3.16.2017

How to Find Autism Information That Will Help You

[image Black text on yellow background with a black inkspot on the left,
reading, "How to Find Autism Information That Will Help You
Shannon Des Roches Rosa
Senior Editor, Thinking Person's Guide to Autism
www.ThinkingAutismGuide.com"]
Evaluating autism information is tricky, especially on the Internet. How can we differentiate between helpful and harmful information? Why is questionable autism information dangerous? And why is it that autistic people's perspectives are so crucial to understanding autism?

These questions were the crux of a workshop I gave last weekend, at the annual Support for Families of Children With Disabilities resource fair in San Francisco, on How to Find Autism Information That Will Help You. (I also moderated the workshop on Supporting Autistic People Through Meltdowns, Aggression, and SIBs by Dr. Clarissa Kripke, Brent White, and Lindsey Anderson.)

Since I am a chronic worrier, I thought only a handful would show up. But the session was full, and people had lots of questions—plus many really wanted a record of the talk. So, here are the topics I covered, and please let me know if you have any questions.

How to Find Autism Information That Will Help You

Main takeaway: You, your students, and your child deserve to lead good lives. If you heed bad autism information, you will never learn what autistic people actually need and deserve, and everyone involved will miss the opportunity to achieve the best lives possible.

My Background, and Workshop Goals
Good Autism Info Matters
Language Matters
What Is an “Autism Expert”
  • Who do you trust, if you’re new to autism?
    • Autism professionals: Have experience with populations. But not necessarily a true understanding of autistic experience.
    • Autistic people: Lived experience. Valuable if your loved one/client/student is non-speaking, and/or you are newly diagnosed.
What to look for: Acceptance
What to look for: Legitimacy
  • How do you identify bad information? From science journalist Emily Willingham:
    • Is this practitioner or vendor promising miracles that no one else seems to achieve?
    • Is the person also asking for money?
    • Does scientific research support their claims, or are there only individual (often emotional) testimonials?
  • Does the approach aim to help, or to control?
  • Whose interests does the approach serve?
What to look for: Education
Reliable Resources

(This is not, by any means, a comprehensive list.)
Unreliable Resources

(Also not a comprehensive list; try to use what you've learned here to identify other non-useful resources.)

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