About Thrive With Autism
We Support Autistic Children and Adults in Achieving a Creative, Fulfilling, and Contributing Life
Why Am I Doing This?
I started Thrive With Autism because parents, educators, professionals, and other folks in the spectrum deserved better information and support than I had received, and was seeing available for others. Educators were getting a lot of behaviourist information -- and next-to-nothing about how to adapt their classrooms and actions to optimize learning for the whole class, as well as their autistic students. Health professionals trained in only a single discipline weren’t qualified to speak about other health options, and were only aware of the research in their own tiny slice of the relevant health research pie. Other professionals weren’t getting mission-critical autism information.
Who Is Already Thriving?
Up to 20% of Californian autism parents, those with the education and resources to get good help, were seeing their quirky-but-brilliant children move out of the challenges of autism, and into such a high degree of integration with their peers that they “lost the diagnosis”. When these parents tried to share what worked with other autism parents, it seldom worked as effectively for those others.
How You Can Thrive Too!
The thing is, we’ve got to deal with the underlying health issues causing autism challenges. But the extent and blend of these health issues is different for every single spectrum individual. While the paid interventions don’t help everyone, common DIY interventions do -- and no-one autistic sees much improvement without these. Like those of us spectrum adults who have “optimized our autism”, most of the “lost-diagnosis” children will have to live a careful, adapted lifestyle for the rest of their lives. But that quirky brilliance is an integral part of autism, present even in our “lowest-functioning”, most impaired because of the extent of addressable health issues.
My MissionTo make sure that, regardless of language or resources, anyone around the world with internet access has information and support to optimize the gifts, and minimize the challenges of autism.
My VisionTo create an inclusive, global, online community where autism parents, educators, professionals, and spectrum adults can build mutual support with others around the real-world implications of cutting-edge data for optimizing autism, and where those with more resources can easily fund access to support for those with insufficient
I’ve been translating the health research into ordinary English since 1993, and naming exactly what causes the pain and stress underlying autistic symptoms — or eases it — since 1976.
Let me help you understand how to reduce or eliminate the meltdowns, alienation, and other difficult symptoms of autism, so they no longer define your life, or limit your opportunities.
Here's a bit of my background. As a rocker and droner who chewed everything in sight and initially used jingles to communicate, I didn't know I had autism until I was 23. But I’d already spent over half my life figuring out what helped me function better, and what made my challenges worse.
At that time, the autism-related medical literature and Nazi-style treatments were so scary, it took another 20 years before my determination to show I knew what I was talking about managed to outpace that fear of what the medical system could do to me. When determination won the battle against fear, I got a formal diagnosis of autism.
During that 20-year stretch, there was an ongoing emergence of journal-published health research which supported the real-life experiences those of us with autism have. That research is not yet reflected by western medical training, nor by most educators, but it's getting easier to get good support from people who read the research.
From me, you get the practical, do-it-yourself, research-based ways to optimize autistic gifts, and minimize autistic challenges. You learn to deal effectively with whatever specific underlying health issues cause your unique autism challenges. And none of it’s rocket science. If you found this page, you're probably already partway there in terms of optimizing autism.
In my model of autism, the brain evolves differently -- it responds adaptively -- when it's under heightened stress. The stressed developing brain puts more resources into problem-solving capacities, and less resources into social capacities (think of autism as the far side of introverts, and leave Gary Larson out of the picture).
I call autism adaptive because, if a culture is under stress, increasing numbers of children will have heightened intelligence and greater problem-solving capacity, which is something that would contribute to species survival. And in the past, that’s how autism showed up.
The thing is, the degree of stress (social, chemical, nutritional, electromagnetic, etc.) we're facing has skyrocketed since WW1, and this adaptive response to stress is getting snowed under.
So continuing with that metaphor, I show people where to get a snow shovel, and how to approach the task of clearing the lanes, so that the challenges lift, and the problem-solving and other key strengths of autism get a chance to really shine. I do it because I truly, deeply care to turn autistic lives around.
Unfurling Your Gifts
While a brain that grows up this different is never going to be neuro-typical, there are distinct gifts for those of us in the autistic spectrum (Dyslexia, ADHD, OCD, PDD-NOS, Asperger’s, Tourette’s, Sensory Integration Disorders, etc.). Unfurl and optimize those gifts.
Our autistic brains are designed for solving problems, and our nervous systems are more sensitive so that we notice problems more. Most able autistics I’ve met are engaged in making things better, in whatever interest area is their own particular, magnificent obsession.
Thriving with autism has been over-complicated by lack of communication among spectrum adults, parents of autistics, health professionals, and service organizations. Bridge those communication gaps, add some elbow grease, and just see what’s possible in terms of autism turnaround!
In The Media
- 2016 Autism Canada Au-Some Conference Presentation: Optimizing Autism Through Managing Your Health and Environment
- Conscious Shift Podcast Interview with Julie Ann Turner
- CTV News Channel Interview on Women and Autism
- Dec. 2013 Globe and Mail Article on Autism's Forgotten Female Population
- Edible Toronto magazine article, "Taming the Symptoms with Wild Food"
- Waterloo Region Record article about Jackie and wild foods
- Guelph SNAP article October 2011 about Susan and Jackie's first live series
- Katie Curtin's Creativity Café interview of Jackie from 2012: Katie's interview.
- Guelph Mercury report on Autism Opportunities Conference
- Suzy Miller's Interview for her Awesomism program, Pure Presence