“Poppa, Do You Have Autism?”

I am sharing an excerpt from my keynote address at the HANd Autism & Neurodiversity Conference at Appalachian State University on Sept. 27, 2019. I shared it on social media recently, as well. It is a story that helped frame my understanding of autism, my son’s understanding of autism, and, I think, both our feelings…

In Joy: The Story of Bodhi Tree Bookstore

I recently interviewed the owners of Crystal Visions in North Carolina for Retailing Insight, the successor to New Age Retailer magazine, marking the retail store’s 30th anniversary in 2019. See that interview with Blair Justice and Joan Colburn here. Doing that work threw me back in time a bit: I was an editor for New…

My Talk at the 2019 Disability Day of Mourning

    I was invited again this year to give a short talk as part of the Disability Day of Mourning vigil held in Western North Carolina on the campus of the University of North Carolina Asheville on March 1, 2019. The Disability Day of Mourning is an annual event to honor and remember disabled…

Nicholas Hemachandra, young and old

Republicans Have Autistic Children, Too

I think we widely recognize the silos of information and perspective we now live in, as a society and as individuals. Hopefully, even given the benefits it sometimes has of fostering identity and a certain kind of community, we also recognize and acknowledge the injury this siloing causes—the disconnection between communities and people, the lack…

Podcast Interview of Ray Hemachandra on Converge Autism Radio

Earlier this week I recorded a podcast with Melanie Vann for Springbrook’s Converge Autism Radio. It posted today. The podcast title is taken from my recent blog post, Autism Adulthood: Caring for the Future and the Present Moment, which the generous interviewer, Melanie, had just read when we had the conversation. However lovely that title…

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…