If you have been researching autism, especially female autism, for any length of time you have no doubt come across Samantha Craft’s blog, Everyday Aspergers. Her soul bared, posts are both whimsical and down-to-earth real. Sam has everything from helpful lists (because, come on, you know we love lists) of female Aspie traits, to sensitive, thoughtful poetry, to personal anecdotes from her life experience. It is all engaging and enlightening and comforting and validating for those of us seeking to recognize ourselves, our differences, in someone else. To know we’re not alone.
Sam’s beautiful book is available now from Booklogix for those in the US and will be available July 1st on Amazon. It will also soon be available internationally through Amazon.
Through 150 telling journal entries, Samantha Craft presents a life of humorous faux pas, profound insights, and the everyday adventures of a female with Asperger’s Syndrome. A former schoolteacher and mother of three boys, Craft doesn’t experience ordinary everyday happenings like most. In her vivid world, nothing is simple and everything appears pertinent. Even an average trip to the grocery store is a feat and cause for reflection. From being a dyslexic cheerleader with dysgraphia going the wrong direction, to bathroom stalking, to figuring out if she can wear that panty-free dress, Craft explores the profoundness of daily living through hilarious anecdotes and heartwarming childhood memories. When she’s not laughing at the bizarreness of her days or reflecting back, then she’s sharing the serious and relevant challenges of everyday living on the autism spectrum. Ten years in the making, Craft’s revealing memoir brings Asperger’s Syndrome into a spectrum of brilliant light—exposing the day-to-day interactions and complex inner workings of an autistic female from childhood to midlife.
The following post is a very articulate and thoughtful breakdown of Sesame Street’s new Autistic character and their website pages of “resources”. I have watched the videos and agree with Erin. The ableist language makes my stomach churn. (Autistic people are not magical. We’re just people.) And the person first language hits me every time it’s used.
Are there good things? Some. It’s nice they’re making an effort to educate children/people about autism. As an autistic adult I still clearly remember difficult aspects of my childhood and the struggles I had. Many of those struggles are still present in my life. I liked the parts where autistic traits were presented as just that – traits. Parts of personality. Things a person likes or doesn’t. Things to be accepted as normal and a part of that person. These might be different than neurotypical people, but they shouldn’t be considered wrong. Something to be corrected or fixed.
But the “parent support” videos are sickening and the lack of actually autistic voices troubling. These might as well have been videos about people’s pets – how to care and train and interact with them. And there are still too many things definitely WRONG. Like making your child make eye contact. Forcing your child to endure socially expected activities like birthday parties.
Why is it SO important for a child to blow out a candle? I can tell you why she never wanted to do it. Because it’s not important and has no meaning for her. Why make such a big deal about it? Will it alter her life if she doesn’t blow out candles on her birthday? Does she really have to endure parties if it makes her so uncomfortable? Is your desire for cultural “normality” more important than her physical and psychological well-being? Arg. I detested birthday parties (ANY parties). They were noisy and confusing and ultimately overwhelming. They still are. My parents invited neighborhood kids when I was four and I sat on the other side of the room watching them. She never did it again unless I asked for it. Instead of forcing that on me every year, we celebrated quietly doing something I wanted to do. They didn’t know I was autistic, but they were at least more sensitive to my needs and limits than whatever societal norms were. I’m SO thankful for that.
Anyway, Erin’s post is a much more articulate analysis of the Sesame Street “resources” than I could do.