Tag Archives: Autistic

Unstrange Mind: Expressions of PosAutivity: #AutismPositivity2014

By Sparrow Rose Jones

Autism Positivity 2014 Flash Blog
It’s April 30th. The last day of Autism Acceptance Month. And the day of the third annual Autism Positivity Flash Blog. I didn’t write for the last two iterations. The first one, I didn’t hear about. I was not part of the online Autism community at that time because I was taking a break from the stress of things — I had met my first local Autistic adult and it turned out horribly with stalking and threats. And I was living with a partner who hated autism and Autistic people. I did not know that I am Autistic when I got together with him and my diagnosis was pretty devastating for the relationship (which still somehow continued for another decade afterwards.)

I first learned about this project a few months after it launched for the first time and I was kind of shocked into silence. You see, I have a tendency when frustrated to treat Google as a sort of oracle. I will type a complete sentence in, like “He calls me stupid all the time but I’m really smart.” Once I typed in “My rat died and I’m very sad.” The hits that are returned from these sorts of non-questions are often enlightening, sometimes comforting, sometimes informative.

So I honestly don’t know if I’m the person who typed, “I wish I didn’t have Asperger’s,” but it was so much like the sorts of things I do type into Google when I’m feeling lost and distressed and, with all the stress I had in my relationship and with university and fighting for accommodations no one wanted to let me have and getting accommodations that just made my classmates so angry they bullied me so much I wished I had just dropped the class instead — I did actually drop out of becoming a math major because the attitude toward accommodations in that department was so hostile that I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish the degree either way — with all that going on, I was having a really hard time and so much of my stress and struggle was centered around being Autistic.

I will never know if I’m the person who triggered the first Autism Positivity Flash Blog or not, but it was so much the sort of thing I would have done, that I could only sit in shock and read through all those letters to . . . . if not me, someone exactly like me.

So I didn’t write last year because I was still too overwhelmed by the bigness of it all. I sat and read every single entry from that first year and I cried a lot and, most of all, I felt supported. I was afraid to say anything to anyone about the possibility that it might have been me they were writing to. I figured it didn’t matter, because whether it was me or not, there are so many other people out there who desperately needed to read those words. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of “me”s out there feeling miserable about the cards life dealt them and wishing they could play any other hand but that one. And I still have no idea if it was me or not, but I’m revealing now that it might have been me because it’s important to know that if you are going to understand what my Expression of PosAutivity really means: it might as well have been me and this project gave me something to rejoice about at a time in my life when there really didn’t seem to be anything good about me or my Autistic life.

I didn’t necessarily believe every word that I read, but it awakened something in me. A few months later, I re-opened this blog. I had shut it down after the bad experience with the local Autistic. I was afraid and I was ashamed. I re-opened the blog and in that first post, I published my photograph and my full name. I was protesting Ann Coulter’s use of the R-word and I was putting myself out there to say “this is who you are hurting when you use that word” and also putting myself out there to say “I am no longer afraid and ashamed. I will be known.”

I could not have found that courage if I had not read all those letters to . . . . someone like me . . . . that were written back in 2012.

So the joy I want to write about today is this: life dealt me a hand but it wasn’t Aces and Eights. Sure, I haven’t figured out what to do with that Trey of Hearts yet, but it’s not a Deadman’s Hand and, what’s more, the cards are merely slips of paper that only carry as much power as the players choose to assign to them. What life also dealt me was a table filled with players who have decided to turn the game into something we all can win. I am seated with great people who want to help me figure out where that Trey goes. I am seated with generous people who are willing to show me their cards so we can all play together instead of against one another.

I still struggle with the notion of “Autistic Pride.” It’s not easy for me. Inch by inch, I approach it. But in those dark times when I am unable to take pride in myself, I can always look around me and take pride in my community. We — Autistics and allies — are strong, brave, loving people. We are people who work hard to make the world better for us and those who will come after us. We are people who will take the time to write anonymous letters of hope and love to people we’ve never met — anonymous people crying out for some relief from the pain. I take joy in my people, my tribe, my family.  We are a loyal people, an understanding people, a forgiving people. I am honored to sit at the table with the wise and noble souls I find myself surrounded by.

