Autistic Pride day 2015

Today is Autistic Pride Day. It was initiated by the Aspies for Freedom  group 10 years ago as a way to celebrate neurodiversity. There are img_7205multiple events happening around the world to recognise the inherent potential in all people, especially those on the spectrum.

Bristol Autism Support is organising a city-wide chalk art festival. Those of you in Bristol, now or after work, grab some sidewalk chalks, find a good spot and draw a great big picture! It doesn’t have to be autism-specific, it just needs to be in the spirit of the movement.

This day is about being proud of being different, embracing uniqueness and defying what society tells you you are supposed to be. Today is about learning, about shifting views of Autism from “disease” to “difference”; from “strange” to “interesting”; from ignorance to awareness; from stigma to acceptance.

ARGH (Autism Rights Group Highland) is organising arts and crafts activities, speakers, information and a picnic Bellfield Park, Inverness.

There is usually a theme, in 2005 the first ever was “Acceptance not cure”, in 2010 it was “Perspectives, not fear” and in 2011 it was “Recognize, Respect, Include” .

Here are 5 things you can do today to celebrate:

1. Find out what your Council or the community is doing to aid awareness today and go along – Learn 1 new thing about Autism. Make conversation with someone there and ask questions, integrate and have fun.

2. Read one story on this blog – read one story anywhere on the Internet and learn 1 thing about Autism. The information is right there, all you have to do is take 5 minutes to watch, read, listen to something about Autism.

3. If you know someone with Autism, go see them. If you know what they like, take them something.

6a01a3fcefab2d970b01b8d103d65c970c-800wi4. If your kid goes to school with someone on the Spectrum, talk them about Autism. Don’t hide it, Autism is not something to be scared of, in fact, the less you know about Autism the more likely you are to trigger their sensitivity.

5. Get a book for that bus ride, the tube, before bed, or a lazy summer day. Books like “A Father’s Journey into the Lost History of Autism” by Paul Collins, “Delightfully Different” by D. S. Walker, “Remember Dippy” by Shirley Reva Vernick, “Screaming Quietly (Gravel Road)” by Evan Jacobs, “The Society of Sylphs” by Lea M. Hill.

Neurodivertials: Be proud you are different, be proud for raising someone who is out of the ‘ordinary’. Be proud of who you are no matter what society tells you you’re supposed to be.

Neurotypicals: Pity and denial doesn’t help; don’t stare at our kids, don’t “Aww” at us, learn more about us, give our kids the chance they deserve. Help us make Autism a conversation rather than a taboo.


The Mighty Article

I wrote an article for The Mighty recently, it’s a mashup of posts that appeared here from time to time – Christos’ Greatest Hits. The Mighty is a team of writers, editors, producers, developers who have worked at a lot of big media companies (The New York Times, ABC News, NBC News, MSNBC, MTV, TMZ, Warner Brothers, AOL, The Huffington Post to name a few) who decided to team up and make a company more than just business. They created a platform for people to share stories and help each other. I am so grateful to be part of this family.

You can read it here: 10 Confessions of an Autism Sister


UPDATE: 17 June 2015

Humbled. Christos’ story is being heard.
Shares: 316+
Likes: 1037+
& lovely comments from beautiful people.



King of Darts

My Christos has been learning how to play darts at school & apparently he’s pretty awesome at it!



Don’t stereotype, learn about the talents our kids have, don’t limit their potential with discrimination and stigma.

Learn about Autism.


On the Radar – First Responder Training

A group of law enforcement officers and first responders gathered in Homewood, to hear and learn about how they can better interact with people on the Autism spectrum.

11079653_1596759410564836_266828026138486476_nDennis Debbaudt, law enforcement trainer, has some very helpful tips that don’t only benefit officers but civilians as well. During the training, the officers learned how to identify the many, many signs of Autism. Police officers, fire fighters, teachers, everyone needs to be aware of Autism. Learning how to identify it and how to deal with it in a way which benefits what you are trying to achieve as well as with respect to the other person is the most important factor here.

Ask your employer to offer you training if you are in constant interaction with members of the public in your line of work.

Here are some things you can be aware of whether you are an officer, employee, employer, customer or just a stranger sitting at the next table or on the bus.

Sometimes they won’t initiate conversation, especially if they are in distress, or in a loud place. Don’t stare.

Speak slowly and use simple language. You may notice that the person isn’t making eye contact when approaching you or talking to you, or maybe taking a while longer to reply, make sure you have been clear in what you have said. Short and to the point is how our kids like it.

Use concrete terms.

Repeat simple questions. You may not get a response, you may have someone walk off, you may get a full on conversation. You never know with the spectrum, so you need to be prepared for all situations. Things you may consider rude coming from any other customer won’t be the same with someone on the spectrum.

Allow time for response.

Do not attempt to physically block self-stimulating behaviour. It might be a twitch, a flap, a noise, shaking, it could be anything. They are not going to attack you, that’s just how they move. You would try and physically restrict someone scratching, sneezing. It’s a physical reaction they cannot control.

Well done to the officers, a real tribute to make a commitment to get this training.

Educate yourselves about Autism.

Share your knowledge and experience with others, with your family. You can touch, change another persons life just by not staring at them, with a single work, or smile.

So smile, and learn about Autism.