What This Autistic Teacher Wants Professionals to Know

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What This Autistic Teacher would like Professionals to Know . . .

ONE: Many of us on the autism spectrum embrace the word “autistic” and prefer the use of autistic over phrases such as “with autism” or “with Aspergers.” Autistic isn’t a bad word. How one refers to oneself is a personal preference.

TWO: Autism Spectrum Disorder is the correct terminology for an autism diagnosis. “Disorder” serves its purpose in diagnosing and receiving services. But some on the autism spectrum would prefer “condition” over “disorder.” Autism is a neurological condition. “Disorder” implies that something is out-of-order. Condition is more so a state of being. Some autistic people embrace the word disabled, others do not. It’s a personal choice. Some are disabled and some are not.

THREE: NT means neurotypical and is a common word used in neurodiverse circles. NT means someone who is not autistic. The use of NT in some ways creates lines and separations between autistic individuals and mainstream folks. A growing trend is found in using the word non-autistic instead of NT. We are all neurodiverse. Some of us our neurodivergent.

FOUR: Disability inclusion in the workplace is a beneficial practice for everyone involved. Disability inclusion is most beneficial when the process includes input from disabled individuals and not just non-disabled people; this seems commonsense, but is something that is overlooked. Input from the minority about policy, accommodations, and implementation of accommodations is not only important, it’s vital. Have a diversity roundtable? Then please ensure the diverse minority is represented.

FIVE: The best source for autism is an autistic person. Professionals on the spectrum, LGBTQ+ autistics, autistic parents raising autistic children, and/or autistics married to autistic spouses have a lot of information to offer out about autism. In addition, books, videos, and blogs created by autistic authors and writers are a valuable source.

SIX: Common search terms on social networks can lead to the autism community. There are 1000s of autism groups on Facebook and many autistics connect on Twitter. You can use hashtags to find us. #ActuallyAutistic #AutisticElders

SEVEN: We don’t lack empathy. That’s a huge myth. Most of us are overly empathetic, e.g., double-empathy theory. There are specific reasons we might appear to lack empathy. Some of us take time to process our emotions, especially if the emotion is extreme, such as elation or sorrow. Also, there are times we show empathy in ways that aren’t expected or in ways viewed as atypical. But we do have strong feelings, especially about suffering, manipulation, bullying, discrimination and dishonesty. And generally speaking, we have huge compassion for the underdog, animals, and nature.

EIGHT: We do make eye contact. Not always, and not all of us, but we can. A lot of individuals who seek out a diagnosis of ASD are told they can’t be autistic because they make eye contact. That’s wrong. We also can dress well, look professional, and blend in. We don’t all fit one stereotype. We all have quirks, and many embrace our quirks. We have learned that in order to blend in, and not be shamed, it’s sometimes best to hide a part of ourselves. In addition, individuals on the autism spectrum are commonly very effective at putting on a façade (masking). Not necessarily on purpose, or even at a conscious level, but in order to socially survive.

NINE: Not all of us are good with technology and not all of us would consider ourselves “geeks.” We are all different, just as much as people who aren’t autistic. Our interests and vocational choices vary greatly. There are some commonalities in career choices, but they aren’t across the board. Many on the spectrum are drawn to service-oriented careers, such as teaching, psychology, counseling, writing, nursing, and animal care. Our vocational passions and list is practically endless. Unfortunately, a large percentage of adult autistics in many countries are either unemployed or underemployed. Typically, because they can’t find a place to fit in.

TEN: For the most part, autistic individuals are comfortable around other autistic individuals. We know what it feels like to be ostracized and misinterpreted. We are generally very accepting of differences and open-minded. We are sometimes over-apologetic, explaining ourselves at length, as that’s what we are used to doing. But in autistic groups we can be ourselves. And, after a lifetime of not fitting in and not being understood, that is very freeing. Empirical evidence demonstrates many of us have no social deficits when amongst other autistic people.

Samantha Craft Autism Traits Checklist

Retired blog 2012 – 2015

Neurodiversity Defined

Bio:  Marcelle Ciampi, M.Ed. (aka Samantha Craft)

Marcelle Ciampi (aka Samatha Craft) is a respected autistic author and community advocate, is best known for her writings found in the well-received book Everyday Aspergers. A professional educator, she has been featured in various literature, including peer-reviewed journals, Autism Parenting Magazine, The Mighty, Project Aspie, Art of Autism, and Different Brains. Marcelle works as the Recruitment Manager and Outreach Specialist at Ultranauts Inc., an engineering firm with a neurodiversity-hiring initiative, and is a consultant for Uptimize and Spectrum Fusion. A contributing author of Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism, Marcelle speaks globally on the topic of neurodiversity. She also serves as the founder of Spectrum Suite LLC, the co-founder of the Spectrum Lights Inclusion Summit, co-executive of LifeGuides for Autistics (neuroguides.org), and a contributor and advisor to autism organizations and conferences internationally. Some of her works, especially The Ten Traits, have been translated into multiple languages and been shared in counseling offices around the world. She resides in the Pacific Northwest U.S.A. with her sons and life partner.