I no longer refer to myself as “having Asperger’s.” For one, it’s now a historical term, like Dementia Praecox or Invert or Hyperkinetic Reaction of Childhood. For another, I’ve learned that what I am is Autistic and I have no need for a special label that attempts to place me in some hierarchy of “functioning levels” (and couldn’t place myself there very well even if I tried, since my “function” is so variable from task-to-task and from day-to-day.)

But also, I no longer wish I didn’t have Asperger’s (or autism of any stripe.)  I’m dating someone different — someone who loves me and admires all of me and understands that I am who I am because I am Autistic, not in spite of it. I am on a different life path so I am no longer fighting with a university for accommodations I need but am punished for requesting. And I can now see that being Autistic is not only who I am, through and through, pervasively, but it is something that connects me with a warm, welcoming, compassionate community of the most decent and loving human beings I’ve ever met in my life. Not a perfect community, because it’s made of people are none of us are perfect. But a community that has repeatedly taken my hand and helped me up when  I fell to the ground and lay there, hopeless.

This is what I am PosAutive about. Being Autistic put me in the middle of the grandest community of people I could ever have hoped to find.

 

Original post at Unstrange Mind:http://unstrangemind.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/unstrange-mind-expressions-of-posautivity-autismpositivity2014/

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Filed under Autism Positivity 2014, Autism Positivity Flash Blog, Expressions of PosAutivity, Flash Blog Posts

Expressing PosAutivity in A Negative World #AutismPositivity2014

By Kerima Cevik

Dear Mrs. Çevik,

I have spent the past week of ESY getting to know Mustafa. He is a pleasant happy 5 year old. We have discovered he has developed his own gestural language. He is able to communicate his needs very well. There is no need to send lunch, unless you are concerned about allergies. He enjoyed his sandwiches, grapes and juice with his classmates. He had a great deal of fun today.  I have attached a list of supplies he’ll need for next week’s activities. I am looking forward to working with him.

                                                          Sincerely,
XXXXXXX XXXXXX, M.Ed
Image of multicolored background with uplifted arms
and hands reaching upward  with the words
Autism Positivity 2014 Flash Blog written in black
them

There was a time when my son Mustafa spoke Turkish. Turkish imparts more meaning with less verbiage. I believe this is why he chose Turkish,  despite hearing two other languages spoken in our home. When expressive language failed him. he created his own method of communication, using a combination of the simple ASL signs he was learning and gestures, sometimes grasping objects and putting them together in order get his message across. Once he entered kindergarten, al his attempts to communicate were ignored everywhere except at home. There was a push to invalidate his attempts because they did not fit into the definition of the language he was expected to speak. PECs were half heartedly presented as an alternative and we were asked to reinforce their use. When I asked how he was supposed to learn grammar from these cards, I was told it didn’t matter, because according to professional opinion, he was not competent to create more than two word sentences.

How low would your frustration level be if you used every possible thing at your disposal to communicate and you were deliberately ignored?

When I say my son is heroic, what I mean in part is the way he handles the issues in his life like systemic ableism . Were I in his place, I believe I would meltdown repeatedly for hours on end. Yet my son gets up each day, and puts all his effort into finding any way he can to send messages to a receiver. Communication can only occur if the receiver accepts the message sent.

He is, unlike presumptions based on his labels, an incredibly patient preteen.  His frustrations are natural considering his circumstances. I didn’t learn this overnight. It took directly working with him for years, looking at him based on what he did in homeschool and not what we were told to believe. He is not a secret genius. He is not, like Big Bird, eternally 6 years old. He is not a nonspeaking infantile angelic figure in a growing asexual body here to test my faith. He is an 11 year old boy, with the mischief, hopes, dreams, good days and bad of anyone else his age. He has great challenges and he spends each day of his life in a battle to overcome them. He needs three things to express himself; communication supports, a person willing to accept all avenues of message delivery from him, and that all those working with him assume he is competent to communicate expressively. He does not require verbal speech. He needs respect and the belief that if given the assistive technology and supports he needs, he can express himself.

