Category Archives: Autism

Special Interests Bring Special Joy – Do NOT Minimize Our Joy!

A couple of days ago, I wrote a comment on one of my friend’s Facebook status in response to a Neurotypical (NT) attempting to gaslight their experience with Special Interests (sometimes referred to as a Sp-In or Sp-Ins [pronounced “spin” or “spins”]).

Basically my friend wrote about how they were shamed out of sharing their Special Interest at a young age by the adults and peers in their life because the intensity of their Special Interest was apparently “too much” for these people. One of these adults decided it was ok to attempt to gaslight their experience by saying stuff along the lines of “it was annoying how often you would bring up [insert Sp-In].”

As someone who has been in a similar situation regarding Special Interests (I will write about this someday – but it might take a while because it’s a LONG story), I couldn’t just sit by and let this person gaslight my friend without at least ATTEMPTING to bridge the communication gap that so often happens in “neurotypical-to-neurodivergent” interactions.

My job as an Autistic advocate is to educate and attempt to translate Autistic and Neurodivergent cultural and communication practices into ways that NTs can understand. Am I always successful in my endeavors – no. But I keep trying anyway because “every barrier that Autistics adults breakdown today is one that Autistic children will not face tomorrow.” (source for quote listed below in image caption)

“Every barrier that Autistics adults breakdown today is one that Autistic children will not face tomorrow.”
Image source: https://www.facebook.com/autisticinclusivemeets/posts/2481699312134787

Fortunately this time my endeavor was worth it. After I posted the comment, at least 6 other people (7 including my friend) liked my comment, and the person who was gaslighting my friends stopped responding 😂. Best of all, my friend learned something new about themselves 😍. And for me, that is my ultimate goal. If someone learns something new about themselves and/or someone they care about from my advocacy work, I have done my job. I love sharing my knowledge with people and it makes me feel so good when people have an “Aha!” moment while I’m sharing my knowledge.

Now for the moment of truth. Below is the comment I left on my friend’s status in response to a NT adult attempting to gaslight them. I hope you learn something by reading this ☺️:

“Yes and no!

Yes, Autistics have a different processing style. We also have our own unique style of communicating. This is part of our culture – Autistic culture. (Yes- Autistics have their own culture and it should be respected just like any other culture)

In Autistic culture, it is polite to infodump about our Special Interest.

Also, our Special Interest give us intense joy, and when you tell a child to minimize themselves in regards to their special interest, you minimize their joy. 

Instead of insisting children assimilate into Neurotypical culture, how about take the time to learn about Autistic and Neurodivergent culture and let’s learn to meet in the middle.

Yes, I know all of this happened in the past, and I’m not holding that against you or anyone else. I still think that it’s important to learn and grow every day. Like Maya Angelou once said “When you know better, you do better.”

And what a better day to learn about Autistic culture than today on #AutismAcceptanceDay. (My comment was posted on 4/2/21 – which is Autism Acceptance Day)

Please read this about the JOY that our Special Interests bring us:

https://juststimming.wordpress.com/2011/04/05/the-obsessive-joy-of-autism/

Read this about different communication styles:

https://neuroclastic.com/2020/12/16/free-pdf-download-of-neuroinclusive-social-story-on-chatting-and-infodumping/

Also this:

Thank you 💕.

As a bonus, here’s a link from of one of my all time favorite bloggers, “A Diary of a Mom,” which explains how one of the links I shared (The Obsessive Joy of Autism – by Julia Bascom) was the catalyst for helping them understand their Autistic daughter and the importance of Neurodiversity. THIS is the power of education!:

https://web.archive.org/web/20201020193106/https://adiaryofamom.com/2011/12/19/disclosure/

Thank you Melissa Joan Hart – #HappyFlappyFanGirling

Thank you so much Melissa Joan Hart 😍😍😍😍!!!

Your allyship means so much to me and my neurokin!

I’ve been a fan of yours since I was a little girl.

When I was in preschool, I used to watch Clarissa Explains It All. I don’t remember much of the show since I was so little, but I remember liking all the bright colors! I watched it again in high school and I loved it.

When I was older (like around 8), I loved watching you and Salem on the live action version of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. You also sing my favorite version of “One Way Or Another” on the soundtrack! I loved this song growing up! It was really hard to find before the days of streaming music.

Thank you so much again for your continued support. 💕

#HappyFlappyFanGirling

Enjoy some of these classic Melissa Joan Hart videos 😍!

Happy Autism Acceptance Day 2021

Thank you Haley Moss,

I know I didn’t write anything hugly original for #AutismAcceptanceDay like I have in past years, but I do want to say that as an Autistic person I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the allyship I have seen today compared to years past. 

I love that the public is slowly moving away from the pathology and fear-based view of Autism and instead moving towards a view of Autism that is strengths-based, affirming, and accepting. 

Even Melissa Joan Hart has shown up as a true ally to Autistics. I knew there was a reason I always loved Sabrina the Teenage Witch (the live action one, not the cartoon) 💕.

This is a step in the right direction. Thank you to all who tirelessly advocate for the safety and well-being of all Autistic and Neurodivergent people.

Happy #WorldAutismAcceptanceDay!

🧠♾🌈

#AutismAcceptanceMonth 2021

Buckle up friends! 

