What I’ve been reading — March 2015

Here are some things I’ve read this past month that I found helpful, informative, or inspiring. If you like this and find it helpful, please share with others. Thanks!

Opinions and insights

Respectfully Connected: Don't Say Rainbows. Fantastic. "There are few misconceptions about autism acceptance and neurodiversity that consistently get repeated by parents of autistic children, to the point that people take them as fact. What follows are some myths I've been trying to deconstruct in the recent past..." Read more

My Speech at the Profectum Conference "The autism I have is not a language processing problem or a lack of understanding anything. I want this point crystal clear. My mind is fully, totally intact. In fact, my experience is that most nonverbal autistic people have intact minds too...Here is your challenge. Stop looking at our weird movements, blank faces, lack of speech, trouble handwriting, poor self control, and on and on, as proof of intellectual delay." Read more

Autism Discussion: building self-acceptance for spectrum teens "... I asked a few autistic adults what helped or would have helped them navigate those notoriously challenging teen years. I also requested input from parents who write frequently about radical self-acceptance for their spectrum children. Here are their responses." Read more

An insider’s view of ‘Special Interests’ "Through Special Interests, you might find a way in to your child’s internal world. A way to share their enthusiasm and a safe harbor to gently lead them to when the world gets too much." Read more

a friend illegible (stories from the autism spectrum) "Early in life, I noticed that playing alone seemed to meet all of my recreational needs. It was engaging, it made sense. I could invent characters to take the place of friends. And yet, at the same time, I felt an intense need to be with people." Read more

Was autism ever a first advocacy priority for those promoting the idea that vaccines cause autism? Basically, no. Read more


The Parents Who Give Their Children Bleach Enemas to 'Cure' Them of Autism "O'Leary (autism advocate) has no sympathy for anyone giving their children chlorine dioxide and painted a bleak portrait of life in an MMS household, one that sifting though the CDautism.org forums at length only reinforced: a life of tightly restricted diets, constant oral dosing with chlorine dioxide, and regular, invasive, chlorine dioxide enemas. A life of pain." Read more

Soldiers with autism give army rare view into intel, and disorder How the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) is integrating "...autistic teens and young adults into one of the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate’s more crucial functions: aerial photography interpretation." Read more

Keeping autistic readers interested. “'Interest-based reading' — or providing autistic students with reading material based on their particular interests — allows children from fourth to eighth grades with ASD improve their reading comprehension.' Read more


Sign language study solves autism's pronoun mystery. "Instead, the researchers say, the misuse or avoidance of personal pronouns stems from an inability to distinguish between oneself and others — a fundamental confusion in the children's sense of 'self.'" Read more

You and I — "A new fMRI study published in Brain in July reports that connectivity between two brain regions involved in self-awareness is greatly reduced in people with autism when they engage in deictic shifting." Read more

Flair for faces forecasts future autism severity A recent but small study suggests that "...problems with facial recognition in childhood predict autism severity. They also raise the intriguing possibility that impaired facial recognition contributes to the social deficits seen in autism. If this theory pans out, it may be possible to improve social skills in people with the disorder by giving them tools to better recognize faces." Read more

Symptoms in children with autism follow diverse paths "Within months of being diagnosed with autism, preschoolers with the disorder may already be on distinct trajectories, according to a study published 28 January in JAMA Psychiatry. The findings suggest that the severity of autism symptoms does not track with the ability to function in daily life...For example, a child whose social deficits worsen over time may at the same time show improvements in intelligence." Read more

Wearable sensors aim to capture autism in action As we see health trackers become more ubiquitous, it's fascinating to see how they're being used, adapted, or completely re-imagined to help people with autism. Read more

Questions for Deborah Fein: Defining 'optimal outcome.' "A substantial proportion of children with autism who later lost their diagnoses received a one-on-one intervention called Applied Behavior Analysis." Read more