Chris Bonnello, author of the Autistic Not Weird blog, wrote and advertised a survey a few weeks ago. He received 477 responses, some of which surprised him, others were very predictable. Questions were across a range of topics, including public understanding of autism, willingness of Autistic people and/or family members to discuss autism with others, school accommodations, religion, language preferences (person with autism vs Autistic, and the use of mild/moderate/severe/high-functioning as descriptors), maths abilities, cure, vaccination, and whether autism has taken away or added to the respondent’s life.
The difficult parent is a very encouraging article, outlining the reality of parenting a child with special needs, and the “above and beyond” nature of their advocacy, even when it’s uncomfortable for them.
What does low tone mean?, by Starfish Therapies. Great explanation!
Muscle tone is the resting state of your muscles. When a child has low muscle tone it means that they need to put a lot more energy into getting their muscles to turn on to do what they want them to do. I often try to explain this to parents by describing that feeling when you finally get to sink into the couch or your favorite arm chair and relax and then someone calls you from the other room and you have to rev up the energy to get up. Think about having to do that every time you move because that’s what it can be like for kiddos who have low tone.
When I talk about strength being a challenge for kids with low tone I am talking about not just their ability to generate enough force to move their arm or their leg, but also their endurance and their ability to switch their muscles on and off. These components all work together to produce movement.
Getting “used to it”- how SPD affects me, by The Dreamer (Totally Abnormal blog).
Since I read a lot of blog posts related to Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), I have seen many people’s descriptions of what SPD is:
“The sensory sliders in my brain are all over the place.”
“My sensory cup is too big for some senses and too small for others.”
“Everything is multiplied for me.”
These are all good descriptions of SPD, but I wanted to think of a quick one. A simple one. One that would help people that had no prior knowledge of SPD know how oversensitivity feels.
I don’t get used to things.
We have autism all wrong: The radical new approach we need to understand and treat it, an excerpt from “Uniquely Human: a different way of seeing autism” by Barry Prizant.
Instead of just managing behaviours, he suggests listening carefully, observing closely, and seeking to understand the child’s perspective and experience.
Usually the answer is that the person is experiencing some degree of emotional dysregulation. Our neurological systems help by filtering out excessive stimulation, telling us when we’re hungry or tired or when to protect ourselves from danger. People with autism, primarily due to underlying neurology (the way the brain’s wiring works), are unusually vulnerable to everyday emotional and physiological challenges. So they experience more feelings of discomfort, anxiety, and confusion than others. They also have more difficulty learning how to cope with these feelings and challenges.
To be clear: Difficulty staying well regulated emotionally and physiologically should be a core, defining feature of autism. Unfortunately professionals have long overlooked this, focusing on the resulting behaviors instead of the underlying causes.
Here is the important irony: Most of the behaviors commonly labeled “autistic behaviors” aren’t actually deficits at all. They’re strategies the person uses to feel better regulated emotionally.
Obsessive compulsive disorder- myths, causes and treatments, by Lynne Malcolm (ABC). It’s not all about lining up the pens, or washing hands ten times, it’s about intrusive “stuck” thoughts.
‘Someone with OCD about cleaning could have a spotless bathroom. They clean it twice an hour, and yet the kitchen is stacked high with plates with mouldy food. Or someone could wash their hands 10 times an hour, and yet wear the same underpants for three weeks.’
I learned a lot from this article!
Glennon Doyle Melton wrote this article-with-impact on Momastery. In conversation with her son’s teacher, she learned that every week, the teacher asked the students to write down and submit the names of four other students who they’d like to sit with the following week (they knew that these requests may or may not be honoured), and also which student whom they believe has been an exceptional classroom citizen that week. The teacher wasn’t interested in seating charts or exceptional citizens- she was looking for patterns showing lonely children, children who were struggling to connect with other children, those whose gifts were going unnoticed, and bullying situations- and helping those who need to be taught how to make friends, ask others to play, join a group, or share their gifts with others.