Vaccines and autism: The link that doesn’t exist

Mental Health @ Home

teddy bear with a syringe and vial

Chances are, you’ve heard the idea that vaccines can cause autism.  This notion is championed by various organizations and individuals, one of the most prominent being actress Jenny McCarthy, whose son was diagnosed with autism at age 2.  She has an autism-related organization called Generation Rescue, and on its website is a guide to vaccine safety.  I was a bit surprised by how relatively toned down it was, but I got  more along the lines of what I expected with one of the places it directed people to go to for more information, the National Vaccine Information Center.  It includes a “cry for vaccine freedom wall” and a “vaccine victim memorial”.  They have a MedAlerts database of people’s reported adverse reactions to vaccines, and a search for autism spectrum disorder yields 391 case reports.  One thing that struck me as interesting was the seemingly random grab bag of multiple…

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Autism and toxic friendships and relationships

YennPurkis

This week I said goodbye to a friend I had known for a long time. I sent her a message explaining why I needed to distance myself and was blocking her. It was a very hard thing to do but it had become apparent that our relationship was not based on mutual respect and that she had become a toxic presence in my life. I did not do this lightly but it got to a point of no return. I won’t go into detail because this post isn’t really about my friendship. It is about understanding, identifying and managing toxic friendships and relationships for autistic people generally.

Autistic people can have significant challenges around managing toxic friendships. A friendship may start out toxic or become that way over time. For people who may be isolated and lonely, the offer of friendship can be a welcome thing and it may be…

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Get networked in! Autism and systemic ableism in the arts.

The other side

fullsizeoutput_4ba8 Mrs Pepperpot to the Rescue

My name is Sonia Boué and I’m an autistic artist. I’ve had a lot of luck in my career lately –  which has largely come about using my own autistic methods and working with two truly wonderful mentors. On the face of it I look pretty networked in, but most of my opportunities have come from sharing my work and ideas online. At the end of each project I have to start from scratch, and I have no idea how to ‘use my contacts’ or network neurotypically. The sheer scale of the social labour involved in networking neurotypically is beyond me.  This is why I have created a new kind of network called WEBworks, which is autistic in conception and in all it’s various manifestations. It’s for autistic artists and has a focus on professional development and creating access to opportunity. It’s a small pilot…

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Am I disabled?

Autistic and Cheerful

Sounds like an easy question, doesn’t it? I mean, it should be obvious, right?

Let me tell you a bit about myself; I am married, I have two children. I can go out alone, I can drive. I can do a lot of things independently. I am fit and healthy. I run, I do weights, I walk my dog. I look after my kids. All this takes tremendous effort, but I manage. My daily planner helps me remember what chores need doing and what appointments I have to go to and that I need to take my vitamins and whether it’s arms or legs day.

I haven’t been that successful in employment. I’ve been fired from a lot of jobs, and quit many more. The only time I’ve had a permanent, full-time job I got so ill that I had blood tests and all sorts to find out why I…

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Welcoming Accessibility

This! This would make it so much easier to go out into the world…

Autism and Expectations

I am aware of my autism. Sounds are grating, they twang through my ears like over-extended elastic bands, and I wait for them to snap and hit me.

I have things to plan, and I am putting off planning them so that I don’t miss out on what is actually happening now. I don’t want to spend my time in a continuous cycle of minute detail, data analysis, and variable controlling, instead of living.

People are aware of my autism, I have had two such examples of adjustments given to me in the past week. Both were thorough and thoughtful and considered, one was unsought.

Can you guess which weighed less heavily upon me? There is something about listing your deficits to strangers, that is unsurprisingly horrible.

I hate having to say that I find things hard, I hate having to point out what I need to make things easier…

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The Dark Side of the Stim: Self-injury and Destructive Habits

This is really helpful to me

The Artism Spectrum

selfharmFULLIn my previous article, Stimming 101, I wrote about autistic stimming as a normal and healthy aspect of autistic identity. While this is most often the case, I want to follow up with a slightly different article, because not all stims are created equal.

Sometimes stimming is unhealthy or even dangerous.

Parents, caregivers, and autistic people all need tools to deal with these types of stims. We in the autistic advocacy community often paint all stimming as wonderful and healthy, leaving high and dry those who need help. So, let’s talk about the dark side of the stim.


The Dark Side

One of the most frequent questions I get from readers is what to do about unhealthy stimming. These requests come from both non-autistic caregivers and autistic people. A few typical examples include children who bang their heads against walls, teenagers who bite their fingers and nails until they…

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