Marc Jackson, a screenwriter with high-functioning autism, faces the challenges throughout the world. He proves that autism doesn’t hold him back as a filmmaker.
Paul Louden is a radio host with autism who hosts a radio show called “Theories of Mind.” The show is about how adults go through life with autism.
Find him at KTEK 1110 in Houston, I❤radio, or at www.business1110ktek.com.
- I am autistic, not just adult with autism. It’s part of who I am. Autism is part of who I am. I was born this way. I would not choose to change that. Acknowledging my autism as a part of me is entirely compatible with respecting me as a person with thoughts, feelings, and talents. I am a human being like everyone else and deserve the same dignity and respect that any one else deserves. Please considering whatever term I prefer and do not use language that suggests I suffer from an unfortunate disease.
- Autism is a neurological variation, not a disease, or mental illness. Autism often includes differences in social behavior and practical skills. My behaviors and learning styles might vary. My perceptions may differ. I may learn and understand things in way that’s different and process the world in a different way. Please do not judge me or other autistics for our differences.
- Who I am and what I am capable of is not defined by medical diagnosing criteria. I am born with my own set of abilities and difficulties, autism included. Those who use it to tell me who I am and what I can do are using it as a stereotype. Please do not make generalizations and assumptions about me or other autistics.
- I am not going to be cured. Nothing will change me, and if it could, it would destroy who I am completely and would leave me worse off. I have the right to refuse questionable or risky treatments. My life is my own, I do not want to be cured and I think the idea of curing me and other autistics is wrong. Please respect my individuality and do not try to fix me, because I am not broken.
- I may be your adult child, but my life is own. parents do not have the right to choose questionable or risky treatments without my consent. I have my own mind. I can think for myself. I know what I want and don’t want.
- Focus on the positives of my, and others autism. I am living my life as best as I can, I want to the make the most of it every day. Talking negatively about autistics and focusing on our weaknesses all the time causes me and other autistics emotional distress. Please do not use language that suggests that being autistic is bad.
- I am a logical thinker, that is one of my strengths. It can make me take words, literally, or misunderstand jokes. Also, I may be misunderstood equally by others, if you do not understand my own logical style. I do have my own sense of humor that is unique to me, it’s a stereotype that autistics have no humor.
- Socializing is not always easy, if I don’t want to join in, that’s my choice, and I will avoid a situation if I am uncomfortable with it. I am not trying to be rude or impolite. It is simply better for me to participate socially when I choose, rather than feeling forced.
- I do have emotions, autistics are not emotionless like some stereotypes suggest. However, I may express them in a different way. What may make someone else cry, can be different for me, it doesn’t mean that I don’t care, or am an uncaring person. My facial expressions might not always reflect my emotions.
- If you have an autistic adult in your family, try to find out information about autism. Many articles in the media only concerns children, try and find out the differences in an autistic adult. Some autistics do get married, have jobs, leave home, some don’t, we are all unique. Please do not use language that suggest that being autistic makes a person violent.
There nearly half a million adults in the UK with undiagnosed autism. The Royal College of GPs has launched a three-year training program to raise awareness and help improve diagnosis rates. Chris Goodchild was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of 42. He spoke to the BBC about how it affects his life.
There is a team of adults with autism running a project called “Autistic people speaking out” to show the world what we have to say.
If you’re interested, go to their website: http://autistics-speaking.tumblr.com/
Some people with autism would like to be parents like other people. Even though autism would make it difficult for that person to be a parent, that doesn’t mean they’ll be parents. Most people with autism turn out to be good parents. Autism has nothing to do with the reproduction side. It doesn’t cause infertility.
Here’s a link of an autistic pregnant woman: http://autistics-speaking.tumblr.com/post/55965301552/autistic-and-pregnant
On the adoption dept., they have to prove to the adoption agencies of their capabilities before they’re allowed to adopt a child.
Advice for Parents of Children Just Diagnosed with Autism:
Don’t be ashamed of yourselves. It’s not your fault. It just happened. It’s okay that you’re frustrated and overwhelmed, but things will get better in time. Be patient. Don’t push the autistic person too hard. That person is still there for you no matter what. Don’t give up! Quitting is not an option. Don’t worry what other people think. Find some support from people who understand your situation. To hell with the ignorant ones! Build a community of people you can get advice and support from.
You don’t always have to rely on just specialists and professionals, but on other parents of kids with autism, and adults on the autism spectrum as well. Jason Katims, the executive producer of NBC’s “Parenthood,” and the father of a son with autism, once said he thought that finding that community was the first thing any parent should do after their child is diagnosed. A network of new friends might recommend a therapist or a social skills group or a place for a haircut. More importantly, they’re on the same boat as you are. Whatever you’re going through or struggling with or celebrating, many of them have been there and they can relate. A little empathy can help a lot on a difficult day. People with autism want your unconditional love.
