Category Archives: general

“Presume competence”… but not for autism specialists, professionals, teachers


Autism and Halloween


Look. It’s simple: I like the spooky, the party and the candy. Nemo doesn’t.
Halloween is taking off big time in Australia, and while I am getting a little dizzy in the shops with all.that.stuff on offer, I am really fine with people having a good time, dressing up and being scary.
I have grown up with a similar tradition in Europe, we had a lot of fun as kids, too.
Yes, we tried. Twice. It wasn’t traumatic, but it was just not for him. And while he loved it as a toddler, now Nemo just doesn’t like the idea of ‘dressing up as someone else’ anymore. And he is not a big fan of zombies (and are zombies not everywhere nowadays? seriously..)
So yes, we will be the dark house on the street.
And I am fine with that, too. That’s all. Just keep that in mind. Some people won’t be doing Halloween and won’t be stocking tons of candy for your kids either, for all kinds of reasons.
And it shouldn’t be a big deal.

The Broccoli Autism Cure!


Here is a link to a more serious comment on the study at Forbes.
To be completely clear, a HEALTHY DIET has certainly positive effects on ANYBODY and broccoli is definitively is part of that. So eat your veggies!
And for full disclosure, thankfully, Nemo is not on the extreme end of the spectrum when it comes to restrictive eating, just VERY picky, so we are doing ok. He will eat the occasional ‘little tree’ (that’s what we called broccoli when he was younger).

#IamNOTKelliStapleton – Autism in the media – Reporting on crimes against autistic children.


I haven’t been posting for a while but this is something I really need to get out. The media have a great responsibility in the way, parenting of autistic children is perceived in the broad public. These horrible cases we see on the news have a narrative that is ALL WRONG.
#WalkInIssysshoes or imagine any autistic child – or adult – reading the reports that give “reasons” and find excuses for attempted or perpetrated murders. That has to stop.
(DrPhil – shame on you!)

Edit : Newsweek (US) ran an irresponsible headline over a terrible “longread’ written in a vane, editorial style full of misinformation and misinterpretation of autism and autistics just 2 days after I posted this. Here is a link to a post reviewing it by Emily Willingham , sciencentist blogger and mum to an autistic boy.

World Autism Awareness Day!!

Technically, it is already the 3rd April here in Australia, but here is my contribution to the blue light discussion. I thought the message by the UN goes in the right direction.
Shining blue lights on public monuments or buildings can be a very costly ‘event’ and if not accompanied by actual actions that benefit the autistic population (and not in the form of more funds for the ‘research for a cure’ but actual concrete help and support), it is a vain and empty feel-good operation that really changes nothing.
All on the awareness bus already. Moving on!

April. Autism Advocacy, Acceptance and all.. you aware of this?

So it’s April and I almost didn’t post with my own pc now a warranty case, but it’s a BUZZ out there, April is ON in the autism “community” and I had a couple of strips prepared. So here.
It’s April and ‘awareness’ is in the air… you ‘aware’ yet, everybody ? AUTISM is HERE!!
Oh, you already knew?
Look, I get it. Calling for awareness is good to draw attention to something, even sometimes, it helps raise funds, but for many adult autistics it has become the red cloth Autism Speaks is wiggling in front of them (although, really, the date of the 2nd April for World Autism Awareness goes back to the UN – 1989! and no blue lights either..) and every do-gooder and click-activist who makes themselves feel better by sharing a post here or there, or dutifully awing and owing at beautifully blue lit monuments. So ‘aware’, one day of the year.
Well, dear ‘awareness people’ it’s been 25 years. I think we could really move on to ACCEPTANCE… And yes, that’s so big we need the WHOLE MONTH OF APRIL.

Repeat after me: We are ALL different.


As I said before, I do not believe in this one “autism community”. It’s ok for me, though, there are different groups. What is not ok is that debates escalate online in flaming wars and attacks get way too personal for me to want to be involved in any discussions or ask even questions to understand what is actually going on?! I understand partly how anger and trauma can make people get more than just ‘passionate’ over whatever is discussed, but there should be no “enemies” in this debate – no one ‘in the trenches’. We are not fighting a war, are we!? We are living life with autism, all of us, in all our differences. Different lives.

Link to one parent blog from New Zealand on the subject (a blog I really recommend), another opinion from another parent here (US, a bigger blog, I believe). Also here an Update of the comment policies on “The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism” following some escalated comment threads on their facebook page.
I am really happy to know that I have autistic adults reading and liking my comics and words here and I am glad to say I read some excellent, down to earth and thoughtful Australian (ASD) parenting blogs too, on a regular basis (blogroll soon) So Peace, people, FFS! It’s kinda important. Happy New Year, also.

A little postcard from Australia!


Hello Everyone!
A bit paralysed by a heatwave that is hitting Queensland right now (the ‘White Christmases’ of my childhood really quite a distant dream…) I wish everybody a good holiday season. Whatever you celebrate, and how, and with who and most importantly where – all our best wishes for you and those that you love!
We will leave the ‘reflections on the year that was’ and ‘good resolutions for 2014’ to the news channels and social media outlets I think, but I do want to let you know that I feel really HONOURED that so many people are following my blog (80+ via wordpress! yee-haa!) , have commented (you know who you are !) and have shared posts (yesss!!) ! It’s a great encouragement and makes doing the comics even more fun!
Like almost everything in my life, this blog had a bit of a rocky start (bitstrips suddenly exploding via their apps and my computer being somewhat ‘unwell’ lately) but your reactions make me think that I am onto something and I really feel like I have made a few new friends!
So thank you for that, and keep in touch ! =)

The puzzle piece – symbol for Autism ?


I have really changed my mind about the puzzle piece since I first saw it in the context of Autism.  I have read a few posts by autistic adults that clearly reject the symbolism. Read Autisticook’s post HERE, or other voices  here, or here, for example.
But even without any association with the ‘big blue puzzle’ organisation, so many parents are embracing the symbol : It is present on most autism websites or blogs You can buy themed autism jewellery everywhere. And have you seen how many parents are getting puzzle piece tattoos with names of their autistic kids ? (i think this one is unrelated though….)
It may be too late to throw it overboard for this generation, but if opinions of the autistic bloggers are anything to go by, our children may grow up resenting that we allowed to stick a symbol on them that reflects our NT view of deficiency, of mystery and problem to solve with regards to autism. The fact that others rather see diversity, uniqueness and the rainbow colours of the autism spectrum just makes it more obvious how ambiguous and puzzling (!) the graphic actually is.
So, I don’t know… Are there other graphics around that are more straightforward and positive ? Should we create one ? Or does it even matter? Do other conditions have a universal symbol like this, that goes beyond the colour of a ribbon or the graphic of one organisation? I would love to hear what you think!



Oh, I know! Routines are good and reassuring. And I admit:  I am myself not always keen on surprises, schedule changes or new procedures…but things can also change for the better, right? And teaching ‘readiness for change’ is one of my big priorities with Nemo. Sometimes, the things that upset him seem so absurd? I mean he will still get his food in the ole’brown paper bag… All the internet orders do, is take the hassle out of the payment. And what’s with the weird luddite attitude from a boy who essentially wants to spend the whole day in front of some sort of screen?! So yeah, sometimes, he sounds like a grumpy old man.. or two.