It’s finally April, which means it’s the official start of #AutismAcceptanceMonth!

Get ready for a fun month full of educational memes and maybe the occasional short story or writing if I get around to it (remember, even though I’m not working, I’m still in graduate school – which does take up a lot of my time and headspace. I’m hoping to graduate by the end of the year, #fingerscrossed 🤞🏻).

I sincerely hope y’all learn some valuable information about Autism and the Autistic community this month! I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you! Thank you!

🧠♾🌈

I’m Autistic – World Autism Acceptance Day 2019

Today is World Autism Acceptance Day, and I have a confession to make. Some of you may already know this and some of you may not.

I’m Autistic. I got rediagnosed about 2 years ago after being suspicious for a while. I was diagnosed as Autistic when I was 3, but my parents kind of hid it from me because they didn’t want me to be bullied for it or “use it as an excuse.” It was heavily hinted at, however, and I always believed that I used to have it but I “outgrew” it. I didn’t speak in full sentences until I was about 4 and I had a one-on-one aide in the classroom from preschool through 6th grade.

However, I started to suspect that I didn’t outgrow it as much as I thought I had around the time I was 21. When I first went out on my own when I transferred to Sonoma, I got myself in a few awkward situations and I had a huge falling out with my roommates. I had to switch buildings. I also started to notice that I would forget what I was going to say in the middle of a sentence, which had never happened to me before. I had been debating on getting reassessed for Autism since I was about 19 or 20. I finally got reassessed in December of 2016. In February of 2017, the report came back confirming that I was still Autistic, and debunking the myth that people can “outgrow autism.”

Because of my story, I want to dedicate my life to smashing harmful stereotypes about Autism that lead people like me to self-doubt themselves. For the longest time, I believed the stereotypes that people said about Autism (i.e. girls can’t be Autistic, Autistics have no empathy, etc…) which led me to doubt that I was Autistic. I thought that I had “brain damage” that was caused by me being delivered by forceps (I had a dent on the left side of my head for the first year of my life).

I’ve known I was different since I was in Kindergarten, but I was never able to put my finger on it. I didn’t really start to understand my quirks until I was about 12. I started to notice that other people seemed to automatically know what to do in complicated social situations, but I always had to ask someone for advice. When I was in 7th grade, a classmate once asked me [paraphrasing] “Why do you always ask adults to help you out. Why can’t you solve your own problems?” I didn’t know how to respond to that question because it was something I had never really thought about before.

After a while, people (mostly adults) would start to get annoyed with me for asking about the same things over and over. Because of this, I had a slight feeling that I was Autistic (or Aspergers at the time), but because of all the harmful stereotypes about Autism, I was in denial about it for a very long time. It wasn’t until I started living on my own and working with young children that I really started to come out of denial and accept the fact that I’m Autistic.

The reason I fight so hard for Autism Acceptance is because I don’t want anyone else (regardless of neurotype) to ever have to go through the vicious cycle of self-doubt and denial about a fundamental part of who they are like I had to.

I will fight for Autism Acceptance and understanding until the day I die.

❤ ❤ ❤

Happy Autism Awareness/Acceptance Day 2018

Happy Autism Awareness/Acceptance day. 

April also happens to be Autism Awareness/Acceptance month. Throughout the month of April (and other months too), I will be posting things that will help people understand about Autism and help debunk all the stereotypes and misinformation that’s out there about Autism.

This means a lot to me because not only do I want to work with Autistic children someday (along with neurotypical children), I also happen to be Autistic (#actuallyautistic).

This is not something I have told very many people in the past, mainly because of the stigma that tends to be attached to Autism. For years, I was in denial about my Autism, mainly based on the stereotypes of Autism, such as “only boys can be Autistic”, “Autistic people have no empathy”, etc… 

I was never really told that I was Autistic, but it was heavily hinted at. Throughout my life, I thought I had “outgrown” my Autism when I hit puberty because I felt like I didn’t have as many challenges as I had when I was a child. Or that the reason I couldn’t speak in full sentences until around 4 years old was caused by brain damage from being delivered by forceps (a mostly outdated practice where babies are aided in delivery by what are essentially human tongs. For the first year of my life, I had a bruise and a dent on the left side of my forehead from the forceps). I didn’t really start thinking that I could still be Autistic until I moved away from home to go to Sonoma State. I started to struggle with a lot of things that I hadn’t struggled with before, and I was getting worried. 

Towards the end of 2016, I decided to get my Autism “reassessed” to see if I was still Autistic (and for other reasons as well). In February of 2017, I got the assessment back and it says that I’m still Autistic, which debunks the myth that you can outgrow Autism. Throughout the last couple of years, I have been doing a lot of research about what it means to be Autistic, and I have learned a tremendous amount of stuff about myself. It was a huge relief for me to know why I do certain things the way that I do. For once in my life, I didn’t feel “weird” or “crazy.” I’m just “different.”

Thank you so much to those of who decided to read all of this. I really hope this doesn’t change your opinion of me. I am finally starting to accept who I really am, and if you can’t accept me for this, you know where the unfriend button is. 

Marilyn Monroe said it best:

“If you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as HELL don’t deserve me at my best.”

*Originally shared to my personal FB account on 04/2/18 with the following meme: