Tag Archives: kids

Letter to My Younger Self

Dear Me, so bright eyed and bushy tailed.

Wild child, who can’t sit still, full of joy bouncing off the walls. Yes you are strange, but please don’t fear your uniqueness. Be you, don’t grow bitter.Stay strange and amazing.

You have so much potential. Yes, your mother is right you are smart. Stop believing when people tell you otherwise.

It’s okay that you don’t need people. That makes you independent NOT defective. You are not cold and robotic you are calm and logical. Yes you do things differently but some day this will be your strength.

The people who picked on you never made it far in life. It was them not you who had the problem. Bullies are insecure and often suffer on the inside, lashing out to make themselves feel bigger. Don’t be like them. Stay kind.

Silly girl, who talks to the animals and trees. Never stop. Don’t worry about what other people think of you. You are perfect just the way you are.

 

With deepest love,

-Me

Standardized Testing Isn’t Totally Useless, but It Does Miss the Point | Scott Barry Kaufman – Big Think

This video from Big Think has some great points. I have never felt like the public school system was fair to me and the way I needed to learn in my own way.

Teachers wanted me to sit still and my peers bullied me. I have always loved learning but I HATED school. Something is wrong with that picture.

The world needs different types of minds, all minds, different perspectives. They are all valuable.

I can take no credit for Big Think‘s video below. Please check them out for more content.

I Love to Hate You – Autism & Socks

Socks.

It is more of a Sensory Processing Disorder problem than an Autism problem, but maybe it’s an Autism problem because we don’t explain the discomfort to the people around us.

We don’t know you don’t feel the same way we do about socks. We think that our behavior should be self explanatory because socks just suck that much. I have very early memories regarding the unpleasantness of socks. They felt like fiberglass burning into my ankles and the seam was a large lizard wiggling around on my toes.

When I was a baby my mother liked to dress me in socks with lace trim. I hated lace more than anything. Thinking about those socks makes me itch. Nothing could ever make them feel right. Looking around me everyone had socks. I thought you all were crazy. Why on earth would anyone put up with this much pain?

My mother said it was to protect my shoes, because shoes are expensive. It was a logical enough explanation, but as I got older I remember rubbing my feet and ankles raw by pawing at my socks.

Wet socks and wet clothing have always been impossible for me. My mother once asked me to put on wet socks. I can’t remember very clearly what happened after she asked that question (perhaps I had a meltdown) but I feel like the situation ended with vomit.

As I got older I started picking my own socks at the store. Ankle socks with no seam in the toe were my favorite when I could find them on sale. I had expensive taste in socks. If I could not find socks without a seam, I prefer ankle socks with a seam on top but they have to be soft.

I tried wearing shoes without socks, most of the time I ended up with blisters on my tinder feet.My balance is not the best and I am a bit of a klutz. I imagine my feet take quite a beating when not protected by socks.

Flats were great until my feet began to sweat. Pools of sweat feel like oceans in my shoes – it is ALMOST as bad as wet socks.

I try to stock up when I find a type of sock that I like. If a company changes their socks it will take me a while to get used to them.

Nothing is more annoying than a sock problem. The distraction is so intense it becomes hard to think about anything else without stimming. Maybe that is why I went barefooted so much as a child. I loved the feel of warm dry grass and hot asphalt on my feet.

I don’t run around with my shoes off any more. Now that I’ve found socks that feel nice I prefer not to feel small things under my feet. (As an adult, at 125 lbs, your feet hurt more when stepping on objects than they did when you only were closer to 60lbs.)

Even now there are some sensory days that I just can’t handle socks. If that happens I don’t wear them. It’s that easy. It is not fair that I put myself through the torture.

Itchy socks take away my valuable spoons. I need those they are mine!

I’ve been wearing socks for over 30 years now. It has taken me a long time to go from hating socks to loving socks.

Baby steps, progress is progress no matter how long it takes.

When People Say Children With Autism Are Products of ‘Bad Parenting’ – Kerry Magro on The Mighty

This one gets me.

Autism is a measurable neurological difference in brain development. Brain scans reveal that Autistic brains are physically different and react to external stimulus in different ways than “normal brains”. These differences are visible in behaviors from early childhood. (Mine were VERY visible from the beginning.)

Autism also seems to be genetic. Looking at my parents, grandparents, aunts, and cousins – I have NO doubt that this is true. I know this now, but I did not always think this way.

Maybe it was my Autistic perspective, but my family was fairly strict with manners and public behavior.