Sometimes the world of activism is so gruesome and harsh, and so much negative news hits so quickly that it is overwhelming. I watch people get caught up in passionate battles to be heard, to get their points across because sometimes those points mean saving lives in the balance. But the internet distances and that can cause great harm. It creates people who don’t really behave the same way offline. Hurtful nasty individuals who carry their unhappy lives online and attack others for no good purpose. I see deliberate posting of inflammatory content with the intent of spiking hits on social media. I see people looking for answers who are caught in the autism wars of groups with cult like followings and dangerous destructive agendas that condone murder and I feel myself reeling back from it all. I feel the need to unplug.

When I need air, when I want to find my center I look at my son. How tall he is now, the unmistakable mustache, the glimpses of a calmer spirit. All the professional warnings of puberty and its struggles notwithstanding, the mother who wondered what would happen when her son towered over her is now sitting beside him each day and breathing to the motion of his rocking in his seat, smiling when he reacts with joy at making himself clear. The pall lifts from my life because I remember he is the reason for what I do. He has already surpassed other’s expectations. I feel the air filling my lungs. Exhaling feels like walking in sunlight.

Blogging was never for me. It was and is for him. It was to leave a trail of words to help him find his way to the reality that he was, is,  will always be, a loved person. He matters. In a world where his peers will always be measured by the worst moments of their lives, he needed to know, everyone needs to know, that our son’s person-hood is measured by all the moments of his life. The joyful moments are so happy because we can look back on the where we began this journey and see how far we’ve come together. This body of work is a legacy for him to know, whether we are here or not, that we love him as he is. Not because we hope to change him. But because we can see him in his entirety now and we know he is an amazing person. He is a stronger person than I am. He perseveres. He overcomes, regardless of how long it takes him. He does not give up. These are the qualities of greatness. .

I could tell you that he uses a TouchChat HD somewhat to express himself. I can tell you that once all the other myriad medical questions he deserves answers to are addressed we will dedicate all our energies to this single task of helping him master the AAC app. I can tell you all about how occasionally but rarely,  he has spoken words. His voice is changing. We are surprised to learn that his changing voice is becoming a true baritone. But that is really not what this is about. This is about telling you that I believe that my son is competent to express himself without verbal speech. His performance art in communication is patient and beautiful.

I am positive that my love for my son is returned. He demonstrates that each day. Without saying a word. By his patience, an arm around my shoulder at movie time,  walking back into a room to hug out an apology for something gone wrong. I know he has very few people he cares for in this way. I am aware therefore, of how very important it is to be one of those he loves.

I cannot impart on you what it does to an autistic child when you understand them. Their entire quality of life improves. They gain confidence. They begin to self advocate. They try their best each day. Many parents have stories of learning their children must have been in excruciating pain for days weeks even months and not been able to communicate it to them. Looking back on the meltdowns and behavioral issues then has them wondering how any child could endure such things without melting down continually or lashing out more frequently. Behavior is communication.

If you want your life with your loved one to change for the better, start by changing how you feel about them. They know, in your body language, if you are disappointed, angry, ashamed. When you have done that work on yourself, begin to observe your loved one. What happens before a crisis. What happens before joy. Then do whatever is necessary to help your child complete the communication cycle with you. Be the open receiver to the message.

Love your child. Or as my late uncle John used to say when we ended our phone conversations.

“Take care, kid. Enjoy your child.”

 

Original post at: http://theautismwars.blogspot.ca/2014/04/expressing-posautivity-in-negative-world.html

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Filed under Autism Positivity 2014, Autism Positivity Flash Blog, Expressions of PosAutivity, Flash Blog Posts

Cooking up Invention: Expressions of PosAutivity #AutismPositivity2014

By Leah Kelley

Usually H’s inventions are constructed and engineered with mechanical elements, and they have frequently revolved around exploring alternative ways to create or build an exoskeleton or what have you – but lately H has shown an interest in experimenting with cooking. I can see how inventing recipes has a similar appeal for H.

