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Posts Tagged ‘autistic adults’

5 Things “Autism Moms” Aut to Know

Where is the Acceptance HWY?

Where is the Acceptance HWY?

Before we get to this list I would like to say I never got the memo telling me to dub myself an “Autism Mom.” It never occurred to me that I was one. When I came on-line 5 yrs. ago I realized it was a thing people do or a thing people do to you. A weird thing to boot. As if Autism was a soccer league and we were now all on this new team with the ridiculous team name of ”The Autism Moms.” I am the mother of an Autistic child (now a teen.) I am not a grizzly bear or a warrior mama bear. Just a woman that gave birth twice… with one of my son’s being an Autistic person. I don’t want extra attention, sympathy, kudos or pity. I don’t need to call myself or have anyone else call me an Autism Grizzly Mama, Warrior Mom or any other variation on those themes. It doesn’t take a grizzly bear or a warrior to raise an Autistic person no matter what “Autism Moms” prefer you would believe. It takes a natural ability to see through a disability. Our children don’t need to see us being coddled and applauded for raising them. What internal message does that input to them?


I don’t want or need “extra credit” for raising the child I gave birth to and you shouldn’t either. It says something about a person that needs to elevate themselves for caring for another person in need. Especially, a higher needs individual. Isn’t that what stripped down humanity is all about? Caring for others and others caring for you? At the end of the day, week, year and millennium that is really all we have internally. Our love of self and others and the care we deposit there. If we focused on this more we would feel at ease and realize we did not need extraordinary validations to do the things we were born to do. Our lives are learning challenges we should all love and accept willingly without special accolades.


Raising an Autistic child is not an early intervention race or competition. It’s a wonderful chance to connect to a new school of thought. An emerging neurodivergence; something much bigger than all of us. It is the chance to respect differently and to be respected differently. To learn about the layers of thought alive in yourself and others. It challenges you to see things from other perspectives revealing facets you may have never considered before. It is uplifting and challenging all at once. Exactly what life is meant to be.  So be the strong person you are and do not play “the Autism card” for sympathy, laughs or extra credit. Autism is an integral part of your loved one. It is not something to casually curse or use at your own discretion for savior status, sympathy and/or attention. It is most certainly not your title before Mom.


1.) Autism is not a thing separate from the person.

Your child is Autistic. This means that Autism is a genetic core factor of their being. It is like a filter through which sensory and cognitive information is delivered to them in every minute of every day. They feel and see things from an Autistic point of view, that is the nature of who they are. This POV is not anything that will be separated from them. Ever. Your child isn’t ‘with’ Autism, Autism is with them. Understanding these facts as truths is one of the most important things you can ever do for your Autistic loved one.


2.) Autistic people hear the disparaging remarks you make and internalize them.

People can be so objective when speaking about Autism. As if it is a “thing” see #1. Words have many meanings. Words are also interpreted differently by literal thinkers and the other types of thinkers on this spectrum of thought. Be cognitive that Autism is a large part of an Autistic person’s Autonomy. It belongs to them. They own it. To hear the many disparaging things people will say out loud about Autism, stings. Painfully. Imagine those things turned inwardly day after day, year after year, decade after decade? The things you hear and read in the media. The things you hear and see in your day to day life and NOW so prominently in social media. The messaging against Autistic people is pervasive. From the overt assaults to the naïve questioning implications. It is easy to see why Autistic people have self esteem issues that reside in anger. Truly think about this. If you would not like the things you say about Autism to be said about yourself, I suggest you rethink what you ARE saying before you say it.


3.) If you believe Autism is a curse, it will be.

