Inclusive autistic traits



Autism is big and messy and confusing, and no-one really understands it. It’s difficult to make a good summary and description of autistic traits, because generally no-one can agree on what autism actually is. But even taking that into account, I’ve never read a satisfactory article or leaflet summarising and describing autistic traits.  Every description I’ve ever read suffered from at least one of these problems:

  • Wrongly weighted. So many descriptions of autism written by neurotypical people focus completely on social traits. Often autism is described as an entirely social thing, and any other differences are considered incidental if they’re mentioned at all.
  • Vague. The “triad of impairments” is the worst offender here. It divides social traits arbitrarily into “interaction”, “communication”, and “imagination”, but there is absolutely no clear distinction between those categories. They’re meaningless and useless divisions that don’t remotely simplify the description, and so they serve no useful purpose…

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Ten Good Things about #Aspergers and Me and Ten Niggly Things

I loved the programme and was determined to watch with open head and heart, but these points do seem to be true… Annie ☺

Zanne Bell

Review of this BBC documentary about the wildlife presenter Chris Packham:

The Good Stuff

  1. Chris Packham used his great TV presenting chops to make this an autism-led show. He was engaging, thoughtful, articulate and funny. He showed those who doubt, that autistic people can be these things and was allowed to take centre stage as an authority on his own experience and not a victim.
  2. He highlighted the sensory issues of autism when he described the “Hyper-reality” of seeing trees, and pointed out how distracting the school and office environments he visited were.
  3. He provided a rare, mainstream criticism of ABA and put up a good case for it being counter-productive and cruel.
  4. But he sensitively acknowledged how some parents of autistic children are desperate for a cure and can be exploited.
  5. The show was beautifully shot and put together, and the reconstructions of his past were done really well…

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A ‘gentle manifesto’ – Autistic advocacy and representation

Yes! how does our Labour Party Autism Neurodiversity Manifesto fit for this purpose?
Annie 😊


Until very recently, the prevailing view in society has been that autistic people are incapable of doing much at all and needed even the most basic decisions made on our behalf. Ideas of Autistic Pride and Neurodiversity would have seemed almost universally preposterous until quite recently.  Virtually all the discourse and thinking on autistic people was told by neurotypical  people. This is the background which still informs a lot of people’s thinking in our current world.

Along with countless autistic friends and colleagues and neurotypical allies, I stand against that view. I see that autism is more a difference than a a series of inherent deficits Many of the challenges we face are not intrinsically related to our autism but to our experiences intersecting with and trying to navigate what is often a very hostile world. We hear the stories of bullying, violence and victimisation and horribly they continue.


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So What IS That?


So What is that – Dyspraxia.

It’s not‘dyslexia spelled wrong’ and it’s not ‘just another label. It’s dyspraxia and it affects between 5 and 10% of the UK’s population, with exact numbers varying. Diagnosis in itself can be a battle: girls and women are less often diagnosed, and diagnosis happens most often either in childhood, or later on at university.

Many blogs have written their own lists of symptoms; and that’s important. Personally; I think this sums up as succinctly as possible what they often are. This is the most extensive description of symptoms I can find:


But even this isn’t all. Plenty of people can have fewer symptoms more severely, or almost all of them at a lower level. Some people might even doubt they’re dyspraxic at all; with symptoms commonly becoming worse on different days and in different situations. With this in mind I’m going…

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Lets talk about Meltdowns and Shutdowns for a minute…

I’m still a #Shutdowner 🙃

Kids on Tour

Many children with an autism spectrum disorder or with sensory processing disorders can experience sensory overload, which in turn can lead to meltdowns and shut downs. I’m going to try and explain how this works by putting you in the shoes of one of these children on a normal school day.

Imagine you are sat in a classroom. Your ears are over sensitive so the sounds you hear are extra loud and noticeable, some even hurt. You can hear the buzz of the artificial lights. You can hear the noise of children talking, giggling, breathing, sneezing. You can hear the scrape of each pencil as it moves across the paper and the dripping tap behind you.

