I’m a mother of two sons, a twelve year old and an eight year old. Both of my children are diagnosed with autism, my youngest son also has dyspraxia, dyslexia, and dysgraphia, amongst other challenges.

Much of my blog is about my parenting experiences with my twelve year old, who has had his diagnosis since he was three, but has shown signs of his autism well before then. I also blog about wider autism issues and a variety of autism view-points.

I have a law degree with honours, and a philosophy degree with honours. I’ve been a law lecturer and tutor, and a philosophy tutor. I draw on those backgrounds at time in my posts. I currently work from home as a professional proofreader and copy-editor.

In 2010 I was part of a panel discussing autism with Lindsey Dawson, on Triangle TV / Stratos, in New Zealand. My blog was also discussed by Ele Ludemann of Homepaddock, on Radio New Zealand (February 2011).

I aim for my blog to be enjoyable and informative, as well as eye-opening for those unfamiliar with autism. It will sometimes be depressing, sometimes uplifting, but hopefully always interesting. Much like autism.

Welcome to my blog!

Link to my Facebook Page.

Link to my Twitter feed.

Picture of my family, by Clara


54 Responses to About

  1. Deb Faith says:

    Hi there, would you be interested in being part of a TV programme that I produce for Triangle TV? if you are in Auckland that is!
    Please contact me for more info – either email or phone 09 376 5030.
    Kind regards,

  2. Anna says:

    You are an absolute inspiration and I hope your blog helps get your message out to all the parents and family struggling with similar battles. What you’ve achieved despite the odds is truly inspiring. On top of everything else, you’re also a superb writer! Keep up the amazing work. I look forward to reading your blog regularly.

  3. blue milk says:

    I just discovered your blog via the latest Down Under Feminist Carnival and I love your writing and I was wondering if you are ok with me putting you on my Feminist Motherhood blogroll at my site.. or do you not feel comfortable with that tag?

  4. Paige says:

    hi! I really want to add you to my RSS reader… but you either don’t have a feed or I can’t find it. Can you point me in the right direction? (or possibly add one :P)

  5. MinorityView says:

    Hey, thanks for your kind comment about insidevaccines! Much appreciated.

  6. Jamie Levitt says:

    Hi, I work with Alleviate Autism and wanted to let you know we are great fans of your work. Could you please e-mail me? Anne Burnett wants to recommend your site in her blog, and would like to get your approval and clarification on a few minor details before doing so.

  7. Laura says:

    Hi, I just wanted to let you know that I think your blog is awesome 🙂

    I work for Idea Services and have been working very closely with a couple of boys with autism for a few years now. It’s really great to hear your perspective on everything, because these are emotions and experiences that don’t always come out freely when I’m interacting with the parents! Keep up the great work!

  8. A comment of yours was the jumping-point for today’s post. I’d like to link it back to your blog, with your permission. Please e-mail me at Mommy@starkravingmadmommy.com

  9. Tsara says:

    Wow! I googled ‘autism bloggers’ in an attempt to help my mom-Lynette Louise- spread the word about her new book MIRACLES ARE MADE: A Real Life Guide to Autism. When I got to your sight I was immediately sucked in. It’s beautiful and your writing is conversational and comfortable. Being the oldest of eight, with four autistic brothers (only one retains his label and remains dependent) I can only imagine what a resource such as yours would have meant for my family! Especially mom who raised us on her own. I would love to send you a copy of my moms book if you are interested. She is now a global autism expert who offers neurofeedback, play therapy and family dynamics counseling effectively guiding parents confidently into the role of expert in their families healing. Shoot me an email with your address and I will send it right away.

    Thank you for speaking so invitingly on the subject of Autism. It generates not only awareness but much needed autism answers!

    • Hi Tsara,

      Thank you so much for those encouraging and kind words! It really does mean a lot.

      And yes I would be very grateful to receive a copy of your mom’s book, it sounds like a compelling read!

      I’ll send you an email today 🙂

  10. Nic says:

    Hi there,
    are we able to follow you on fb or twitter?

    • Hi Nic.

      I’ve just set up a Facebook page : Autism and Oughtisms Facebook Page.

      I’ll look into the Twitter idea too.

      Thanks for asking!

