autism-acceptance

PSA to our followers this Autism Acceptance Month:
  • Use Autism **Acceptance** Month (as opposed to Autism Awareness Month).
  • NO “light it up blue” or puzzle pieces. Google “Autism Speaks hate group” to learn more.
  • Use red or gold instead, which are colors supported by the autistic community.
  • Use identity-first language (most autistic people prefer “autistic” instead of “person with autism”), but don’t police the language of someone who prefers to be called a person with autism.
  • NO scare terms like “suffering with autism” or “afflicted with autism.”
  • Avoid functioning labels like “high functioning” or “low functioning.”
  • If autistic voices are not at the center of your efforts, you’re doing it wrong.
  • When in doubt, ASK AN AUTISTIC PERSON. 
  • To learn more about autism, visit autistic-run organizations like the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) and Autism Women’s Network (AWN).
Communicating with autistic people

In light of April & autism acceptance month I thought I’d make a post about how autistic people communicate, because understanding and accepting our communication styles is one of the most important parts of autism acceptance. The things listed here are from my own experience and from information I have gathered from talking to other autistic people, it is by no means exhaustive. If you want to add something on I have missed feel free :+)

  • Lack of eye contact doesn’t mean we aren’t engaged, oftentimes maintaining eye contact is actually more distracting than not. 
  • Our body language is different. Trying to assume how we feel from your knowledge of body language will often lead you to wrong conclusions.

  • Our tone does not always indicate our feelings, it’s often more telling to listen to the words we are saying themselves then try to guess what our tone means
  • We will likely have difficulty reading your body language and tone. The subtleties of communication don’t come easy to us, if you want us to understand what you are feeling or offer support it is most useful to communicate your feelings thoughts and needs directly.
  • Things we say may come off as rude or overly blunt, even if it is not intended this way.
  • We have varying degrees of understanding sarcasm. Some of us struggle to understand any of it, some of us actively understand and employ it and everything in between. We are also prone to literal-mindedness in general meaning we may have trouble with taking other forms of jokes or figurative speech literally. 
  • Our communication abilities often vary with things like stress and sensory input. For example, under little stress or a good amount of sensory input I can communicate enough to explain detailed thoughts as in this post, form sentences and employ tone and cadence to my speech. At varying levels of sensory input I may begin to speak in monotone, take several minutes to put together a single sentence, or be unable to access most of my vocabulary aside from sounds and simple words like “yes” and “no”. 
  •  It is very common for autistic people to empathize by comparing similar experiences. (for example: person a: “My dog got sick, I’m worried about him.” autistic person: “Oh, my cat got sick last year too.”) People who do not empathize like this often see it as ‘one-upmanship’ when the intent is only to empathize or express sympathy. 
  •  We may interrupt you before you’re done speaking. It’s very common for autistic people to have difficulty telling when other people are finished speaking. If we interrupt you it is almost never out of rudeness but we genuinely cannot tell when is the right time to speak.
  •  We may occasionally take over the conversation especially with info-dumping. When I info-dump I’m very excited and I feel like I can barely keep the information I want to talk about down. Being so excited, I tend to ramble for a long time, elaborating unimportant details as I am unaware to whether the listener is bored or even listening. I’m not saying you have to stay completely engaged and remember every detail but at very least don’t get angry with an autistic person for their infodumping.
  •  A lot of autistic people also have auditory processing problems. This means that what you say might not register for a few moments or you might have to repeat yourself. Please be patient with somebody who has poor auditory processing, as it’s not really something we can help. 
  •  If you are asking the autistic person to do a task or activity of any sort (giving them directions to somewhere, asking them to come to a party, asking them to help you fold your laundry) we usually need very clear and precise instructions or plans.

These are all common parts of autistic communication styles but it’s important to remember not every autistic person is the same or will have all of these traits. We are as varied in personality, thoughts, and behaviors as allistic people, but we are tied together by shared experiences. Being aware of these traits and unlearning them as inherently bad communication styles is helpful to autistic people as a whole, but if there’s a specific autistic person in your life you want to better communicate with, the best thing you can do is ask them how you can do that and honestly discuss differences in communication and needs to best understand each other.

Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism awareness month and I just wanted to tell all of you to NOT support Autism Speaks Because they don’t care about Autistic people.

If you want to support an organization that actually DOES support Autistic people show some Support for ASAN (Autistic Self Advocacy Network) & The Autism Women’s Network

Both of these organizations were founded by Autistic People by Autistic People where as Autism Speaks doesn’t have Autistic people in their so called organization

ASAN can be followed on Tumblr @autisticadvocacy 

AWN  can be followed on Tumblr @autisticwomen

here’s an acknowledgment to autistics who just aren’t that great at doing things! and have trouble remembering things and trip over nothing or accidentally hit yourself because you forgot where your body was in relation to your hand

you’re still worth something as a human being even if you’re not a talented super genius

you still have value as a human being even if you need help with certain things and can’t remember names or numbers, and needed to be taken aside to have concepts explained to you in school

you’re still good and okay and worth something if you have a lf of weird allergies or can’t eat certain foods or touch certain textures because they hurt

you’re a worthwhile person just for being alive!

Listen to autistic people.

Don’t support Autism Speaks. Don’t ‘Light it Up Blue’ this April. Go red instead and support autistic people and our voices.

[ Image Description: A picture with a red background and a rainbow coloured neurodiversity ‘infinity’ symbol in the middle. In front of the neurodiversity symbol is a drawing of an autistic person stimming. 

