Autism 101: Nothing About Us Without Us

This orientation-type class is designed for anyone wanting to learn about autism, from the perspective of the autistic community. Autism is a neurological difference, not a tragedy or disease. Some of society's most influential scientists, philosophers, and authors are or were autistic (i.e. Albert Einstein). Autistic people have much to contribute to our world, but their voices often go unheard. This means many perceptions held by non-autistic people about autism are inaccurate (and even harmful at times). Views held by professionals and society about autism often do not align with the real experiences, concerns, and needs of autistic people. Even with the best of intentions, the only way to truly support autistic children is to learn from autistic adults. This class will address many topics related to autism and you will receive resources to help you better understand autistic children (and adults). The only requirement for this class is that you remain open-minded and willing to learn from autistic people.

The goal of this class is to help you move past awareness, and instead to understanding, acceptance, and appreciation of autism. By doing so, we can help our children grow up in a world where autism is viewed as a strength and positive human trait, while teaching them healthy coping strategies for the challenges they face.

Topics Will Include:

  • What Autism Is & Isn't

  • Neurodiversity

  • Medical vs. Social Models of Disability (and why they matter)

  • Autistic Culture

  • Autistic Girls & Masking

  • Emotional Regulation & Behavior in Relation to the Nervous System

  • Meltdowns

  • Stimming (and why it's necessary)

  • Echolalia

  • Social Skills

  • Eye Contact (and why it shouldn't be forced)

  • Special Interests 

  • Sensory Processing

  • Executive Functioning

  • Seclusion & Restraint (and its traumatic effects)

  • Behavior Support using Neuroscience, Compassion, and Collaboration

  • Alternative Communication Methods

  • When to Seek Therapy

  • Appropriate Therapy Options

  • What to Look for in a Good Therapist

  • Harmful Therapies (ABA & why autistic people oppose it)

  • Take-Home Resource Packet

 

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