      • Nic says:

        Thank you!
        You’ll find twitter will greatly increase traffic to your blog, look into the twitter info – how to compress url’s (eg with bit.ly), using hashtags such as #asd #autism #asperger #disability #TCK #specialneeds # specialed … will help you come up in searches & link you with like-minded ppl!
        All the best!

      • Hi again Nic.
        I finally gave in and joined Twitter, though I’m struggling to figure out how to use it. I’ll give it a go for a few days and see what it’s like anyway.
        For what it’s worth, my username is AutismOughtism (I’m not even sure how to share my name so people can find me..?)

  11. Holly says:

    My eight-year-old son saw your picture and said, “ooooh! That family looks cute!” 🙂

  12. Hi there,
    I love your blog and honesty. Superb.
    I am a PhD student at the University of Tasmania researching pain and empathy. I wonder if you and your readers would be interested in discussing children with autism and pain sensitivity? A prevailing belief is that children with autism have reduced sensitivity to pain. This belief is largely based on anecdotal observations and reports. Is it true?

    This belief was investigated by Rami Nader and her colleagues in an experimental study. In this study, pain reactions to the invasive procedure of venepuncture were videotaped and compared in 21 children with autism (3–7 years old) and 22 children without autism. In addition, during venepuncture, parents gave reports of pain, and facial activity was used as an objective behavioral measure of pain.

    Nader and her colleagues found that the children with autism showed a significant facial pain reaction in response to the venepuncture procedure. There was a lack of agreement between parental reports of pain and observed pain responses for the children with autism. Behavioral responses of the children with autism were generally similar to the children without autism. In fact, the significant facial pain reactivity found in the children with autism exceeded that shown by the non-autistic children. Parent reports of pain severity did not differ between the autism and non-autism groups. The degree of agreement between parental report and observed pain responses was consistently better for the non-autism group.

    The authors drew the following conclusions:
    (1) Children with autism can show a significant behavioral reaction in response to a painful stimulus, in contrast to the prevailing beliefs of pain insensitivity.
    (2) Parental report may be inappropriate as an assessment tool for pain in children with autism.

    The title of the paper is: ‘Expression of Pain in Children With Autism’, Clinical Journal of Pain, Volume 20, Number 2, 2004, pp. 88-97.

    Many thanks for your time!
    Simon van Rysewyk

    • Thanks simon, and yes that is a very interesting topic.

      I haven’t written a post expressly on autism and pain reactions before, though I expect I have mentioned more than once that I’ve often found myself thinking my son is under-sensitive to his own pain. I bring it up when I take him to the doctors; they’ll inevitably ask him if x hurts, he’ll say no, I’ll step in and explain that he tends not to be aware of his own pain (I always mention it out of concern that they not dismiss potential symptoms). I can see that it’s very possible I’ve assumed too much in that area – misread my own son (unfortunately it wouldn’t be the first time; learning about autism is a long journey) – and I very much appreciate you pointing me in the direction of further reading and research into the issue. I look forward to correcting / enhancing my understanding, and hope to write a post on it soon.

      Thanks again.

    • My first guess would be that autistic expression of pain might be like autistic laughing, which is reported to be more genuine. Speculative: if people are used to the social functions of crying, laughing, etc then their absence would be misleading. Children without autism know that ‘the squeaky wheel gets the oil’.

  13. Matty Angel says:

    Hello =) I was wondering if you could remove Katie friends comment : ) I asked her if I could ask you to do that and she said yes : ) I hope that is ok !

  14. John Spencer says:

    Hi There, we are thinking about having a child. It is clear from your blog that you have done a lot of research of the years and seem to be very clued up. We have cats. Have you ever found a link between cats and autism before?

    Are there any things you would recommend before we start trying?

    Thank you for your blog!! John

    • Hi John,

      If you’re trying to avoid your child getting autism, there is a lot more misinformation than useful information out there. What I can tell you about are a few factors that apparently correspond with a higher liklihood of autism, but that doesn’t mean a causal link of course. Factors associated with higher risk are diseases (such as Rubella), drugs that can damage the fetus (like thalidomide), and high stress levels in the mother. Basically follow good practice for any pregnancy: Keep the mother happy and healthy!

      As for cats, there are issues with toxoplasmosis that any woman must be careful about, so no changing the cat litter during the pregnancy! (http://www.pregnancycare.eu/pregnancy/other-harmful-toxins ). But no, I’m unaware of any correspondence or causative link between cats and autism.

