Autism Adulthood: Caring for the Future and the Present Moment

Part of this piece was written for a recent conference panel talk—that actually instead turned into pure Q&A—so the beginning, at least, starts off pretty formally with background. Like all my work involving him, my son Nicholas has read and approved this article, because he hopes his journey—and ours together—will help others. My son, Nicholas,…

What’s Most Important

We’re in Charlotte waiting for my son Nicholas’ Remicade infusion right now.  We both got up early this morning and Nicholas asked, “Are we going to Charlotte today, Poppa?” I said, “Yes, because I want you to be healthy. That’s the second most important thing I want for you. What do you think is the…

2-Minute Zipping for Autism 2018 Highlight Video!

I have served on the organizing committee for Zipping for Autism for three years. The annual event raises money—now about $230,000 in seven years—for autism programs in North Carolina. It takes place in Asheville, N.C., on the first Sunday in June. My son, Nicholas, has been one of the top fundraisers each of the past two…

Valuing Disabled Lives—and Remembering Lives Lost

The Day of Mourning, an event remembering and honoring disabled people murdered by family members or caregivers, is held on March 1. Local vigils take place across the United States, as well as in Australia and Canada. In Asheville, North Carolina, vigils have been held at the University of North Carolina Asheville (UNCA) for the past two…

late dreams, autumn (poem)

late dreams, autumn some flowers open and close day and night, blossom and fall spring and autumn. i do the same on these mountains. the sun rises i put on tie and smile it falls, i put on blanket and reading light and i sleep. october passes and dreams of memories stir foggy blurred chilled why scared now, hands…

Nicholas Hemachandra

Definition as Destiny: Breaking Autistic Boundaries

We define autism, clinically and socially. It’s a construct, clustering people with certain human characteristics together. Here’s what autism is. You are autistic. This is what you are. On the positive side, at least sometimes, this clustering fosters autistic identity and community. But too often it also separates autistics out from non-autistics and diminishes respect…

Round the Corner (poem)

Round the Corner I never really had a crush on her. I always wanted to so pretty and friendly the smile quieting round the corner the testing casual mention of Christ one insincere laugh and I short in dress shoes talk too fast look too hard and what exactly do I do and what’s this…

Backward, Forward, One, Two, Three

One One of the best experiences of my life was four decades ago at summer camp, Camp Killooleet, in Hancock, Vermont. I went for eight weeks each summer for five years. It was a magical place and time and the favorite part of my childhood. I cherish that camp and those people and those years,…