Focusing on autism-positive approaches (to stave off despair)

Your approach affects your data — strongly In my research for my master’s thesis (I received my M.Ed. in December), I did two things: I created the first-ever survey study that asked for autistic people’s responses to education that had been developed for them, and; I looked for autism-positive research that focused on autistic ways of learning. I did very well with my first project, and … Read More

For Mother’s Day

How Do We Celebrate Our Mothers? A real-world poem for Mother’s Day How do we celebrate our mothers — The ones who are here and the ones who aren’t? The ones who gave their lives for us, And the ones who walked away. The ones who lovingly directed our lives as if we were art projects, And the ones who never knew how to welcome us into … Read More

Autism, empathy, and the mind-blindness of everyday people

Hello! I’ve completed graduate school, and I’m now Karla McLaren, M.Ed! My master’s degree is in education and curriculum design with a concentration in linguistic anthropology, and my focus is on autism, empathy, disability rights, and human rights. Over the next few months, I’m going to be posting pieces of my own research and the excellent research I’ve found. For instance, if you’d like to explore … Read More

How to Be a Privilege Traitor

There is a tremendous amount of structural injustice and inequality occurring, and when a structure is unjust, it’s important that people learn how to think structurally in order to change the system. The concept of privilege can really help with that thinking, unless … I’ve been noticing a lot of anguish and conflict occurring in my online communities about the word privilege. White privilege, male privilege, … Read More

When suicide is in the news

The Darkness before Dawn: Understanding the Suicidal Urge When famous people commit suicide, and breathless news reports glorify or confuse the situation, there is the danger that others will follow his or her lead. Careful reporting can reduce this risk, and providing straightforward information about depression and suicide can help suffering people find help. If you are feeling suicidal here in the U.S., you can call … Read More

A surprising new empathic skill: Complaining! (Consciously!)

When people think of empathy, they tend to see it as a soft skill, full of yielding and niceness. That’s a part of empathy, but there’s a deeper and more full-bodied form of empathy that helps you engage with people when they (and you!) are not feeling nice at all. In The Art of Empathy, I share a number of relationship skills for dealing with conflict … Read More

The Magical Healing Powers of Art

Art is a specific empathic healing practice This month’s newsletter about art has started a lot of conversations; this post expands on the healing power of art (artistically)! Artistic expression is a wonderful and soul expanding thing for anyone, but it has a particular healing quality for anyone who wants to understand and work with empathy, because art helps you express and channel emotions intentionally. Empathy … Read More

You don’t have to be blue — you can celebrate the full spectrum!

Celebrate the Full Spectrum! April 2nd is International Autism Awareness Day, but I have to say, if you’re not aware of autism yet, where have you been? The cool kids have already moved on from mere awareness to inclusion, acceptance, and love. We’re celebrating Autism Acceptance Day, Autism Acceptance Month, Autism Acceptance Year, Autism Acceptance Decade (and Autism Acceptance Eon, while we’re at it). Many of my friends … Read More

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