Today H is making a giant peanut butter cup. He has been wanting to do this for a while and has been planning. H expresses himself with his creations  … so this seemed like the perfect thing to share for the Autism Positivity Flashblog, which this year is celebrating diversity in expression.

HReesesPBCups.jpg: I wanted to make this because I saw a giant peanut butter cup being sold around Christmas time. Well, I was thinking, Oh – I could do that. And then I was thinking, Hey, why not make a peanut butter cup pie?’

I love peanut butter cups but I think they are too small, so now I am going to deplete my peanut butter cup craving.

Easterchocolate.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was thinking, where am I going to get all the chocolate? And then I thought, well Easter is coming up – and then after Easter all the chocolate bunnies and stuff will be half price, so I will be able to get large amounts of chocolate for very cheap.

So here is what happened in pictures:

chopping.jpg doubleboiler.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He chopped and melted the chocolate. It is important not to overheat the chocolate. It works well to melt it in a pyrex measuring cup in a pot of water – like a double boiler – but much easier to handle.

pouring.jpg thebottomlayer.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

H then spread the melted chocolate in the bottom of the pie plate, and after chilling it in the freezer, he added the mixture of peanut butter and icing sugar.

peanutbutterlayer.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

He found that the peanut butter mixture spread more easily with a wooden spoon lightly dipped in water.

 

H melted more chocolate and spread it over the top of his giant peanut butter cup pie, and then chilled it again in the freezer.

topcoat.jpgpeanutbuttercuppie.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

H: This is more epic than Epic Meal Time! It is beautiful mom. Do you think it is beautiful??

Me: Yes… but it might be stuck in the pan. I am not sure what will happen when we try to get it out.

H: That’s okay – this is an experiment and it was fun!

dalektable.jpgNow H is washing dishes. I usually do that part – but it seemed timely to step it up a notch.

Well – he is mostly washing the dishes…

There may or may not have been a brief interlude where he fell into a Dalek impression with a pot prop… and the words, “Ex-ter-min-ate! BOW before the supreme DA-LEK!!” may have echoed throughout the house…

And then…  I looked up after I was writing this to discover H had dried and put the dishes away as well! Lovely!

 

Cleanup.jpgH says: Autism Positivity is about feeling good about being the way you are and figuring out for yourself how being Autistic is good for you. It is about finding out about who you are and who you want to be.

I love that!

As I am winding up this post, H has headed off to share his creation with his online Minecraft friends. I can hear him in the other room: Look at this MASSIVE peanut butter cup I made! It is a monster!!

I can hear the pride in his voice!

I love that too!!

Original post at Thirty Days of Autism:  http://30daysofautism.wordpress.com/

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Filed under Autism Positivity 2014, Autism Positivity Flash Blog, Expressions of PosAutivity, Flash Blog Posts

Young Autistics Making Me Happy – Expressions of PosAutivity: #AutismPositivity2014

By Amy Sequenzia

This poem is for my young friends: Evie, Ty, Max, Fallon, Mu, Jack, Emma, H., Philip, Oliver, Brooke, Henry, Miri, Cody, MissG, MasterL, and many others I cannot name here but I know are going to grow up to change the conversation. You make me very happy!

2e0db-screen-shot-2014-04-21-at-6-45-04-pm

 

 

 

 

They’ve already seen pain
Despite their young age
They know the words that hurt
They’ve been called names
Young Autistics, seeking acceptance

There are some even younger
Not yet harmed by dismissive words
They don’t know how hurtful it can be
To live in a world that refuses to acknowledge diversity
Young Autistics, flapping their happiness day to day

And from the happy flappiness we get our cue
The world does not change
If we don’t take control of the conversation

The little ones lead the way
Experiencing their unique view of the world
They talk, gesture, point, smile
Communication does not have to be uniform
It is up to us to embrace who they really are

The Autistics who are just a little older
Look at their elders for guidance and support
We let them know they do have value
They are learning about their rights
Facing stigma with courage and resolve

Young Autistics making me happy
Being who they are, showing the world
That they define what is normal
How they learn
What they like

