Introducing The Loud Hands Project

Julia Bascom, author of “Quiet Hands” and “The Obsessive Joy Of Autism,” is launching a new project, pursuing ends that parallel and surpass some of the goals pursued at Shift Journal over the... [Read More]

on 01/9/12 | No Comments | Read More

Caregiver angst writing

The recent explosion of the #youmightbeanautismparentif tag on Twitter and the Stephanie Rochester case are two good reasons to spend some time thinking about the “caregiver angst” genre: writing ... [Read More]

on 12/21/11 | 3 Comments | Read More


When I was a little girl, I was scared. That sentence has taken two months to write. When I was a little girl, I was scared. When I was a little girl, I was a lot of things. I was functionally blind, ... [Read More]

on 12/14/11 | 1 Comment | Read More

Introvert Survival: Diaries

When we think of diaries the first image that comes to mind is the popular image. A slim volume with lots of pink hearts all over the cover. It might have a little toy lock on it so that its content... [Read More]

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

The Obsessive Joy of Autism

I am autistic. I can talk; I talked to myself for a long time before I would talk to anyone else. My sensory system is a painful mess, my grasp on language isn’t always the best, and it takes me qui... [Read More]

on 11/30/11 | 125 Comments | Read More

Socializing through silence

I wish you wouldn’t interpret my silence as silence. My silence is, in fact, a compliment. It means that I am being my natural self. It means that I am comfortable around you, that I trust you enoug... [Read More]

on 11/17/11 | 2 Comments | Read More

Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra

The following is a mashup of two blog posts from two very different spheres of experience, presented without comment save for this: One is a brief, humorous account of the television-viewing habits an... [Read More]

on 11/8/11 | No Comments | Read More

A Question of Humanity?

Autism is often referred to in ways that dehumanize autistic people: That autism leaves a child seemingly soul-less; that the person once present in that body and mind is now missing or unreachable. T... [Read More]

on 09/23/11 | 1 Comment | Read More

Response to A&O’s reply re: “Cornering Slim Shady in the Round Barn” and the definition of Neurodiversity

Thank you for the kind words, A&O, and the thorough, thoughtful, and gracious reply. It’s a pleasure disagreeing with you. My view is that neurodiversity is polycentered. This is not the sam... [Read More]

on 08/15/11 | 2 Comments | Read More

Reply to “Cornering Slim Shady in the Round Barn” re the definition of Neurodiversity

I wrote a post a week ago about the problems with defining “Neurodiversity.” The questions I posed in that piece remain un-answered (and perhaps that is because there are no answers; I will discu... [Read More]

on 08/15/11 | No Comments | Read More

Cornering Slim Shady in the Round Barn: On “Pinning Down” Neurodiversity

Neurodiversity. In contrast to the proprietor of Autism & Oughtisms [A&O] who reports first hearing the word less than a year ago, it’s been a little over a decade for me. It merited one ... [Read More]

on 08/12/11 | 2 Comments | Read More

Acceptance of Diversity within Neurodiversity (?)

Neurodiversity. The better part of a year since I first heard the word, and I still can’t tell you what it means. It’s not for lack of trying: I’ve been reading posts by people who label them... [Read More]

on 08/12/11 | 4 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 lit... [Read More]

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

Cohabiting with Autism

“Moms living with autism share their stories!” the headline proclaims. I know what it means. I know what it always means. And I know it will provoke some degree of wrath in me, but I click it a... [Read More]

on 05/19/11 | No Comments | Read More

The Listener Test

“At work today, I was socializing with two extroverted co-workers. I wasn’t completely comfortable, but I was able to get a few words in every once in a while. Then, a third extrovert came up, and... [Read More]

on 05/9/11 | No Comments | Read More

When Is a Disability Not a Disability? Autism Speaks Has the Answer

When is a disability not a disability?  When it is a “disorder.”  Geri Dawson of Autism Speaks made that clear yesterday in her report out from the Research and Innovation session at the White H... [Read More]

on 04/29/11 | 12 Comments | Read More

Action Words

Among the many ideas that have been put forward in recent years to explain an apparent increase in the autistic population is the concept of assortative mating. According to this hypothesis, today’... [Read More]

on 02/9/11 | No Comments | Read More

Just Be Yourself

I remember hearing those words a lot as a child. “Just be yourself.” I would hear those words when we moved and I had to make new friends. I heard those words again when I started taking intere... [Read More]

on 01/11/11 | No Comments | Read More

Going Back to the Place You Lived as a Kid for Pictures to Remember

This “short” was retrieved from the personal journal of a reader who wishes to remain anonymous, on the occasion of his reading Gwen McKay’s The Paradox of Changing the World with Words. Shot th... [Read More]

on 11/8/10 | 1 Comment | Read More

Speak Up on November 1st!

On November 1st, people all over the world are being asked to stay off social networking sites as part of a Communication Shutdown. This initiative is the brainchild of an Australian organization cal... [Read More]

on 10/29/10 | 2 Comments | Read More

Re-education: Why do we insist on speech therapy for “high-functioning” kids?

When my son was diagnosed with Autism, the assessment team gave us a detailed report of all of his “deficits” — mostly his communication style. His eye contact was not typical. His speech was ... [Read More]

on 10/14/10 | 8 Comments | Read More

The Paradox of Changing the World with Words

Words and how we use them to relate to the world can be, as Andrew Lehman discussed in a post last year, somewhat paradoxical. Although we use words to describe and frame our relationship to our surr... [Read More]

on 10/6/10 | 5 Comments | Read More

“Autism” the Word, as Glimpsed in the Wild

The autism wars will likely continue, I predict, for some time after the larger culture has rendered its own decision and moved on. Or so has run my thinking, anyway, since I stumbled onto Mom-NOS’... [Read More]

on 09/23/10 | 7 Comments | Read More

Autism as Adverb

As I’ve mentioned, I’m currently reading Lev Grossman’s latest book, The Magicians. I’m bringing it up again because in the last couple of chapters, I’ve twice come upon... [Read More]

on 09/23/10 | 5 Comments | Read More

On Puzzles, Privilege, and Missing Pronouns

When I read blogs by the parents of autistic children, I often happen across the puzzle metaphor. It finds its way into statements such as “My autistic daughter is such a puzzle” or “We’re st... [Read More]

on 08/27/10 | No Comments | Read More

Color, Space, and Spectrum

The ridiculously named and sublimely informative BoingBoing last Sunday posted an article about the interplay of language and visual perception as it affects how we see and speak about color and spa... [Read More]

on 07/2/10 | No Comments | Read More

A Neat Verbal Write-Off

So we’re reading The Speed Of Dark in my sci-fi class next week, and I’m going to be sharing some information about autism. Yays. I’m still scripting various things out, but right now I’m w... [Read More]

on 06/7/10 | No Comments | Read More

Social Anxiety and Autism

I am aware I have a subtly different style of communication and can see how it contributes to social anxiety. I tend to stare at the floor and listen. This way, I can usually get the context of a co... [Read More]

on 04/22/10 | 2 Comments | Read More

How (and Why) to Use Framing in the Discussion of Autism

As is the case elsewhere, in the struggle over how autism is to be defined and understood, how a discussion is framed has more influence on the outcome of any conflicts that arise within that discussi... [Read More]

on 04/9/10 | No Comments | Read More

Language, Rhetoric, and Expression: There’s Power There

Recently, Kowalski posed the question, “So you really think you’re smarter than Jenny McCarthy?” in response to some parents venting on a facebook thread about the McCarthy article over at Huff.... [Read More]

on 03/17/10 | 2 Comments | Read More

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