Thursday, November 26, 2015

New website!!

I have a new website!!  

I will not be posting any new articles here, and will be moving many of the articles from this blog to my new website.

You can follow along at michellesuttonwrites.com


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Words



image: brick wall behind the
words from the paragraph to the left

We need to have a talk about something important. Words. We need to talk about the words we use and how we use them. We need to talk about the impact our words have on our Autistic children. We need to talk about how our words affect Autistic adults, because one day our kids will be adults too. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

the sensory friendly birthday party

image is a light blue curtain with some purple and white striped
and polka dotted triangular flags strung in front of it
and some white decorative party lights mixed in as well;
at the bottom of the image is a dark box with words in white
reading 'the sensory friendly birthday party'

Does anyone else find the Birthday Party hard? I do!! Some of my sensory challenges are around balloons, large groups of people and unpredictability. 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Every moment is a learning moment




This article has been moved to michellesuttonwrties.com




image: a toddler climbing a set of concrete stairs
words: fb/amazingadvanturesautism
"every moment is a learning moment"








Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Educational decisions that turned out to have probably been mistakes, and how we respond as a community

When L was younger we listened to people who said, "he should go to school so he can practice social skills and learn how to deal with society." 

We sent him to school. 

I'm pretty sure that was a mistake. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

on funding and brick walls

News headline in The Australian, 25 March 2015: "Disabled students suffer as funds dry up" (unfortunately the link displayed in my browser when I view the article seems to redirect to a subscriber only page! To read the article it seems to work if you search the title on The Australian home page)

It doesn't give me any pleasure to say that this is not news to me.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Autism Acceptance 2015

If Autistic people were accepted we would not need Autism Awareness Month.

Yes. That is what I said. 

If Autistic people were accepted we would not need Autism Awareness Month.

We live in a  society that does not value diversity. 

We live in a society that disables people with its intolerance of difference.

We live in a society that honestly believes the best thing to do for an Autistic child is to make them look not Autistic so that they do not get teased or bullied.

Conform. Fit in. Submit. Perform. 

These are the messages my children receive day after day. One month of awareness talk is not going to change that. In fact, it reinforces it. 

"We are aware you are here and you are different, and we see you as a burden to be endured, problem to be dealt with and a puzzle to be solved."  

That is the message Autism Awareness Month sends to Autistic people. 

If our society valued diversity Autistic people would not be seen as a burden. 

If our society encouraged and celebrated difference Autistic people would not be treated like a problem. 

If our society would condemn bullying instead of encouraging the disabling of people in minority groups more people would be willing to speak against the rhetoric of puzzle pieces and mystery. 

If Autistic people were accepted we would not need Autism Awareness Month.


The tricky part of this conversation is that there are people who really do believe that awareness helps. They have very good intentions. They want to do what is right. I can understand why they feel defensive when they first hear someone say that awareness is neither helpful or enough. To be honest, I did a bit of a double take the first time I saw the idea too. My response was to read the dictionary! I love words.... and am always interested in defining and understanding (call it a special interest, if you will). Reading the definitions of awareness and acceptance showed me clearly why awareness is not helping Autistic people. 

awareness |əˈwɛːnəsnoun [ mass noun ] knowledge or perception of a situation or fact
acceptance |əkˈsɛpt(ə)nsnoun [ mass noun ] the action of consenting to receive or undertake something offeredthe process or fact of being received as adequate, valid, or suitable

Autistic people are here with us in our shared society. They are offering themselves unreservedly and in all their diversity and beauty. They are asking us to look at them and receive them as adequate, valid and suitable, and that we do that without condition or expectation that they will change to suit our whims. It is not a big thing they are asking. Just acceptance. Just exactly what you and I are privileged to receive already. 

And I say yes. I am not happy to merely have knowledge of this situation. I choose to accept what I am being offered. It is after all a gift when someone offers themselves to you. They are making themselves vulnerable and open to hurt. So far our society has dished out a lot of hurt to Autistic people.

I say yes. I choose acceptance. And I say to my Autistic children: You are adequate. You are valuable. You are suitable. You are wonderful just as you are. I love you.

I do say yes. I choose acceptance. And I say to my Autistic friends: You are adequate. You are valuable. You are suitable. You are wonderful just as you are. I am glad you are here. 

And I say again,  If Autistic people were accepted we would not need Autism Awareness Month.

Will you celebrate Autism Acceptance Month with me? 






image: a yellow rectangle with a black line border.
On the right of the rectangle is a photo of a fair skinned, blond haired and blue eyed child in front of a tree trunk.
On the left of the rectangle are the words-
If you would ACCEPT ME as I am there would be no need for all this "Autism Awareness"


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Measures of Success

This article has been moved to 
michellesuttonwrites.com
http://michellesuttonwrites.com/2015/11/16/measures-of-success/