One of my lifelong special interests is language learning.

That might seem strange because autistic people are seen as uninterested in communication, and the whole purpose of language is communication.

But I actually think being autistic helps me learn new languages.
I am a native English speaker who had some degree of fluency in Spanish as a child (I lived in Texas and was in bilingual classrooms in elementary school).

For seven years, starting in middle school, I learned Mandarin Chinese.

Now, I’m learning Scottish Gaelic.
I’ve always loved language.

When I was in first and second grade, I voluntarily took Spanish spelling tests in addition to the English ones.

In middle and high school, my Mandarin teachers told me that I have a natural ear for language and a gift for language learning.
I think this is because language is essentially just a series of patterns built from smaller chunks.

I’m good at perceiving the small units of sound and symbols, and evaluating how they are arranged.

This focus on pattern and detail is an extremely common autistic trait.
Not all autistic people are naturally inclined towards language learning.

Many find it difficult, especially if they have significant auditory processing or speech challenges.

The way I learn language isn’t the typical way, either. I process slowly and need extra time.
The fact that autistic people may have challenges with language should not prevent us from being given the opportunity to be multilingual.

Bilingualism can help autistic people stay socially connected and it might increase cognitive flexibility too:…
Autistic people need to be given access to all sorts of language, and that means not limiting us to what others “think we can handle.”

This is a big issue for autistic children of non-English speaking people who live in predominantly English speaking countries.
As the article outlines, “experts” often tell parents to limit their autistic child to one language (which is often English).

This puts up a barrier between the child and their family, which can be devastating especially since autistic people are often socially isolated anyway.
Autistic children demonstrate the same ability to be bilingual that non-autistic children do.

We should not be deprived of a key way to access meaningful connection with other people.

AAC systems can be programmed in multiple languages, etc.

Give us chances to explore.

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More from @autisticats

21 Jul
This is a great example of what autistic & disabled people are talking about when we say eugenics is alive and well.

This paper, published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders in 2021, calls for the “prevention of autism” in order to… save the U.S. economy. 🤦🏼
The article uses fearmongering language, framing autistic people as “burdens” to our families and society.

Even the title alone is extremely negative:

“Autism Tsunami: the Impact of Rising Prevalence on the Societal Cost of Autism in the United States.”

Tsunami? Really?
And here’s the thing.

Within a capitalist framework, in an economic system where extraction and accumulation of wealth are the goal, what the authors wrote is semi-logical.

But it doesn’t fit the logic of morality and human rights.

So there’s an inherent contradiction.
Read 10 tweets
12 Jul
What’s happening at the Judge Rotenberg Center is actually much worse than I knew.

The JRC is a facility in Massachusetts where autistic & disabled people are being given powerful electric shocks as punishment.

Those shocks are incredibly dangerous. More than you might think.
First, some background:

Milliamperes (or milliamps, abbreviated as mA) are a unit of measurement for electricity, which refers to the amount of electrical current passing through an object.

In this case, the amount of electrical current passing through a person’s body.
People can survive shocks at very high voltages as long as the milliamps and exposure time are low.

But the higher the milliamps and longer the time, the more dangerous a shock.

100 mA passing through the body for 2 seconds can be fatal, even at low voltages.
Read 9 tweets
5 Jul
If you’re averse to candid discussions about bathroom topics, this thread is not for you.

For everyone else, welcome to this thread about autism and using the bathroom.

This is an important topic that is often seen as too taboo to discuss openly, but it’s vital to talk about.
What are the reasons an autistic person might eliminate waste in places other than the toilet, even if they’re “potty trained”?

I won’t be going into details about my life and the lives of other autistic people I know, but I have a lot of personal experience in this area.
Let’s look at some reasons an autistic person might be eliminating waste in inappropriate places:

1. They have an underlying medical condition that is causing them to need to use the bathroom more frequently and/or urgently

(This reason should be investigated first)
Read 10 tweets
24 Jun
After an autistic person is officially diagnosed, their family members and friends may start noticing their autistic traits more.

This can lead to accusations that the autistic person is exaggerating for attention, being inauthentic, etc.

But that’s rarely (if ever) true.
The reason why others may notice the person “acting more autistic” is twofold:

1. Now that there’s a word to describe the person’s traits, they are ascribed to autism instead of just being seen as “weird,” and

2. The autistic person feels less pressure to mask who they are.
This dynamic is often especially present in people who were diagnosed later in life, or who have the ability to mask their traits.

I was diagnosed pretty early (between 8 and 9 years old), but I can mask my traits when I’m feeling pressured (though not always convincingly).
Read 10 tweets
22 Jun
Ableism and anti-autistic attitudes within families can have a significant negative impact on autistic people’s self esteem and mental health.

When the outside world is not accepting or safe, and home isn’t either, we have nowhere to turn.

Many autistic people are trapped.
My family has come a long way over the years, mostly due to my own stubbornness and self-advocacy.

In 2017 my dad said this to me (I wrote it down directly afterwards, so this is verbatim) when he heard me vocal stimming: “You need to stop making no...
I brought it up the next day and he denied that he said any of it, but when I pushed he admitted to some of it (then defended it).

Later that year, I ordered the book “Loud Hands” (an anthology by autistic authors) and forced him to read it.

Suddenly, his behavior changed.
Read 9 tweets
16 May
During AAPI Month, it’s important to listen to the voices of AAPI individuals. For example, me! I’m Abby, Eden’s girlfriend.

First, some background: My grandmother is Korean and my grandfather is Japanese. This makes me 1/4 Korean, 1/4 Japanese, and 1/2 French Canadian.
The beginning of this month has made me think a lot about my Asian identity, and how it intersects with my neurodivergent identity.

I have never felt truly “Asian,” for a number of reasons- like my mixed race, light hair and eyes, and the assimilation my ancestors went through.
However, there is conflict between the model minority stereotype and how I behave due to autism or ADHD.

The stereotypical Asian is quiet, compliant, well put together, good at math, likes spicy food, etc.

This is the “ideal Asian”- an identity that white people constructed.
Read 9 tweets

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