All posts by Megan McLaughlin

About Megan McLaughlin

Historian, gardener, writer, activist, animal lover, autism mom (the kind that supports autistic people...)

“Likeability”

I’m working on my chapter on employment and housing right now, and I’ve learned that “likeability” is a real Human Resources thing. People interviewing for jobs actually get rated on “likeability.” And according to an article in the Wall Street Journal, this is exacerbated by video interactions. Apparently, during video conferencing, likeability has more impact than persuasive arguments. And of course during the pandemic it’s all video.

How can this be anything but discrimination against people with autism who, by definition, struggle with social interaction?

The Spirit of Giving

Most of my stories tend to be a bit grim. But today is different.

There is a family in my town—a single mom and her autistic son. Every week they go to the grocery store and buy bologna from the nice lady at the deli counter, who always talks—to both of them. A few weeks ago, she asked the young man what he wanted for Christmas and he replied “a guitar.”

These are poor people. Chances are, the mom couldn’t afford any presents at all this year, let alone a guitar. And the nice lady at the deli counter was maybe just a little bit better off. She wasn’t going on any shopping spree.

But when the family came into the store this week, there was a gift waiting for them. The deli lady gave the young man her own, well-loved guitar. There is a picture of him, holding it and beaming, in our local paper.

This isn’t inspiration porn. This isn’t a story about benevolence granted from on high to the sad autistic person. This is a story about the true spirit of giving, about poor people, in this year of death and misery, being kind to one another.

For those of you who celebrate this holiday—Merry Christmas!

It’s Been a Hard Few Months

Which is why I haven’t written in a while.

Younger daughter, who developed lupus two years ago at age 19, had to take steroids for about 18 months to keep her immune system in check. The trouble is, the steroids created other problems. She developed cataracts in her eyes last spring, but we were able get them removed and her sight is now ok. More recently, she developed hip pain, which it turns out is caused by the steroids having killed off the bone in her upper leg. Now waiting to see the specialist, who will tell us whether they can fix this.

Older daughter (my autistic girl) triumphantly graduated from college in August, got herself a job and was doing very well.

And then came Covid. Her boyfriend, who thought the virus was a hoax, brought it home. He was mildly ill for three days. She’s been seriously ill for seven weeks now. (Just a few days ago her fever was 104.5). On Friday she had four hours of testing, to see whether her heart, lungs, or kidneys were seriously damaged. We don’t know when (or if) she’ll be able to go back to work. We don’t know when we’ll be able to see her or give her a hug. It’s been very hard for us, and unbelievably hard for her. But she has always been indefatigable (you can’t keep her down). She’s bounced back from so much. God willing, she’ll bounce back from this too.

Reblogging from the Politics of Autism Blog: Texas, Social Workers, Discrimination — Autism Policy and Politics

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss  the civil rights of people with autism and other disabilities. Edgar Walters at The Texas Tribune:Texas social workers are criticizing a state regulatory board’s decision this week to remove protections for LGBTQ clients and clients with disabilities who seek social work services.The Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners voted unanimously Monday to change a section of its code…

Texas, Social Workers, Discrimination — Autism Policy and Politics

“You Ever Been Charged with a Crime Before?”

According to a recently filed law suit, “L.G.” was handcuffed by a police officer, slammed to the floor, and pinned there for more thanhalf an hour, as he cried and yelled that he was in pain. The officer in question asked him “You ever been charged with a crime before? Well, you’re fixing to be.”

The crime in question? Spitting. Nothing more. Just spitting. In the end there was no arrest, but L.G. was severely traumatized. This event took place in September, 2018, in Statesville, North Carolina.

Oh, and did I mention that L.G. was an autistic 7-year-old? And that he was targeted in his special needs classroom, as two teachers looked on without intervening to help their student?

Interested in My New Book?

Hi. As many of you know, a lot of the posts on this blog are part of a book on autism and human rights in the United States that I am close to finishing.

Now I’m starting to spread the word about it (before they even consider your book, publishers want you to have a group of people who are interested in buying or reviewing it already in place . . .)

If you are interested, please go to my author’s website at http:/meganmclaughlinwriting.com and sign up for email updates (I promise there won’t be too many, because that’s annoying, right?)

Thanks!