Accept or Reject: Part 1 of a Talk on Autism

[This six-part series is adapted from a talk I gave at the Autism and the Pursuit of Happiness Conference at the University of North Carolina Asheville.] My son Nicholas is 14 and autistic. I’ll tell you just a little bit about him. When Nicholas was one and a half he lost speech and was nonverbal…

Autism 101: Hating Your Autistic Child

Full title and full disclosure: Autism 101: hating your autistic child … and teaching her or him self-loathing. Twice in the past week I’ve seen “I love my child, but I hate autism” posts by parents of autistics. One was written by a real-life friend I respect greatly, and one was by a Facebook friend…

Anti-Autism Prejudice: Media, Parents, and Damaged Children

My son, Nicholas, was featured on the cover of the major western North Carolina weekly — the Mountain Xpress — a couple of weeks ago and the cover is, without question, The Best Cover Ever. Featuring a photograph by Tim Robison and art design by Megan Kirby, it’s something to frame for Nicholas’ lifetime. Also,…

The Autistic Spectacle

My son Nicholas is 13, and he juggles balls and rings. Sometimes we talk about him becoming an entertainer or even joining the circus when he gets older. (The younger brother of one of his good friends recently got a unicycle. I’m dreading the likely outcome here.) But when Nicholas was younger he was much…

Huh? What?

Many people with autism, including my son Nicholas, struggle with verbal communication and clarity of shared social meaning. But most people with ASD know they struggle with these, while the rest of us — who, let’s face it, in reality struggle just as much in having clear communication, as we discover each and every day when…