” I think these are both good things as 1 in 45 children with autism is nuts! And not looking for a cure would be even more crazy. There seem to be 2 sets of parents, the ones who want answers and the ones who kinda gave up and have found their own way to deal with the fact that their child will always be autistic. I am a why parent and I think there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s a lot of groups that censor and bully parents who ask why and want answers because it doesn’t fit the official narrative that they have deemed acceptable for discussion. To be honest it’s very upsetting to be downtrodden by my places that claim to “support” autistic families when in fact censuring conversations and ideas is the total opposite.” from a social media site

Background. The discussion was about the monkey trials used to find the cause of Autism and thus lead to a cure.

Let’s look at this sample. 1 in 45 is nuts! Not sure where that number came from, but 1 in 15 people enjoy Skittles. Many years ago I was told about lies, damn lies and statistics. You can twist numbers any way you want to prove your point. Hey! did you know that 1 in 67 people have allism (as in I’m all that!)? Maybe we should be researching that.

The word deal is so loaded. Well, you could be dealing a deck of cards, but I think they mean “put up with” in this case. Put. Up. With. Seriously, maybe we ought to require a parenting test before you can procreate. I “put up with” crayon on my walls, dirty diapers, sibling fighting, smeared peanut butter sandwiches and so on. Yep, I learned to “deal” with childhood. Did it anger me as I mopped up the spilled juice yet again? I’m sure it did. Did I stop serving juice? No, because part of the package is “dealing” with the consequences.

Bullying.  Oh my. How is not accepting your child considered “not” bullying? How is your desire to make your child change come hell or high water “not” bullying? Humans need love and nurturing to grow into nurturing human beings. If you are always looking for a “better” child, how does that make your child feel? If the people who are supposed to love and support you think you are deficient, that leaves a mark or two.

Suppressing ideas. Oh, please. Now you are just whining. How do you suppose your child feels when you yell at them? Or tell them they don’t know anything? Or refuse to engage in conversation because you “KNOW” you are right? But, you are the parent so it’s ok. You don’t want to hear the Autistic voices. You don’t want to hear the voices of those who disagree with you. You aren’t asking to be heard. You are demanding that your voice be the only sound.

Nothing about us, without us. If you don’t want to hear other voices, get off social media. Find a nice small community that shares your thoughts. This is here. This is real. If you are truly trying to understand, then you would hear the thousands of Autistic voices trying to tell you there is a way. It’s called acceptance. It doesn’t involve being a “martyr” because you have an Autistic child. It doesn’t involve spending thousands of dollars to “fix” that which is not broken. Just accept that your child loves you and all you need do is reciprocate.


I’d bet many of you know how shame feels. Probably from both the receiving and giving sides. Sometimes it’s unintentional, like when you say a blooper. Sometimes it’s purposeful, such as when you scold a child. Either way, shame hurts.

I have some quirky habits that make it possible for me to experience shame on an almost daily basis. My speech is an easy target. Sometimes I use vocabulary that doesn’t fit the conversation. Other times my speech is affected by a medical condition. Regardless, at least one person per day makes a comment that shames me.

April is Autism Acceptance month. You may be wondering what shame and Autism have in common. Quite a bit, actually.  If you buy into the rhetoric of a certain organization, Autistics need to be cured. How can I not feel shame when people are publicly promoting the idea that I’m defective because of my differences? How do family members feel when onlookers critique their loved ones? Shame.

Shame can lead to desperation. Feelings of worthlessness surface. Feelings of failure. Feelings of inadequacy. People are driven to find ways to help each other. It’s hardwired into most of us. The people who bring you “light it up blue” are the same ones who capitalize on these feelings to raise money that is used to move society a step closer to eugenics.

Autistic children grow up to become Autistic adults. A child who hears they are a burden remembers. A child exposed to hurtful speech remembers. A child who is told they are worthless remembers. The feelings of shame grow deeper as we age.

Acceptance is the key. Accept the differences. Accept the whole individual. Put an end to shaming others for being different. It starts with you.



I am Autism. I am a parent. I’m a spouse. I hold a volunteer job. I’m a licensed teacher. I’m a Scout leader. I have two college degrees (almost 3). I’m an advocate. I’m a friend. I’m a caregiver. I’m female. I’m in your community.

I am Autism. You’ve met me. I tend to blend in as that’s what I was taught as a child. But if you get to know me, I’m quirky. Or weird. It seems like I know everything. I put pieces of information together faster than most. I get along in groups. I am fine by myself. I do better creating than I do following.

I am Autism. Like you, I am an individual. I am unique. No two people with Autism are identical…just like no two people of Italian descent are identical. There’s a reason you’re hearing more about Autism acceptance. It’s okay to be different. Rather than focusing on those differences, let’s focus on the fact that we’re all people

I am Autism. I see the world through my experiences They provide me with the means to understand the world. Honestly, that’s the same for everybody. What you know is what you work with. The difference is, I generalize my experiences. If one person does something, then every person will do the same thing. Unless… I have a different experience that shows me other options. It’s both rigid and flexible thinking at it’s finest.

I am Autism. I don’t intend to scare you or freak you out. I have routines and habits that are probably borderline obsessive. This is how I manage in a world that was designed with someone else’s logic. I’m trying to make sense of things. Sometimes the world becomes too much for me to handle and I withdraw. I’m not trying to be rude, but I need space to process that which overwhelms me.

I am Autism. All I ask is for you to accept my quirkiness. Accept that I see the world differently. Accept me and in exchange, I’ll accept you and all your quirks. It’s okay. We’re all a little different. That’s what makes us great.

