Autism Interview #124: Lydia Wilkins on Autism Acceptance

Lydia (right) is pictured above with her mentor, biographer Lesley Ann Jones

Lydia Wilkins is a freelance journalist based in the UK. She has written for publications including The Independent, Readers Digest, The Metro, Refinery 29, and others. She also documents life with Aspergers Syndrome, over at her blog Mademoiselle Women. Here she regularly interviews people such as Anastacia, journalist Paul Conroy, and others, as well as discussing topics such as interoception. This week she discusses Autism acceptance and offers some advocacy tips for parents.

Autism Interview #119: James Sinclair on Autistic Identity and Autism Acceptance

James Sinclair is a marketer and autism advocacy blogger from the UK. He is the founder of the popular website Autistic & Unapologetic where he shares his exploration of what it means to be autistic and reframes the autism advocacy narrative to emphasize understanding and acceptance. He also tweets @AutismRevised and manages the Autistic & Unapologetic page on Facebook. This week he shared his personal experience developing an autistic identity, the wonderful supports provided by his family and fiancée, and stressed the importance of understanding the needs of the individual in any autism advocacy efforts.

Autism Interview #115: J.R. Reed on Late Diagnosis and Advocating for Adults on the Spectrum

J.R. Reed and Shannon Hughes, co-hosts of the podcast Not Weird, Just Autistic

J.R. Reed is a late-diagnosed autistic blogger and advocate. J.R. currently co-hosts the podcast Not Weird, Just Autistic with fellow advocate Shannon Hughes where their goal is to promote autism acceptance by removing the barriers – practical, ideological, legal, and social – that marginalize and isolate those with autism. This week he shared some of the different facets of his advocacy work.

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?