Being their own amazing Autistic selves

Young Autistics make me happy
When they fight to prove their worth
Even though they already are worthy
Just for being part of the humankind

They learn how to communicate
In a way neurotypicals can understand
They show us the brilliant minds
Shield by bigotry, assumptions and lack of imagination
Young Autistics as mentors for change

From the very young
To the ones in their early teens
Young Autistics make me happy
And their families make me smile too

Positive approaches honoring Autistics
Positive self-image, fostering acceptance
Positive attitude, self-advocacy
Positive views for a successful future

PosAutivity

Young Autistics making me happy
When they show Autistic pride
Shrugging away old assumptions
Showing the reality of Autistic lives

PosAutivity

No more self-loathing
No more silencing
Ready for the fight
Taking back their rights

Being Autistic happy
Living Autistic lives
Positive views, positive future
Positive
Autistic

PosAutive

Copyright 2014 by Amy Sequenzia

This poem is for my young friends: Evie, Ty, Max, Fallon, Mu, Jack, Emma, H., Philip, Oliver, Brooke, Henry, Miri, Cody, MissG, MasterL, and many others I cannot name here but I know are going to grow up to change the conversation. You make me very happy! – See more at: http://ollibean.com/2014/04/30/young-autistics-autismpositivity2014/#sthash.8HZVvC1V.dpuf

This poem is for my young friends: Evie, Ty, Max, Fallon, Mu, Jack, Emma, H., Philip, Oliver, Brooke, Henry, Miri, Cody, MissG, MasterL, and many others I cannot name here but I know are going to grow up to change the conversation. You make me very happy!

They’ve already seen pain
Despite their young age
They know the words that hurt
They’ve been called names
Young Autistics, seeking acceptance

There are some even younger
Not yet harmed by dismissive words
They don’t know how hurtful it can be
To live in a world that refuses to acknowledge diversity
Young Autistics, flapping their happiness day to day

And from the happy flappiness we get our cue
The world does not change
If we don’t take control of the conversation

The little ones lead the way
Experiencing their unique view of the world
They talk, gesture, point, smile
Communication does not have to be uniform
It is up to us to embrace who they really are

The Autistics who are just a little older
Look at their elders for guidance and support
We let them know they do have value
They are learning about their rights
Facing stigma with courage and resolve

Young Autistics making me happy
Being who they are, showing the world
That they define what is normal
How they learn
What they like

Being their own amazing Autistic selves

Young Autistics make me happy
When they fight to prove their worth
Even though they already are worthy
Just for being part of the humankind

They learn how to communicate
In a way neurotypicals can understand
They show us the brilliant minds
Shield by bigotry, assumptions and lack of imagination
Young Autistics as mentors for change

From the very young
To the ones in their early teens
Young Autistics make me happy
And their families make me smile too

Positive approaches honoring Autistics
Positive self-image, fostering acceptance
Positive attitude, self-advocacy
Positive views for a successful future

PosAutivity

Young Autistics making me happy
When they show Autistic pride
Shrugging away old assumptions
Showing the reality of Autistic lives

PosAutivity

No more self-loathing
No more silencing
Ready for the fight
Taking back their rights

Being Autistic happy
Living Autistic lives
Positive views, positive future
Positive
Autistic

PosAutive

Copyright 2014 by Amy Sequenzia

- See more at: http://ollibean.com/2014/04/30/young-autistics-autismpositivity2014/#sthash.8HZVvC1V.dpuf

This poem is for my young friends: Evie, Ty, Max, Fallon, Mu, Jack, Emma, H., Philip, Oliver, Brooke, Henry, Miri, Cody, MissG, MasterL, and many others I cannot name here but I know are going to grow up to change the conversation. You make me very happy!

