There’s a blog I love called, Musings of an Aspie written by Cynthia Kim. Cynthia Kim also has a book, I Think I Might Be Autistic , which is now available as an e-book and in paperback. She writes about her decision to pursue a diagnosis, with lots of tips for those who might be thinking of doing the same. “I Think I Might Be Autistic: A Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis and Self-Discovery for Adults” begins from that “aha!’ moment, addressing the many questions that follow. What do the symptoms of ASD look like in adults? Is getting a diagnosis worth it? What does an assessment consist of and how can you prepare for it?” But the book is much more than just advice about whether to get a formal diagnosis or not. It’s about identity, who we are, what that means and why we care.
On Cynthia’s blog she writes about marriage, motherhood, being a “self-employed aspie” as well as a whole host of other topics.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes and posts from her blog:
From Beyond The Talk: What Else Autistic Girls Need to Know About Puberty
When it came to puberty, my parents did what many parents in the seventies did: they gave me a book about puberty written especially for girls. It was a slim cranberry hardback with an ambiguous title like “Everything is Changing.”
I was a voracious reader, so I would curl up in my beanbag and scour the pages for clues to the mysterious changes that were on the horizon. I think I had many of the same fears, anxieties and curiosities about puberty as my friends had. Certainly my body went through the same changes that other girls experienced. However, I think there are some areas where girls on the spectrum would benefit from additional information or guidance. That’s what I’m going to focus on in this post.
Cynthia wrote a kind of parody about “NT’s” in the same writing style so commonly used when non autistic people write about Autistics. It is perhaps, one of my favorite posts, although it’s hard to say as there are a number vying for that position. The quote below is from her post, What is Neurotypical?
“Perhaps the most obvious giveaway is an NT’s tendency to make “small talk” or to want to “chat” with you. While small talk appears to be nonfunctional, for NTs it serves a very specific purpose. It’s a good idea to humor them and participate to whatever degree you can tolerate. If you’re patient with them, many NTs will soon feel comfortable enough to move from small talk to more interesting, in-depth conversations.
Another common sign that someone is an NT? Touching. NTs enjoy all sorts of physical contact and often use touch to greet friends, family and even casual acquaintances. While it’s hard to fathom why your real estate agent or hairdresser feels the need to send you off with a hug, try not to be judgmental while fending them off. NTs are simply wired differently.”
From Cynthia’s Aspergers and Marriage Series, Lessons From an Aspergers – NT Marriage :
The Scientist: “You don’t have to make my lunch every morning. I can pick something up in the cafeteria.”
Me: “I don’t mind. It only takes a few minutes and I know you’d rather have something healthy to eat. This way you don’t have to waste time waiting in line.”
The Scientist: “So you mean you make my lunch because you care about me, right?”
I will end with a quote from her post, A Cognitive Defense of Stimming (or Why “Quiet Hands” Makes Math Harder):
The obvious reason for objecting to “quiet hands”-type instruction is that it shames the child for moving in a way that is natural and comforting for them. Others have written eloquently and in great depth about this subject; I’ve linked to some key pieces below rather than repeating what has already been said.
The case I want to make against “quiet hands” is that in addition to being emotionally damaging, it’s cognitively counterproductive. Think back to the experiment where the people who were told to resist eating chocolate gave up more easily on solving puzzles. Substitute stimming for chocolate and learning long division for solving puzzles. Add in the fact that autistic people have impaired executive function to begin with, making inhibition of actions more challenging, and you can see why asking a child to resist stimming is counterproductive if you’d also like them to learn a new skill.
For those of you unfamiliar with Cynthia’s work, I urge you to go now and enjoy, and for those who already know about her writing, how did my medley of some of my favorite posts from her blog measure up against yours?
Reblogged this on Design for Autistics and commented:
Thank you for sharing. I really enjoy your blog and take on this life as a parent.I also am trying to gather more information to present to my son’s special needs school regarding the NEED and acceptance of stimming. My own son reserves his for catapulting himself at our couch at home but it saddens my heart when I hear one of the aides bark “quiet hands” or in the case of a very happy dancer “quiet feet”. I want to scream “It’s expression!! They are communicating!!”
Kathryn, besides Cynthia’s post on stimming (link above) there is also this – “Quiet Hands” from Julia Bascom’s blog – Just Stimming http://juststimming.wordpress.com/2011/10/05/quiet-hands/
and this from The Caffeinated Autistic
There are quite a few more, but these are the ones that leapt to mind. Will be writing a post about “stimming” next week.
Thank you for the additional links.I don’t remember how I happened upon Julia Bascomb’s Quiet Hands post but I do remember the sadness that I felt that this goes on and the immediate decision to never do this to my son. I would also take a moment to thank you for sharing your decision to stop ABA therapy with Emma. This was life changing for us. We were struggling with our son and his therapy sessions were disastrous..I was feeling like his whole life consisted of days of forced compliance and we weren’t even allowed to participate. I finally sat down last fall and googled “when aba therapy doesn’t work” and found your blog. By December we stopped altogether with the in home sessions and implemented our own form of fun time or if he needs it down time Within a week he was telling me about his activities at school. They were only one or two things at first but such a change from screaming the moment he saw me because he was stressed that he didn’t have time to process his day and would immediately start a 3 hour session as soon as we arrived home.So thank you. Thank you so much for sharing and inspiring others.You have made a difference to this family.
Kathryn, I can’t thank you enough for leaving this comment. I continue to get a great many people coming here to read that post I wrote over a year ago about ABA. I am guessing the majority are “pro-ABA” and many have left comments to that affect. So it’s always nice to hear from those who read it and found it beneficial.
Thank you, Ariane. I’m blushing down to my toes. 🙂
There’s something I’ve been wanting to share with you for a long time. Your blog was one of the first I found when I started reading about autism and I learned a lot about acceptance from your blog in those early days. You once wrote about wanting to find autistic mentors for Emma and I remember being stunned by the idea that you wanted *autistic* mentors and not NT mentors. I’d been planning to write a post about how having neurotypical mentors was important for autistic people and your posted stopped me in my tracks. It took me weeks to work through my confusion around that post and even writing about it now, a year later, is hard. I didn’t know what internalized ableism was at the time, but looking back I see that I had quite a bit of it.
At the risk of turning this into a mutual admiration fest, you’ve written some posts that have been a big influence on how I see being autistic so thank you for that too.
Aw… I didn’t know that. Thanks so much for telling me, it means a lot.
And by the way, not only am I so grateful to have a number of people who are Autistic mentors to my daughter, but they’ve also been willing to be mentors to me, which is something I wish for any parent of an Autistic child. I don’t know what I would do without their guidance, help and friendship. My life is infinitely better as a result.
One of my faves, too! Soul sister!
Love the name of her blog. Will check it out.
Yup! It’s a good one.
Yup, she has great stuff about self-employment also. Lots of good stuff to read there!
Some of my favorite posts are about marriage!