No Labels on My Clothes, No Labels on Me: Why Functioning Labels Need to Be Cut Off and Tossed

Autistic folk spend an inordinate amount of time discussing the torture of labels on our clothes. In a discussion about sensory issues, right after we discuss how much we loathe the grocery store, the hatred of tags on our clothes comes up. It’s amazing how something so small, can invisibly...

Call Me Autistic: A Soft Correction for Those Still Using Person-First Language

I want to tell you about the woman I am named after, my Great Aunt Betty. I never met Betty, but I got to hear about her whenever I asked where my name came from. Betty was apparently a sassy lady who, like me, despised her full name and went by her nickname, Betty. The “big” family secret...

How We’ve Always Done It

I remember the day exactly. It was an unspectacular Sunday and I was headed to the last job I would ever take working for somebody else. It was a low-paying, hourly, management position for an animal nonprofit and just about the only benefit of the job was that I was in charge of making the...

Different is My Identifier

I was eight years old the first time I remember being aware of my difference. It didn’t have a name yet, that was still decades away, but nonetheless, suddenly at the ripe old age of eight, I was cognizant of that I was indeed different. For the seven years of life prior to that, I happily lived...

Be Mindful, Be Present, Be You: How to Handle Crisis Anxiety

With the world around us a chaotic mess, it is getting harder and harder to avoid becoming a giant, swirling, ball of anxiety. The current pandemic has disrupted our lives and the world as we know it is on hold for the foreseeable future. It has interrupted routines, forced schools to close, and...

Autism Saved My Life

For 36 of my 40 years, I was disabled. I was cut off from the world but for the tiny bubble that was my bedroom. Barely able to care for myself, angry, scared and lonely, I felt hopeless and broken. Suicidal thoughts were a daily reminder of my inadequacies and failures. I was certain there had...

On Being a “Unicorn”

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”  -Benjamin Franklin   Usually writing comes easily to me. It’s one of the unexplainable gifts that comes with my autistic brain. I fully expected that I would sit down in front of the screen, access my...