Category Archive: Autism

Feb 27

The Language of Autism: “Special Interest” as a Stigmatizing Phrase

When an a non-autistic person studies something deeply, it’s an “area of expertise,” and the acquisition of such expertise is considered a commendable accomplishment. When an autistic person studies something deeply, it’s a “special interest,” and it’s considered a symptom of pathology. #DoubleStandards Nick Walker Nick’s post on Facebook really hit home for me, because, …

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Feb 13

Another Candidate for my Autism Hall of Fame: John Couch Adams

Isaac Newton (1642-1726) is often mentioned (and rightly so, from what I can tell) as having probably been autistic. Now, I learn of a later-day (1819-1892) kindred spirit. John Couch Adams is known to history as having been hot on the trail of the discovery of Neptune, only to be beaten to the punch in 1846 …

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Dec 04

Walking

Following my comments, you will find an excerpt from an original essay, “Walking,” by Henry David Thoreau that appeared in The Atlantic in 1862; there is also a link at the end for those who want to read more. Henry David Thoreau was the proto-environmentalist. said Bill McKibben. Thoreau was also the one who, perhaps in a …

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Apr 23

Acceptance Is Belonging

A beautiful essay, written by my friend Amy Sequenzia, for Autism Acceptance Month. Autism Acceptance means more than love and understanding. It means belonging. Amy lived in Great Barrington for a time, and was very active in CATA. She has published a collection of poetry.

Apr 08

The demise of mirror neurons?

The latest (April 2016) issue of Scientific American contains an article that caught my eye. It is billed as “Cognitive Psychology” and subtitled “By honing ax-making skills while scanning their own brains, researchers are studying how cognition evolved.” This is clearly a very speculative venture, and the article (“Tales of a Stone Age Neuroscientist” available …

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Nov 25

Another Mischaracterization of Autism

An article entitled “The Gene Hackers” appeared in the November 16, 2015 issue of The New Yorker. It attracted my attention because it touches on neuroscience and other topics that interest me. I always worry when I read an article like this that autism will be mentioned in an unfavorable light. I didn’t have to wait …

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Apr 12

Not just attention to detail, but fascination with detail

I guess you don’t have to be autistic to collect stamps (or coins, or bills, or anything else), but I’m sure it helps. For many years (and long before I figured out that I’m autistic), I collected stamps. More than collected, I accumulated. In the past few years, I’ve been gradually selling off my accumulation …

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Jan 27

Sensory Deprivation

I just took a long hot whirlpool bath, enhanced with Kneipp rosemary essential oil, to delight the olfactory senses, with a side benefit of helping to clear the nasal passages. It is a frigid snowy day today, with temps in the low teens. I walked through the falling snow to feed the horses, and was amazed …

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Oct 25

Growing Old Disgracefully: AS Connections 2014

Here is a blog-friendly version of remarks I prepared for delivery to the AANE Conference in Boston. I have tried to reflect some of the (less stilted, I hope) actual delivery, but not including some of the shoutouts I did to individual people who were in attendance. I have also added links to resources concerning some …

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Jul 15

Whose Table Is This, Anyway?

My good friend John Robison has written an important and articulate piece on autism advocacy. He says … it’s time to recognize the primacy of autistic people in the formulation of policy relating to research, education, treatment, and services for our community and our people.   We are able to express our own wishes and opinions, and …

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