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JP: Yes, and I think the distance also comes from the fear-mongering and the rhetoric of cure and cause.Also, many parents truly think they're doing the best for their kids by getting all the recommended therapies—and it's a blow to them when autistic adults challenge the notion that things like ABA might not be the best answer. LW: We all have to realize that no one is going to give new ideas half a chance if the person representing them is screaming and name-calling.JP: What are some things your parents did that helped you as you were growing up?

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LW: One issue is that we seem to forget that we all have the same goal—happy kids who grow up to be fulfilled adults—but we approach the way to get there differently.

Autistic adults feel like the typical parent just can't understand what it's like to grow up on the spectrum, and the parents feel like these strangers can't possibly know the child like the parent does.

Kids with autism—like my son Liam, a non-speaking 7-year-old on the spectrum—benefit when their parents engage in dialogue with autistic adults.

But, too often, parents and autistic adults end up at odds with each other.

Sensory issues also may not be obvious—I love the mall, but I hate one department store because the light hits the tiles so glaringly it hurts.

A lot of times, it may not be easy for the parent to understand the problem, but for the kid, absent the understanding, validation goes a long way.

Then, I was reading books about recovery and desperate to do everything I could to fix him. Eventually, books like and Emma Zurcher-Long's writing shifted my views.

I saw that there was a community Liam could join, and that was a beautiful thing.

I want the world to know that he is smart, and that he understands how to be gentle and kind and engaged.

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