Category Archives: Autism Positivity 2015

Autistic Love: A contribution to this year’s Autism Positivity Flashblog #AutismPositivity2015

By Stims Stammers and Winks

The theme for this year’s Autism Positivity Flashblog is “Acceptance, Love and Self-Care”.

I would like to write an extended meditation on what the meaning of Autistic “Love” might be.

In the traditional set of meanings, love is something established by two people in mimicry of the love of the creator. Within the heteronormative couple form, love is about consistent reaction, attunement to the being of the other, locking eyes and arms in a supreme bond, love is supposed to be a dual connectivity, about sharing a feeling and a shared devotion.

The historical positioning of the Autistic as an idiot-savant countervails the supposed bicameral nature of the love chamber. Autism was originally defined as “morbid self-absorbtion” but it was defined as such during a time in which European thinkers had only recently hastily philosophically *created* the notion of independence and individuality, a concept that had not existed previously due to the overwhelming power of the family and the nation.

The suggestion of a self separate from the world is a very risky one. The self always incorporates representations of groups identified with, objects, details, pieces of imagery and devoted notions or ideas. “The self” if it is a thing, is perpetually porous, like a cell whose borders actively expand and contract, like the real borders of nations that cannot let everything in but also cannot let nothing in or out. The self operates by osmosis and by spilling out.

Autistic people are often defined by their interests. Indeed, the category of Autism has become popular because as a concept it allows people whose diagnosis implied (in our ableist society) that they could not have interests or enthusiasms, to have legitimated interests and enthusiasms. The savant model provided a basis for integration of psychiatrically and developmentally disabled people into society because of its claim that sometimes these “useless eaters” might have an interest or a desire, that could be useful to society. In short, twice-exceptionality and idiot-savantism as a sub-concepts within Autism integrated many mentally disabled people rediagnosed with Autism into able-society through suggesting that they could be “able” through their obsessions.

Autistic Love is two-staged: it is osmosis within the concept of the self and then it is doting concentration on the new self- limb.

Autistic love terrifies because it is a kind of monosexuality: it is looking into the loved as a section of the “I”. This is also why Autistic Love is fatal within a heteronormative ableist society: when another is incorporated into the self and becomes the subject of concentration for the various spasming fluids that make up that self, what is not happening is a connection to the greater socius that re-affirms that socius. Autistic love is regressive: it curdles the loved into the Autistic.

But Autistic love is also disruptive: the way we love, we offer all of ourselves to the other and therefore put ourselves at risk: we say everything and anything, we open our mouths and chatter until the truth comes out and we make our being with the other about expanding ourselves.

Autistic love is, in many ways, more about opening until nothing else can be opened.

Autistic love is a trusting love: it is an open love, when we can love you, we can tell you everything, often to our mutual detriment.

Autistic love is multi-hour obsession, it is from 9am until 3am, in repetition without stopping.

Sometimes, Autistic love is hard to read, other times it is overt: it is direct and it is not complicated.

Autistic love does not have to be through talking or nonverbal communication, it can be subtle.

Autistic love sometimes is between the self and a toy not a person, Autistic love does too much work and not enough listening.

Autistic love makes a habit out of the loved and refuses the capitalist flexibility demanded that would make love a small subsection, instead Autistic love takes on the form of the loved.

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Holding Space as Acceptance, Love, and Self-care: #AutismPositivity2015

By Leah Kelley

#AutismPositivity2015I think about self-care rather often it seems… though I’ll admit that if I were to define self-care as I thing I do, I don’t actually engage in it quite as regularly as I contemplate it…

I think though, in my typical-atypical-fashion, I might like to twist this topic a bit and try to think about it and explore self-care from another angle.

Perhaps self-care is not just about a thing we do – but it is also very much about the thing(s) we do not do – or do later – or do with support – or do differently… and the ability to do this (or to not) is intrinsically connected with love and acceptance.

Perhaps it is also connected to holding space… for ourselves and for others.

I love the metaphor of holding space. To be honest, I am somewhat mesmerized by what I see in the richness of possibility that exists in the multiple interpretations of this concept.

I am so powerfully drawn to the liminality that I can get quite lost in existential meanderings when I contemplate the idea(s) of holding space…

I suppose… H and I have been indirectly talking about holding space for others as we are processing the loss of my father, who died in early March. The past few months have been a time of intense loss filled with powerful emotions – but as our family is moving forward, I have been considering how we might honour this space that was filled by my father.