Here’s what other parents say: Sharon Fuentes, author of “The Don’t Freak Out Guide to Parenting Kids with Asperger’s,” blogs about her experience raising her son Jay, 13, at Mama’s Turn Now. Her advice: “Your son or daughter is still the same person they were before they got the diagnosis. I know this may not have been the path you would have chosen to have traveled down, but some of the best journeys in life are ones that happened when we unexpectedly took a left turn. Yes the road can get bumpy, but that is when you need to reach out to all those that have been there before you who do whatever they can to smooth the path for your child. Remember that you are not alone, trust your own instincts, breathe, laugh often, believe in yourself and more importantly believe in your child and never ever lose hope! ” Bernie DeLeo is a drama teacher at West Springfield High School in Fairfax and has a 20-year-old son, Charlie, with autism. This spring, the school staged a play DeLeo wrote, “Nerdicus (My Brother with Autism),” about his daughter’s experience growing up with a sibling with autism. His advice: “My biggest advice to parents is, first, don’t panic. Second, after the initial freak-out and panic (you will, even though I told you not to), educate yourselves and know your rights and options. Third and most important, don’t let people tell you what they think your child is capable of. They will immediately see the disability, and NOT your child’s capabilities! Every child will be different. At my son’s high school, they recommended that he not take languages or aim for the Advanced Diploma. ‘Special Ed children tend not to do well with languages,’ they said. We ignored that advice, he took 5 years of Spanish, and now he’s living away from home and majoring in languages at Marshall University.” Shannon Des Roches Rosa is one of the editors of the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, a book and Web site devoted to providing information information from autism parents, autistics and autism professionals. She also has a personal blog at Squidalicious, where she writes about her adventures parenting 13-year-old Leo, who has autism. Her advice: “I wish — more than anything — I’d tried harder to understand my son instead of trying to ‘fix’ him. He was the same sweet, capable boy both before and after his autism diagnosis; the only change was my awareness of his needs. And he needs me to love him, respect him and champion him. He needs me to make sure he has time to play. He needs me to fight for appropriate communication and learning resources. He needs me to get him supports to navigate an autism-unfriendly world. Understanding instead of fighting Leo’s autism makes us both much happier people.”
Raising a Child with Autism: Educate yourself about autism. Love your child unconditionally. Ask someone is already aware of autism for advice if you need any help. Teach your family about autism. Learn how to deal with their behaviors or seek professional help that fits your criteria. Use caution or be prepared for their meltdowns or certain situations. Plan time for breaks. Help them boost their confidence when they’re feeling down. If they find out they’re autistic, talk to them about it. Help them understand the meaning of their condition and understand how they feel about dealing with their disability. Parents, you and your children will still lead normal lives. Don’t worry about other people say or think. Some people are just ignorant. There is nothing to be ashamed for raising an autistic child. Tell your children there is nothing to be ashamed of for being different. They are still special no matter what.
5 Lessons From Who’s Been There, Done Autism: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/julie-m-green/5-life-lessons-from-moms-whove-been-there-done-autism_b_6095578.html 13 Harsh Truths Only Parents of Children with Autism Face: https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/13-harsh-truths-only-parents-of-kids-with-autism-115310158708.html
Advice for Parents from Teen on Autism Spectrum:
The “typically developing” siblings of autistic children are, in fact, the furthest thing from typical. Often, they are wiser and more mature than their age would suggest. And they have to be, given the myriad challenges they face: parental responsibility; a feeling of isolation from the rest of their family; confusion, fear, anger and embarrassment about their autistic sibling. And on top of all of it, guilt for having these feelings. My advice: Don’t feel left out or jealous. It’s okay if you feel neglected, but resenting your family or autistic sibling does not help. It only makes the situation worse. And yelling at your autistic sibling out of anger does NOT help either. Find some common ground with your autistic brother or sister and find a way to connect them. Don’t push them too hard. If you feel left out, talk to your parents and figure out how to work it out—getting the equal amount of love and attention as your autistic sibling. It’s not the end of the world. You’ll still get love and attention no matter what. Be patient and understanding. Put yourselves in your parents’ shoes to understand them. Create special time. There is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. Don’t worry about what other people think or say. When you think your sibling’s embarrassing, encourage honesty and laugh. Example: if you have friends who make fun of your sibling, defend your sibling and don’t make fun of them. Tell your friends what’s going on and teach them how to tolerate your sibling, and if they don’t understand, they’re not your real friends. A lot of typical siblings are more outspoken. They’ll go up to people and say, ‘Yes, that’s my brother or sister. He has special needs. Do you have any questions?’ Sense of humor is key. Another example: At a bus stop, when an autistic kid, Annie, started jumping up and down and making weird noises-just being herself. When her brother, Charlie’s friend started making fun of Annie, Charlie said, “hey, don’t make make fun of my sister! Everybody learns differently. You gotta respect that.” Siblings, stand up for your brother or sister when he/she is being bullied by other people. If you’re embarrassed in public, ignore your sibling’s tantrums or quirks, find a way to calm them down, or ask for help from someone reliable and trustworthy.
