autism-experts

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!!
Different types of allistics

The Autism Mom™: constantly talks about how hard it is to have an autistic kid, highkey abusive but gets away with it because her child is autistic, is fueled by people telling her how BRAVE she is to deal with an autistic child

The Openly Ableist™: doesn’t try to hide their hatred of autistic people, used the R slur every other sentence, posts videos of autistic people having meltdowns to reddit for the Lolz

The Know It All™: has a friend who’s cousin is autistic nd somehow thinks this makes them an expert on autism/autistic issues

The Autism Savior™: helps out at one “special needs” program and suddenly believes they’re the best person in the world, that they are the most humble and selfless person to exist because they were in a room with an autistic person and weren’t actively abusive

The “Ally"™: says the support autistic people, actually just supports Autism $peaks, uses person first language, uses functioning labels, speaks over actually autistic people, gets angry when an autistic person asks them to make accommodations for them (usually also The Autism Savior™)

An Actual Ally: tries to listen to what autistic people are saying and not speak over them, happily helps autistics with sensory things and gets them what they need, haha lets be real this type doesnt exist lmaooo

(allistics don’t go anywhere near this post)

autism is extremely misunderstood — there are many successful autistic people who are brilliant and thriving, but their autism is ignored and erased. so, here’s something autistic people can use for positivity, and non-autistic people can use as a tool for understanding autism better

here’s a list of some famous autistic people:

  • dan aykroyd
  • satoshi tajiri (creator of pokemon)
  • dan harmon (creator of the show community)
  • adam young (owl city)
  • vincent d’onofrio
  • susan boyle
  • daryl hannah
  • temple grandin
  • hikari ōe (composer)
  • courtney love
  • stanley kubrick

and here are some famous historical people from before autism was studied, who are theorized to be autistic/have been posthumously diagnosed as autistic through their writings and the writings of others about them:

  • albert einstein
  • mozart
  • isaac newton
  • charles darwin
  • emily dickinson
  • nikola tesla
  • abraham lincoln
  • tom wiggins (most famous piano player of the 1800s and a blind former slave)

and here’s a list of some canonical autistic characters (autism is mentioned in the story and/or the writer or actor has confirmed that the character is autistic) that aren’t harmful or inaccurate portrayals:

  • abed nadir (community) — said repeatedly on the show and by the show’s creator dan harmon, who is also autistic
  • spencer reid (criminal minds) — said repeatedly in interviews by the actor and hinted at on the show later on
  • temperance brennan (bones) — said in interviews by the actress and the character was written to be autistic
  • rich purnell (the martian) — said by the author of the book
  • sonya cross (the bridge) — said repeatedly in interviews by the actress, and the show’s producers hired an autism expert (an autistic person) to help create this character
  • rebecca blithely (strange empire) — said repeatedly in interviews by the show’s creator; written to be autistic but takes place before autism was studied/named
  • alternate universe!astrid (fringe) — said in interviews by the actress
  • lisbeth salander (the millenium trilogy) — mentioned in the book
  • special mention: mike warren (graceland) — said on the show that he was diagnosed with ADHD as a child (autism is often misdiagnosed as ADHD and the two are very often comorbid), and he’s referred to as a “savant”
  • special mention: wilson fisk (daredevil) and robert goren (law and order criminal intent) — both played by autistic actor vincent d’onofrio and have autistic traits
  • plus here’s a list of autistic characters, but i have no idea if they’re good/accurate portrayals or not 

(non-autistic people are welcomed and encouraged to reblog)

autistic studying advice

by an autistic undergrad

1) Don’t trust all study guides by NTs

Their brains are wired differently and some things that work for them won’t work for us. There’s a chance those tips and tricks won’t do anything for you, which might make you feel like a failure. You aren’t! If something doesn’t work, move on. It’s okay.

2) If you have executive dysfunction, laziness and lack of motivation is not your problem

When you struggle with executing tasks it may feel like you are lazy and aren’t motivated enough, but that’s not necessarily true! You might be hella motivated and still not be able to do a task. Trying to motivate yourself in that case will only make you more frustrated.

3) Get distractions out of the way

Little things that would not distract a neurotypical person might distract you, in which case you won’t be able to work to your full capacity. Build a sensory friendly environment with no noises, bright lights, bad smells, etc. Use ear plugs or music if you need to. Get stim toys if you stim a lot to concentrate. Good environment is very important and is probably the reason why you struggle at school/college/uni where your senses might be overstimulated.