“Everyday Aspergers is an unusual and powerful exploration of one woman’s marvelously lived life. Reminiscent of the best of Anne Lamott, Everyday Aspergers jumps back and forth in time through a series of interlocking vignettes that give insight and context to her lived experience as an autistic woman. The humor and light touch is disarming, because underneath light observations and quirky moments are buried deep truths about the human experience and about her own work as an autistic woman discerning how to live her best life. From learning how to make eye contact to finding ways to communicate her needs to being a dyslexic cheerleader and a fraught mother of also-autistic son, Samantha Craft gives us a marvelous spectrum of experiences. Highly recommended for everyone to read — especially those who love people who are just a little different.”

~ Ned Hayes, bestselling author of The Eagle Tree

29 thoughts on “What This Autistic Teacher Wants Professionals to Know

  1. Also, for NTs, some people refer to them as “Allistics”. I believe it started out as a joke/satire, but it caught on. I kind of like it, myself, even if it is logically impossible. Non-autistic folks are not All folks.

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  2. Crikey – where do I start – nice to meet you whoever you are as I haven’t picked up from my quick scan of this blog or any it links to who you are – maybe you want it that way – or like me you are naturally ambiguous – no offence intended – ambiguous is great – ambiguous lets you look back in hindsight and see how changed the world single-handedly and know it was you and that nobody else knows it was you – I hate publicity – because somebody will want to drag you down – I had a whole school want to drag me down and kill me when I was 7 – being hated that bad is dreadful – it made me want to kill myself – so I did – it didn’t last – I got sent back – I had more attempts – and still got sent back – somebody somewhere was trying to tell me something – if you want to die – don’t do it on our time – do it on yours – my last attempt was at age 55 – and the message was the same –

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    1. I am sorry to hear you have been through suicide attempts. I hope you find support and know that others struggle with their autism. I am a multiple suicide-attempt survivor. Practicing Christianity has helped me. I no longer feel alone or that all is random and chaotic. I am sure the blog author can give you some online support ideas as she has a Facebook support group. God bless you 🙂

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      1. Kind of you to show solidarity – the stigma against admitting suicide attempts is as strong as the stigma against admitting mental illness – but I was fortunate to be born into a bloodline extending at least 900 years comprised of suicide ideators / attempters that formed a secret society to counter it by suicide avoidance and prevention – so I had it drummed into me and was thus conditioned into coming back to life as soon as my higher self (god, christ, whoever) felt it was safe for me to do so – at age 50 I became the chief instructor of the pedagogy for the society and have been doing that ever since (I’m 71 now) – the business of the society came off the secrets list in 2014 so now I teach it world wide by email autoresponder http://bit.ly/1p7Tcl2 completely pro bono because I didn’t pay anyone to teach me it

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      1. I’m glad I had it fellow Kindler – for it made me who and what I am – and I’ve written about it and have an amazon trilogy and compendium of bestsellers through it – and a slot on The Huffington Post as a result of the bestsellers – and a US university has just signed me up to keep its autie / aspie students from suicide – so its good

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  3. You hit it out of the ballpark again Sam:)
    I will be bookmarking this:)
    Also I sent you an email with my personal email addy on your other site:) Looking forward to hearing from you when you have the time:)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful! If I had to add an 11th myth, it would be to address the myth that we’re inherently more violent than most people or the old but sadly not completely dead myth that we don’t want connections with others.

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    1. The one myth I’d like to crush is that we auties and aspies dont care – about ourselves or about others. So my mission for the next 14 years (I’ll be 85 by then) is to stop auties and aspies from feeling sorry for themselves and start feeling sorry for others. Else we wont ever save the planet and all the people on it.

      My goals are those of the UN – 1. No poverty; 2. Zero hunger; 3. Good health and wellbeing; 4. Quality education; 5. Gender equality; 6. Clean water and sanitation; 7. Affordable and clean energy; 8. Decent work and economic growth; 9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure; 10. Reduced inequalities; 11. Sustainable cities / communities; 2. Responsible consumption and production; 13. Climate action; 14. Good life under water; 15. Good life on land; 16. Peace, justice and strong institutions; and 17. Partnerships for the goals.

      If we auties and aspies can strive to ensure that all auties and aspies all around the world get these by 2030 it isn’t possible to discriminate as we will be reducing inequalities so everyone will get them – and we and they will be one for all and all for one. Woo Hoo! We can do this! And we will do this!

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