Sadly, people have been pre-programmed to perceive disability as a ‘curse’ as wrong and bad for society. A natural part of our world, an integral piece of humanity has been treated with such disdain and disrespect. The horrific history of the assaults against disabled people are unfathomable in this day and age. YET, everyday we still see people say and do things that prove how deeply this hatred has been ingrained into the ‘civilized’ psyche. The energy you feel when you internally believe such hateful things will exude from you. IF you are harboring disdain and hatred towards Autism and/or disability, people perceive that from you. Especially, Autistic people. Especially, your child. If your child believes you believe they are a curse to you…what’s to stop them from responding to you in kind? People do learn what is “expected” from them even when they cannot fully give it.  If you expect something from your child a certain way, that child will seek to fulfil your prophecy.  We need to be wise enough to transcend from where our forefathers and mothers went wrong. Create a new prophecy full of understanding, respect and equality.


4.) Autistic people remind us all to be honest.

Honesty is the best policy. Something instilled into me from my childhood. I have adhered to this factoid despite the social messaging that tells you honesty is sometimes harnessed and edited. People are considered blunt or rude when being honest. People sometimes accuse honest and plain speaking individuals as aggressive bullies. How dare you not sugar coat my “honesty”? When as a society, did we decide it was better to skip real honesty listening only to what we like? Using honesty as a sword and only when it suits our needs? There’s tact, there’s grace, there’s charm but there is also; B.S. If honesty comes with salt and vinegar we don’t want it? We won’t accept it? How dare we -dictate the flavor of honesty. Autistic people rarely play distasteful games with honesty. Their truths are their truths. Valid truths we need. Society can learn many lessons here. Be honest with yourselves and your families. Be real, don’t demand a sugar coated truth from others. Aren’t we grown up enough for the plain truth?


5.) Parental attitudes have the ability to transform an Autistic person’s life.

This is THE key. Inner~standing the life of your Autistic child puts you on the road to success. Connect to and read the writings of Autistic adults that were once Autistic children. Talk to your child (no matter the current state of their verbal capabilities) and validate their differentials so different from your own. Discuss how you each experience the world uniquely and define your own family respectfully. Respect those differentials exquisitely because, they are indeed exquisite. If you follow where this mind/body -central nervous system information leads you, things will evolve more comfortably. Communication flows much smoother when there are core understandings between parties. Adopt the attitude that respects the integrity of Autism being a core distinction of the human experience for people on the spectrum, no if’s ands or buts.

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Sarah Van Deisel's cool view!

Sarah Van Deisel’s cool view!

Autism is a continuum that ranges in degree. Autistic traits are human traits amplified and de amplified in variations on all Autistic themes. United in similarities and differences, just like every other human on the planet. Sub sets upon intersecting subsets in beautiful snowflakey layers.



When you understand how Autistic sensitivities and processing distinctions work you are better equipped to safeguard and support a person while helping them to emerge and achieve individual success. So many simple fixes can be made for people in a world made to be so complex. If you are focusing on the heart of the matter you will naturally understand this without prejudice. Utilizing the pragmatic knowledge of Autistic people will bring welcome relief for everyone. Healing relief.


All Autistic people have concern for other Autistic people. Why wouldn’t they? Autism means a lot of things to a lot of people. I believe all interested parties want society to have a realistic and humane glimpse into what Autism is and how we can all work together supportively. No one wants this more than the generations of Autistic adults that came to be with limited, if any humane support. Constantly being made to “fit in” has been an unsatisfied theory that the world has exhausted Autistic people with. It is time to work from the Autistic perspective for a more comfortable and successful future. Setting and reaching goals that make Autistic sense.


Allowing a person to feel supported as they are is the humane way to be. Why must we continue to only support and strive for what has been deemed “appropriate?” Living to typical standards is truly not always the appropriate thing and we all see this in our ever evolving “typical world.” Every person is going to have differing needs and ways of being. Just because a person is Autistic doesn’t mean they need to be pathologized. Autistic people are normal. Normal in their own Autistic way.


The Neurodiversity movement has been questioned and maligned in the weeks since Steve Silberman’s groundbreaking book NeuroTribes was released.  A book highlighting  the perspective on Autism I have had instinctually from the moment my son was diagnosed a dozen yrs. ago. Knowing that Autism is a natural part of humanity and that the Autistic experience is valid. Autistic people know just how natural they are and they have been shouting it from their hearts, minds and souls. Now we have the means to hear those shout outs and the means to shift the viewpoints that society has previously ”settled for.” The false narratives set forth that have hindered entire generations from embracing ways to support Autism naturally, must now be forgotten.