I have two other posts on my blog that are about my father (aka Papa). Interestingly, one is about acceptance and love, and the other is about limit setting, so I suppose it is natural for me to be considering him when I am writing of Acceptance, Love, and Self-care.

I think I miss my father so much in part because I miss being wrapped in that feeling of acceptance.  I feel badly for my children that the strength of his acceptance and love is now missing for them… and… I feel badly for myself.

But I am finding my way… and I am seeing how connected acceptance and love are to self-care… and how Papa shared that as such a gift for others in the way he also held space for others.

Holding space is a way of demonstrating acceptance and love – and it is crucial to building a positive sense of self, and self-understanding that is partnered with feeling deserving of self-care.

When we demonstrate that we value other people, they can more fully appreciate, understand, and value who they are… and then they are supported in extending care to themselves and beyond.

Perhaps this is the opposite of shame…

Harrison and Papa Smooch- B+W

I think perhaps for me one of the most profound things has come to me in my efforts to support H. When we knew things weren’t going well for my father, H was in tears and said, “You know I am really going to miss Papa. You know there’s going to be a hole in my life – there’s going to be an empty space…”

And it was one of those moments when I paused… thinking please let the words come to me.

And I paused another beat…

And then I responded, “You know, H, you’re right – there is going to be a space there – a space where Papa was and now he wont be there – and that is going to leave an empty place in our lives and in our hearts.

But there is something about that space that is important. We have an opportunity to consider that spot – that place he held… and now it’s empty…

We get to decide what to put there.
And part of that is choosing something that will be honouring of Papa.
And when we put our energy into that place I think in that way he lives on.

If we do something that would make him proud or that would make the world a better place, then we use that energy that would have been there – and we make it into something that is good.

I think that is what a legacy is…”

When I think about my father, I am reminded of so many things, but I am perhaps most moved by the way he was deeply, deeply accepting of people… and welcomed us all to the table, or the comfy chair in his study – to just sit quietly, or to bounce around ideas or possibilities, or to argue the finer points of philosophy or politics or the education system… or to get a kick in the butt …or to just get some much-needed words of gentle guidance and encouragement.

He was someone who was completely willing to entertain lofty goals and outrageous dreams… and then help lay down a plan to make the almost impossible a reality.

I choose my steps and move forward in a way that I hope is honouring of my father… now the tables have turned and we are holding space for him.

Bedtime Chat and Cuddles with my Father

Recently I have been talking to H about holding space in another way…

We were meeting with friends and I asked ahead about how we might best support their son, who is also Autistic and is the same age as H. I wanted to support H and this other young man by understanding what we might need to know about how he communicates and how best to connect.

The response of this family was that they appreciated being asked and suggested that people always do better when they are met with an approach of holding space.

This modeling and these opportunities for H to be aware of and honour the support needs of others, also has embedded within it the powerful message that his own needs are valid. It is empowering to for H to understand ways that we respectfully honour limits and pay attention to self-care for ourselves and for our friends and loved ones.

We are honouring space… place… pace… with this message:

You matter and we acknowledge you and make space for you – we hold it – we make sure others see you there – we give you room to be involved at whatever level is working for you in the moment – and whatever that may be – we accept and encourage it…

And if it changes… if it is different later – if you need less – or if you find you are seeking more – we don’t hold what you needed before against you… and we don’t use it as a measure of what you might or might not need in the future.

The message is: I accept you in this moment exactly as you are…

You are welcomed…

I see you… you are whole…

You are enough…

I hold space for you…

I watched my son with this other young man. I witnessed his capacity for acceptance  – and for holding space in a way that seemed so like his Papa.

I think perhaps this is a bit of his legacy. My father, H’s Papa, would be proud.

Acceptance, Love, and Self-Care 6

Though his absence is deeply felt, my father’s default to love and acceptance helps me to now hold space for myself and H and others. Papa’s legacy is found in the way H and I move through life now, and holding space for him is a way of caring for others and for ourselves…

And I am grateful…

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Restless Hands: Acceptance, Love, and Self-care #AutismPositivity2015

By Aiyana Bailin

Scattered memories:

…He meets me at the door, eyes wide. Takes my hand, looks into my face intently, bounces up and down in place. I give him my biggest smile and squeeze his hand. “I’m happy to see you, too” I tell him. Later, I read to him, ASAN’s “Welcome To The Autistic Community (Adolescent).” He doesn’t usually want me to read to him for very long, but this time he doesn’t interrupt me at all…

His flapping hands and bouncing feet are so beautiful to me.

