhood in my memory: The rainy winter night we brought her home ...[Read More]

on 09/15/11 | No Comments | Read More

The Empathy Issue Is a Human Rights Issue

Empathy. For most people, the word is synonymous with humanity. The American Psychological Association calls empathy “the trait that makes us human.” 1 According to author D.H. Pink, empathy i...[Read More]

on 09/9/11 | 3 Comments | Read More

A Critique of the Empathy Quotient (EQ) Test: Conclusion

When I first began writing this critique, I tried to take the EQ test, and I found myself so stymied by it that I gave up. As a person who arrives at the “big picture” by putting together all th...[Read More]

on 09/2/11 | No Comments | Read More

A Critique of the Empathy Quotient (EQ) Test: Part 3

In Part 1 of this series, I outlined the basics of the EQ test, introduced the definition of cognitive empathy assumed by the authors of the test, and critiqued the statements on the EQ test that sp...[Read More]

on 09/1/11 | No Comments | Read More

A Critique of the Empathy Quotient (EQ) Test: Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, I outlined the basics of the EQ test, introduced the definition of cognitive empathy assumed by the authors of the test, and critiqued the statements on the EQ that speak t...[Read More]

on 08/31/11 | No Comments | Read More

A Critique of the Empathy Quotient (EQ) Test: Introduction and Part 1

Introduction The Empathy Quotient (EQ) test was designed by Simon Baron-Cohen and Sally Wheelwright, and is included in their 2004 paper The Empathy Quotient: An Investigation of Adults with Asperger...[Read More]

on 08/30/11 | No Comments | Read More

On Literal Thinking

I’m always very interested in the observations of parents regarding the literal nature of their autistic children’s thinking.  I’ve read many tales of children who take idiomatic expressions ...[Read More]

on 07/8/11 | 13 Comments | Read More

Music and the Positive Side of Auditory Processing Disorder

Most of you know my challenges with my auditory processing condition: difficulties filtering sound, fatigue when trying to carry on a conversation with too much ambient noise, words getting jumbled...[Read More]

on 06/24/11 | 2 Comments | Read More

Neurodiversity, Grief, and the Normal Minority, Part Two

Leaving behind one’s own normality Having an autistic child means that an able-bodied parent can no longer lay claim to being normal.  I don’t care if that autistic child grows up to win the...[Read More]

on 06/10/11 | 2 Comments | Read More

Neurodiversity, Grief, and the Normal Minority, Part One

“The worlds created by the human imagination are far more coherent and structured than the real social systems in which we live, and the mental constructs by which we make sense of society are only ...[Read More]

on 06/9/11 | No Comments | Read More

The “Intense World Syndrome” Theory of Autism

In an October, 2007 article, Henry Markram, Tania Rinaldi, and Kamila Markram of the Brain Mind Institute, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, posit a new theory about how ...[Read More]

on 06/3/11 | 7 Comments | Read More

Disorder in Society, Disorder in Self

Some years ago, I took a two-year training course in Jewish shamanic healing.  I came away understanding a great deal about the many ways in which ancient Jewish culture was similar to many other i...[Read More]

on 05/27/11 | 2 Comments | Read More

Autism, Disability, and the Obligation to Get Well, Part Two

As a result, we find ourselves in the vortex of a great deal of distortion for wanting to simply be at peace with ourselves and carve out a meaningful life.  It’s as though, having given up our “...[Read More]

on 05/13/11 | No Comments | Read More

Autism, Disability, and the Obligation to Get Well, Part One

I’ve recently begun reading Robert Murphy’s The Body Silent, one of the great books on the social and cultural context of disability.  Murphy, a professor of anthropology at Columbia, became a qu...[Read More]

on 05/13/11 | No Comments | Read More

An Open Letter to Robert MacNeil Regarding PBS’ Autism Now Series

Dear Mr. MacNeil, It has come to my attention that you are spreading dehumanizing stereotypes about us.  In an interview to promote your upcoming series, Autism Now (formerly Autism Today), you sa...[Read More]

on 04/18/11 | 7 Comments | Read More

Ableism on Display: The New York Times Review of Wretches and Jabberers

The March 31 issue of the New York Times includes a short review of the film Wretches and Jabberers, a documentary that details the work of two autistic men as they travel the world to change hearts...[Read More]

on 04/13/11 | No Comments | Read More

When Objects Resonate with Memory

Over at Kitaiska Sandwich, Sarah has a great post about the upset that her autistic son feels when things get broken or spilled.  In reflecting upon the reasons for M’s upset, she finds that his ...[Read More]

on 03/31/11 | 1 Comment | Read More

The Misleading Nature of the Deficit Model

Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music. —Angela Monet I’ve never been shy about my feelings concerning the deficit model of autism.  I object ...[Read More]

on 03/4/11 | 2 Comments | Read More

Call for Submissions: An Anthology of Poetry and Prose by Autistics in Mid-Life (final call)

Statement of Purpose I plan to publish an anthology of poetry and prose by people on the autism spectrum, aged 35 and over.  I welcome all pieces of writing about your feelings about being aut...[Read More]

on 02/28/11 | No Comments | Read More

On My Solitary Way

One of the enduring patterns of my life is my on-again, off-again relationship with large, conventionally structured organizations of all kinds: corporate, political, and religious. In the on-again...[Read More]

on 02/10/11 | 1 Comment | Read More

Reclaiming Memory: Searching for Great-Aunt Sarah

In 2009, while searching Ancestry.com for new information to add to my family genealogy, I discovered the existence of a relative about whom no one in the family had ever spoken. She was my paternal g...[Read More]

on 01/7/11 | 5 Comments | Read More

A Haunting Photo

I want to share a photo of my father.  In the photo, he is about eight or nine years old, and he’s kneeling behind his younger twin siblings.  Except for a photo taken of him as an infant, it’s ...[Read More]

on 12/17/10 | 2 Comments | Read More

I Am So Not Like the Other Soccer Moms!

Now that my daughter’s high school soccer career has drawn to a close, I’ve had some time to reflect upon the ways in which I fit in—and didn’t fit in—with the other parents. Of course, w...[Read More]

on 12/9/10 | No Comments | Read More

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