I could be wild like the Tasmanian Devil but I knew when to turn it off. I learned NOT to have outburst in stores and could hold myself together until I was alone or in the bathroom.

From my point of view, working SO hard to behave, other kids who could not hold it together looked like brats.

I know because I WAS this child in my teen years. I did not make my mother’s life easy, but she loved me and accepted me. That is what I needed more than anything.

We did not know I was Autistic and my own mother OFTEN called me a brat, spoiled, and other names. She did the best she could. It was all just a misunderstanding.

My mother did the best she could raising me. She worked hard, long, hours. We argued, but she loved me unconditionally. I am the result of amazing parenting.

Saying I am the result of bad parenting is just another insult – telling me I am defective and broken. Stop telling us that there is something wrong with us. We are different and that’s okay.

Kerry Magro is an AMAZING voice in the Autism community. He is helping to change the way the world sees Autism and Autistic people. Kerry had the following to say in a recent post on The Mighty.

I can take NO credit for anything below. Please check out Kerry Magro and read the full article here on The Mighty.

It’s ridiculous to think “bad parenting” is a cause of autism. That should be the end of the conversation right there. But I do usually follow up these conversations after sharing about my personal experiences by saying the following:

“By being a champion to your child on the autism spectrum, you can make a difference in their lives.”

By showing your child unconditional love, learning more about autism and providing them with supports whenever possible, you can do wonderful things for your child. Advocate for them, and whenever someone says autism is “caused” by bad parenting, make sure to educate those around you about the harm of these misconceptions. And the next time that happens, you can use this quote from one of our leading autism advocates, Dr. Temple Grandin“Autism is a neurological disorder. It’s not caused by bad parenting.”

Please read the full article here.

How ‘Autism Warrior Parents’ Harm Autistic Kids – How Cure Culture Hurts

The other day I commented on one of those “Child Cured by Autism” posts on Facebook. What on earth was I thinking? The sharks appeared.

Disbelievers and angry parents who HATE Autistic aduts with the “high functioning” / Asperger’slabel. These people can not stand to see us grouped in with their children.

Things get ugly fast and I remove myself from the toxicity.

I see them on Facebook and hide them from my news feed. Memes by Autism Moms talking about how difficult being a parent of an Autistic child is. I get it parenting an Autistic child is hard – but so is parenting a typical child.

My biggest issues with these posts that these parents make the children feel like a burden they focus on the problems these parents have and are negative. Why can’t we focus on the positive parts of this child?

Focusing on someone’s deficits and shortcomings and telling them that they are defective or broken is NEVER okay – especially for a developing child.

Telling the world of your child’s “faults” via the internet is cruel.

Eventually, when your child is old enough they may desire to start speaking for themselves. This is a personal choice and should be respected.

When and if the time is right, I hope they DO grow to self advocate – we need more Aspies sharing in this world.

Adults usedto talk for me when I was a child. I believed everything they said about me – that I was stupid, rude, strange.

My parents spoke for me, often inaccurately but I never corrected them. I have never been very good at explaining my inner workings out loud.

Children should never have to grow up feeling like they are not good enough the way they are.

Autism Awareness month happens every year, but we don’t need awareness we need acceptance. We need love and understanding.

Like a flower, when nurtured, Autistic children will grow and bloom. Please don’t pour poison on your flowers.

I can take NO credit for the text below. Please check out the full article by Shannon Des Roches Rosa  HERE on The Establishment.

Autism Warrior Parents (AWPs) insist on supporting their autistic kids either by trying to cure them, or by imposing non-autistic-oriented goals on them—rather than by trying to understand how their kids are wired, and how that wiring affects their life experience. Ironically, an AWP’s choices not only interfere with their own kid’s happiness and security, but contribute to social biases that prevent autistic people of all ages from getting the supports they need. Worst of all, by publicly rejecting their own children’s autism and agency, and by tending to hog the autism spotlight, AWPs are partially responsible for the public’s tendency to sympathize with parents rather than autistic kids —which, at its most extreme, can mean excusing parents and caretakers who murder their autistic charges.

But parents who learn how to spot and sidestep AWP mindsets can make their autistic child’s life (as well as their own) so, so much easier.

Read the full article here.

#SheCantBeAutistic

A powerful hashtag (#SheCantBeAutistic) has been blowing up on Twitter this month bringing attention to an issue that I’ve been talking about a lot recently.

I was not diagnosed until I was 30 years old because people thought #SheCantBeAutistic.

They were wrong. I am Autistic and I spent too many years waiting to find that out.

