All Things Autistic
A guide for parents, other autists, or those who just want to take a peek inside
Are You a Parent of an Autistic Child and Need Help?
After years of research and a LOT of work, I am so excited to announce the pre-sale of my amazing new course Meltdowns Be Gone! This course is designed especially for parents of autistic children to better connect with their child and reduce or even stop meltdowns in 30 days, so they can restore harmony in their daily lives.
I didn’t know anything about autism when my son was diagnosed a few years ago. With a PhD, though, and access to world-class resources and a robust community, I made it my mission to learn everything I could to better his future and restore harmony to our out-of-tune household. In that process, I discovered my own truth: I am autistic myself and have been practicing meltdown-reduction techniques my entire life. As a teacher and instructional designer for the last 20 years, I decided to use my lifetime of experience and knowledge to help guide parents feeling lost with an overwhelming diagnosis and an overwhelming child.
WHEN: Class starts Oct. 9 So enroll right away!
How do you know this is the right course for you? Well, I can help you figure that out. If you want to schedule a quick chat (by zoom video, audio, or chat) to make sure this is for you and your family, just let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will email you information back and see if you would like to schedule a time to talk.
Remember seats are really limited for this structured guide into helping your child and yourself reduce meltdowns without trauma.
Ready to enroll? Fill Out this Form. I can’t wait to meet you!
More About This Space...
This is my info dump space. I have so many ideas and thoughts and quite a few hobbies. I decided I didn’t want multiple YouTube channels to cover all the topics I’m interested in. It is all intimately connected in my brain, and compartmentalizing has never been my strong suit. Additionally, YouTube is a little too limited since I rarely want to do my face and mask enough to do a video. Perhaps that’s something you can help me get more comfortable with as I share with you.
Why this space? Partly because I find there are few voices that encompass the breadth of human engagement, the public intellectual whose competence and knowledge is rooted in multiple disciplines across centuries and continents. As I watch our culture grapple with multiple on-going crises, I believe we need more voices that provide that depth. There is no reason why mine can’t be one of them.
As a late-diagnosed autistic woman raising autistic children, I also have a lot to say about parenting, especially parenting an autistic or otherwise neurodivergent child. That has become my Special Interest since my son’s diagnosis, and my subsequent one. As an autistic person who is non-stereotypically really good with language, I can help amplify a point of view that is often ignored because of problems with communication.
And finally, because I am a writer and a thinker. Those things don’t happen in a box and those things don’t pay the bills. I am also autistic and deal with chronic pain, so working and parenting and writing is a lot. If you find my content of use to you, please don’t hesitate to reach out and support me. You can also pre-order the course I have developed called Meltdowns Be Gone – a unique course designed to help parents of autistic children connect to their unique child and reduce meltdowns in less than 30 days. And when it is ready for pre-order, you will be able to buy my book, tentatively entitled Actually Authentically Autistic: the gift of my son’s diagnosis.
Things you will find and topics I cover (mostly autism related in some way):
A lot of information about autism. I was diagnosed at 43, and it has rocked my world. Everything makes so much more sense, and I am eager to share that journey with you as well as the values it has forced me to reconsider.
- Parenting in a late-stage capitalist hellscape with an ignored pandemic and impending climate collapse. I’ve got two kids, and they take up a significant portion of my brain power.
- My other hobbies: Puzzles, Glass Mosaic, and other things that pique my interest.
- Politics. This is NOT a politics-free zone. I am what you might call a crazy-whacko-leftist in the US, but would likely be just left of center in most European countries. Pretending that everything is not political is a tool of oppression.
- African-American literature and history. It is what my Ph.D is in after all, so I not only have loads of thoughts about this, I also have expertise. It’s a great combo!
- Film and music commentary. But don’t worry – I am unlikely to know what the hell is going on in popular culture unless it is big enough to affect political discourse. I do love British detective shows though, and when I do finally watch something that is popular, I often have very big thoughts about it. I’ll tag appropriately.
