And straight on till morning essays on autism acceptance

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Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. A collection of essays by Autistic writers on autism awareness, the cost of awareness, and working towards a future of acceptance. Get A Copy.

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Julia Bascom

Apr 13, Audra rated it really liked it Shelves: teaching , autism , parenting. A huge chunk of this book is the JRC medical malpractice trial, which is totally appropriate and important for people to know about -- but I still wish for more essays! Maybe a part 2? I am eager to share some of them with my staff and help refine our language and actions to better express the acceptance philosophy that I so deeply embrace. Jan 11, Frankie Paige rated it it was amazing. Autism means that my earliest memories are of floating in among the feel of things.

Not how they looked or sounded, but how they felt.

Words don't exist for the hundreds if not thousands of variants on this. A way of perceiving the world that has remained dominant for me even after sensory input became stronger and, later, words and ideas. It's the foundation that I always start from when I climb up the cliffs, day after day, that allow me to use words and ideas and move and understand what is around me. And no matter how high I climb, that underlying way of experiencing the world is still there.

Where people think blind people's hearing must grow more acute. I see it differently.

Autism Awareness & Acceptance: Recommended Reading

It's a way of experiencing things that could only have developed if more typical ways were absent. There are a lot of plants that cannot grow in the shade of a forest. But if there are no big shade-producing trees, they flourish. It's like that. Many of my experiences and abilities stem from what happens when plants can flourish outside the shade of a forest. I can spend all day with one marble. Looking at it, feeling it on my face. One problem with trying to describe this is that there are far more possible sensations than there are words for sensations.

And Straight on Till Morning: Essays on Autism Acceptance by Autistic Self Advocacy Network

So an entire day's worth of experiences can come out to only one sentence. And it's harder still to describe the patterns formed between those sensations. Not abstract, logical patterns but concrete, sensory patterns. And those are how I understand and interact with the world.


The patient's mother reports that marbles and other small spherical objects are one of her daughter's 'special interests. This behavior not significantly self-injurious was accompanied by nonsense vocalizations.

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For nearly five decades, drily clinical, outside views of autism were all we had. The advent of first-person accounts by people like Temple Grandin, Jim Sinclair , Amy Sequenzia , and Julia Bascom is providing an invaluable perspective on what life on the spectrum is really like. The autistic self has often been invisible to clinicians. Bruno Bettelheim, the psychoanalyst who proposed in the s that autism is caused by "refrigerator mothers" who secretly wish their children dead, called his bestseller on the autistic psyche The Empty Fortress.

I once heard a scientist receiving a lifetime achievement award at a major autism conference refer to her early days in the field as "like veterinary medicine. The cost of that invisibility, and the brutal treatment that came with it, plays out in "The Judge Rotenberg Center on Trial," a deeply reported essay by Shain Neumeier in And Straight On Till Morning that details the case against a "treatment" center in Massachusetts that employs painful skin shocks to punish self-injurious behavior.

This isn't something that happened in the dark days of behaviorism run wild in the s -- it's happening now in Massachusetts, and a special rapporteur at the United Nations has deemed it torture. Jorgensen proposes rethinking special education to focus on strengthening the natural gifts of autistic students, rather than on correcting their deficits. What if we changed the fundamental way that we viewed students with autism and instead of viewing autism as the problem , we viewed it as a natural part of human diversity?

What if, instead of trying to make people with autism "normal," we intentionally looked for their strengths and viewed their challenges as problems with their environment? What if we appreciated the unique talents of students with autism and recognized the contributions that they might make to our schools and communities? Ideas like this are gaining traction in the special-education community see Thomas Armstrong's excellent new book Neurodiversity in the Classroom because they bring out the best in every student, including those with dyslexia, ADHD, and others who think and learn differently from their peers -- while 70 years of trying to force autistic kids to "act normal for a change," and punishing them for harmless behavior like hand-flapping, has only added to their challenges in daily life.

These two new ebooks, with two very different perspectives, arrive at the same conclusion: By understanding autism from the inside, we become more fully human -- no matter where we are on the grand spectrum. He is also the author of the NeuroTribes blog on the Public Library of Science and a correspondent for Wired magazine. She is especially interested in bridging the gap between theory and praxis.

She is strongly against normalization therapy, arguing that it is better to grow up looking autistic than to grow up being abused. I want to not feel like a freak, and I want to feel safe. Those are hard, scary things to feel and to admit. Bascom enjoys music, linguistics, and multiples of 7. She was quite gifted in math, demonstrating incredible skill in mathematics and music, but lost skills after head trauma and over-medication.

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Bascom has written in detail about her disability. Her body often has trouble moving, be it opening boxes, dressing herself, or standing up.