They’ve already seen pain
Despite their young age
They know the words that hurt
They’ve been called names
Young Autistics, seeking acceptance

There are some even younger
Not yet harmed by dismissive words
They don’t know how hurtful it can be
To live in a world that refuses to acknowledge diversity
Young Autistics, flapping their happiness day to day

And from the happy flappiness we get our cue
The world does not change
If we don’t take control of the conversation

The little ones lead the way
Experiencing their unique view of the world
They talk, gesture, point, smile
Communication does not have to be uniform
It is up to us to embrace who they really are

The Autistics who are just a little older
Look at their elders for guidance and support
We let them know they do have value
They are learning about their rights
Facing stigma with courage and resolve

Young Autistics making me happy
Being who they are, showing the world
That they define what is normal
How they learn
What they like

Being their own amazing Autistic selves

Young Autistics make me happy
When they fight to prove their worth
Even though they already are worthy
Just for being part of the humankind

They learn how to communicate
In a way neurotypicals can understand
They show us the brilliant minds
Shield by bigotry, assumptions and lack of imagination
Young Autistics as mentors for change

From the very young
To the ones in their early teens
Young Autistics make me happy
And their families make me smile too

Positive approaches honoring Autistics
Positive self-image, fostering acceptance
Positive attitude, self-advocacy
Positive views for a successful future

PosAutivity

Young Autistics making me happy
When they show Autistic pride
Shrugging away old assumptions
Showing the reality of Autistic lives

PosAutivity

No more self-loathing
No more silencing
Ready for the fight
Taking back their rights

Being Autistic happy
Living Autistic lives
Positive views, positive future
Positive
Autistic

PosAutive

Copyright 2014 by Amy Sequenzia

- See more at: http://ollibean.com/2014/04/30/young-autistics-autismpositivity2014/#sthash.8HZVvC1V.dpuf

This poem is for my young friends: Evie, Ty, Max, Fallon, Mu, Jack, Emma, H., Philip, Oliver, Brooke, Henry, Miri, Cody, MissG, MasterL, and many others I cannot name here but I know are going to grow up to change the conversation. You make me very happy! – See more at: http://ollibean.com/2014/04/30/young-autistics-autismpositivity2014/#sthash.8HZVvC1V.dpuf

________

Original post at: http://ollibean.com/2014/04/30/young-autistics-autismpositivity2014/

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Filed under Autism Positivity 2014, Autism Positivity Flash Blog, Expressions of PosAutivity, Flash Blog Posts

Awakening: Reinventing Mommy Celebrates 1000 Ausome Things #AutismPositivity2013

This post was originally published on Reinventing Mommy at http://reinventingmommy.blogspot.com/2013/05/awakening-reinventing-mommy-celebrates.html and is reprinted here with permission from the author.
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When I sat with my screen open to a blank page contemplating what I would write for Autism Positivity 2013, I had a hard time selecting one specific aspect of my sweet 4-year old autistic son that does not fill me with boundless joy.  He is positivity and love and goodness personified.

Yet, when thinking on this journey that both my boy and I walk hand-in-hand each day, one word came to mind – awakening.

You see, before my son was born, I was a workaholic quality engineer for a tissue processing company.  On the day I went into the hospital to give birth, I had been on bed rest for two weeks.  I looked forward to returning to my normalcy – the hustle and bustle of my career.  If not for my son’s special needs and eventual autism diagnosis, I might still would be in that same building, cranking out reports day-after-day.  My son would be in daycare like so many other children his age.  We would be looking at private schools for his coming Kindergarten year.  He might have a sibling.  I would hurriedly make my usual Earl Grey Tea without enjoyment and would speak to people in passing.  We would be an absolutely ordinary family.  Nothing remarkable about us, really.

This little boy I carried and delivered that day had other plans.  He was here to change the world for more people than he could possibly imagine.  There would be nothing ordinary about him; he was destined for an extraordinary life.

Indeed, he has been my greatest teacher.  After my son was diagnosed, his very wise developmental pediatrician recommended that I seek training in DIR/Floortime from a very respected professional at Floortime Atlanta.  I immersed myself in her teachings and those of Dr. Stanley Greenspan, but their most poignant piece of advice was this:  Follow Your Child’s Lead.

And I have been doing so ever since.

