Grieve or Live: Part 2 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.] In this talk, I’m discussing value contrasts to consider—hopefully to think about deeply—when parenting an autistic child. These value contrasts also have relevance for medical, educational, and therapeutic professionals.…

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 and the Pursuit of Happiness

I’m very pleased to be presenting at the second annual Autism and the Pursuit of Happiness conference on Saturday, February 7, at the University of North Carolina–Asheville. I was at the conference as an attendee last year, and it was truly wonderful. The other speakers presenting at this year’s conference are an extraordinary, diverse group…

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,…

Road trip to Jersey

A few Fourth of July notes from today’s road trip to Mount Laurel, New Jersey, from our home in Arden, North Carolina; tomorrow, I drop off my son Nicholas at week-long Dragonfly Forest camp — autism-week edition — near Philadelphia: Getting up at 4 makes a long drive shorter. It also makes a short night…

Ray Hemachandra

A new video … and thoughts about online identity and legacy

A new promotional video for Family Support Network of Western North Carolina and Mission Children’s Hospital featuring my friend Roxann Colwell, program manager of FSN, and myself just posted on YouTube. Ferriss Roberts, the communication coordinator for Mission Health in Asheville, N.C., created it from her interviews with Roxann and me. The little video is…