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…

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…

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,…