4) If you tend to hyperfocus, learn when it happens

Hyperfocus can be incredibly useful for studying, so if it happens to you, try to identify when it happens. For me I tend to hyperfocus when there are absolutely no distractions (for me that often means when I have headphones on and I’m alone). Then replicate those factors to get more done.

5) Learn ways around executive dysfunction and limited energy

This is the most difficult part. Studying when you have problems with executing tasks and limited spoons (energy resources) is tough. Here’s how you can deal with it.

6) Understand your priorities

You will not be able to do as much as NTs do in one day. Deal with it now. Understand that simple tasks such as brushing your teeth or talking on the phone also require energy. So prioritize. Assume you can only do one thing today, the most important/urgent one, and do that first. Then the less important thing. And so on.

7) “Don’t half-ass things” is a lie

Half-ass things. Quarter-ass things. If you can only do one math problem today, do it. That will be one less math problem later. If you can only read a few pages of a textbook today, do it. It’s also easy to think “if I can’t write the essay and finish that project today, might as well do nothing”. That’s a lie too. Do a small thing but do something. Do something badly but still do it. You might be able to fix it later. There’s no shame in being disabled, no matter what society makes you think.

8) Do the most complicated thing first

If you have several tasks and one requires more executive functioning, do that first. Your planning skills are probably at best right after you wake up, before you have time to spend any energy. So that’s the best time to do tasks with many steps or to plan tasks ahead.

9) Rest and take breaks right

It’s important to take breaks in between work, but you have to do it right. You might be tempted to do something useful for a break to be productive - like take a walk or read a book or talk to someone. Do not, or at least do not unless you are absolutely sure. Switching to another task requires mental energy, so that will only deplete your energy sources.

For breaks, do something ridiculously easy. Go on social media. Listen to a song and sing along. Watch a YouTube video. Stim. Daydream. Even lay down and close your eyes for five minutes. Just don’t switch to tasks that also require energy.

10) Don’t try to learn by repetition

Studies show that learning by repetition doesn’t work for us. It will not help you make more connections in your brain. Instead, do different tasks. Read from a book. Write down important points from the book. Read them out loud. Try to repeat them without looking. Pretend to explain it to someone. Answer questions related to the material. Draw it. Watch a video about it. Make a mnemonic for it. Whatever. Just don’t sit there reading it again and again.

11) Be kind to yourself

Your energy levels and capabilities will fluctuate from day to day, and you can’t always know how it will turn out. On some days I can write an essay from scratch in one sitting. On others I struggle to make myself a cup of tea. That’s normal, and it’s not your fault. Blaming yourself for it will only upset you and make it less likely that you do at least something today.

Imagine it like this: you are playing a game, and the difficulty setting randomly switches every day. On some days it’s on easy and you get through five levels with no problems. On some days it’s on very difficult and you can’t even get to the first checkpoint. That’s okay. Say to yourself, “my abilities haven’t changed, the difficulty changed”. Today, just get to that checkpoint. Tomorrow you might get through five levels.

12) Learn from other autistic people

For any other problem you might come across, other autistic people are the best source of knowledge. Allistic parents, teachers, friends, mentors, etc are likely to not understand your problem at all, or give you bad advice. Instead consult the real autism experts - actually autistic people. There are plenty of us who got through school, college and/or uni. Reach out to them. They will help.

Good luck!

samwiseofficial  asked:

Hey Alan! I just saw a post about different types of allistics on my dash... one of them was "The 'Ally'™". I'm allistic and I want to know how I can be a good ally, so I thought I'd ask about certain things mentioned in the post so i can avoid doing them! What are person first language and functioning labels and what can I do as an allistic to be an actual ally (not an “Ally"™)? Thanks so much!

okay, first of all, I’m going to assume that you meant [this post]. If not, sorry. Second, I’m not going to get this perfect. I’m viewing this as a bit of a first draft, which (note to self) I will edit at some point.

definitions: person-first language is “person with autism” as opposed to “autistic person”. Please use “autistic person”. I dealt with functioning labels later in this disorganized hell-post. 

