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Autism Information Library
And People Still Fail to Get It, Again and Again"No, I'm not an uppity autie. I'm a goddamn roll-over-and-play-dead autie who's afraid to do anything other than to keep going "yes sir, yes sir" out of terror that someone may get so angry about my "defiance" that they'll start yanking away all of the "privileges" they've granted me and more, just to punish me. I could probably stand to be a little more uppity, or a lot. I wish I knew how to break the cycle of fear and being intimidated into shutting up and then not being able to do what I needed to do because I didn't get the help I needed."
Autobiography of Anonymous"I visited and phoned the Social Services many, many times and begged them to help me. But they would not do anything. Their most frequent reasons were that I was an adult or not a child, that I was intelligent or not stupid, that I had never had any help before so I didn't need it now, and that the way I lived was my own choice. When people had an illness that was undiagnosed, their first job should have been to find them a doctor who would diagnose it. Instead they used it against me, always insisting that if doctors said there was nothing wrong with me then there couldn't be. They would not help you unless you were already being helped. [...] Like other social workers, he said my wanting somebody to help me meant I wanted to be a child. I wanted to claim Disability Living Allowance. He said it was "only for disabled people." He read the forms and said, "I don't see why you think you can claim this." He said I wasn't entitled to it and refused to fill them in. I didn't know what more he must want."
About Autism
Autism Frequently Asked QuestionsFrequently asked questions, with answers from an autistic perspective (under construction).
Autism? What is it?"Autism is a developmental disability of the brain, much like dyslexia, mental retardation, or attention deficit disorder. Autism is not a form of mental retardation, and though many autistic people appear to function as retarded, they are frequently quite intelligent."
Autistic Adults and Adolescents"Autistic adolescents and adults are people you might encounter every day but not know it. There are many things you might think about us, but often they are not true."
A discussion about Theory of Mind : From an Autistic PerspectiveJ. Blackburn, K. Gottschewski, Elsa George, and Niki L, "A discussion about Theory of Mind : From an Autistic Perspective," Proceedings of Autism Europe's 6th International Congress, Glasgow 19-21 May 2000, in print. Copyright © 2000 by J. Blackburn, K. Gottschewski, Elsa George, and Niki L
Curing Autism?
A Place for All (link to another website)"Autistic individuals have a transcendent beauty. Their traits bespeak a separate, entire personality which is holistic-rather than an "illness," "abnormality," "retardation syndrome," or "disease" which must be eradicated."
Autistics Need Acceptance, Not CureA psychology professor and mother of an autistic son describes her thoughts and feelings about Autism Awareness Month in an op-ed piece for the Wisconsin State Journal.
Cure, Recovery, Prevention of Autism?"I think that most people who seek a "cure" for their loved ones' autism do so with the best of intentions: they see their loved ones having difficulty or inability to function, and want to help them overcome those difficulties or inabilities. However, the road to Hell is paved with the best of intentions."
Don't Mourn for Us"Autism isn't something a person has, or a "shell" that a person is trapped inside. There's no normal child hidden behind the autism. Autism is a way of being. It is pervasive; it colors every experience, every sensation, perception, thought, emotion, and encounter, every aspect of existence. It is not possible to separate the autism from the person--and if it were possible, the person you'd have left would not be the same person you started with. "
Is Cure A Goal (link to another website) "I think one issue that tends to confuse this question is the tendency for people to pick out one characteristic (that might not even be an essential feature of autism in the first place) and proclaim that this one characteristic is autism."
Love, Devotion, Hope, Prevention, and Cure"If you are working toward cure or prevention, and believe that you are acting out of love or devotion, please realize that the love and devotion are dangerously misguided, and change what you are doing."
Medical Research Funding (link to another website) "Autism is not a disease. It does not make people sick, and it does not kill people. There are different opinions about how much suffering and misery autism causes. Some people do suffer a lot from it, while for others the suffering is caused primarily by other people, not by autism. But even at its most devastating, the people most directly affected by autism--those who are autistic--tend to report a great deal less suffering as a result of their condition than people with cystic fibrosis report as a result of theirs."
Then and NowA look at how far(?) we've come in the past 70 years.