It was a radical shift in everything I had learned about parenting.  For the first two years of his life, I had operated on the principle that so many are taught – parenting is a dictatorship.  It was my role to command; it was his to follow.  I had to throw away the parenting books full of advice and milestones and take his hand, giving him control over the life through which I was to lead him.  Instead, I gave him control, stayed at his side, and was determined to let him determine the course in the days and months and years ahead.

Floortime and my son reversed those roles and – in doing so – opened my eyes to the world as I had never seen it before.  No longer did I see flapping hands as a negative; they were a sign of my son’s overflowing joy.  When I got down on his level, put my head alongside his, and looked to see what he was seeing, I saw incredible wonders and beauty in our world that I never knew existed.  In trying to take into account his sensory needs, my senses were opened to experiences that I never imagined.  I learned just how little we really needed words for communication, that I could understand my boy without him ever saying a word.

It is through my son that I have come to understand what true beauty really is.  It is through him that I take the moment to breathe in each experience and live life to its fullest.  My morning tea no longer is made in a rush.  Instead, I inhale the aromas and watch the leaves swirl peacefully in the infuser.  I listen to the gentle clinking of the rock sugar as it hits the bottom of my glass.  I see hues of color in each bubble and marvel at its travels on the breeze.  I know that all behavior is communication and I open my eyes to hear what it is that he has to tell me.  I know that love comes in so many forms that I cannot say that his lack of spontaneous hugs and kisses means he doesn’t love; rather, his whole existence is an outpouring of love.

My little boy – my little boy who says so little while saying so much – taught me all of this.  I’d argue that it is because of his autism that he has opened my eyes and ears and heart and soul to all of the richness that life has to offer.  I followed his lead and he’s showing me the world through his eyes.

What a beautiful awakening I have experienced…all because of one little boy.

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Cari Noga Celebrates 1000 Ausome Things #AutismPositivity2013

This post was originally published by Cari Noga on http://www.carinoga.com/2013/04/30/1000-ausome-things/ and is reprinted here with permission from the author.

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So it looks like one thing. Son spells out name with train tracks. Cute.

Alphabet tracks

That’s what I would have thought three years ago. And then dismissed it.

But when my son did this two nights ago, it took my breath away. After all, difficulty with communication is a hallmark of autism. That’s what the professionals say.

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Restless Hands: What Autism Means To Me #AutismPositivity2013

This post was originally published on Restless Hands, at http://restlesshands42.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/restlesshands42-celebrates-1000-ausome-things-autismpositivity2013/and is reprinted here with permission from the author.

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It’s been a rough week so far, and I’m tired, so this will be short.

Autism has brought so much positivity into my life. I still don’t know if I qualify for a “formal” autism diagnosis, but it doesn’t really matter. The autistic community has accepted me, and supported me, and helped me to understand myself, and now I no longer feel isolated for my scattered handful of mental functioning deficits, and that is enough.

Autism has given me friends, and new hobbies, and new ways of thinking about myself, and of thinking about others, and thinking about thinking, and about education, and about human rights and dignity and intelligence.

A few days ago, I saw a screening of the documentary “Wretches and Jabberers,” the story of two men who grew up without any codified means of communication and then, as adults, traveled the world teaching others about autism and about the fact that intelligence does not require speech.

And I cried at the times in the film where I could understand the body language and needs of these men and their own aides did not.

And my dear friend and housemate flapped zir hands with me at the wonderful parts.

And zir boyfriend laughed with the two of us at some of the ridiculously clueless comments that a few allistic (non-autistic) audience members made afterward, and the three of us cheered for the two autistic young men who volunteered to come up to the microphone and tell the whole audience that they liked the film.

Autism means many different things to different people, including people on the spectrum and their families. I know that for many people, being autistic has involved a lot of pain and suffering and stigma and struggle.

I will continue to fight for a world in which being autistic does not have to involve any more pain or suffering or stigma than not being autistic.

Because to me autism means, and will always mean: laughter with happy flaps, and the fun of pointing out patterns and oddities to each other, and rocking while brainstorming about disability rights, and geeky jokes, and people who squee in joy with me at rainbow colors and the unexpected beauty of under-appreciated things like math, and science, and solitude.

To me, that is autism.

And I hope they never find a cure.

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