Frenpockets and parallel talk: how autistic people make friends

Recently, there has been interesting discussion about autistic socializing and friendships in online autistic community. Myths about autistic people being hermits by nature or difficult and trying people nobody in their right mind would want to be friends with are both old and persistent. Empathy gap between neurotypes (Milton 2012), on the other hand, is […]

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Guest post: Aida A’s speech at Finnish parliaments’ neurodivergence network’s kickoff event

Aida A. is a young but already accomplished Finnish autism activist. Recently she represented autists at kickoff of Finland’s parliament’s neurodivergence network. Kaiao got the permission to translate and share her speech, which describes some current troubles of autistic people, especially children and young people. Launching of the neurodivergence network is a strong signal of […]

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My feedback regarding GEMMA Autism research project

I have sent the following letter to researchers of University of Tampere, in response to this article posted on Neurocenter’s website. Feedback, referring to your recent article @Neurocenter’s website Dear Reija and Matti, I’m writing to comment your recent article concerning of your participation to GEMMA research on Neurocenter’s website from ethical point of view, […]

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On autism shame, uniqueness of neurotypicality and geography of Takiwatanga

Well-meaning neurotypical people tell autists surprisingly often, that autism is nothing to be ashamed of.  They look very kind, but I always wonder, who exactly are they talking to? I don’t think it’s autistic people. I think so, because per definition, autists have challenges in social interaction and in various tasks related to perceiving social […]

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People Who Understand Autism Best Are Autistic

One can perceive an interesting pattern in both international and local autism discussion: autistic people are sidelined, and often absent from it. Instead, neurotypical people are portrayed as ”autism experts”, and neurotypical people also represent autistic people in matters that concern us. There are many reasons for this…and all of them are bad. Most obvious […]

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Demonizing Autism, Dehumanizing Autists

A common and very harmful prejudice against autistic people is, that we are really unpleasant, rude and annoying people. Many people believe that we are difficult to like and almost impossible to love. Knowing this places autists between a rock and a hard place when pondering, whether to disclose autism and face all the prejudice […]

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Three questions to help discern reliable information on autism

Today, autism information is fairly abundant. However, quality of that information is a huge issue. There is a lot of information that tells more about prejudices and subjective interpretations of its producers than about reality of autism. Some of that information is used to give credibility to actions that cause autistic people suffering or are […]

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On Hiding and Seeking Autism Traits

The concept of ”hiding autism traits” is quite commonly used especially when discussing autism on women. I can only hope this will change one day, since this notion is a poor description for the phenomenon it attempts to describe. First issue is, that talking about ”hiding” refers to intentionality. However, autistic masking is not nearly […]

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Listen to what I say, not what I do

My relationship with my local healthcare provider has improved greatly since the arrival of online booking system. Making appointments online instead of calling is nice, but most important improvement is, that now the doctor can see first my written description of my symptoms instead of learning about my problem via interviewing. I used to tell […]

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Structural ableism present in autism support organizations

Like everyone working with autists certainly already knows, ableism is a form of discrimination in which people are discriminated against and regarded as inferior based on disability (or, in case of autism, deviation from neurotypical norm). However, not many people working with autists are aware of the fact that ableist attitudes against autists are almost […]

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Autism: spectrum, but not linear

One of the greatest misunderstandings regarding autism is understanding autism spectrum as a line where people can be placed according to their ability to function. At one end are ”quirky people” and at the other end deeply autistic people with developmental disabilities. Linear model of autism spectrum is harmful to everyone and causes suffering. It […]

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Beautiful music of chaos

In last weeks’ blog post I mentioned in passing that sensory sensitivities -including that awful version that sends me to bed for days to recover- usually are not all bad. Food sensitivity is just the exception that affirms the general rule. This week, I’ll discuss these happier times. A few years back I visited Iceland. […]

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When food disappeared from the world

Back when I started to learn about autism and sensory sensitivities, I learned that one possible sensitivity people can have is food sensitivity. Since I am one of those people whose major sensory sensitivities are seasonal or attack-like, I tucked this information into the corner of my mind. From what I had read, I gathered […]

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Sensory Friendliness: Way More than Minimalism

One misconception that often comes up when discussing sensory friendliness is, that the term means some sort of minimalism or decluttering, and that we can call a certain place sensory friendly when it has been made as quiet, colorless, scentless, and drab as possible. This idea is probably distant cousin to the idea of minimalism […]

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”Autism” is not a swear word

After going public with my autism I have noticed, that sometimes people find dealing with such openness really difficult. Openly using the word ”autism”, I mean. People I have encountered have attempted to substitute it with words such as ”flaw”, ”handicap”, ”illness” and ”restriction” -all of which, for starters, are far from being decent substitutes […]

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On path of sensations

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river, and he’s not the same man. The only thing that is constant is change. Heraclitus My current jog has stayed the same for about fifteen years. According to neurotypical people in my life, this is somehow odd. Sometimes they hint, […]

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On Autism Pride

Greetings, international readers, and welcome to English version of Kaiao’s blog. Blog posts here are translations from Kaiao’s Finnish blog. In future, my plan is to update both blog versions at the same time, but since the Finnish blog has been going on for a while, I will first bring you up to speed by […]

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