Now imagine you have sensitive eyes. The bright artificial lights are hurting your head and you are seeing too many things. There are colours everywhere, work all over the walls, people everywhere you look.

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An employment epiphany – or how I’ve had autism and employment all wrong


The other day something happened to me which I doubt many other people ever experience. I had an epiphany about employment and was very happy about it. Employment is one of the things I am asked to speak about quite a lot. In 2014 I wrote an activity-based book to help autistic teens and young adults build their confidence and knowledge around employment to help them find work when the right time comes. Supporting other autistic people to find suitable employment and build their skills around managing at work is a great motivator for my work in the autism community. I love talking about employment and have spoken to thousands of people about autism and work over the past few years. I pride myself on being quite good at talking about employment and autism. That is until the other day when I identified a significant gap in my approach.


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A Neurodivergent View of Netflix’s ‘Atypical’

I haven’t watched this… but this review strongly suggests that I will be unlikely to go out of my way to do so. Any other reviews, please?


I did it! On a long car ride across Texas, David at the wheel, I managed to sit through the entire first, 38-minute episode, of Atypical, titled Antartica.

Let me start by saying that Atypical is a show about autism. It is not made to be a show for autistic people, despite autism being the main theme of the TV show.

Netflix’s new show Atypical has been creating quite a stir in the online autism community. The story is supposed to be told from an autistic person’s perspective, but many people are upset with the show’s apparent lack of neurodiverse representation both on and off screen.

Autistic advocates were most frustrated over the autistic main character, Sam. Many expressed wishes for autistic characters to be portrayed by autistic actors. As expected, Sam’s character is basically just a DSM checklist of every possible autistic stereotype imaginable.

In the first episode, I am already…

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Disability 101: Medical Model vs Social Model

Erin Human

Disability 101
Medical Model vs Social Model

[image of a question mark]
what is a “model” of disability?
In this case, “model” means a certain way of thinking about disability.
what is the Social Model of Disability?
To understand this concept, it’s useful to compare it to the “medical model” of disability.

[table with Medical Model bullet points at left, vs Social Model bullet points at right]

Medical Model:
The person is disabled by the abnormalities and deficits of their own body and/or brain.
Social Model:
The person is disabled by their environment and its physical, attitudinal, communication, and social barriers.

Medical Model:
Disabled people are broken, abnormal, or damaged versions of human being and should be fixed, cured, and/or prevented.
Social Model:
Disabled people are normal, valid varieties of human being and should have equal rights and access to society, just as they are.

Medical Model:
Since the disabled…

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The difficulties that get overlooked when your autistic child is verbal


I am blessed with a daughter who has a large vocabulary and clear dictation. She can read fluently and make up complex sentences. She can remember accurate facts about things and repeat these readily. She can make choices, recall events and express her opinion.

As a result of all of the above it is assumed (wrongly) that her autism is mild, has limited impact on her life and something to be of little concern about.

People are too quick to assume if a child is verbal that everything is fine. 

Let me assure you that just because an autistic child can speak it does not mean their autism is mild.

Having speech does not mean a child necessarily understands what you are talking about.

Having speech does not mean there are no learning difficulties.

Being able to talk does not mean a child can effectively communicate.

Most of my autistic…

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Multimodality and fairness in #acwri

Academic Emergence

Could a multimodal approach to academic writing be a harbinger of fairness in recognition of a diverse 21st century literacy landscape?

Some key quotes and reflections from recent #acwri readings

This post is linked to others on multimodality here and here. It helps me keep track of readings, but it may be of interest to both teachers and learners of academic writing including Research Writing, EAP (English for Academic Purposes), Academic Literacies, and Writing Studies. All bolds are mine (they refer to key words in my research).

Multimodality refers to a field of application rather than a theory (Bezemer and Jewitt, 2010, p. 180 cited in Archer and Breuer, 2016, p. 1).

Most research on academic discourse has been based on the analysis of written text and as a result, most classes on the teaching of academic writing have concentrated on language (p.1)

What is seen as ‘academic’ writing…

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