Below are just a few of the reasons that I “can’t be Autistic”.

#SheCantBeAutistic – she has a great job.

#SheCantBeAutistic – she pays her bills on time.

#SheCantBeAutistic – she works full time.

#SheCantBeAutistic – she has a husband.

#SheCantBeAutistic – she has pets.

#SheCantBeAutistic – she is too smart.

#SheCantBeAutistic – she wears makeup.

#SheCantBeAutistic – she bathes.

#SheCantBeAutistic – she is very talkative.

#SheCantBeAutistic – her imagination is rally good.

#SheCantBeAutistic – she has feelings.

#SheCantBeAutistic – she knows how to read and write.

#SheCantBeAutistic – she is successful in life.

#SheCantBeAutistic – she seems happy and warm.

Anonymously Autistic – One of Many Invisible Women on The Spectrum

I am one of many anonymous invisible Autistic women. We are invisible or anonymous for many reasons.

Some of us are anonymous because we fear the world is not ready to change the way it sees Autistic people. There is something wrong with the world when a common response to an Autistic person trying to come out is “You’re nothing like Rain Man!”

Of course I most of us are not like a fictional movie character. Most of us are unique individuals. That is like me comparing all Neurotypicals to the cast of Beverly Hills 90210. Not all NT’s are hyper social just like not all Aspies are like Raymond Babbitt.

Some of us are anonymous because we like our privacy. We may tell our closest friends and relatives but find it hard to talk about our Autism with people we are not close to. Those of us who choose to remain anonymous are lucky.

There is one group of anonymous invisible  Autistic women that I am particularly worried about. It is a group that the world ignores, because many people still don’t know to look for them.

I was once one of these women. I am Anonymously Autistic now because I was missed and dismissed by doctors over and over again.

Growing up I was one of many invisible girls on the Autism spectrum. I felt strange, inadequate, and out of place.

My great grandmother died when I was in the fourth grade. I remember feeling defective because my sadness did not come out in me like it did in the people around me. I wanted to feel sad, and even though I might be sad, but could not act sad.

What was wrong with me? I felt defective and for the first time I questioned my own sanity. I was in firth grade wondering if my lack of expression meant that I was doomed to grow up into a psychopath.

This thought worried me for a long time and messed with my head quite a bit. If only I had known back then that I was Autistic. Maybe I would have known that inappropriate affect was normal for kids like me.

I didn’t find out about my Autism until much later in life, when I was almost thirty and my coping strategies no longer kept up with the demands of holding an adult job.

It was as if everything broke. Like a train off the rails, I was moving too fast and not respecting the boundaries that I didn’t know I had.  If I had known about my Autism I might not have made an ass of myself at so many networking events.

I didn’t know about my Autism. It was invisible until I heard the words of another amazing Autistic woman speaking about the way her mind worked. Temple Grandin is my hero because her words woke me up.

I always knew I was different, but now I have a better understanding of those differences. Knowing your weaknesses allows you to strengthen them and I am my own biggest project.

Temple was the spark that burned my invisibility cloak exposing me to the world of Autism and eventually lead to me bringing my world to this blog.

I’m no Temple Grandin but I am going to keep writing about Autism until we are no longer invisible. I may need a new laptop though – the letters are wearing off my keyboard already. 😉

 

 

 

Letter to Toni Braxton Regarding Diezel’s Autism Status — The Liberal Aspie

Autism is NOT a disease that can be cure it is a way of thinking and experiencing the world. One does not simply git rid of Sensory Processing Disorder or change the wiring of their brains.

It is mentally damaging to make Aspies learn to blend in like neurotypical kids because it implies that they way they were born was not good enough.

WHY can’t he just be a wonderful Autistic boy? Why does he have to be “normal”. Poor kid is going to have self esteem issues in the future.

Dear Toni Braxton, Recently, you have announced in an interview with Access Hollywood that your youngest son, Diezel, “is no longer autistic,” giving credit to Suzanne Wright–in light of her death from pancreatic cancer–for his ability to “overcome his diagnosis.” I’m sorry to have to say this as a fan of your music, but… [. . .]

To say that your son is “showing no signs of autism” is to say that he has been taught to mask every trait that comprises his neurology in order to pass as a normal, average person. In other words, you and the therapists Wright referred him to have taught him that being autistic is frowned upon by society–and it shouldn’t be. Diezel may be a social butterfly now thanks to the speech and language therapy he received in school, assuming he wasn’t referred to a therapist outside of an academic facility, but that does not stipulate that he’s transformed into a neurotypical person.
Oh, and the “my son Diezel suffered from autism” line? The word “suffered” should only apply to cancer patients, NEVER autistic kids. God only gifted Diezel with the ability to think differently from everyone else.

