Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Stories We Shared

On March 24, the editors issued this invitation: TPGA would like to share an autism perspective: yours.
As members of the autism community, we know that awareness is only a first step. Increased awareness brings opportunities to share our experiences and strive for what people with autism deserve: understanding, and acceptance.

...Please send us a short essay on one thing you want readers to know about autism -- as it relates to you. Share what you’ve experienced or witnessed. Tell readers about a formative experience; something joyful, or a brief moment of despair. Share your hopes, dreams, past, or future. Anecdotes laced with humor -- however dark though not mean-spirited -- are especially appreciated.
We published 22 stories, vignettes, and interviews.


Six personal stories from people with autism
  • Corina Lynn Becker, Why I Am Wearing Black For this young adult with autism, April "is month of reflection, of remembrance. It is a reminder of how deeply events can affect mental health, even for Autistic people. It is a reminder of how far I've come, what I've gotten through, and how I've become stronger. And it is a reminder of my loved ones and support network, with whom I am never alone."
  • Carol Greenburg, An Interview with Carol Greenburg TPGA's editor represents many aspects of the autism community, being herself autistic, a special education advocate for parents and students, and the parent of a child with autism. This wide-ranging interview covers all the bases.
  • Leah Jane, Autism Acceptance for Autism Awareness Month Leah Jane is an adult with autism, and calls for throwing away Autism Awareness, and replace it with Autism Acceptance, lead by autistic people themselves.
  • Kristen, My Fights with Autism and the Need for More Awareness An 18 year old high school student's memories of her childhood, and her dreams for a better world: for real autism awareness and acceptance.
  • John Elder Robison, An Interview with John Elder Robison Mr. Robison has recently published his second book, "Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian". In this interview with TPGA editor Jennifer Byde Myers, he discusses being diagnosed will into adulthood, the need for both research and support, and practical tips for people with autism.
  • Zoe, About Stimming An adult with autism discusses the reasons for and benefits of stimming: "..that is what I think we should teach people: that sometimes it can be helpful to know how to pass, but that doesn’t mean you have to forget how to stim. "
Three posts on autism in the media; autism and public policy
  • On Autism and Wandering This month, the proposal for a diagnostic code for wandering became a hot topic of debate. TPGA editors interviewed two people: a mother whose son has autism and for whom wandering is a serious safety issue; and Dr. Paul Law, Director of the Interactive Autism Network (IAN) at Kennedy Krieger Institute, which undertook a pioneering survey of wandering (elopement) and autism: in childhood and adulthood.
  • Emily Willingham What is it About Autism Meditation on the meaning & magnetism of autism, in the media and personally.
  • Zoe Headlines: Abuse and Empathy This post reviewed recent popular stories and ended with the call: "Let's take a moment to remember the connection between people who speak about us as though we are not human and people who treat us inhumanely."
Three Stories of Autism Acceptance and Inclusion from the Neurotypical Point of View
  • Liz Ditz What Am I Doing Here? One person's road to becoming an advocate for autism inclusion and acceptance
  • Rob Gorski, My Broken Heart: The Bare-Handed Man An autism parent meets an older man, possibly with autism, and is profoundly moved. "All I can think about is that the bare-handed man could be one or more of my kids in the future."
  • Kris Robin, Little Songbird An accidental encounter becomes a touching joy for two families.
Ten posts from Parents


  • Alysia K.Butler Wonder On the occasion of her son's fifth birthday, a mother enumerates her son's wonderful aspects and how parenting him has changed her heart.




  • Dawn Comer, Purple Sucker Reflections in poetry about the younger sister of a boy with autism




  • Christa Dahlstrom, Seven Years Old A Mother's reflections on her son's growth and his challenges and strengths




  • Kim Dull, The "A" Word When a diagnosis, a label, actually improves opportunities for a child.




  • Rivka Iakullo, Randomness A mother, three years after diagnosis, reflects on the path up to and after her son's diagnosis. "That’s right, randomness. Not just a word, not just a long word, but a word that was a comment on itself."




  • Sarah MacLeod, Patience, Awareness, and Justice The mother of an older child with autism meditates on the meaning of "awareness", for her son and for those who meet him.




  • Spectrummy Mummy, My Fight "My fight might not be the same as another mother's, but we still fight together, and our fight will always begin with awareness. "I'm buying the light for awareness. My fight is for understanding and acceptance.""




  • Kristen Spina, All I Have to Say "I don't have any answers, I simply have this boy. This funny, fantastic, exasperating, infuriating, wonderful, wild, quirky, sweet and fabulous boy."




  • Amy Spurway, Mother of a Child with Autism A mother notices that not only are all people with autism unique, but so are mothers of children with autism. "I've learned something very important about labels: It is just as useless and irritating to stitch them on people as it is to stitch them on clothes. Sometimes it's better to rip them off before they drive you nuts."




  • Squillo, Two Steps Forward, One Step Back "It seems the steps forward happen, not just for Squidboy, but for us, and for everyone else who has been learning to deal with his differences."




  • Alphabetical list by author's surname:
    1. Corina Lynn Becker Why I Am Wearing Black
    2. Alysia K. Butler Wonder
    3. Dawn Comer Purple Sucker
    4. Christa Dahlstrom Seven Years Old
    5. Liz Ditz What Am I Doing Here?
    6. Kim Dull The "A" Word
    7. TPGA Editors On Autism and Wandering
    8. Rob Gorski My Broken Heart: The Bare-Handed Man
    9. Carol Greenburg An Interview with Carol Greenburg
    10. Rivka Iakullo Randomness
    11. Leah Jane Autism Acceptance for Autism Awareness Month
    12. Kristen My Fights with Autism and the need for
    13. Sarah MacLeod Patience, Awareness, and Justice
    14. Spectrummy Mummy My Fight
    15. Kris Robin Little Songbird
    16. John Elder Robinson An Interview with John Elder Robinson
    17. Kristen Spina All I Have to Say
    18. Amy Spurway Mother of a Child with Autism
    19. Squillo Two Steps Forward, One Step Back
    20. Emily Willingham What is it About Autism
    21. Zoe Headlines: Abuse and Empathy
    22. Zoe About Stimming