- Having taught writing at the college level to students from all over the world, I have a lot of information to share that might make your life easier if you need to write better.
- I will also give some good ideas about teaching writing for my fellow writing-teachers out there still stuck in the trenches.
My name is Dr. Renee Barlow. I have so many hats that it is hard to know where to start. I was an assistant professor, and taught all things writing and literature at several different institutions. Most people have a specialty and mine is the intersection of African American/African Diasporic literature and Complex Adaptive Systems as understood through informatics and theoretical physics. Obviously this translates into absolutely nothing useful in terms of gainful employment because we are a society that prizes superfluous inanity and multi-tasking independence. But that’s another story….
I completed my doctorate at Indiana University under the tutelage of some fantastic scholars who are mostly not there anymore. I went on to teach at an HBCU in Memphis, the LeMoyne-Owen College. Although my timing there coincided with the birth of my very difficult child, this was quite honestly the best teaching experience I could have imagined. Students were no more motivated than anywhere else, but there was an earnestness and openness about history and reality that could have been a good fit. Except for two factors: I did mention the child, and the pay was abysmal.
I then taught at a regional teaching/research institution, and that is where I realized exactly how misplaced I am in the traditional academic structure. So I did some terribly autistic things, rocked the apple cart, and found myself out of a job. I think perhaps, had a been born a white man in a different time, I could have been quite happy tinkering with abstractions at a research institution with busy people taking care of the mundane details of life. But I wasn’t. So here we are.
So – I am a mother of two delightful children, whose needs are sometimes quite hard to meet. I am a late-diagnosed autistic woman with all the confusion and ah-ha that brings. I am scholar and and a thinker, and no position or lack thereof changes that. I am a collector of knowledge, and I love to info-dump and share that knowledge. I am pattern finder and a teacher. Come and learn with me!
Why I Love Noses: The Intensity of the Gaze
I love noses. I always have, but it wasn’t until I started reevaluating my life through the lens of my newly diagnosed autism that it began to make sense. Autistic people have long been known to avoid eye contact. In fact, that is one of the most prominent and partially true stereotype about autists. We have difficulty doing that “whole body listening” thing that is deemed Very Important Indeed by society writ large. And a lot of that whole body listening is really about making and maintaining at least the illusion of eye contact while we talk. For most people – i.e. those we call neurotypical or normal – that is so obvious that it almost doesn’t bear stating.
What happens though when the eye contact is distracting? Or even hurts? The question for many folks like me is whether you want me to look you in the eyes OR process what you are saying because you can’t have both.
Why would that be?
Have you ever heard the phrase “the eyes are the window to the soul”? Well, looking into someone’s soul can be, let’s just say, disorienting for those of us who really feel an intensity of connection through the gaze. So if I’m getting lost in the connection, the feeling of being swept away by someone else’s being, I cannot just hear the words you are saying about this week’s meeting. I’m sorry. I’m busy with your soul.
Eyes are intense patterns with a lot of depth.
Many, but certainly not all, autistic folks are really good at spotting patterns. We also get lost in the depths of the details at times. No matter what color your eyes are, there are variations in color or resonances of depth – OR NOT! How cool! I’m sorry, were you talking about bills? I’m busy in the details of your eyes.
Trying to ignore intensity for the mundane is a stabbing pain.
When I look into your eyes, all of the above is true. That means I have to ignore the patterns, the intensity, the connection in order to hear and process the words coming out of your mouth. I have learned to do this after years of practice, but it hurts. It feels like someone is stabbing your emotional center, your regulatory center of all emotions with a sharp stick. It’s possible, but it has a steep cost.
And that is why I fell in love with noses. Noses are generally quite near eyes and you can focus on the nose while making fleeting eye contact with very little effort. And it turns out if you stare at a thing, even if you are mostly ignoring it in order to process the conversation, you will come to love that thing.
So hit me up at @pagingdocb on Twitter or through here and let me know what you did to reduce the intensity of eye contact. Double bonus if you share an interesting face with a great nose!