Autism Interview #105 Part 2: Sandra Jones on Autism Slurs, Teaching, and Advocacy

Sandra and her husband

Professor Sandra Jones is an autistic mother of two autistic sons and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engagement) at Australian Catholic University. She has studied autistic adolescent development, the impact of diagnostic labels, and the development and evaluation of social support and peer support programs.

Last week, she shared her experience obtaining a late diagnosis and how she is raising her sons to achieve a positive self-image. This week Professor Jones discussed the casual misuse of autism as a slur, her path to employment in higher education, and leading a more peaceful advocacy movement.

Autism Interview #104: Dr. Natalie Engelbrecht on Late Diagnosis and Autism Research

Dr. Natalie Engelbrecht is a late-diagnosed, registered psychotherapist practicing for over twenty-five years who has a passion for helping individuals with autism reach their potential. She blogs at Embrace ASD on a variety of autism topics, including the latest autism research. This week she discussed her professional background with helping others on the spectrum (including those who are diagnosed later in life), her surprising diagnosis, and how she assesses the latest autism research.

Autism Interview #100! Julia Bascom on Autism Advocacy for All

I am pleased to announce this is the 100th interview on the Learn From Autistics site! I’m especially excited to introduce Julia Bascom, Executive Director of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. Julia is a leading voice in autistic self-advocacy and currently serves on the Centene National Disability Advisory Council, the advisory board of Felicity House, the board of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, and the board of Allies For Independence. Julia is also the editor of Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking, an anthology of writings by autistic people. This week Julia discussed autistic identity, autistic representation, and how The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) advocates for all autistic individuals.

Autism Interview #99 Part 2: C. L. Lynch on Autism Advocacy and Raising Non-ableist Families

This is the second part of a two-part interview with Canadian novelist and autistic advocate C. L. Lynch. Last week she shared her personal diagnosis story and explained why she advocates for a complete overhaul in autism severity labeling. She offered an excellent perspective on language surrounding autism and how we can better understand and support autistic individuals through the words we use. This week she discussed ableism in literature and how parents can raise their children without ableist attitudes and advocate for positive autistic identities.

Let the Disabled Community Define Inclusion

I recently saw a social media post supporting inclusion where an autistic woman commented with a warning about being “too inclusive.” What she was referring to was forceful inclusion, and gave the example of her mother removing her bedroom door at her therapist’s suggestion to improve socialization. This sounds like abuse, and the opposite of inclusion, but it’s worth mentioning because it raises the important questions of what is inclusion and who defines it?

Autism Interview #91 Part 1: Leanne Libas on Autistic Identity

Leanne Libas is a writer, college student, and a/Autistic advocate. Leanne started her advocacy work after a life-changing experience at YLF (Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities). Leanne was an Autistic Scholarship Fellowship Recipient from the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and she was a regular contributor to the Art of Autism blog. This is the first part of a two-part interview with Leanne. This week she shared her experience understanding how autism affects her and how she has adopted a positive autistic identity.

Autism Interview #86: Gord Gates on Late Diagnosis, Marriage, and Advocacy

Gord Gates is a Canadian author, mental health counselor, and Autistic activist. Gates’ new book, Trauma, Stigma, and Autism: Developing Resilience and Loosening the Grip of Shame offers a unique framework for combating the psychological and emotional impact of stigma and creates a brighter path for anyone who’s been made to feel like an “outsider.” He says stigma is a form of trauma and shows how trauma in various forms can create difficult emotional challenges. He describes how autism can help us better manage these challenges as it provides insight into the nature of stigma and helps us counter the automatic reactions that often stigmatize others. This week he shares his experiences growing up without a diagnosis and how parents and educators can better support Autistic children and adults.

Autism Interview #78: Bennett Gaddes on Spectrum Codes and the Current State of Disability Advocacy

Bennett Gaddes is the chairman of Autistic Self Advocacy Atlanta and co-founder of Spectrum Codes, an advocacy group with the purpose of preparing neurodiverse individuals for careers in technology. He is especially interested in creating accessible technology. This week Bennett discussed his involvement with Spectrum Codes as well as his perspective on the current state of disability advocacy.

Autism Interview #77: Terra Vance on Functioning Labels, Employment, and Diversity

Terra Vance is an industrial and organizational psychology consultant and the proprietor of Acumen Consulting, LLC. She specializes in diversity, inclusion, multiculturalism, and poverty dynamics. She is also the author of the Unapologetically Aspie blog on PsychCentral.com and founder of The Aspergian, a collective for autistic voices, a showcase for autistic talent, and a directory of resources to assist NTs and NDs with navigating autism and thriving with it.  This week she shared some autism advocacy tips as well as her experience leading diversity initiatives as a business consultant.