The Autistic Experience
Autism, Speech, and Assistive Technology"I do remember one statement made by the local Autism Expert TM. "Maybe we can help you reduce anxiety so you won't have to rely on your keyboard." That's when any remaining ideas in my mind that this person was a real expert on autism fell apart."
Being a Spatial ThinkerOne kind of autistic thought
Central Auditory Processing DisorderA teen with CAPD describes central auditory processing disorder.
"Help! I Seem To Be Getting More Autistic!"A long article aimed at autistics experiencing the phenomenon sometimes misnamed "regression" or "getting more autistic". While it does not have all the answers, it aims to be a starting point for asking the right questions.
Inertia: From Theory to Praxis"I realized there was a pattern to the various things I hadn't done... and to the things I had done... and that this pattern had little to do with motivation, caring, internal desires, or even how much I enjoyed doing the activities in question, and quite a bit to do with how the activities were structured. This article and presentation are an attempt to communicate what I've pieced together, geared partly at inertial people trying to figure out how to structure their lives in a way that works."
Psychiatric Medications and AutismA review of psychiatric medications from a real expert-- a teen who has experienced them.
The Autistic Perspective
Advantages to Being a High-Functioning AutisticA poem inspired by The Advantages of Being a Woman Artist.
The Autistic Distinction (link to another website)A response to a case in which an autistic boy is being discriminated against by being asked not to play on the same playground as other kids, for being autistic.
Autistic Pride Day: Do We Celebrate It Right?"When many people talk of autistic pride, it often makes me cry because the best we can seem to come up with as a group are a list things that only some autistics can be proud of (because others lack those traits) and/or things that put down other people ("We aren't stupid NTs" and such). I'd like to see us come up with stuff like, "We are human, and like all humans, have value." We don't need to prove we have autistic superpowers to be of worth. Nor do we have to attribute moral goodness to autistics to be of worth (especially since, like with NTs, there are moral and immoral autistics)."
The Conference Presentation I Won't Make
(But Want To)
"Hi, I'm Laura, and I will be your freak show for this morning. Someone made a mistake and forgot to get you a glittery Token Autistic Author with three Ph.D.s and a Nobel prize. Instead they accidentally got you one out of the trash heap you put us in after you are done putting up with us in school."
Conversation on InstitutionsA conversation/interview between two autistics regarding institutions. Editorial: Who Can Call Themselves Autistic?Response to a letter that had urged leaders in the autism community to screen autistic speakers by use of diagnostic papers: "Autism is a different way of perceiving and responding to the world. The validity of someone's claims to being autistic cannot be tied to political opinion, age at diagnosis, or whether the person has an official diagnosis."
Elves and Autistics and Nazis, Oh My!This essay has been removed by the author. Click the link to see why.
Everything I Needed to Know about Life I Learned from my Behavioral TherapistMost of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do and how to be, I learned from my behavioral therapist before I was 5 years old. These are the things I learned.
Faking NT vs. Being Yourself"I'm pretty much of a "lurker" on the autism lists, and I'm also a very private person who doesn't like to disclose a lot of details about my personal life. However, when it comes to this kind of debate, I'm inclined to think that's more important, and useful, to examine actual instances of "faking NT" to see what, exactly, the results are. It's not a debate that can be resolved in principle; you have to look at evidence. That being the case, I'd like to offer my own story."
I Dont Want To Be A Pioneer I Just Want To Be Me"Personally I find the basic stumbling block on which all the others issues stems is the assumption most Neurotypical people have that Neurotypical worldview is neutral and normative."
Identifying, Educating, and Empowering AlliesPractical steps autistic self-advocates can take to identify, educate, and empower potential allies in the non-autistic population, and issues and frontiers in which allies can be most effective.
How To Become An Autism Expert"No matter who you are, if you follow the following steps and guidelines... ...You, too, can become an Autism Expert!"
How To Differentiate Between Autism and Asperger's Syndrome, Once and For AllAn article using sarcastic humor to describe the (lack of) difference between autism and Asperger's syndrome.
Let's Pretend...About the danger involved in pretending to be normal or forcing one's autistic children to pretend to be normal.
