How Can We Do Better By Our Autistic Girls?

Autism is different for girls, and not only because fewer girls than boys get autism diagnoses. Autistic women and girls not only tend to have different traits than autistic boys do, but are also socialized differently -- leading to many of those girls being overlooked or misdiagnosed well into adulthood, and leading most of their life without the supports that could have made their lives much easier. It gets even more complicated when autistic girls are also racial minorities, and/or from low-income households....more
I shared this with two friends who have autistic daughters. BTW, I loved how the autistic girls' ...more

Thoughtful Gifts For Your Favorite Autistic People

Be thoughtful. That's the best advice I can give to anyone looking for gifts for autistic friends and loved ones. Ask after what they really like, want, or need, and be ready to embrace free-thinking gifts like jumbo rolls of bubble wrap. If you are after more specific advice, or need more than gift guides of holidays past, please consider these items that my autistic son Leo, his friends, and his community members appreciate....more
AutismMN Thanks for the share!more

What Kinds of Therapies Actually Help Autistic Kids?

At two-and-a-half, my autistic son spoke more often than several other kids in his regional center-funded speech and language class. Two years later, several of those kids talked non-stop, whereas my son continued to speak only occasionally, and mostly kept his own counsel. We parents of those kids constantly compared notes, as parents of autistic kids often do, about the differences in our kids' speaking abilities. Which different therapies and interventions were our kids receiving? How did they make a difference, and why? ...more
Shannon Des Roches Rosa ...more

5 Reasons Autism Communities Are Divided (and Why That’s Not Necessarily a Bad Thing)

I hate conflict, yet the autism corners of the Internet -- where I spent most of my online time -- are rarely without it. So I get why well-intentioned parents and professionals periodically send out can't we all just get along calls for "autism unity," because I want things to be smoother for all of us, too. ...more
"spent decades being silenced" We're still silenced. Groups like Autism speaks have a megaphone, ...more

No, He Really Can't Have It. Please Don't Sabotage My Child's Special Diet!

My son Leo is on a medically managed diet for a non-autism-related medical condition. Which is easily manageable, as long as we plan ahead. Every so often, though, we find ourselves in social situations with dietary complications, and encounter folks who dismiss our, "I’m sorry, he can't eat that," with, "But why can't he have just one bite? Surely that won't hurt." 

 If you've ever been that causally dismissive person, I'm asking you to please stop. Please stop right there. And listen hard, and then repeat: Do NOT contradict someone who has told you their child can't have a certain food. Don't do it. Just don't. Again, please. ...more
An uncle actually told me once that if I just prayed over my food I could eat it.  I have ...more

Autism's Past, Present, and Future: An Interview With 'NeuroTribes' Author Steve Silberman

Steve Silberman is not the first writer to invest a significant chunk of his life in a book about autism. But he's the first whose book NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity, does right by autistic people, and those who care about them. ...more
I wish that Lydia Brown and Ari Ne'eman had been around seventy years ago to fight for my great ...more

How to Talk With (and About) Autistic Human Beings

I’m currently in physical therapy to rehabilitate a surgically-repaired knee. The kind, competent therapists tend to make small talk, which invariably means fielding tentative, well-meaning questions about my autistic son. Which gives me the opportunity to model the way I'd like people talk and think about people like my Leo. ...more
Here's something that happened to me recently. Sadly, I have more of these. A woman I've known ...more

After an Autism Diagnosis: 13 Crucial Next Steps For Parents

If your child has recently been diagnosed with autism, as my son was in 2003, here's what I want you to know: Learn from me, don't be me. Leo, around the time of his diagnosis. Photo: © Jonathan Mandel, used with permission ...more
Well, when my son was three, I made more decisions. I think you know from my posts by now that ...more

Flying While Autistic Is Not a Crime

Every time my autistic son and I board a plane, this lapsed Catholic starts praying. Not because I think my autistic son will cause problems—he is a newly mature teenager, adores flying, and rarely causes other passengers to even notice him. Nope—I pray because I am worried how other people might (mis)treat him if he ever did need accommodations. ...more
Shannon Des Roches Rosa  I don't airlines was necessarily refusing accommodations.  Each ...more

Being an Expert in Parenting Kids With Disabilities Means Listening, Too

I always avoided American Idol-like reality competitions, because I am a gummi-hearted sort who can't bear to witness mean people publicly humiliating earnest amateurs. ...more
Just to be clear -- autism is not a mental disorder. Many things in the DSM are not mental ...more