June 27, 2021

You may have seen the phrase “autistic culture” in posts about social interactions that autistic people often enjoy – like blunt communication, expressing empathy through a personal story, or infodumping.

But what makes it a culture? Why not just call it a set of shared preferences, or habits, or traits?

To call something a culture, …

June 25, 2021

Autism, if you see it as a collection of traits, is caused by where our attention goes. Autism, if you see it as a neurotype, is a way to define where our attention goes.

In either case, attention is at the root. Autistic people tend to notice spoken language more than body language and tone. …

June 24, 2021

Sometimes, the only kind of self-advocacy that gets through is refusal.

When I cannot do something – or I can, but only at great cost to my mental or physical wellbeing – my first instinct is to explain why. This is partly driven by a wish to be accurately understood, and partly by the myth …

June 23, 2021

School’s out for the summer, which means I finally have enough mental energy for Effort Food!

This includes food that takes more than two steps to prepare, food that will go bad in less than a week, food that cannot be eaten by itself, food that might crumble or otherwise make a mess, food whose …

May 10, 2021

I’m trying to pay closer attention to my harmless urges to move in unconventional ways. Sometimes I might follow them, and sometimes not, but at least I want to notice them.

Today I noticed, as my boyfriend told a complex story, that I was imagining all the nouns in the story as invisible blocks, floating …

May 9, 2021

My body knows what it needs. But I’ve spent most of my life fighting it, because if I give in, people might perceive me as a threat.

Percussive movement, such as stomping my feet or whacking my palms on my thighs, is threatening because it looks like violence.

Sudden movement, such as stretching out my …

May 5, 2021

I enjoy occasionally flabbergasting my autistic students with insights into the neurotypical mind. It feels like being a tour guide on a safari.

One such insight, which I learned quite recently myself, is that some people correct factual errors as a power move. That’s one reason they might get angry when you do it to …

May 1, 2021

As an autistic person begins to trade the heavy armor of hypervigilant self-preservation for the spinny sundress of safe authenticity, each step forward may seem like a step back.

They may look “more autistic,” as they embrace the calming power of natural movements.

They may request more support, as they recognize the cost of facing …

May 1, 2021

I came across a list of personal goals from 10 years ago, and one of them was: “Make better eye contact.”

I didn’t write that because of any negative feedback I’d received. I certainly didn’t write it because of any so-called autism therapy – no one knew I was autistic at the time, including me. …

April 29, 2021

If you’re a failure-fearing go-getter like me, then it may be easier to try new things if you explicitly set a goal to fail.

Like the writer who tried to get 100 rejections from magazines, and ended up with many articles published, because he wasn’t afraid to pitch his ideas.

Like the pottery students who …