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“I promised I would change and I did” – did Professor Tony Attwood’s autism conference pacify the #actuallyautistic community?

‘Tony Attwood – What you need to know about Autism’, 15th May 2019. With the Association for Child And Adolescent Mental Health (ACAMH)’s logo looming large behind the stage in Sheffield, and serving as a reminder that today was about improving understanding of mental health issues, Professor Tony Atwood was faced with a challenge. Would Professor Attwood, a seasoned speaker, continue the rhetoric that has included the disparagement of autistic individuals, in order to get a laugh?

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Autistic meltdown, or neural high jacking – what is meltdown, how can outsiders deal with it empathetically, and how do autists manage their own meltdowns? (ASD/ASC)

Meltdown describes the situation where the individual – autistic or otherwise, as it is not only a term used for neurodiversity – is no longer able to cope. Their skillsets aren’t sufficiently honed to deal with the situation at that time, and the individual let’s off steam one way or another, in order to recalibrate. (Skillsets may include social and language skills, as well as executive functioning skills, as examples).

Meltdowns differ from person to person, and some autistic individuals, especially adults, say that they rarely have meltdowns. (They will undoubtedly experience challenges and periods of ‘overwhelm’, but perhaps they head straight to shut down, or some kind of low mood, or withdrawal).

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Autism labels and language

If you are the parent of a child that you think may be on the autistic spectrum, you will almost definitely get asked the question: ‘But why would you want to give him or her a label?’ There are different kinds of labels, where autism is concerned – firstly, let's...

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