So here’s my stab at allistic ally 101

1) You follow the same rules as if you were an ally for any other group: [Here’s a pretty good ally 101 article], but it’s not the end-all-be-all. Keep listening to autistic voices, and if we contradict the rules hold our voices higher. 

Also, above all, rule #1 of allyship is don’t be a shithead–come to conversations with the intention to listen and learn first and treat us like human beings (this is particularly critical with disability rights)

2) Our voices are the important ones: this is important with being an ally to any group, but autistic people often struggle to communicate or express ourselves. Be patient. Ask people how they’d like to communicate and be prepared to be a bit flexible.

Some autistic people use AAC (Alternative or Assistive Communication), and their voices matter just as much as verbal people’s. You don’t have to learn ASL or anything, but don’t assume that because someone’s not communicating verbally they’re less intelligent or competent. And, even if someone can’t communicate using language (or communicate at all) don’t assume that they don’t have thoughts, feelings, and needs.

3) Nothing about us without us: knowing an autistic person doesn’t make you an expert on autism. BEING an autistic person makes you an expert on autism. If you see anything claiming to help autistic people that doesn’t prominently feature Actual Autistic People, don’t support it (unless Actual Autistic People are telling you to support it, see #2)

This goes double for any charitable organization focused on autism which leads me into point number 4 (also from here on out things are a bit smaller-scope, that doesn’t make them less important):

4) Autism Speaks is trash: [and] [here] [are] [some] [sources

If you want to support charities try ASAN and The Autism Women’s Network

5) Please don’t try to “cure” us: I’m dealing with some internalized ableism with this one, so let me turn you over to  Anya Ustaszewski who in [this article] writes:

My autism is part of who I am. It is not something “extra” that can be taken away from me to suit the agenda of an intolerant society. My abilities, challenges and perception of the world all go hand in hand. If I were to be “cured” of my autism, the person that I am would cease to exist.

so yeah cure = bad, acceptance and accommodation = good

6) Celebrate the things that make autistics unique: lately, tumblr has gotten a lot more stim-positive, but stimming isn’t solely a pretty, paint-mixing or slime video (in fact, stimboards are rarely tagged and can overstimulate the SHIT out of me). 

A lot of time, stimming is viewed as ugly, distracting, loud, disgusting, or socially unacceptable. Support your local autistics, don’t expect people to stop stimming and try not to stare or comment (many autistic people have to work very hard to reclaim stimming after childhoods of expecting to suppress it entirely).

Also, try your best to support different cognitive styles and processing issues. Try to keep your websites accessible, provide image transcripts, try not to make posts that are entirely text in images (like screenshots of twitter posts), and help to subtitle videos if you can. <- these things also help d/Deaf people and anyone who accesses the internet via a screenreader

7) steer clear of stereotypes: I’m not rain man or that dude on the big bang theory or your cousin’s dentist’s sister’s younger brother’s son. The ‘idiot savant’ stereotype is almost never true and puts unreasonable expectations on autistic people. Also, not all of us are good at math or science, have incredible memories, etc. Fitting or not fitting stereotypes don’t change the fact that every autistic person is human and deserves rights and respect.

8) functioning labels are fake: never listen to anyone who describes autism as “high” or “low functioning”. Every autistic person has struggles, and putting labels on functioning basically sorts people into “can be ignored” and “subhuman”. [here’s about a million posts about why they suck because if I put it all here this post would be five times as long]

9) ABA is trash: this is trigger territory for a huge number of autistic people, so [here] and I’m not going to say anything else just take my word on this one

10) If it has puzzle pieces on it, run: if you’re looking to see if a group is okay, look for the rainbow infinity sign. The puzzle piece is a huge red flag. Please don’t support anything with puzzle pieces on it. Please. I’m begging you.


Okay that was WAAY longer than I meant it to get, sorry. Also, I’ve missed a bunch of things, but I’ve been working on this for an hour and I don’t have the energy to add more. I’ll throw this in #actuallyautistic and hopefully someone else can add anything important I missed.

Power Rangers rant

Ok, listen up:

Everyone (I mean that like one would mean the universal “we”) talks about how they want diversity and great representation in film and other media; and YET Y’ALL ARE SLEEPING ON POWER RANGERS!!!!!

