At birth, doctors suggested I would be mentally disabled, in addition to the physical injuries I suffered. I have never been described as normal. “High-functioning autism” (HFA) is just another way to describe a few aspects of “me.” The autistic me is the creative me, the curious me, the complete me.
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Research participants needed! A graduate student at UMass Amherst is interested in your experiences regarding your education, employment, hobbies, and interests. Your input is very valuable and will help the researcher gain information about daily life of adults with Autism. To participate in this confidential survey, we ask that you are over 18 and diagnosed with Autism, or Social Communication Disorder. This survey will take no more than 10 minutes and can be found at http://bit.ly/MoroneySurvey. Your response is confidential and will be used only for research purposes. Participants will not be paid for participating.
"Aren't people with Asperger's more likely to be geniuses? Isn't genius related to autism?"
A university student asked this in a course I am teaching. The class discussion was covering neurological differences, free will, and the nature versus nurture debate. The textbook for the course includes sidebars on the brain and behavior throughout chapters on ethics and morality. This student was asking a question reflecting media portrayals of autism spectrum disorders, social skills difficulties, and genius.
I did not address this question from a personal perspective in class, but I have when speaking to groups of parents, educators, and caregivers. Some of the reasons these questions arise, as mentioned above, are media portrayals and news coverage of autism. Examples include: Television shows with gifted characters either identified with or assumed to have autistic traits: Alphas, Big Bang Theory, Bones, Rizzoli and Isles, Touch, and others. Some would include She…
A friend wrote that she feels more and more depressed each day, following news and politics on social media.
My advice? Stop it.
Getting away from social media can be the best thing for someone with an impulse to follow and comment on... everything. And I do mean everything. It's like a compulsion for this friend and for many others.
Let things go.
Having been stuck at home and in bed for a month, I can attest that social media is depressing. Take a break from it if you need to. There's nothing wrong with realizing that online life isn't real life and that it can be overwhelming.
I fear some friends just cannot turn away from social media, even for a day or two. Try it. Maybe you'll discover it helps.
Think about what you see, online and in the media. I see upper-middle class parents, able to afford iPads and tutors and official diagnoses. I see parents who have the resources to fight for IEPs and physical accommodations.
I see self-advocacy leadership that has been fortunate (and hard working, certainly) to attend universities, travel the nation (or even internationally), and have forums that reach thousands.
What I don't see? Most of our actual community. The real community that represents autism's downsides. The marginalized communities, ignored and excluded from our boards, our commissions, our business networks.
How did my lower-income parents, without college educations, give me a chance to be more? How did they fight the odds? They did, and now I am in a position of privilege. But I don't seem to be making much of a difference.
Demand that your charities seek out the broadest possible array of advisers and board members.…