      I wish you and your partner all the best.

      • John Spencer says:

        Thanks for your prompt reply. I really appreciate your response. Do you have any links which would be useful to help us read regarding getting pregnant and how to minimise chances of autism.

      • There are endless internet resources which will tell you an unlimited list of factors linked with autism through pregnancy. You can find them very easily via Google, but as I said, watch out for the loads of misinformation out there; stick to highly reputable scientific sites. There is no single web-page that I would personally recommend, not least of all because there is no definitive guide to avoiding your child becoming autistic, if such a thing is even possible: You’ve got to remember that autism has genetic components too, even the most “perfect” pregnancy with no complications could conceivably still result in an autistic child because of various strong genetic conditions (such as Fragile X). I have no easy answers for you because there are no easy answers. There is still far too much that is unknown about autism at this time, though there are a lot of very talented scientists around the world trying to remedy that.

  15. Cheryl says:

    Hello! We would like to extend a subscription to Footsteps2Brilliance’s, Inc. curriculum for you and your son. We recently received a beautiful letter from a mom with an autistic son and I thought you might like to read how our e-book collection has been of benefit to this little boy. Here is the link to the letter for you to read. http://tinyurl.com/8azylet
    If you too find our curriculum beneficial would you be interested in reviewing our Academic Language Program on your blog?
    Kindest Regards,

  16. Melissa says:

    I your article on the happy dance and stimming. You posted a link that is no longer available but I was very interested in reading it and wondered if you had a copy our anything you could post? Thanks

  17. Erin Lebar says:

    Dear Linda,
    You’re in the running for Babble’s top 30 autism blogs of 2013! To help us speed up the process while we finalize the list, could you send us a high-res photo of you for potential use on our site? You can send it directly to me at your earliest convenience this week.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    Erin Lebar
    Babble.com | Disney Interactive Media Group
    520 Broadway, 9th Floor
    New York, NY 10012

  18. Hello –
    We are a small game and toy company (non-electronic games) that launched 3 games in 2012 and 2 more in 2013. We had been getting comments from parents of children on the autism spectrum how the first 3 card games were being enjoyed in their homes and even at their therapy and school sessions. So this summer we began working with an adaptive specialist at ASAnaysis (http://www.asanalysis.com/blog/) who put together a team of parents, therapists and special ed teachers to help up develop adaptive play suggestions for our games Spectrix, Array and CUBU. We would love to offer you a set to review and we would also be happy to provide a second set for a giveaway. Our info is here: http://funnybonetoys.com/adaptive-play/

    Please let me know if you would like a set. We also just donated 50 sets to the Colorado Autism Society for their two big annual events. It is our biggest joy as a company to have products that can be enjoyed by all children.

    CUBU has particularly been embraced by middle school special ed teachers, while Spectrix and Array are embraced for kids ages 4-10.

    Most sincerely,

    Julien Sharp
    Funnybone Toys

  19. Elizabeth says:

    Hello – I have linked to your site with attribution in a blog post I have written about our son’s IEP process and the culture of “yes” at our school. It can be found at http://www.autism-mom.com. Just wanted to let you know. 🙂

  20. Jennifer says:

    The Sensory Spectrum is hosting a special blog hop of posts from bloggers in June and we’d love to have you participate! Just imagine a list of bloggers sharing their stories about what it’s like to have sensory kiddos! Read more here: http://www.thesensoryspectrum.com/sensory-bloggers-blog-hop-information/

    Joining in on this blog hop will undoubtedly get your blog more exposure as people will hop from one blog to the next to read the stories. I will also be tweeting everyone’s stories during the month and highlighting some on my Facebook page.

    I hope you’ll join us!
    Jennifer @ The Sensory Spectrum
    (and you can find me @ The Jenny Evolution, too!)