As stated HERE ya’ll are all talk; there is finally a movie with great diversity and you won’t go see it. We get representation and ya’ll would rather go see the live action of a movie we have all probably watched more times than we can count when we were younger that had the same exact plot and its LGBTQ representation was a man whose name translates into “The Fool” and a primarily white cast.

Before I move on I would like to make a point about how hurtful it can be when a canonically bi-racial character is whitewashed.

KIMBERLY ANN HART IS BI-RACIAL!!!!! (AS IS NAOMI SCOTT!!)

Kimberly is half white half Indian just as Naomi Scott is and I am very glad that they stuck to that when it came to casting Kimberly’s parents.

Now, when you white wash a bi-racial character you are erasing a part of their identity. As a bi-racial person myself it always saddens me when I see whitewashing of a bi-racial character and I can only imagine how that actor/actress feels when they encounter their character being whitewashed. By whitewashing a bi-racial character you are telling that actor/actress that you are only accepting them for half of them and not all of them.

When you whitewash bi-racial characters you take this whole rounded character and break them in half, erasing what makes them, them. So just imagine how hurt and sad Naomi Scott must feel when her Indian heritage is erased.

And that is why I love it when I see bi-racial actor/actress’ play characters who are portrayed as bi-racial. 

Power Rangers is a movie that is trying to give a whole new story than the one we all know. It gave us the nostalgia of our childhoods while also giving us a new story for a new generation. It gives us an autistic superhero who wasn’t cured of his autism once he became a superhero showing everyone just like him that autism isn’t something that limits them or tells them they can’t be a hero. (I’m no expert on autism and I’m not going to pretend I am) 

Power Rangers gave us LGBTQ representation in the form of a Latina POC who I know many of us can relate too. There are many LGBTQ people out there who don’t feel as if they relate to their family or feel as if they can open up to them due to pressure or fear that they won’t be accepted.

THIS MOVIE DESERVES ALL THE SEQUELS!!!!!!!

Now let me tell you what this movie flopping tells the film industry:

Power Rangers flopping tells those big media companies that no wants to see a movie with a diverse cast, it shows them that no one cares about LGBTQ representation in media, it tells them that an autistic superhero is unrealistic, it tells them that NONE of that matters; that WE (Again using this universally) do not matter, it shows that NO ONE CARES, and I think that is very sad.

So don’t just talk; DO.

Don’t rant and rave about how you want diversity and representation in film and then not support that film/content when it comes out.

The saying is “Actions speak louder than words.” 

So go out there and support this film, watch it while it is still available in theaters, (even if it is just the matinee prices), buy this film when it comes out on blu-ray and DVD, buy the merch, SHOW THOSE BIG MEDIA COMPANIES THAT WE MATTER AND CARE!!

(AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP WHITEWASHING KIMBERLY ANN HART)

If you’re having trouble figuring out why your child is engaging in some form of disruptive behavior, there’s a list of very common causes to help you out on the data sheet. Once you have your data form filled out, you’ll probably see a pattern that can be explained by one of the following possibilities. 

– To Avoid a Task –
– To escape from a task –
– To get attention –
– To get something [they want or need] –

– RULE OUT A SIGNIFICANT PHYSICAL CAUSE FOR THE BEHAVIOR It’s important to rule out any serious physiological cause that could be underlying the disruptive behaviors before you start out on a course of interventions. Some physiological conditions, such as an ear infection, a cold, or a headache, can cause pain or discomfort and lead to disruptive behavior. For example, sometimes a young child with a bad ear infection will bang her head against the railings of her crib. Allergies can also result in some types of self- injury, such as repetitively picking at itchy areas of the skin— scabs form, and the child may pick at those until there’s a cycle of never- ending sores. Other painful situations like a cold, headaches, or even PMS in adolescents may cause temporary increases in problem behavior. Obviously, you’d want to take care of the physical problem in all these cases, rather than leaping ahead to behavioral interventions.

— 

Lynn Koegel, Overcoming Autism

When I first read this list of “reasons” autistic people have meltdowns, I almost threw the book across the room. I was alone, so my reason couldn’t have been any she mentions here. Oh yeah, I was having a PTSD-like reaction to finding out what the author of the book thought of me when I started screaming and banging my head in her presence. 

