This is a column I think you will find informative—GregAll,My “Autism Without Fear” column has found a new home. It will reside now (and likely increase frequency) with the wonderfully inventive “Sinkhole.” They were at the top of my list of 8 appropriate venues for the column, so I’m thrilled. Thanks to the Huffington Post for four great years.There will be one more AWF column that will appear in Exceptional Parent Magazine within the next month (a large one on travel) and two reprints of past AWFs, including the recent, large piece on Peer Support in Schools; but thereafter Sinkhole is home. I’ve signed the lease and can’t wait to decorate. They’re creative, (dare I say it) hip, and they’re supportive of that so-elusive blend of critical thinking and “uncontrarian” guts. Please enjoy checking them out.Lotsa great articles since my last message to y’all have accumulated. My apologies (blame contract-hunting season).• Big ups to the Toronto Star after yet another horrific shooting—this one on their turf. They immediately put out “Autism Not Associated with Violence…” Thank you, gang.• So cool…we had LOTS of great international coverage on autism since my last missive…—From Tanzania, an intro (give them time to learn more humanist lingo)—From Malta, gorgeous paintings by an LCSW inspired by her spectrum clients—From China, a Shanghai café helps spectrum teens integrate• (“Why God, Why?”) From the NYTimes, No, Your Dog Can’t Get Autism From Vaccines• AND…Happy Belated Mother’s Day from new friends in Malaysia. We’re all gearing up for their first major conference in Kuala Lumpur, which I’ll be proudly keynoting.• And on that shamelessly self-promotional note I’ll also now be the plenary lots of talks with Australia’s Autism West at their conference this coming November. If in Perth at that time, come watch me fall off a surfboard!• The Darius McCollum saga is coming to a close, and the ending could be a relief, or it could be the most horrific ending imagineable for a gregarious, smart, kind man. Why NY prosecutors are this vengeful about a non-violent offender is beyond almost all of us. Fingers crossed.• Define “tragic understatement”…Girls with Autism at High Risk for Sexual Abuse, Study Says.• I met Prue Stevenson when I spoke in Sydney, Australia, last September, and she shared this project with me. Prue is true 🙂 She is re-opening the discussion about stimming, and her film “Stim Your Heart Out” should broaden the conversation ever outward.• With thanks to Barry Prizant, New Wearable Detects Meltdowns (I know, I know…) Before They Happen.• We are now at 1 in 59!!! Go cry, mourn, celebrate, denounce…whatev. And then wait for the results after real studies of race, long-term institutionalizations, or long-term incarcerations.• Best for last…It’s not autism-specific, it’s broader disabilities; but it’s beautiful. From Modern Love, Love Means Never Having to Say…Anything.Yours, y’all.mjcMichael John CarleyAuthor, School Consultant, Founder of GRASPTwitter: @mjcarley
On Thursday, November 2, 2017, Congress reintroduced Kevin and Avonte’s Law (S.2070/H.R. 4221), proposed legislation that would help safeguard children with autism or other developmental disabilities who may wander away from caregivers. The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a markup of Kevin and Avonte’s Law (S.2070) on Thursday, November 16 at 10:00am ET.
As both an advocate for those on the autism spectrum as well as for criminal justice reform, I’ve seen competing interests get in the way. I believe advocates from both groups want the same thing but political correctness and optics sometimes hinder broader goals from being accomplished.
Let’s start with where both sides agree: Neurodiversity advocates and criminal justice reformers both believe autistic people deserve fairness in their interactions with law enforcement. No one from either group would argue that the police are receiving the necessary de-escalation training they need. Steve Silberman’s recent New York Times Op-Ed https
://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/19/opinion/police-autism-understanding.html?_r= 0 eloquently describes the problem as it exists today. As Silberman suggests, a double rainbow of sorts exists for individuals of color and those on the autism spectrum. Behavior that is not easily understood by untrained law enforcement combined with institutionalized prejudices associated with race can be a lethal combination for minority individuals with disabilities.