…Another day, another child. I spend the afternoon pushing him on a rope swing in the backyard– around and around he goes, shrieking with happy laughter. Then he gets down, gestures emphatically. “You want me to get on the swing?” Nods. I try to refuse– I’m too big, too old. He is firm. He wants to share, to give me a turn me to experience what he did. I get on the swing and he pushes me, intent on his task. I smile, I laugh, I get dizzy. He laughs with me. I thank him for his insistence that I try….

His solemn demeanor and meticulous nonverbal instructions are so beautiful to me.

…Yet another day, another child. “You want to leave already? I don’t know what’s wrong!” says a mother as her son tugs her towards the door of the arcade room, “I thought he liked it here!” I am surprised– she doesn’t see what I see. “He does like it here,” I explain “But he’s feeling a little overwhelmed and needs to be somewhere quiet for a few minutes.” I lead him to an unused room. He lies on the floor, cool linoleum under his hands, gazing out the window through dark lashes. I sit beside him quietly until I see the tension leave his body. I stand, offer him a hand. “You ready to go back in?” After a moment, he takes my hand, gets up, and we walk back into the arcade together…

His hummed tunes and verbal sound effects are so beautiful to me.

…And yet another. It’s her birthday and I sit next to her on a large trampoline while small children clamber all over me. She bites a stuffed animal happily on the nose. The younger girls do tricks, reminding each other to be careful around her– she’s bigger than they are, and much clumsier, prone to unexpected movements. Indoors, I catch her hand heading for a bowl of dip. I help her sit, feed her bites of chips and dip. She grabs for a strawberry daiquiri that one of the parents is drinking. I laugh and ask her mom to fix her up a non-alcoholic version. Gluten-free brownies stand in for chocolate cake. We all sing happy birthday and she claps her hands…

Her happy shrieks and shaky hands are so beautiful to me.

Every one of these kids is nonverbal and considered “seriously” disabled. I consider myself profoundly lucky to have them in my life. And I will speak up for them, for their needs and rights and desires… because, while I am not and have never been “seriously” disabled, I know what it’s like to /need/ a few minutes away from the sound of other humans… To make a sound over and over just for the fun of it… To express excitement with my body instead of my voice… To have to fight my own body sometimes…

We all have the right to learn in a way that makes sense to us, to live in an environment that doesn’t hurt us, to be part of a society that accepts the things we need in order to be safe and healthy and happy and whole. We deserve to be ourselves, our whole selves, and to be accepted for it even when we are not understood. We deserve to be loved for our quirks, not in spite of them. There will always be problematic systems and problematic people in our lives. But my greatest wish for every autistic person is that at least one person close to you, in your life, appreciates how wonderful you are, exactly the way you are.

Because flapping hands are beautiful. And nonverbal communication is beautiful. And sensory obsessions are beautiful. And trying your best is beautiful. And enjoying yourself in ways others don’t understand is beautiful. And sharing those experiences with others is beautiful. Quirks and tics and routines are beautiful. And so are all of you.

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A Quiet Week Celebrates #AutismPositivity2015

By Lori D

One year ago to the day, I put my mother in a nursing home. I feared she would not last the month, let alone recover and look forward to resuming her life at home. Self-care this year has been the key to supporting my parents and adjusting to a new way of life.

Although my blogging subsided, self-nurturance thrived with art journaling. Simple techniques such as rubber stamping and vintage collaging let me put pictures to my feelings, which in turn spurred words and emotion.

Please enjoy my journey and nourish your own.

