Category Archives: Growing Up Autistic

Starting Third Grade

Starting Third Grade is a poem illustrating my experience as an autistic youngster in the 1950’s as I started the school year. The unconventional spacing represents the space of time for my brain processing to “catch up” so the next word can plop out of my mouth. This manner of speech isn’t a behavior I decide to engage in, but instead, nothing more than the way my brain does business – similar to the way your brain does business by not inserting spaces of processing time between your words mid sentence. Both the poem and the illustration are excerpted from pages 38-39 of my first book Making Lemonade: Hints for Autism’s Helpers.

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It has been one year since the murder attempt on Issy Stapleton by her mother, Kelli. During that year there has been an outpouring of sympathy for this mother only because Issy is disabled with a severe autism diagnosis. In our society we not only excuse murderers who’s victims are disabled, but we put the murderer in the victim role and dismiss the life of the murdered person – a “not real human being” in the eyes of our society. This is wrong.

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