Read full articel via Letter to Toni Braxton Regarding Diezel’s Autism Status — The Liberal Aspie

Autism—It’s Different in Girls

Research suggests the disorder often looks different in females, many of whom are being misdiagnosed and missing out on the support they need.

It’s different for girls. We learn to blend in until we cannot blend in any more. The pressure becomes too much and we fall apart. Passing for neurotypical is something that many Aspie women learn – causing anxiety, low self esteem, and more.

Having to “pass” as a neurotypical person says “you are not good enough as you are.” It takes up a lot of energy when our energy is already limited. Things will not change until the world knows we exist.

I can take no credit for the information below – please check out the AMAZING full article on Scientific American by Maia Szalavitz here.

One in 68 children in the U.S. is affected by autism—but new research suggests that current diagnostic methods overlook girls, meaning even more kids may be on the spectrum.

Girls with autism may be harder to diagnose for several reasons, including criteria developed specifically around males and overlapping diagnoses such as obsessive-compulsive disorder or anorexia.

In 2014 psychologist Thomas Frazier of the Cleveland Clinic and his colleagues assessed 2,418 autistic children, 304 of them girls. They, too, found that girls with the diagnosis were more likely to have low IQs and extreme behavior problems. The girls also had fewer (or perhaps less obvious) signs of “restricted interests”—intense fixations on a particular subject such as dinosaurs or Disney films. These interests are often a key diagnostic factor on the less severe end of the spectrum, but the examples used in diagnosis often involve stereotypically “male” interests, such as train timetables and numbers. In other words, Frazier had found further evidence that girls are being missed. And a 2013 study showed that, like Frances, girls typically receive their autism diagnoses later than boys do.

Girls may have a greater ability to hide their symptoms. “If you were just judging on the basis of external behavior, you might not really notice that there’s anything different about this person,” says University of Cambridge developmental psychopathologist Simon Baron-Cohen. “It relies much more on getting under the surface and listening to the experiences they’re having rather than how they present themselves to the world.”

 

Lots more GREAT information in the full article here.

 

Related post on AnonymouslyAutistic.net Anonymously Autistic – One of Many Invisible Women on The Spectrum about my own personal experience as an Autistic woman here.

Hiding in Plain Sight: Diagnosis Barriers for Autistic Women and Girls

I have encountered many of the below barriers or have communicated with women who have. I can take no credit for the following information but it was too good not to share.

Written by Cynthia Kim (Musings of an Asipe), AWN Contributing Writer please check out the full article here on the Autism Women’s Network.

Many autistic women don’t receive a diagnosis until they reach middle age. Those of us who are being diagnosed today in mid-life grew up during a time when Asperger’s was not yet an available diagnosis in the DSM. By the time we reached adulthood, we’d often mastered basic social skills, masking many of our autistic traits. It’s not until we learn about autism–often by chance, sometimes as part of researching a son or daughter’s diagnosis–that we have an aha! moment. Armed with our research, we set out on the road to confirming our suspicions, and eventually join the ranks of the late-diagnosed. That was my experience and I think it’s become the apocryphal late-diagnosis story.

In fact, one of the most commonly cited reasons for not getting diagnosed as an adult is the prohibitive cost of an autism evaluation, which can range from $1500 to $3000 or more in the US. While some women are successful in obtaining a formal or informal ASD diagnosis in the course of therapy, others eventually give up in frustration, often losing faith in the mental health system in the process.

There is a widely held belief that many women are simply “missed” by the mental health system because they’re more likely to develop compensatory strategies early in life.

Many women have similar memories of childhood–either of being explicitly taught social rules or of learning to model the social behaviors of peers. Growing into adulthood, we often learn to hide in plain sight, suppressing our more obvious autistic traits while going through our days feeling as if we’re faking social interactions.

Often, women seek a diagnosis because they can’t escape the feeling that something is fundamentally wrong. Society expects women to have strong intuitive social skills. Many autistic women talk of their belief that one day they would “mature” or simply “get it.” When they reach adulthood or midlife and that still hasn’t happened, they begin looking for another explanation.

Unfortunately, by that point, many women have become so adept at passing that mental health professionals refuse to believe they’re autistic.

Written by Cynthia Kim (Musings of an Asipe), AWN Contributing Writer please check out the full article here on the Autism Women’s Network.