Let’s not further divide the community interested in Autism by deciding that Neurodiversity does a disservice, is invalid or only applies to a select few. Do not believe that the acceptance of neurodiversity means you don’t seek therapy or supports. I cannot count the number of times I have seen dissenters saying that Neurodiversity somehow only applies to so-called “High Functioning” Autistic people. Ironically, Autistic people are inclusive and do not “buy into” those assigned functioning labels!  They know just how fluid Autism is, how best to support it and how being marginalized feels. They would never purposely hinder supports, marginalize or pigeonhole other Autistic people. This civil rights and soul filled movement is about heart. It’s not about money or who was the first person to do or create something wonderful in the BIG book of Autism. It’s about people treating each other with the humanity we all deserve. Preconceived notions about Autism need to be erased. A whole new world of defining moments is at hand.




PLEASE allow the people with the inside knowledge to write the NEW Big book of Autism from a first person perspective.

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The J-Mac Effect


Hot Topic............!!

Hot Topic…………!!

We all remember that viral-video of Jason McElwain : the Autistic Basketball manager made, star ” J-Mac.” If you don’t? Well then,  just Google it. He is everywhere. A talented, dedicated guy that got a 1 in a million chance to be a superstar!! That 2006 moment from his life was transformative. Transformative for him. More curiously transformative for others.

Watch his story HERE:

Jason the beloved manager for the team. An Autistic young man that  so obviously loves the comradery of sports particularly, basketball.  All season long working his job, enjoying the ups and downs in the ‘life of a season’. It is magic. An excellent environment for any person Autistic, non -Autistic or any other difability. The endorphins that flow in that on-going setting are very powerful. I experienced this as a kid growing up and again in 2010 when my non-verbal son Wyatt and I joined the “A-League” in San Dimas California. An entire season of Baseball games and after game fun for 4 teams of Autistic kids of all sizes, ages, shapes and abilities. Transformative indeed. Good healthy outdoor activity with movement, patterning and friendship. It was magic.

Getting into the game, as you are.

Getting into the game, as you are.

Teamwork does ROCK.

Teamwork does ROCK.

Archives of that season HERE:


Letting people evolve their abilities naturally with supports and structures is how we ran that season. How most season’s run. Everyone was encouraged to play to their own ability and no one criticized anyone else’s style. Nice. An ideal atmosphere to learn and grow. Problems arise when you “tamper” with that simple formula.


This week I was surprised to see a NEW viral basketball video hauntingly reminiscent of the 2006 video I’ve cited. Time warp or something I will dub the “J-Mac Effect.“? Another basketball team manager with a difability and an enormous love of the game getting out on the court in the last minutes of the season.

Here is his ‘transformative’ MOMENT:


At first blush the majority of people see a wonderful thing…even MORE wonderful in that an opposing player kicked in with empathy for this latest team manager on the court. A great kid going with the obvious flow of what the crowd wanted. The coach makes dramatic proclamations that he had pre-planned and decided the last minute of  this  last game would belong to Mitchell come win or lose?!! Who’s moment is this again, Coach? Seems like he felt Mitchell needed his ‘J-Mac moment’ and the News, the crowd and everyone else became swept into that madness because, they needed it TOO. Whether Mitchell likes it or not he is on the spot to make this shot. Wow. Time for your transformation so everyone can feel good. It seemed forced and unnatural to me. If my son had been placed in that situation he may have taken his shoes off and thrown them to the top off the gymnasium ceiling! Mitchell is visably slumping and distressed as he misses shot after shot after shot. A lot of pressure thrust on someone unexpectedly. Had he not made a basket the angst aftermath could have been devastating for him. Happily, he got that hoop and  smiling photo op being lifted atop the team. But, at what cost?  Who was it really for? Fairy tale endings are best left for Hollywood. Forcing transformative moments is not what is needed. Understanding people with difabilities, including and respecting them as they are is.  So this video struck a very raw nerve with many.