Brothers and sisters, if you feel like you’re the parents, let your siblings be the children. Don’t think of it as a babysitting job. Think of it as an opportunity to be responsible and bonding with your sibling. Ask family members for help when it comes to holiday social gatherings and other different types of situations. And discuss future plans when you have doubts about adulthood. Find a safe haven, a safe room, in case your autistic sibling gets aggressive. Help your parents create an intervention plan. Parents: educate your non-autistic children about their sibling’s disorder. Dr. Raun Melmed, co-founder and medical director of the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center in Phoenix, suggests including non-autistic children in visits to the doctor or other autism professionals. A great way for kids is to meet other siblings of autistic children, which they can do at sibling workshops. Siblings will commonly have negative feelings, some might never connect or want to connect with their autistic siblings, but the good news is that typical siblings often turn out to be more compassionate and caring than average. Love your sibling unconditionally. Let them come to you. This advice for parents and siblings may also apply to relatives and guardians.
African American families share autism experiences: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-05-african-american-families-autism-video-series.html
12 Great Things to Say to Parents of Kids with Autism: https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/12-great-things-to-say-to-parents-of-kids-with-117807341361.html
12 Things Not to Say to Parents of Kids with Autism: https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/12-things-not-to-say-to-parents-of-kids-with-117800029051.html
20 Confessions of an Autism Dad: https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/20-confessions-of-an-autism-dad-121866238891.html
Amazing! Learning life skills isn’t always easy for those on the spectrum—but that didn’t stop Noah and his dad. http://blog.theautismsite.com/living-with-autism-a-grocery-store-outing/
Much APPlause for this Dad: http://blog.theautismsite.com/autism-village/
The Jack Nicholson Line that Made this Parent View Autism Differently: http://themighty.com/2015/04/the-jack-nicholson-line-that-made-me-view-autism-differently/
How To Keep Your Marriage Strong When You Have An Autistic Child: http://autism-daddy.blogspot.com/2011/12/12-ways-to-keep-your-marriage-strong.html
What It’s Really Like to Have a Child With Autism: https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/what-its-really-like-to-have-a-child-with-autism-126936999977.html
When a Mother Realized Her Nonverbal Autistic Child was Communicating: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marci-lebowitz/the-first-time-i-realized-my-nonverbal-autistic-child-was-communicating_b_8965384.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592
How Families Experience Autism: http://www.npr.org/2016/01/17/463359369/after-the-diagnosis-how-families-experience-autism
Raising a Tween with Autism: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2016/03/17/raising-a-tween-who-has-autism/
Tell the autistic person your name. Hang out with them. Bonding is a great way to get along with each other. People with autism encounter great difficulties in social interactions. This is a way of being for them. Most often you may need to be the one to make first contact and initiate any discussion. They show little interest in playing games etc, so you may need to be the one who initiates these interactions. Hanging out with them all the time may make them feel like they are the most important person in the world! Ask them their dislikes. Some autistic people have louder hearing then we do. Help them out with anything including their problems. Compliment them. Find little things that they are good at and notice them. They will have more confidence with things that they do, and that will help them stand up for themselves in the future. Don’t push them too hard at anything or they get stressed out. Give them time and space. Sometimes they like to be alone to think, so if they ask you to go away, do what they say, or if they seem upset, ask them if they are. Don’t take it personally if they don’t respond. They’re wrapped up in something else, not being ignorant. If they say no at joining a club or going to your house or whatever social opportunity it is, it doesn’t mean they’re rude. They just want to think about it whether they want to do it or not. Don’t encourage them to do bad things or force them to do things they don’t want to do. Don’t pressure them to give up on things they love.
If you don’t like some of their interests, ignore it. Maybe you’ll have something else in common with them. Find a way to put up with their quirks. Like any other friendship, stay loyal. You’ve got their backs no matter what. Love your friends unconditionally. Treat them like a regular person, a human being. Nothing to be ashamed of having an autistic friend. If they get bullied often, stand up for them. Even if the bully is your best friend. Getting you friends to be nice to your autistic friend will help he/she feel like they are not just a person but an important person. Always be there for them. It will make him/her feel appreciated! Everyone, remember this: You are not alone. Autism is a unique thing.
A Little Girl Explained About her Friend: https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/a-little-girl-asked-why-my-daughter-with-autism-is-115318232851.html
Truths About Making Friends When You Have Autism: https://www.yahoo.com/health/10-truths-about-making-friends-when-you-have-124615316498.html
7-Year-Old Girl with autism writes Heartbreaking letter: http://news.yahoo.com/7-year-old-girl-with-autism-writes-heartbreaking-161740146.html
A Parent’s Letter to Autistic Child’s Friend: https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/to-the-friend-who-s-1343999367151670.html
On April 12, 2015, Dateline had an episode about what would happen when a person with autism turns 21:
What’s Like to Live with Autism as an Adult: