a place to start

*Blows dust off WordPress*

Oh, hi. Fancy meeting you here. I know it’s been a dog’s age since I’ve been by, but as I’m sure you’ve noticed, we’ve pretty much moved all the action to the Facebook page these days. That said, what follows is something that I want to live here, where it can be easily found and – hopefully – shared.

A fellow nautistic* parent of an autistic child recently asked me how I found the reading materials that changed my perception of autism. In truth, the process was pretty haphazard. I bounced around the Interwebz in search of insight into my daughter’s experience. As I bounced, I found folks whose thought processes made sense to me (and some whose pretty radically did not). I followed links from one blog to another. I scoured blog rolls to see who followed whom and ultimately, I began to connect with people who showed me a whole different way to look at the world.

In my travels, I found some seminal pieces of writing by autistic people – the kind of pieces that stop us in our tracks and force us to unravel the tangled balls of assumption we’ve been clinging to for dear life for so long. The kind that awaken us to biases so deeply ingrained in the foundations of who we are that we have no idea how much they’ve affected our perception of what is true. The kind that change us, from the inside out, and in so doing, change the way we parent our beloved kids.

What follows is my attempt to gather together just a few of those pieces of writing. By no means is it an exhaustive list. I offer it only as a primer, as a place to start your own meandering. These posts mattered to me, and still do. They continue to challenge me, to change me, and, I dare say, to make me a far better parent to my girls than I ever would have been without the insight of these incredible people.

Jim Sinclair – Don’t Mourn for Us

Amy Sequenzia – Rethinking Independence

Amy Sequenzia – Non-Speaking, Low Functioning

Radical Neurodivergence – You, Yes, You Need Autistic Friends

Maxfield Sparrow – Do You Believe In Your Child?

Chavisory’s Notebook – You Should Tell Your Kids They’re Autistic

Just Stimming – Dangerous Assumptions

Just Stimming – Quiet Hands

Judy Endow – Autism and Eye Contact

Lydia Brown – Identity-First Language

Just Stimming – The Obsessive Joy of Autism

Giraffe Party – It’s Not All About You

Invisible Strings – Flipping the Script

While there is a long list of books I could recommend, I’ll start you off with two that rocked me to my core:

Loud Hands Anthology

Barb Rentenbach’s I Might Be You

And then when you’re not sure where to go next, surf the net. Read blogs. They don’t have to be updated or current. Many of the best ones aren’t. Just dive into the archives and swim around for a while. You’ll be amazed at the wealth of information and insight that is just sitting there, waiting for you. Not sure where to start? Emma’s Hope Book has an incredible list of autistic bloggers. For Facebook pages to follow, I’ve compiled a pretty extensive list here.

There’s also Zoom Autism Magazine, a wonderful (free!) online magazine featuring autistic writers and relying heavily on the artistic vision of one of my favorite humans, Conner Cummings. They do a great job with it and it’s yet another place to find the voices of the true experts.

Lastly, I implore you to follow Rhemashope, because, well, if anyone on earth can make us understand that non-speaking does not mean having nothing to say, it’s Rhema. I dare you to walk away from that young lady’s thoughtfully typed words unchanged.

So there you have it. For me, it was the voices of those whose lived experience was far closer to my daughter’s than mine that made – and make – all the difference. And for their tireless efforts to share their stories, often one painstakingly typed letter at a time, I am deeply, deeply grateful.

xo,

Jess

*nautistic is Brooke’s word for non-autistic, also known as allistic. It’s pronounced NOT-tistic

Note: Please feel free to leave your favorite posts (by autistic writers only, please) in the comments. Thank you for sharing!

5 thoughts on “a place to start

  1. Nice to see you back. And thanks for things to read and use to expand my thoughts. I still have so much to learn

  2. Just the other day, I was trying to remember how I found autistic writers. I’m not sure, but I know I found you early on, and you directed me to them. I am so grateful. It saved us from so much trauma and ensured that we never believed the doctors when they said “never” and implied “tragedy”.
    One of my favorites is Max Sparrow’s “The ABC’s of Autism Acceptance” (sold under the name Sparrow Rose Jones as author). It covers every possible topic so clearly.

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