The Meaning of Self-AdvocacyA challenge to narrow definitions of self-advocacy.
The Oak ManifestoA call to all Trees and other Plants to recognize all of our fundamental value in the world.
Rewriting History for Their Own Ends: Cure Autism Now and The Mind Tree"His mother, with some help, taught him to write. He could not speak, was presumed by many not to think, and had a good sense of humor and grasp of metaphor. He was the first person in this position to write a book in English. He told people things they had not known before about autism.... His name was not Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay or anything close to it. His name was David Eastham... His mother did not abuse him in order to teach him how to communicate.... His mother did not deprive him of food. She did not beat him. She did not tie his hand to a pencil... Which is one reason among many why I look at my new copy of The Mind Tree: A Miraculous Child Breaks the Silence of Autism -- the American release of the much less sensationalistic title Beyond the Silence: My Life, the World, and Autism -- with a mixture of rage and deep pain. There is no doubt in my mind, after reading the blurbs on the cover and first few pages, that Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay, its author, is being marketed as a commodity."
This Is What Your "Treatments" Do To Us"And they never, never get it that just the thought of their so-called "treatments" can induce the same behavior they're constantly insisting they're trying to eliminate, in the people they're targeting... And this is only a tiny fraction of a taste of what these "treatments", and the constant and widespread approval and condoning of them, do to me, which is only a tiny fraction of a taste of what these things do to thousands of other autistic people around the world."
To the Kit Weintraubs of the WorldBecause your viewpoint contributes directly to the viewpoints of people who make policy on these things (most autistic viewpoints are ignored, and you encourage people to ignore us), I expect you to come out to my home and the home (if they've even got one) of every other autistic person harmed by your views and make direct reparations. Work for us for awhile, and advocate for equal rights including but by no means limited to our right to adequate and dignified autism services. You say you're afraid of us? At least our ideas aren't likely to kill you.
The Validity of Autistic Opinions"I recently read part of a book which was written by an "expert" on autism. The author mentioned the autobiographical accounts and essays by autistic people, saying that they might not be a good source of information about what concerns professionals about autism... There are several problems with these statements."
Why I Am Angry"It's going to take a revolution. It's going to take overthrowing that axis of power that leaves us voiceless and serviceless and invisible. It's going to take turning things round so that instead of parents and professionals concocting schemes and then looking around for a Token Autistic to perform a benediction over it, nothing happens without our meaningful input. Services go to money and money goes to power and I want power to go to autistics."
Why I Don't Want To Be An Autistic Advocate AnymoreAn autistic man provides needed criticisms of the autistic self-advocacy movement.
The World I Want to Live In"This is a terrifying world to live in, if you, like me, are autistic right now."
You Have It So Good"You can't look at me and say, "Oh, he does (A), (B), and (C), which most autistics don't do. Therefore he must be only mildly disabled." You can't say, "Your disability doesn't really affect you the way it affects others. You wouldn't be glad you were autistic if it caused you real problems." Frankly, I'm sick of being judged this way. This judgment has made it hard for me to seek and receive the support I need to survive. Yes, survive. That statement isn't metaphorical. It is literal. It is my here-and-now."
You Have To UnderstandThis is written to expose the real message behind the words of some of the patronizing and controlling people — mostly non-disabled 'advisors' — I have met in my experiences with 'self-advocacy'.
Michelle Dawson
In Support of Michelle Dawson and Her's response to predictable attacks on Michelle Dawson's character in particular, and to common prejudices about anti-cure autistics in general. A show of support for Dawson and others who are trying to stand up for the human rights of autistic people, and an urging of others to do the same. Contains links to other articles on this subject.
Is One Allowed to Respond?: Michelle Dawson Responds to Defamation of Her CharacterInstead of giving legitimate criticism of her work, various people and organizations are resorting to attacking Michelle Dawson's character. This is her response.
Leadership in the Autism CommunityValues, Methods, Standards, and Goals
Past, Present, and FutureA special issue of the Schafer Autism Report, "In Defense of Behavioral Treatment for Autism", had a lot of plainly false things to say about activist autistics, in its rush to discredit Michelle Dawson and those of us like her. This is one autistic's personal response to some of the statements in the newsletter.
