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Happy World Autism Awareness Day.  My very first diary in 2009 was for Wold Autism Awareness Day, though I'm pretty sure I missed the actual day.  I've written a diary on April 2nd every year since.  I haven't been very active here lately, but I realized that today is World Autism Awareness Day, and I see no diary on the recent diary list.

I don't want to let this day pass unrecognized on Daily Kos.

So--my burning passion of late has been job training for autistic youth.  Tim Cook of Apple, the company whose existence supports countless youth on the spectrum, is looking to leave his fortune to others, rather than passing it onto family, so I thought I'd take my shot at funding, long though it may be.  Here's a letter to Tim Cook, in honor of World Autism Awareness Day, offered in honor of autistic youth everywhere.

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With all the bad press for police these day, and there has been a lot, it was nice to see this release from the Delaware State Police.  Just watch it.  I was guffawing within five seconds, and it keeps getting funnier the longer it goes on.

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People have autism.

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Crossposted on Mama's Blog, a blog about parenting a teen on the Autism Spectrum.
Spectrum teens are just like all teens; some of them love to read, some of them like to read, some of them hate to read.  One of my favorite sayings about autism is, "One thing about kids with autism; if you've met one kid on the spectrum--you've met one kid on the spectrum."

Ellie doesn't love to read, and my quest to find reading materials that spark her interest is unending.  The following is my latest adventure on that front.

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Family recipes are a closely guarded secret in my family.  Only marriage into the family will grudgingly bring out the recipe box, along with reminders that sharing brings the Dreaded Evil Eye upon those with loose lips.

But the fact is that my family's dolma recipe (stuffed grape leaves), handed down at least from my Great Grandmother but probably much longer than that from the hills of the Peloponnisos, is the single greatest food item in the history of the planet.  When we play "desert island" and I have to choose my one food that I have to exist on for the rest of my life on the desert island, my answer is always and without hesitation Yiayia's dolmas.  They are different than most dolmas I've ever had in a restaurant, because my family makes a avogolemono sauce to go with them than you don't often see.  I've been told that it's the way they're made in the particular mountain range from where my family springs.

We all have family favorites.  I'm going to share mine in the hopes that you'll share yours.  The best recipes come from people who have been cooking them for years, and the little tips that flesh out the recipe are gems that you can't gather in cookbooks.

To all DKossers, I wish you a Happy Holiday, whatever that holiday may be.

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Wed Nov 26, 2014 at 03:34 PM PST

Thanksgiving and Autism

by coquiero

The following is a rant.  Not everyone will agree with me.  That is all.

Poll

Should an autistic kid sit at the dinner table and engage with the family on Thanksgiving?

15%5 votes
6%2 votes
36%12 votes
33%11 votes
3%1 votes
6%2 votes

| 33 votes | Vote | Results

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I worry about people who defend their homes with guns.  I REALLY worry about people who defend their homes with guns who say things like, "I know what I'm doing with guns.  I would never have an accident."

I worry a little bit less about people who defend their homes with guns who admit that to err is human, and who are fearful that they could shoot a family member accidentally just as easily as they could shoot an intruder.  At least people like that are more likely to pause or think twice before pulling out a firearm and shooting someone in their house.

Poll

Do you have a gun in the home for defense of your home and family?

31%23 votes
60%44 votes
5%4 votes
2%2 votes

| 73 votes | Vote | Results

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Crossposted at Ellie Castellanos.com/Mama's Blog

Ellie’s sense of perspective, artistically speaking, has always been very good.  From a young age, she could draw two airplanes and you could tell that one was farther from you than the other.  I can’t draw worth a damn, so this ability has always been kind of wondrous to me.

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Happy World Autism Awareness Day, Daily Kos!  (Link to previous World Autism Awareness Day diaries)

I've been wishing that to all of you for 6 years now, but the times they are a'changing.  A wonderful and interesting thing is happening out there in the world of autism; kids are growing up.  Kids and former kids on the spectrum are starting to speak up.  The internet has allowed them to express themselves in ways they might not be able if they had to speak in front of a crowd.  My own girl hasn't yet started blogging, but her art is her chosen method of communication for now, and it speaks loudly.  Her website, www.EllieCastellanos.com, features a lot of it.  I invite you to go explore it and see what Ellie has to say.

Turns out a lot of these kids have a lot to say, and as a parent and advocate for my daughter, I've felt it's been my duty to listen, to read, and to think hard about what they're saying.

Some of it is controversial.  Some of it is painful to me as a parent.  But at the same time I find it awesome and thrilling to hear these voices speaking up and creating a powerful community for themselves.

Poll

Would you say that you are quite "aware" enough of autism, and that it's time to educate the public on how to accept autistic people and not just be aware they exist?

86%20 votes
4%1 votes
0%0 votes
4%1 votes
4%1 votes

| 23 votes | Vote | Results

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Do you have a child on The Spectrum?  I like to capitalize The Spectrum; it seems kind of cool.  I read Hannah Roisin's article titled, "Letting Go of Asperger's", with some skepticism, since I pretty much loathe anything she writes.  But I found a miraculous thing on the internet: a sense of connection.  I was touched by her article about her son, diagnosed at age 10 with Asperger's. She wrote with sensitivity and nuance about her son's diagnosis, minus much of the shock and awe that her writing usually generates.  Then I saw, off to the side, a small icon saying, "We’re inviting readers to send in their own experiences with family autism spectrum diagnoses." So I accepted their invitation.

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My sister called me.  "Your alma mater is in the news again."

Poll

Should this statue be removed from Wellesley College's campus?

31%42 votes
40%54 votes
2%3 votes
12%17 votes
12%17 votes

| 133 votes | Vote | Results

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I read Dylan Farrow's open letter about her abuse with heartache.  My heart got even heavier after reading defense after defense of Allen; on The Daily Beast (It was an awful article, I'm not going to link it), on numerous other "news sites" and even here on Daily Kos.  I was happy to find what I found to be a more thoughtful tome on whether or not it's ok to like Allen's moves at Think Progress.  Alyssa Rosenberg credited another article with influencing her thinking, and that turned out to be the article that really encapsulated the way I've been feeling about this story.

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