For autism parents and advocates: 13 Steps to Take When Leaders Fall Short

A parent’s plea I received some years ago wrung my heart. I haven’t forgotten his poignant and starkly stated concerns which, in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic and the aftermath that will come when it subsides, are more urgent and pervasive than ever. He wrote:  I am a single father of a child with multiple neurological and physical challenges. [...]

2020-07-02T06:44:52-07:00July 2nd, 2020|Non-Fiction|

Pandemic or no: It takes a village to raise a mom

This is my first Mother's Day without my mother. I'm very much at peace with it. She likely wouldn't have survived the coronavirus pandemic and I wouldn't have been able to spend her last days with her, playing her favorite music, singing to her, remembering good times and people, easing the letting go. I knew it was a blessing at [...]

2020-05-10T15:18:36-07:00May 10th, 2020|Non-Fiction|

“To Find Their Humanity and Treasure and Keep It”: An Autistic Perspective on Social Distancing in a Pandemic

An Ellen Notbohm interview with Jennifer McIlwee Myers Jennifer McIlwee Myers is a treasure. The autism world’s self-titled Aspie-at-Large for the last fifteen years, Jenn’s unique voice, unmatched wit, and riveting insights into life as an autistic adult have captivated conference audiences and delighted readers of her two beloved books. I’ve been honored to call Jenn my friend for many [...]

2020-04-25T16:04:17-07:00April 14th, 2020|Non-Fiction|

#SafeNotStuck: Autism Parents, Autistics, Introverts, and Others Speak of Grace and Gratitude in the Pandemic

It was a while coming. A slow burn. But I finally became officially fed up with the constant feeding of our angst with the phrase "stuck at home." I want you to know this, with no neener-neener inflection whatsoever: I've worked from home and cooked from scratch (for reasons of budget and health) most every day for 25 years, so [...]

2020-04-02T08:50:57-07:00April 2nd, 2020|Non-Fiction|

Autism Parenting: Why the first 30 days aren’t critical

The reporter backed out of our interview because he didn't get the answer he wanted to the first question, which was, "Why are the first 30 days after the autism diagnosis so critical?" What phases, fears, and feelings will parents go through in that first 30 days? What should they do and be in those first 30 days? My answer--which [...]

2020-02-20T07:23:59-08:00February 20th, 2020|Non-Fiction|

The Hardest Thing About Autism and Alzheimer’s: Six Think-Before-Speaking Kindnesses

People often ask me, what's the hardest part of raising or teaching a special needs child? I always answer: On what day? At what hour? My autistic child is an independent adult now, and this last decade I’ve been responsible for the welfare of a beloved parent going through the bedeviling stages of dementia and physical decline. I saw it [...]

2019-09-30T09:28:10-07:00September 29th, 2019|Non-Fiction|

Ten Tips in 200 Words: Creating Positive Partnerships at IEP Time

Autism, and all learning differences, are very, very complex. That seems so obvious, but I still get questions asking for a “single most important thing” about educating autistic kids. My answer, “as if there could ever be such a thing,” doesn’t satisfy, of course. What I offer instead of “single best” is a more global truth: that it is critical [...]

2019-09-29T13:47:09-07:00April 25th, 2019|Non-Fiction|

Helping our autistic kids choose resilience over rigidity

Do we think of our autistic kids as more rigid than resilient? In that mindset, does it become a self-fulfilling prophecy, a symptom of our own rigidity—or can it become an opportunity for both parent and child, teacher and learner, to understand and grow? “That's it! It's all over! I've just completed my Associate’s Degree. I am officially a college [...]

2019-09-29T13:48:27-07:00April 8th, 2019|Non-Fiction|

A Word About “Normal”

“Normal.” Now there’s a word we’d like to see omitted from your social vocabulary entirely – in not just what you say, but how you think about your child and his autism or Asperger’s. For many parents, emphasis on this two-syllable trip-off-the-tongue utterance can become a handicap of immeasurable dimension. Learning to think social and be social in whatever degree [...]

2019-01-11T07:31:26-08:00January 11th, 2019|Non-Fiction|

Everyone Makes Mistakes: 6 Ways to Help Your Autistic Child Cope with Frustration

Children with autism love absolutes, and one of life’s absolutes is that everyone makes mistakes. It’s the degree, the nuance, the scale, the gradation of these mistakes that confounds the child with autism. But autism is often characterized by the ability to generalize. To this child’s concrete, black-and-white thinking, each mistake or failing stands as his and his alone, and [...]

2018-10-06T09:40:21-07:00October 6th, 2018|Non-Fiction|