Remembering My Aunt Hattie

Sometime after her sister, my mother, died and before her Alzheimer’s developed to the point she didn’t recognize or know me, my aunt Hattie started using this especially emotional turn of phrase at the end of our phone conversations. I’d say, “I love you,” and she’d reply, with vibrant care and warmth, “I adore you.”…

Books Published, People Cherished

I am a judge for the Independent Book Publishers Association’s Benjamin Franklin Awards. Perhaps surprisingly, this work predates my years in book publishing and extends back to, I think, 2002. It’s hard to date it precisely, because it began so long ago that I had an entirely different and now defunct email address. The IBPA…

Sunday with My Son

These weekend wintry early mornings in which at times I’m feeling a little drawn—hardly inclined to roll out of bed, bundle up, and get out into the forest and nature—are probably the most necessary times to get up and walk through the woods. I know that, and I’m skeptical I would still have the discipline…

Hammer and Screw: Autism Acceptance and Rejection

I opened my talk at the 2019 HANd Autism & Neurodiversity Conference, themed as “My Autism Journey—Various Perspectives,” in this way, less for the little allegory itself, which is obvious and unremarkable, and more for my own realization with it, which comes near the end and then led into the substance of my talk. I also…

Nicholas Hemachandra, young and old

“Poppa, Do You Have Autism?”

I told this story in my keynote address at the HANd Autism & Neurodiversity Conference in fall 2019 at Appalachian State University in North Carolina.  Some of my son Nicholas’ hardest years were between when he experienced that early regression in his communication and connection through about third grade. His frustrations around expressive communication, his…

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,…