Autism Acceptance Month in Your School

I’m autistic and a parent of autistic kids. April is a tough month for us and other #ActuallyAutistic people. Stereotypes, myths, and inspiration porn are everywhere. Before Lighting It Up Blue, sharing puzzle pieces, or promoting Autism Speaks at your school, read up on the myths and misinformation autistic people must confront every April.

Navigating Autism Acceptance Month and Autism Myths

Follow that up with information about autism from autistic people themselves.

I’m Autistic. Here’s what I’d like you to know.

Identity First is the language of self-advocacy, neurodiversity, and the social model of disability. It is the language of almost every autistic and disabled person I know. Bring IFL into our schools.

We can’t design for inclusivity, for real life, without the social model for minds and bodies.

More on autism, neurodiversity, the social model of disability, and education:

Picking Floods, Picking Senses

From a good piece on autism myths and autistic culture:

Autistic people may not give eye contact.  They can either hear, or look, but not both. It is not a sign of guilt or unwillingness to engage.

Source: Ann’s Autism Blog: Safeguarding and Church – An Informal Guide

I touch on picking between senses in these pieces:

I sometimes close my eyes to better parse the speech coming at me. I swim in sensory overwhelm. I must pick a firehose. Eyes front preserves the illusion of compliance, so I’ll stop listening.

Source: CHAMPS and the Compliance Classroom – Ryan Boren

In conversation, I listen better when not managing the sensory flood that comes with eye contact. I often close my eyes to shut out the social and sensory distractions–the relentless barrage of cues and stimulus–and focus on the words being spoken.

Source: Eye Contact and Neurodiversity – Ryan Boren

Avoiding eye contact is not a sign of guilt or deception.

The global view about liars is that they look away from you (avert their gaze) when they are lying. This is a false belief, which can be backed up with 40 years of research. What you will often find is that liar’s will often consciously engage in greater eye contact, because it is commonly (but mistakenly) believed that direct eye contact is a sign of truthfulness.

For these reasons, no relationship exists between eye gaze and deception.

Source: Guide To Detecting Deceit and Evaluating Honesty

People who do look away or avert their gaze when answering a question or when asked a question are just…thinking.

Source: Ask an Autistic #21 – What About Eye Contact? – YouTube