5 Tips for Using Stories in Disability Advocacy

What do disability stories say to their various audiences? Who’s saying it? Why? How can we tell difficult stories without pitying or demeaning the people in them? How can advocates understand the power of the narratives we use? Here, the director of a disability film festival uses autism films to highlight successful approaches.

A Reporter's Guide to the Autism Speaks Debacle

The long-running conflict over different approaches to autism peaked this week—not coincidentally—as Autism Speaks opened its summit in Washington D.C. As some of the organization's most prominent supporters renounced it, opponents celebrated.

Absence of Adult Autism Services Drives Disparities & Costs

Autistic adults are typically denied vital services relating to employment, community living, education, medical care and quality of life, driving health and income disparities and the lifetime costs associated with autism.

Should We Welcome the "Gift" of ADHD — or Return it?

ADHD Awareness Month, now ending, is part of a vigorous public relations effort on behalf of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. But there is a delicacy to celebrating the strengths of a neuropsychological condition without minimizing the challenges. Repackaging ADHD as a gift can still fail those who receive it.

Where Are We in Autism World and Who Are Our Guides?

Every so often a new autism resource appears, and like an updated map or set of directions it gives us the opportunity to check out where we’ve got to in autism world. The video-based, government-funded website "Interacting with Autism" reveals progress in how we think about autism and whose thinking we value.

Awkward in Person, Graceful on the Page

We present differently online and in person. For most of us, that transformation happens because the internet allows us to be something we’re not. For autistic people, it's because the internet allows them to be something they are.

Is Asperger’s Overdiagnosed Because Parents Want Free Stuff?

In any harsh political climate there’s much snarking about free stuff and those who are supposedly getting it. Takers versus makers. The 47%. There’s a free stuff theme in autism politics, too, and it goes like this: Why is Asperger’s overdiagnosed? Because parents want free stuff and an Asperger’s diagnosis is how they get it.

Guide to Reporting on Autism: Theory of Mind & Empathy

Autism is the proverbial minefield. These blog posts will make an attempt at mine clearance.

When Secession is an Option, After All

My 13-year-old son with Asperger's acquired a new obsessive interest: micronations. Perhaps establishing his own small country was an attempt to impose order on a too-big world. But how much of a threat to him (and us) was isolationism?

The Pain of Being Linked by Asperger Dx to a Mass Shooter

The autism community has responded with shock, pain and eloquence to the horror at Newtown, CT. The commentaries share an essential theme: please judge the shooter, not the autism or mental illness (if he even had autism or a mental illness). But they approach it in different ways and with varying emphasis.

What We’ll Miss When We Miss Asperger Syndrome

Asperger syndrome was a fuzzily defined, inadequate diagnosis. Why are Aspergerians mourning its passing?

After Asperger's, What Diagnosis Comes Next?

Will the new diagnosis of social communication disorder accurately capture the neurological complexity of people with Asperger and PDD-NOS traits? History warns us to be cautious.

Why Claim Asperger's is Overdiagnosed?

The American Psychiatric Association insists that “un-diagnosing” people with Asperger's is not its goal. But there is little question that a purpose of its DSM changes is screening out those who may not be “definitively” autistic. Members of the committees charged with the autism revisions have reverted to this theme again and again, often in unguarded moments.

The Case Against Asperger's

The case against Asperger’s as a diagnosis crosses party lines. Many who advocate for the acceptance of autism have reached the same conclusion as some of those among the pro-cure factions: "Asperger's must go!" Yet their arguments are exactly opposite. Let's rate them.

The Diagnosis Formerly Known as Asperger's

In the months after my young son was identified as having Asperger syndrome, I wondered whether he would outgrow his diagnosis. I never imagined that his diagnosis would outgrow him. But that’s happening with changes to the diagnostic criteria and terminology relating to autism.