Stimming, Stigma and Stereotypes

Official diagnostic criteria for autism in both the ICD-10 and DSM-5 refer to "restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests or activities", a catch-all phrase which sometimes seems to be used to mean anything an autistic person does. Indeed, the sub-categories listed under this criterion range from special interests to (in the DSM-5) sensory sensitivities as … Continue reading Stimming, Stigma and Stereotypes

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“For the first time, I felt like I belong” – Reflections on the NAS Women and Girls Conference

...Well. Where do I start?! Earlier this week, Sam Ahern and I were lucky enough to attend the National Autistic Society Women and Girls Conference 2018 to talk about Are You Autistic?, misconceptions about autism and our general realities as autistic women. More importantly, I got to meet dozens of brilliant autistic women and others … Continue reading “For the first time, I felt like I belong” – Reflections on the NAS Women and Girls Conference

Why does consideration for others have the media in such a flap?

Recently, the University of Manchester's Student Union, like many others before it, passed a motion to use British Sign Language applause (or, as the headlines often describe it, "jazz hands") in its meetings. The rationale behind it is that more traditional clapping may be a barrier for those who have difficulty with loud noise, including … Continue reading Why does consideration for others have the media in such a flap?

The Many and Varied Perks of Autistic Special Interests

A recent study by Rachel Grove et al, presented earlier this year at INSAR, found a link between autistic "special interests" (no, I don't love that phrase either, but it's the accepted term for what the standard "interest" just can't capture) and higher subjective well-being amongst autistic adults. The above graph (photo credit @YesWeJon) shows … Continue reading The Many and Varied Perks of Autistic Special Interests

10 reasons to watch “Are You Autistic?” (by someone who already knows it inside out!)

...Okay, as one of Are You Autistic?'s lead presenters I'm more than a little biased, but this does also means I've seen it, multiple times, and can't wait until it finally goes out beyond autism circles and into the wider world of people who could benefit from its messages! So here are just a few … Continue reading 10 reasons to watch “Are You Autistic?” (by someone who already knows it inside out!)

Why autism is much more than an “excuse”, and why it matters

Recently, my Twitter feed has been full of a whole series of articles and so on telling the world that conditions such as autism and ADHD are a.) Overdiagnosed Actually and b.) used by parents as an "excuse" for "awful and embarrassing behaviour" or as "something to boast about". ...Yikes. To be fair to Dr … Continue reading Why autism is much more than an “excuse”, and why it matters