Warmest wishes,






















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NonSpeaking Not Silent Acceptance, Love andSelf-care: #AutismPositivity2015

By AutismDogGirl

I am autistic and I work hard to bring change, I fight for acceptance and fight the stigma of autism, I fight to bring reform to autism service dogs, I fight to get the Mason alert in place, I fight to promote acceptance and under standing and I fight for the right for preferred communication method and the right to AAC and providing a communication alternative to autistics as soon as possible,

So what is acceptance?
Acceptance is not giving up, acceptance is a starting point, acceptance is what allows us to make real progress,

Acceptance is what leads quality of life
Acceptance is no longer working against myself but working with my abilities and limits to reach my potential in acceptance I a, no longer working to be normal I am working to be successful with what I have, it is about supporting myself where I need supports and building on my strengths,
Acceptance is so important for the autistic community, when we are accepted our accommodations we need are seen as known, standard and logical, we are viewed as important an valuable. We are t painted as burdens but as autistic people who have our own value.
Right now advocates have to fight to promote acceptance, and it is not the norm this means thousands of autistics live hearing they are burdens, broken and need fixing when they need to hear they are autistic, they may need help and supports but that’s ok, they have a right to supports,  in stead of focusing on fixing them and making them normal the focus needs to be on giving us tool that help us communicate and be successful
Acceptance is recognizing communication and communication needs are different for everyone, AAC is seen as a basic right and not a last thing to try but instead an important first step
Over this year I have been working hard to be a good advocate, I advocate for autistic rights, for the Mason alerts and for reform for autism service dogs these can burn me out  on top of this I have lost 3 loved ones this year so selfcare has become critical for me but what self care is changes with acceptance
When people talk about self care, it is often in the context of daily living activities such as teeth brushing, taking medications, showering, eating dressing ect, areas in which I experience many moderate to severe difficates, but self are is so so much more and takes on a larger meaning when you have reached acceptance and maybe  one of the most important things when it comes to acceptance and when it comes to self advocating

For me acceptance and self care means I recognize my limits, it doesn’t mean I have  no issues in defficates in self care but rather that I recognize that I need help with my daily care activities and I recognize I do need help,
For me acceptance and self care is about recognizing my limits
Self care and acceptance are not burning myself out trying to be normal,
Self care is doing what Is right for me
It means Giving up one skill that takes so much from even when it is something others prefer,
It is recognizing that what is right for me isn’t what others prefer and not everyone will accept or agree with but something I need to do for me
Acceptance and self care is using AAC in favor of speech
It is not being ashamed to be autistic and realizing I’m not broken, ivy brain works different and I need to do what is right for me and not what makes everyone else happy,
Today self care and advocacy means not writing the perfect blog post but writing a short choppy blog as best I can and working on a better one another day

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Acceptance is a Journey: Acceptance, Love, and Self-care #AutismPositivity2015

Acceptance is a journey
And it is one we will always be on
No matter how far we travel there is always further to go.

I learn about myself
What I can do
How I can do it
What I need to do differently
And how I can do better
But I can always learn more

I need to let myself stop and do those better ways
Even when I think I accept myself
I learn
And I challenge my understanding of myself

Acceptance is a journey
One I’m always undertaking
Pushing myself farther
Making myself more okay with who I am and how to best live in this world

Challenges will always occur
And I need to step up to them
Letting myself live in a way better for me
Letting myself be happier with who I am

Acceptance is a journey
One I must be on
Spreading to others
Sharing my message
Of hope
Of love
Of how it is not a bad thing to live as I do

Of how every person is worthy
And how you shouldn’t deny someone their humanity
Because of not understanding them

Acceptance is a journey
One that can be hard
But one that is worthy
To undertake
Because we will always make more progress
Towards a better life


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AlwaysAspiegirl: Acceptance, Love, and Self-care #AutismPositivity2015

By AlwaysAspiegirl

I am a huge fan of Autistic Acceptance, both by those of us who are Autistic, to those with Autistic kids, to those who don’t really have that much connection to anyone with Autism (as far as they know anyway). I think that everyone should have a good dose of acceptance when they think of Autistic people, and realize that there are great struggles there, but also great beauty! Having autism is just our life. Just like you have your life, we have our life. It’s not like we know what it’s like to be anything else.
I love that I am not “normal”! I love that I don’t fit into the mold of “normal” people around me. I love that I do my own thing and that it really doesn’t bother me that I’m alone doing it. I love that I am a part of the whole of humanity that comes in all different colors, shapes, sizes and brains! I love that I have my own specific role, different from everyone else.
I love that I can’t stop researching things! I am totally obsessed with learning things! Sometimes, though, I get frustrated when I run into things that either haven’t been studied, or written about, because then I can’t get my question answered! But I love that when I get interested in something, I look at it from every angle – contrary to what people think – and that I’m so certain when I’ve decided something that I can’t just be tossed around by every wind.

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