  21. Kiri says:

    The NZ Treasury is asking for feedback on social interventions. Although this is primarily targeted at reducing welfare numbers, it does provide an opportunity for those of us raising children on the spectrum to have a say in how services are managed (or mismanaged). Sadly, many people with ASD do end up on welfare, and I beleive this is due to a lack of appropriate supports, services and funding. I thought your readers might like to let the government know what they think. Here is the link: http://www.treasury.govt.nz/budget/socialinvestment

    All the best,

  22. Hi, I am interested to study about autism. I will follow your blog.

  23. As a father of a child with Autism, I am highly offended by people who claim they are not vaccinating their child because they are afraid it could result in their child having Autism. As a filmmaker, I decided to do something about it. I have created a short 1-minute video, a PSA if you want to call it that, and uploaded it to my YouTube channel (https://youtu.be/dJQvv7oKJIQ) and web site (http://ralaningalls.com/vaccinate) for World Autism Awareness Day. In a twist of reverse psychology, the video simply contains a list of reasons why you shouldn’t vaccinate your child in hopes of empowering people to realize how silly (and ultimately dangerous) the thought of not vaccinating their child for a fear of Autism really is. I hope to urge parents to make a smart choice by choosing to protect their children from a deadly disease and take the risk of their child becoming a very special person. I hope that you will share my video with your audience, and if you go so far as to write a post about my video, please feel free to use any of the text in this e-mail as direct quotes from me. Thank you for any support you give my project. I truly appreciate it.

  24. John Gross says:

    Hello , This is John Gross from MT CARMEL FILMS in Philadelphia. We’re recently completed a feature length documentary called Animating Autism and are reaching out to different autism organizations, bloggers and advocates.

    Here is our synopsis: Animating Autism is about seven kids on the autism spectrum collaborating to create their own short animated film. The documentary follows them as they turn their sketches into movies and form lasting friendships.

    In the film we also delve into some basics on autism, what is the spectrum etc — so there is an educational aspect to it. But one of the nicest things about the doc is how we get to know the different kids and explore their personalities and what makes each of them unique. In the film the audience “spends time” with these kids and undoubtedly starts to like them and empathize with them. This very basic process I think is quite valuable for the autism awareness cause, as people tend to stigmatize what they don’t know and are unfamiliar with.

    We have the full film available to view on Vimeo On Demand, although we are of course trying for Netflix and better distribution platforms. We are a young production company and this is our first real attempt at distribution, so we’re learning as we go.

    Please take a look at our trailer:

    We also have about 12 minutes of excerpts from the film featured on the Atlantic’s website this month:

    If you are interested in helping us promote the film in any way, featuring it on your blog or social media etc that would be so nice.

    It would also be nice just to hear what you thought of the film, or perhaps write a review.

    Feel free to contact me with any questions or ideas.

    John Gross

    • Thanks John, and what a lovely project! I’m snowed-under at the moment with existing commitments (and a sick child) but when things are a bit less hectic I will most certainly have a look and consider promoting your work. In the meantime, my readers can click through the links you’ve provided above and have a look for themselves too. All the best 🙂

  25. George D says:

    Hope you’re well, just a quick comment to say I’m a big fan of autismandoughtisms.wordpress.com and particularly enjoyed your article on “Anxiety in Children (and why you shouldn’t let that “broken leg” stop you running races)”.

    Anyways, we’ve recently created a pretty in depth travel guide for travellers with a disability and we were wondering if you were interested in taking a look? We feel this is an extremely important topic and people with disabilities deserve to be able see just as much of the world as anyone else.

    I look forward to hearing back from you,

    Kind Regards,


  26. Hello!
    I really enjoyed reading your article, “Choose Your Battles”. I can relate as I’ve dealt closely with several children with Autism and I’m on the hunt to develop a useful tool that will grant them more independence.
    As the leader of the startup, SoloGenius, working alongside Google application developers at the European Innovation Academy, I would like to invite you to become one of our beta testers as we begin to perfect the very tool that might help thousands of Autistic children.

    The free application is quite simple. It reminds the user when to complete scheduled tasks, with the support of helpful images and instructions. It also monitors stress levels as it correlates to the tasks. This helps the caregiver to understand the frustrations of the child when they’re not present.

    If you would like to be the first to know when our prototype is launched, within the next 3 weeks, and to become one of the first participants in the movement, please sign up at https://emoticonnect.wixsite.com/sologenius

    Join us on our journey as we encourage our children with Autism to be independent. Thank you! Please keep blogging! Very insightful!

    Best regards,
    Sydney Garcia

  27. Thomas says:

    I just found your blog today. (I love the title by the way!) I am an ASD+ graduate student in Atlanta, GA. I liked your article on person first vs identity first language. I appreciated that you have melded the rigor of your law and philosophy background with flowing prose. Keep up the good work.

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