It is still surprising how often one sees the autism puzzle piece. It’s a contentious issue in the field of autism – the puzzle piece is used as a logo to promote autism products, charities, entities and awareness events. Conceived in 1963 by Gerald Gasson, a parent...read more
Climate activist Greta Thunberg: an inspiration to so many people, and a great ambassador for the #actuallyautistic community
One can't have failed to have noticed the awareness surrounding young climate activist Greta Thunberg, recently. The sixteen year old Swede and Nobel Peace Prize nominee has been thrust into the limelight over the last few months, since she initiated a weekly school...read more
Autistic meltdown, or neural high jacking – what is meltdown, how can outsiders deal with it empathetically, and how do autists manage their own meltdowns?
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).read more
If you are the parent of a child that you think may be autistic, 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 look at what the...read more
Autistic influencers – celebrating high-profile individuals forging a positive path to raise awareness and boost education about autism
Influencers are individuals with an influence in a sector - so for us, an influencer in the autism sector is someone who (a) is autistic, (b) is a positive role model, (c) speaks positively about autism and (d) has a public profile. Here, we'd like to highlight some...read more
Nearly three-quarters of autistic children also have a further medical or psychiatric condition, according to autism studies (Simonoff et al, 2008). This is called co-existing, or clinically, a ‘co-morbidity’. Co-existing conditions to autism include anxiety...read more
Looking at the areas of socialisation and communication, it begins to become clear why many autistic individuals, (subconsciously or otherwise), end up masking – e.g. presenting oneself differently in one’s behaviour, in order to hide certain traits, or mimic neurotypical behaviours.read more
Autistic burnout is when the candle is being burned at both ends without enough replenishment to counteract the areas in which AN autistic individual especially struggles, or uses up the most energy units – e.g. social, communication and sensory. Everyone, no matter what their neurology, experiences low mood, tiredness and potentially has the capability to burn out – but autistic burnout is slightly different, in that it usually relates to the autist’s deficits and challenges.read more
Is echolalia an early sign of autism? Autism clincians describe both immediate echolalia and delayed echolalia; here, we discuss the speech pattern in more detail. Spotting autistic signs is about seeing patterns and frequencies; looking at the other elements of the child’s vocabulary; noticing how their peers talk in the same situation; and noticing whether echolalia is being used to help the child process language. Experts indicate that echolalia, as part of typical language development, has generally decreased drastically by the age of three, for typically developing children.read more
The elephant in the room – it’s time to write about environmental toxins and autism; & how they may affect autistic individuals (written with a healthy dose of cynicism)
Environmental toxins and autism; & how they may affect autistic individuals. This article lists several studies that found sound links to environmental toxins and autism. We acknowledge that, with science advancing, there is every possibility that new studies will come out that do conclusively link toxins to autism. But in our option, there are far better things for people interested in learning more about autism to read and learn about, than detoxing children (without their consent!!!) from toxic heavy metal overload; for example, SEND support in schools, the male / female divide in autism, and the process of referral and diagnosis for autistic children in the local authority system.read more