Which was because she had just:

Ignored everything I said about fluorescent lights making it impossible for me to think
Ignored everything I said about being unable to talk to more than one person at a time
Told my cognitive interpreter to stop “talking for me” and let me talk, even though I could neither talk nor type at this time, and even though I was indicating that my cognitive interpreter was expressing my thoughts perfectly well. 
Ignored, for the billionth time, everything we said about how we wanted help teaching me daily living tasks, and instead insisted all I needed was help with social skills because autism was a social disorder not a daily living skills disorder
I was starving and she refused to acknowledge it
But somehow “being completely at the end off my rope after trying hard for weeks to communicate the truth” was not among Lynn Koegel’s possible reasons for a meltdown. Neither were sensory issues or starvation. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t even believe in sensory issues as a significant part of being autistic. I’ve talked to other adult auties whose interactions art her autism center were just as frustrating. 

The only good thing I got out of going there was her telling me I clearly met the criteria for autistic disorder and should get my shrink to validate that with a diagnosis other than PDDNOS, presuming everything I told her of my history could be verified by my parents (it was, easily, and I got a fax with the new diagnosis within days).  But I had been told that before so I think it would’ve happened even without her. 

Oh she was also the one who told me that if we worked on my “anxiety problems” I wouldn’t need to communicate by keyboard as much. Anxiety was the only concession she made to the concept of overload. And it wasn’t much of a concession.  I had just barely heard of autistic catatonia. So I couldn’t explain to her my speech had been getting less reliable for years by then, and that the more I learned to truly communicate, the worse my speech got. In this book I am finding out she doesn’t like AAC devices except as a last resort, and likes to force autistic children to speak at all costs.  Even AAC is only a bridge to speech for her. 

When I finally had my massive meltdown because I’d reached the end of my rope, she took me to a counselor where she and other people explained my behavior and I couldn’t understand a word they said except towards the end, when everyone agreed I did not belong on a university campus.  Which meant when I visited MIT years later (as an honored guest) I kept waiting for someone to throw me out. There’s other problems with MIT but that’s beside the point. 

I have very little respect for anyone who makes their living off autistic people, but won’t listen to us, won’t allow cognitive interpreters, won’t believe in sensory issues, and can’t understand how we could lack daily living skills. Also anyone who thinks the only reason for intermittent speech is anxiety and thinks she can tell at a glance in five seconds of meeting someone, that they have no academic problems (I had nothing BUT academic problems at that time).

Oh and next time an autistic person came took that university they were told “We had someone like you recently. It didn’t work”.  Grrr. 

ahandsomestark

 asked 

realsocialskills

:

I’m just curious why is an autism expert the last person you’d go to.

Because experts are taught things like this:
  • Autistic people are mind-blind and can’t understand emotions
  • And need intense social skills training, or
  • Don’t quite reach adulthood ever, or
  • Should be steered into STEM majors, or
  • Need intense ABA in order to make them look normal, or
  • All think in pictures, or
  • Any number of other stereotypes
  • Many of them also do things like routinely prescribe anti-psychotics to autistic people

That’s pretty much dealbreaking in terms of trusting them. Among other reasons. Anyone else want to weigh in?

gettzi  asked:

I did a study (survey type) ten years ago about daydreaming and found that it was related to "openness to experience" and "creative problem solving. Maladaptive daydreaming was defined in the literature as ruminating on negative thoughts or feelings. Side note: I did the study before I knew I have combined type ADHD. So I was probably projecting a bit trying to justify my inattentive zoning out habits (aka world building inside my head time).

High five from the ADHD-PI chick over here.  Since starting on this topic I got lost for half an hour down a research rabbit hole and then remembered I had a ton of personal projects I want to do, plus actual real for-pay work I’m behind on. So.

The classic Eli Somer definition of maladaptive daydreaming is “an extensive fantasy activity that replaces human interaction and/or interferes with academic, interpersonal, or vocational functioning” (his scale doesn’t address content almost at all, but focuses largely on behavioural criteria) and to me it’s a very tail-wags-the-dog thing. It’s like stimming in autism.

The behaviourist approach to autism, or the maladaptive daydreaming approach, focuses on the end result (daydreaming, hand-flapping) and says that, THAT is the bad thing, and if we can diminish THAT, then the child can spend more time doing math homework or the person can spend more time socializing. Which is why you get “autism experts” who make children sit on their hands, or just tie or tape the children’s hands down, to make them “pay attention”.  Behaviourists devote ENDLESS amounts of time to making autistic people stop stimming.

