November 30, 2020

What is it like when autistics spend time together, with no neurotypical people around? I want to give you a peek behind the curtain.

You might think that we go off on long tangents, leaving our listeners to suffer in boredom. But hiding boredom out of politeness is a neurotypical thing.

When I’m with autistics, …

November 24, 2020

I had a mini meltdown today – letting out a sharp cry, then curling up and covering my head. Usually my meltdowns include a sensory trigger, but this one was purely cerebral. My brain simply ran out of space to process all the things.

It was “mini” because I knew what to do about it. …

November 21, 2020

When it comes to reading, I tend to prefer “expository” content (such as self-help and pop science) over “narrative” content (such as fiction and biographies).

I noticed today that this preference is less about my interest in the topic, and more about the way sentences are structured in each style.

If information is presented in …

November 21, 2020

It’s easy for me to miss or misunderstand people’s motivations and reactions. It isn’t willful ignorance – I want the information, but often can’t gather it on my own.

When I describe my social experiences to neurotypical friends or family, I love to hear them say, “Here’s what may be happening from the other person’s …

November 17, 2020

I used to adore the aesthetic of orphanhood. I didn’t actually want to lose my family, but was captivated by stories of young girls who made their own way in the world, roaming freely in tattered dresses. I read orphan stories nearly every day, and invented my own as I drifted off to sleep. I …

November 15, 2020

Cargo pants make me feel strong.

I feel more balanced and grounded – less likely to fall over – when the clothing from my waist to my ankles is baggy. I feel more prepared, and ready for surprises, when I can access supplies in my pockets. Most importantly, I feel more courageous when I can …

November 12, 2020

A conversation with my past self:

Me: “You look kind of grumpy.”

Little me: “Yeah, a teacher was mean to me.”

Me: “What happened?”

Little me: “I was using my hula hoop as a jump rope, and he said: STOP THAT.”

Me: “Wait… as a jump rope?”

Little me: “I mean, holding it in front …

November 6, 2020

Do you think in words, pictures, or only ideas? Which comes most naturally, and which is even possible?

I occasionally think in pictures, but it feels secondary, like illustrations sprinkled throughout a chapter book.

Generally, my thoughts begin as wordless ideas. I draw a conclusion, and am able to act on it, regardless of whether …

October 26, 2020

My previous post, about skin picking and hair pulling, was the first time I’ve tackled that subject in my three years of writing about autism. I’ve spent those years looking for connections, experimenting with solutions, and wondering what I could say about those habits that might possibly be useful – so, I’m deeply grateful …

October 22, 2020

I’ve read enough anecdotes from autistic women to notice a pattern: Many of us pick at our skin or hair.

There’s plenty of advice and support available if you search for “dermatillomania” (a.k.a. skin excoriation disorder) or “trichotillomania” – but not much info about the overlap with autism. So, here’s what I’ve learned through 20 …