Category Archive: Disabilities

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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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 23

An underreported feature of planned changes in US currency

I am very pleased with the change of heart that places Tubman on the twenty and leaves Hamilton on the ten. Tucked away at the end of this article is another hugely important change, one that is long overdue. Many (if not most) currencies have different sizes for different denominations, enabling people with poor or …

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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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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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Jul 09

Massachusetts takes a huge step forward in the realm of disability rights

Yesterday, the Massachusetts General Court took a huge step forward in the realm of disability rights. The Senate approved S2245, Relative to assisting individuals with autism and other intellectual or developmental disabilities. The bill isn’t perfect, but it is an enormous achievement on the part of the advocacy community. I like to say that advocacy …

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Jun 24

Disability Forum at Perkins School on Thursday June 26

Please join us for a Gubernatorial Candidates Forum on Disability Issues All seven candidates for Governor of Massachusetts will appear at this forum, and each will have half an hour to make their case and answer questions. Don Berwick will be speaking second, at 1:30. Here is a flyer we will pass out at the …

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Mar 10

Why Autism “Functioning” Labels Are Misleading

Unfortunately, there is a great deal of confusion, and therefore misunderstanding, around what is meant by “high-functioning” and “low-functioning” autism. The commonsense use of the word “functioning” has to do with, well, functioning. Most people would probably associate “functioning” with the usual meaning of “to work or operate, to carry on a function.” But in …

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Mar 03

Nick Walker’s Definition of Autism

Nick Walker says that What is needed is some good basic introductory “What Is Autism” text that is: 1.) consistent with current evidence; 2.) not based in the pathology paradigm; 3.) concise, simple, and accessible;  4.) formal enough for professional and academic use. Since I couldn’t find such a piece of text elsewhere, I wrote one. I’m …

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