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College Support Options for Autistic Students

Like their peers, many autistic students attend college. Of the 50,000 teens on the spectrum graduating from high school annually in the United States, at least a third of them pursue higher education (Shattuck, et al., 2012; Wei, et al., 2015). However, their graduation and subsequent employment rates are substantially lower than those of neurotypical…

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Working Together Toward Full Inclusion

Inclusion is not a new concept to society or education. The belief that all students, regardless of their background or abilities, should be included in the general education setting and in our communities has roots dating back over 50 years. Early efforts that laid the foundation for inclusion include the civil rights and disability rights…

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Supporting Autistic People with Significant Communication Needs

Because communication is integral to people’s ability to participate in their communities, the National Joint Committee for the Communication Needs of Persons with Severe Disabilities identifies it as a right. For autistic children and adults with significant communication needs who use less familiar forms of communication, such as sign language, gestures, and voice output communication…

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What We Need to Know About AAC Interventions

One of the most significant characteristics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a “delay in, or total lack of, the development of spoken language.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that approximately 40% of autistic children are non-speaking and do not develop sufficient natural speech or writing to meet their daily communication…

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Why Community Engagement Is Needed in Gender/Autism Research

Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is driven by the communities for which the research is ultimately intended. The Gender and Autism Program at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., focuses on the intersection of gender identity diversity and autism. This is a field of research that requires deep community engagement in the design and execution of…

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Roles and the Reilly Family

We Reillys are a typical family making our way through the 21st century. My wife, Linda, and I met in college and married in 2000. We have two children, Charlotte and Alexander. Charlotte is nearing the end of high school, and Alexander is anticipating the conclusion of his freshman year. We also have two furry…

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What Is the Role of a Parent Advocate?

It’s tricky to be a parent advocate in the autism community, especially if, like me, you are not autistic yourself. Autism is about autistic people, and that’s who should be leading autism advocacy efforts. But in the nearly two decades since my son was diagnosed, I’ve learned that I do have a role as an…

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Trying To Live A Life Like Theirs

As both an adult on the autism spectrum and an advocate for disability rights, my main goal has been to live “a life like theirs [those without disabilities].” In other words, I think everyone regardless of disability status should be entitled to independent living, especially when it comes to housing and employment. Throughout my life,…

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My Green Straw Vision

Last month we celebrated OAR’s 20th birthday. At this time two decades ago, OAR was three weeks old, and Mike Maloney and I had driven to Baltimore to pitch OAR to Dr. Peter Gerhardt. After a few beers, Peter readily accepted the challenge to lead OAR’s Scientific Council, and Mike and I headed back to…

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Promoting Inclusivity in the Telehealth Movement

The emergency department (ED) is often a chaotic, loud, and, frankly, frightening place. Patients may be yelling; monitors and alarms are continuously sounding off; staff are hurrying around; police officers may be present; and overhead pages are squawking every few minutes. There is very little privacy, with patients often separated by a curtain or even…

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