Label this

Hi! Thanks for stopping by! Would you like something to drink? Tea? Coffee? Soda? How about a snack? Popcorn? Chips? Candy? Maybe something healthy like an apple? Oh, you’re on a diet. You only eat vegan. You don’t consume caffeine. Is that apple organic?

I find myself pausing at moments like these. You came here looking for something. I offered up options. You turned me down, questioned and judged me in a split second based on this exchange. I’m a caffeinated, junk food addict. Period.

Well, you’re right on some days. I do like my caffeine and I certainly like my popcorn and potato chips right next to my Snickers bar. But does that really mean I’m an addict? Did you just lump me in with a group of people who absolutely cannot live without “something?” That’s a heck of a label to put on someone who enjoys treats periodically.

The way you label people marks them forever. Yet, everyone does it. Got a speeding ticket? Insurance company now says you are a high risk driver. Don’t look like the body mass index chart says you should? You are obese. Wore the wrong clothes to work today? You are out of touch.

Do you feel judged yet? Because I do every day. I think through a decision a hundred times. I’ll read this post for the next few hours before I hit publish. I’ll make sure no one has the opportunity to see me as less than. My car is perfectly suburban. My house is mostly clean in case someone drops by. My social media posts are mostly vanilla. My clothes are neutral. It’s a lot of effort to go through just to avoid a label.

I’m sure someone will still look really hard to find a chink in my coat of neutrality. It’s no wonder over 50% of Americans have some type of mental health need. Between being judged and holding onto that superiority complex, we’re a collective mess. Since we **need** instant gratification, here’s your pill.

But, what if there is no pill? What if you are living with a chronic illness? What if you’re neurodiverse? Ahhhhhh!!!!! What should I do?

I know. I’ll educate others about the damage labels cause. I’ll write about how nouns were designed to give distinct meaning to objects. I’ll talk about the fact that the English language lends itself to labels so readily. And, just for fun, I’ll give you this link so you can understand how the English language is supposed to work  :

A tree is a tree. A table is a table. A person is a person. Any descriptors are actually observations. It’s an apple tree, because it produces apples. It’s a dinner table because it seats four or more. . It’s a person because it looks like one. Stop.

That’s right. The correct label for me is person. Because that’s what I am. No more, no less. You can put all the adjectives you like under that diagramming line, but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m a person. Adjectives are judgments.  Artificially assigned tags that seek to clarify the noun. I don’t need clarification. Person will do just fine.


Not for the first time, the Autism community is divided. In a widely publicized case, a mother attempted to murder her daughter and then commit suicide. It didn’t go as planned and the mother is now in jail while the daughter is home with her father and two siblings. Apparently, the child’s behavior drove the mother to this act. The television show that interviewed the mother showed the same video of the daughter hitting the mother over and over. It seemed like that was the only footage available. There were no pictures of the happy times, although if you search YouTube you can find several videos of this nature. The television show played right into the belief that anger and violence are the number one characteristics of people with Autism.

It’s not that way. It’s never been that way. But like all stories, it’s easier to grab attention by pointing out the most egregious parts of a story. The public’s perception of Autism needs to change.

I speak from many viewpoints. I am Autistic. I have 2 children who are Autistic. I am a special needs teacher who worked in classrooms dedicated to Autism. I also taught in classrooms dedicated to behaviorally challenged kids. And I taught in a resource classroom. I’ve taught grades K-21. I’m 46 years old. My kids are now young adults. So yes, I have a certain amount of perspective.

I’ve been hit by students. Punched. Bit. A dislocated shoulder here, a broken foot there and throw in a MRSA infection for good measure. I’ve had parents refuse to answer their phone during the school day because they just needed a break. I get that living with an individual with any disability is challenging. People with more challenges are more challenging to live with.

But, does that give me the right, or even moral authority, to murder someone?

The discussion on social media is all about how the mother needed more support. How she clearly isn’t in her right mind. And how her daughter’s behaviors put here in this position. Parents of children with severe Autism are making the mother out to be a victim. I guess you can put it that way. She is a victim of society, of people wanting to believe nothing like this could ever happen in their backyard. Of a society that, despite cries for help, turned a deaf ear.

But the daughter had no say in this. Her disability is such that her communication is physical. She can’t speak. She can’t tell anyone her story. She certainly didn’t tell her mother she wanted to die.

Division. Autism is a spectrum disorder. The impairments vary wildly. It is usually parents of children who are severely affected who want cures. Who send virtual hugs to a mother who thinks murder is okay. They’ve been there, they understand. No one else can possibly understand their lives, so they must sympathize.

And then there’s the rest of us. High enough functioning to fit, sort of, in society. Slow, quirky, anxious. But we’re managing. And many of us do not want to be cured. Many of us see Autism as an integral part of our personalities. It’s in our character. After living with Autism for 40+ years, I wouldn’t know what to do if it suddenly disappeared.

The face of Autism does NOT exist. We look just like you. We’re not monsters or mass murderers. We’re your friends, neighbors and co-workers.

We’re also members of your community, regardless of how we function or communicate. Years of hiding and denying that people with moderate to severe disabilities even exist has created an environment where non-disabled people are shocked by disability. Then they latch on to the “normal” aspect and minimize the damage caused by trying to fix something that is innate in an individual.

Yes, we need more services. Yes, we need more support. But most of all, we need acceptance.

You knew me as a child and called me an introvert. You knew me as teenager and called me quirky. You knew me as a young adult and called me weird. You knew me as a co-worker and called me eccentric. You know me as an adult and I know there’s room for all of us.