You’re going to hear a lot about Autism this month. Some call it Autism Awareness Month, others may say Autism Acceptance, while here in my house its more Autism Appreciation Month. Regardless, you’re going to see articles that get it right, but unfortunately too many who get it wrong. I’m just going to share a few of my favorite resources.
Like anything, check the source. The best source on Autism is Autistics. If you’re looking for resources check out Autism Self Advocacy Network. There are great resources on YouTube as well. I really like a series done a few years ago called Ask an Autistic. I also like Hunter Hansen -The Life Autistic and Robin Roscigno Tedx Talk.
You should probably be aware that symbols we normalized in the past to represent Autism were manufactured by neurotypicals. Autistics in your life may not like to be symbolized by a puzzle piece. In fact, many in the Autism community prefer the infinity symbol and/or using rainbow colors for inclusion. You might want to ask before posting a bunch of puzzle pieces if your loved one likes that symbol.
One of the best books out there on the history of Autism as a diagnosis is NeuroTribes-The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity. by Steve Silberman. It gives an incredible perspective on Autism throughout history and how our current definition hasn’t really been in practice that long at all. I also like the recent book, We’re Not Broken: Changing the Autism Conversation by UNC Grad Eric M. Garcia.
What I love about Garcia’s perspective is not only is he actually autistic, but that he gives real life policy examples. Public policy that could benefit those with disabilities. He also speaks from a non-white perspective which is so important as disability and policy surrounding disability is impacted by white supremacy.
I also enjoyed reading Autism in Heels: The Untold Story of a Female Life on the Spectrum. by Jennifer O’Toole. A great read especially if you’re from a generation that didn’t have definitions of Autism that included traits found in girls and women. It’s something I’ve begun to explore in my own life. Maybe some of us just aren’t just introverted, but it goes deeper. Don’t be afraid to explore. Self diagnosis or even formal diagnosis can be healing and eye opening. I’m in the process myself.
My very favorite video is this from Robin Roscigno. It reminds how I started and how I’m trying to learn and be a better parent and citizen on this earth.