Explanation of Autism from a Blogger with Autism

You may feel like you know it when you see it, but do you know exactly what autism is? Lisa Daxer writes in her post titled How to Diagnose Autism, “autism really is a complicated subject”. You should take her word for it, Lisa has Asperger’s syndrome. In the post shed does an incredible of outlining some differences “between autistics and neurotypicals” in three categories:

  • learning and cognition
  • sensory processing
  • language/communication.

In the end she acknowledges that:

… Unfortunately, it’s just not possible. Autism is a complicated diagnosis to make and a complicated subject to study. The more traits you have, the more likely you’re autistic.

In general, a diagnosis of autism is made when someone determines that you have a lot of autistic traits, and that these traits mean you need help with something, and that a diagnosis would help. But defining autism–the essential cognitive style–is a project I think we’ll take decades to finish.

If you’re not already following Reports from a Resident Alien, take a moment to do so now, here are just a few of my favorite posts that have helped me to better understand what it means to have a disability:

Read How to Diagnose Autism

Wretches and Jabberers

I am at the TASH conference this week and watched a pre-screening of the movie Wretches and Jabberers directed by Gerardine Wurzburg. The movie follows the worldwide travels of Larry Bissonnette and Tracy Thresher who both have autism. Growing up, both Larry and Tracy were limited in their speech and seriously misunderstood until as adults they learned to communicate through typing. Now they have travelled around the world and are doing incredible work as advocates to help others presume competence when they meet a person with a disability.

They are still working distribution, but it will probably be available on video sometime next summer. Here is my favorite clip:

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Never Leave Home Without a Spider-Man Costume

This is a great story from Thailand where a student with autism had a panic attack and climbed onto the ledge outside of his third floor classroom. It was the student’s first day at a new school and no one was able to convince him to come back inside, so the local fire department was called.

Fireman Somchai Yoosabai shows up and hears that the student loves comic book heroes. It just so happens that Somchai hasa Spider-Man costume that he keeps in his locker. He puts costume on and quickly and safely convinces the student to come back inside.

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