Response to a Mother's ResponseAn autistic woman responds to Kit Weintraub's letter to Michelle Dawson.
Another Parent's Take on ABA and its "Defense"An aspie father of an autistic son looks at what's wrong with the current goals and application of ABA, and the ways in which it has been promoted and "defended" in the Weintraub letter and the Schafer reports.
In Response to Lenny Schafer "Basically you're trying to define Asperger's as anyone who at any point in their life can disagree with you. You then presume to speak for all the 'real autistics' who are unable to disagree with you in writing."
Autism and Hate Speech in the Toronto Star: The Letter that was "Too Hurtful"Inaccurate articles hurtful to autistics were published in the Toronto Star. When Michelle Dawson, an autistic woman, tried to counter those articles with facts, she was told (at long last) that her facts and opinions were "too hurtful" to publish. These are the letters between her and the newspaper, with links to the original articles and letters that did get published.
Censorship & Banning of Autistic Canadians jypsy (janet norman-bain) and Michelle Dawson by Aspergers Society of OntarioEmail exchange between Michelle Dawson and the listowner after being banned for posting controversial opinions.
Censorship & Banning of Autistic Canadians jypsy (janet norman-bain) and Michelle Dawson by Aspergers Society of Ontario (jypsy Correspondence)Email exchange between jypsy and the listowner after being banned for posting controversial opinions.
We Are Not Your Community: In Response to Autism Society Canada's Open Letter (link to another website)We politely asked, please hurt us less. You ignored us, and now you have slapped our face with your dishonesty and hypocrisy. It is not so hard to apologize when you insult people—when you insult them in ways that may put them in danger, as David Vardy did, as Carmen Lahaie did, as many others have—or when you bar, banish, and exile people based on their differences. You have not apologized. It is not so hard to not denigrate us, or to be accurate about yourselves and ourselves, or to be respectful and constructive. But you have not chosen these possibilities. It is not so hard to include us, but instead you built a ghetto. You are proud of what you have done. We are not your community. That is your decision, and your loss.
Autistic Humor
Attention ParentsLenny Schafer wants proof of autism, so the Autistic Liberation Front demands proof of parenthood (unless you happen to agree with us in which case we'll ignore it).
Curebie BingoBingo cards for turning depressing, frustrating, frightening, or infuriating conversations with unrelentingly pro-cure people into something more amusing (or at least tolerable rather than intolerable). At least if you have a relatively twisted sense of humor.
The muskie Construction SiteThe primary webmaster gets used (and photographed!) in stereotypical autistic fashion by an autistic houseguest intent on using her as an object in play activities.
Real IEP GoalsA genuine and unintentionally honest IEP goal for an institutionalized autistic person, photographed for posterity.
Autistic Authors Booklist and FactsList of books by autistic authors, and some interesting and fun facts about these books. Always being updated; last updated 25 June 2006.
Book Review: Elijah's Cup by Valerie Paradiz"Valerie Paradiz's book Elijah's Cup ... is heartfelt, lyrical in its imagery, and engaging in its narrative style. But beyond that, it is an important milestone in the history of autism literature. Like many of the books that have been written about autism in the last ten years, it is a parent's narrative - but it is no ordinary parent's narrative. It reaches out, and tries, and more than any book before it in its genre, succeeds in understanding and communicating the perspectives of those of us who, like Valerie's son Elijah, are on the autism spectrum."
Hear Our Voices
Input from Autistics and Family Members during the Hear Our Voices Campaign"Don't simply settle; hell most of us have settled most our lives. Tell them to start with *respect*"
A Reply to the Initiator of the ARK Rally"You disregarded the autistic community. We don't all speak with one voice. We aren't all high functioning aspies with Ph.D.s. Some of us aren't even verbal-- but we do have voices in the electronic world. The very name of the rally is an insult to many of us. You can no longer assume you'll be hearing our silence. You are going to need to learn to hear our voices."
From My Heart: a mother's view of ARK and the rallyA mother speaks out.
Sample LetterThe sample letter to congress in the Hear Our Voices campaign.

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