The White Tussock and Autism Acceptance

I’m betting you are wondering how in the hell a white tussock can be related to anything autism,

or even what the hell a white tussock is,

em I right?

Its not just about the tussock.

Its also connected to know it all guys at camp fire programs,

and even rescued owls.

Everything in this world is connectable,  not so much in a “destiny, the stars shine for you” type of connection, but certainly patterned in its similarities.

Minds like to find patterns.

We like simile and metaphor, myth, and fables – because they seem like what we actually see happen in life.

We unfortunately also really like stereotype for the same reasons.

I make dozens of connections in my mind continuously.

It’s a bit noisy in there.

There is six degrees of connection NOT just between people, but also ideas,  pattern, image, music…and on and on.  They are direct and indirect, physical, and just in my minds eye.

EVERYTHING is relate-able to something else.

Of course connection, just like correlation, DOESN’T MEAN CAUSE

and sometimes when we see correlations (remember EVERYTHING is linkable, so there are bound to be connections between autism and other things)

We want to think cause,

but that doesn’t make it so.

So without further ado, everything that happened to our family over the last few days  is connectable to autism acceptance.

(I had them for the holiday weekend though typically the weekend is with Dad) 

Never fear,

I’m only picking the more salient bits for this post.

Explaining in five points:

1. A person diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder isn’t a family destroyer as the founder of autism speaks likes to call them


They are a family member.

Every effort must be taken to make sure they can participate in family stuff,

like programs at local parks.

Saturday we all four of our autistic selves plus a couple typical-ish  daughters

(yeah ok, they’re a bit weird too, in a muppets doctor teeth sort of way)

went to a presentation on lightning bugs (fireflies).


Noise can be an issue, so Pete brought his headphones. This accommodation helps him do things he otherwise could not.

It doesn’t matter if typical boys don’t wear gun range grade noise cancelling headphones to activities, because we don’t expect him to be a typical boy.

This is acceptance.

We had a bit of a lecture, hiked, had a campfire and caught lightning bugs.

And the children PLAYED.

Bet that has you just gobsmacked, doesn’t it?

2. Did you know that lightning bugs are larvae for TWO YEARS and adults for only two weeks?!? There are two thousand different kinds.

In a similar way autistic kids come in all kinds, shapes, sizes, abilities and challenges. They also take a bit longer to develop but it doesn’t mean that they aren’t capable of a lifetime of development, like all the typical people out there.  Ya weirdos.

3. Do not  NOT be the neurotypical trying to explain what autism is like to someone WITH an autism spectrum disorder.

It’s like the dude Saturday night who  attempted to tell two grown women, PARK NATURALISTS WHO RUN CAMPFIRE PROGRAMS at that,  how to build a campfire.


I think they did a swell job.  🙂

Just don’t be that guy.

It’s not very classy.

Assume we  know how we feel and what its all about, its our MIND for heaven sake.

4. It’s entirely possible to hand tame an owl or raven or other wild bird, but its best NOT to, because then they imprint to humans, become overly dependent, and will spend captive lives, if they aren’t shot as a nuisance animal, or otherwise misused, abused, and killed.


This owl is lucky to end up in a sanctuary provided by the park service. He is so tame he is used for scales and tales park programs, and was around for “feathered friends” at a different park we visited on Sunday.

Acceptance also means  working on independence, AND  believing they are limitless in their capacity to learn. It’s not about learned dependency, or believing autism makes someone incompetent.  Its a self fulfilling prophecy when someone disbelieves in a person’s potential and so doesn’t let them fly. Then they will never learn to.

While most have thought it was pointless, I still work on academics with my severely language impaired autistic son, and challenged the low expectations of his teachers when he attended school.

5. It’s best NOT to pick up a white tussock moth caterpillar.

They like their space, and you can get a nasty rash if you don’t respect the boundaries of mr. tussock


Isnt it the cutesey wootsiest?

Don’t ya want to pet it?

I found him when we went swimming in the Patapsco  (pah-tap-sko) river (yikes, there’s that family togetherness again, good lord) today.


It never ceases to amaze me the people who insist autistics are aggressive/violent are usually ALSO the ones with no respect for the person’s rights (personal space, decision making,  allowing for options/accommodations in order to diffuse stress) that could help keep those incidents to a minimum. Sort of a self fulfilling prophecy they’ve got going there.

“He was upset, I was trying to redirect him (make him comply by grabbing him) and he bit me.”

It’s about the same as touching a poisonous moth larvae, one you thought probably was, petting it anyway, and then getting a rash.

“Well duh.”

I’d have bit her too. You can tell a lot about a person by the way their skin tastes, but I digress)

There you have it, five ways my weekend  with the kids was connected to autism acceptance.

Now…I need to find some anti – histamine cream.



3 thoughts on “The White Tussock and Autism Acceptance

  1. h4rrish4wk says:

    “3. Do not NOT be the neurotypical trying to explain what autism is like to someone WITH an autism spectrum disorder.
    Just don’t be that guy.

    It’s not very classy.”

    YES! A thousand, million times YES! That should be a poster.

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