Too HOT to handle.

Too HOT to handle.


This is a HOT topic and sets people off  igniting debate. Autistic adults do not want to be set up, coddled, infantalized and told they are so inspiring by merely being themselves. So why do we think our children will? Imagine how you might feel? Possibly hurt, insulted, marginalized and annoyed?  For Mitchell to be molded into the latest inspiration story was wrong even though his mom seems genuinely happy for this memory. Above all else intellectual respect is what feels good, what human dignity truly craves. It’s what people feed on, self-worth for the person you are and the things that you like to do. Whatever that is! Who wants to be patronized and turned into some coach and news stations idea of a ‘feel good’ story? The J-Mac effect.  To be respected  and appreciated for his loyal work, love of the game and for performing his managerial duties is what is expected, hoped for. That’s how Mitchell is a huge part of the team. Not some over the top Inspiration Porn for others trying to turn him into J-Mac. Yes, you heard me right…”Inspiration Porn” This is what Autistic Adults have dubbed this type of mass ‘back patting behavior’ when a person with differences is spotlighted (kind of.)


We have all seen this before. Like the recent Kathie Lee Gifford over the top debacle. The story about the ‘sad Autistic Kid’ that no-one sits with at lunch. Awwww, I know: let’s do a “feel good story” about the wonderful boy whom will sit with him. Bring them to New York for their big moment and to tell their inspirational story LIVE!!  Again good intentions gone awry….Kathie Lee’s big ego, I mean-idea to compose a song is the most inspirational ‘I.P.’ move ever.


What is that???

& Can we stop??


Instead of these feel good stories really geared for and about the ‘non differing people’. Give these guys the kind of awe  and help they truly deserve: How about a story describing what it takes for folks like J-Mac and Mitchell to navigate the cool jobs they have landed for themselves and kept with a season of hard work, devotion and diligence? Give the audience ideas what it takes to support their success’. Treat them like the real valid team members that they are. Give them shots to play all season. Don’t turn them into a storybook ending that teaches nothing useful about inclusion and leaves everyone just sayin’ …..awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

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This phrase is so very important to me. For a myriad of reasons. These are the top 3…First and foremost, it is my HOPE for the WORLD! Secondly, it is the place I have EVOLVED to! # 3 and most especially, it is my WISH for Wyatt and all the other beautiful AUTISTIC CHILDREN and ADULTS! When common knowledge and understanding …BRIDGE THIS GAP…life will be enriched!! FOR US ALL!

If I have said it once…I’LL SAY IT AGAIN! There is so much to be learned from individuals on the SPECTRUM!!Once you immerse yourself into autisms intricacies. You begin to analyze the human mind in ways you never would.To break down the thought process and examine its function…is something not normally done.

Generally people are just so darn busy living, time is not taken to really stop and think. Think about the brain as an amazing computer pulling up file after file you desire. We don’t appreciate its GENIUS . Truly.When you live with a person who’s brain does not function like yours, life is a never ending challenge. You learn to appreciate and , to think outside of the box . Adapting to the situation while enriching your own life. Reconciling to a stronger force.

So I have chosen to embrace This “force”, this “bully”…AUTISM. Deciding that it has given me a clearer view into thought processes and why we “do what we do.” So I have made FRIENDS with autism. Definitely NOT my B.F.F.!! But, my lifelong “friend” nonetheless! So…do I go around hating this unexpected companion? Building resentment brick by brick , day in and day out? NO… not if I want to breathe, live and enjoy my child. If I can’t stop the AUTISM, I have to stop the anger. Being angry at something NEVER makes it GO AWAY!! Just ask my “typical” 21 year old Son …on a BAD DAY !? SERIOUSLY , you just have to call a “truce.” You will never see “eye-to-eye” with this friend but, you MUST COEXIST.Like all friendships…taking the GOOD with the BAD.

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