Meanwhile, if you ask the people inside the situation, the actual problem is emotional or physiological dysregulation; the problem is being so distressed and overloaded that it urgently needs soothing, either through sensory or imaginal self-stimulation. 

The actually useful solution is helping the person find easier, more efficient ways of self-soothing that they can then go do their math homework or talk to people.  Which can be big–medication, less stimulating environments, schedule changes–or small, like having a fidget toy or worry beads.

Whereas the actual “experts” who have targeted stimming or maladaptive daydreaming as the bad thing are the kings of their little theoretical castle and by GOD they’re not admitting that the thing they’ve sworn to eradicate is actually a useful coping skill.

@ everyone who doesn’t have a particular neurodivergence who claims to be an expert on that ND:

You’re not.

Someone who actually experiences the ND will always know more about it that you do.

Even if they don’t know the technical jargon, latest theories around it, or even the word(s) for their ND.

They live with it and that makes them more of an expert than you could ever be.

You Can Pry Autistic Newt Scamander From My Cold Dead Hands: The Musical
Autistic Mabel Pines

I like to headcanon her as autistic
Just some things first, I’m not an expert on autism but i do have autism so i do know some things also this is just my personal headcanon and if you don’t agree with it that’s absolutely fine
And if you have anything to add that i missed please let me know I’d love to hear it
Here’s just some ideas 
There are also going to be mistakes so i apologies in advance

She has a very high moral code which she always tries to keep to

Her special interest could be arts and crafts

She has quick obsessions (which i have a lot of too) like the different boys she suddenly gets obsessed with and perhaps other things relating to arts and crafts like sock puppets in sock opera

She may have trouble understanding people like if boys like her or not

There are some things that she feels she hast to do like have a summer romance

She has some difficulty making friends with people who are “normal” and seeks out stranger friends that she may contact to more like candy, grenda and waddles

She wears sweaters all the time perhaps because there very comfortable and she can make them have whatever design she wants on them and maybe the big sleeves could be a stim for her, we do see her flapping them around in tourist trapped (i like to do that with big sleeves too) i do think flapping her sleeves is a stim for her

When things become too much for her she shuts down by going into sweater town. I think this is very authentic, the two times we see her do this are two times when she’s at her most overwhelmed and needs a place to retreat to have her version of a meltdown

She hates things to change drastically like when she found out that high school was going to be awful and dipper was not going to come with her (i really related to her in that scene and i could completely understand how she was feeling. I consider this to be one of most autistic moments for Mabel) she completely couldn’t handle all this sudden change and ran away into sweater town. You could also see how overwhelming this change was by the line “i wanted to hide in my sweater forever” (i might of gotten the quote wrong but you get the idea)

Those are some of the reasons i like to headcanon Mabel as autistic

So there are several autistic children at the daycare I work at, and nobody who knows anything about working with autistic children. The so-called autism expert had a section about ABA (ew) in her childcare course. So meltdowns and tantrums are very common at my workplace.

I used to work exclusively with an autistic boy, but, being autistic myself, the school-age children were too much sensory-wise, so I moved to the nursery.

After I left, things got even worse. I don’t claim to have been the one keeping everything calmer, but I was individualizing my methods for each child. Some kids were okay with being spoken to in very clear-cut, ‘no and that’s final’ way; and some needed to be spoken to very calmly with everything explained multiple times.

I saw kids, really good kids, not being allowed to return to the daycare because of behavioural problems that wouldn’t have been an issue if there had been a space for them to relax and calm themselves when they were angry or stressed. And it broke my heart.

Then I had the idea of a sensory room. I wrote out a plan and presented it to my boss, who said she would think about it. As she was mulling it over, one of the school-age children became EXTREMELY overwhelmed . She had been thinking about my sensory room idea, so she put down a cushion in her office, put on some soft music and these slow-moving disco lights, and gave the child something to do with his hands.

Almost instantly, his outburst stopped. He had been screaming at the top of his lungs, and right away he was quiet, fascinated with the lights. He lay down on the cushion and was perfectly content for an hour.

After that my boss realized how much the sensory room would help, and we’re looking into making a permanent one! It’s just really cool and it makes me so happy to know that the kids will be getting something to help with their sensory issues.