They are wearing red headphones, a red pendant chew necklace, and a grey hoodie. A red tangle is poking out of the hoodie pocket. They are smiling with their eyes closed and stimming by flapping their hands. 

On the top of the picture, above the symbol, it says in capital letters “Listen to autistic people”. Below the symbol, at the bottom of the picture, it says “#REDinstead for Autism Acceptance”.

This is version 2. Version 1 of this picture with just the symbol and no person can be found here: version 1 link

I wanted to make a picture for Autism Acceptance and anti “autism awareness” this April so here it is.

It’s not appropriative to stand up against Autism Speaks or do #REDinstead

Like, please do so.

Autistic people are, too often, fighting a culture of hate and dehumanization on our own. It’s hardest when everyone is saying these things about you. And it’s just. so. tiring.

Yes, please stand up for us.

Yes, please post that cute selfie of you wearing red.

Yes, please link ignorant people to descriptions of why “Light it up blue” is harmful.

Yes, please draw a picture for autism acceptance month. It would make an autistic person’s day.

It’s lonely fighting stigma alone. And it really hurts, especially when it feels like no one else cares about us. The blue lights and sob stories and talk about cures just isolates us.

If someone who cared would be willing to reach out, to say something, to make it stop… it would mean the world.

Disabled people’s lives are not tragedies.
Parents and carers are not “heroes” for loving disabled people.
Disabled people’s private moments should not be shared without consent on your “warrior mom” blog.
Disabled people are not your pity hires, dates, or friends.
Disabled people do not exist to be saved or spoken for by non-disabled people.

Treat disabled people with respect and dignity.
Treat disabled people like people.

a quick thing for Autism Acceptance Day/Month!!

how to support autistic people this month:

  • don’t support Autism Speaks – it’s an awful “charity” that harms autistic people more than it helps them
  • do support organisations run by and for autistic people, such as the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network ( @autisticadvocacy​ ) and the Autism Women’s Network ( @autisticwomen​ )
  • don’t “light it up blue” for “autism awareness” – these things are heavily associated with Autism Speaks, and with the dangerous misconceptions it spreads about autism
  • do use the hashtag #RedInstead to fight back against #LightItUpBlue
  • do promote and celebrate autism acceptance (not just awareness!)

and, most importantly:

  • do listen to what actual autistic people have to say – we know better than our family members, “autism experts”, or any non-autistic person!!

Listen to autistic people. 

Don’t support Autism Speaks. Don’t ‘Light it Up Blue’ this April. Go red instead and support autistic people and our voices. 


[ Image Description: A picture with a red background and a rainbow coloured neurodiversity ‘infinity’ symbol in the middle. On the top of the picture, above the symbol, it says in capital letters “Listen to autistic people”. Below the symbol, at the bottom of the picture, it says “#REDinstead for Autism Acceptance”.]


I actually have two versions of this picture. This one and one with an autistic person stimming in front of the neurodiversity symbol. Im gonna post that version as well. 

I wanted to make a picture for Autism Acceptance and anti “autism awareness” this April so here it is. 

It’s not that autistic people are against any kind of therapy. What we’re against is “early intervention” that aims to squash away all evidence of autism that will backfire when that tiny child is older.

Teach autistic kids how to be a healthy autistic person with a bag of tricks to cope when their brain and the world clash and they will be a lot happier later in life.

6

I made a webcomic strippy thingy! About autistic spectrum disorder! And here it is!

I started this as my final project for 2D design last quarter and I just finished it yesterday while I had free time to work during my printshop internship. This comic is the culmination of dozens of hours of work, lots of frustration, a couple of tears, and an earnest desire to explain myself to other people.

Feel free to share this with others so that more people can learn about ASD!

Somebody once asked me, a little horrified I think, “Wait - what are the bad parts of being neurotypical??”

I’d made an offhand comment about how being autistic has good and bad parts, just like being neurotypical has good and bad parts.

I think one the bad parts of being neurotypical is that you don’t get so many of the amazing parts of being, for example, autistic.

Neurotypical people can fidget, for instance, but they can’t ever know how good it feels to have your body just flow into a stim, to feel your thoughts start lining up or your body get comfortable when you stim the way you need to. Autistic people (and some others!) have this amazing experience where our bodies find motions that express and comfort and regulate in ways that neurotypical people can never fully understand.

And neurotypical people can enjoy sensory experiences, but to be autistic is to have a unique relationship with sensory input. So much of our sensory experiences are amplified compared to those of NTs , and while that can and does cause overload etc. sometimes… when the input is good? It’s glorious. Good fabrics and good sounds and good smells and good tastes and textures - we get to feel them all more intensely.

And echolalia! Echolalia is so good and so enjoyable and neurotypical people, I think, get only the barest shadow of what it’s like.

NTs can have hobbies and passions and callings, but they can’t ever, ever know the pure and consuming joy that is a special interest.

There are good and bad parts to being autistic. Neurotypicals, you’re going to have to accept that, and along with it the concept that autistic people have good experiences that you, by virtue of being neurotypical, simply cannot have.

You don’t see yourself as an object of pity because you lack those experiences, do you? You aren’t going to pour millions into research to have brains like ours, are you? I mean, even if you could do it, you wouldn’t be you anymore. And the way your brain works is just fine for you, you don’t mind not having good autistic experiences because you have your own!

Well - same. I don’t want to be neurotypical. Being autistic is an integral part of my personality, and I wouldn’t give up my good autistic experiences for a shot at your neurotypical ones in a million years. What I want is to be accepted for who I am as an autistic person, for people to respect and accommodate my needs the way the world respects and accommodates your needs as a neurotypical person.