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…

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…

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…

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…

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,…

On blackness and autism, identity and essence

Often I’m asked “What are you?” Racial and ethnic identity still inform so much in our culture. The question asked really is a question of identity. “What are you?” masks the underlying question, “Who are you?” When I was young I was black. My father, Neal Hemachandra, was black. His mother, Leathe Wade Colvert, was…

Ray and Nicholas Hemachandra

Top 10 List: Things to Remember When Working with Autistic Children and Other Children with Special Needs

I recently did a recorded presentation for an online class at Western Carolina University–Biltmore Campus for students working to become special-ed teachers, counselors, and therapists. I’ve done a good number of such talks, usually in person, over the years at TEACCH, UNC–Asheville, Blue Ridge Community College, Western Carolina University, local medical groups, autism camps like…