*Note for information on how this website is organized please refer to this post.
The mission of Edge of the Playground is to provide strategies for people navigating autism through speaking engagements and workshop events. It incorporates advice for both autistic people and autism parents, families, and friends all in one platform. Each week there is a “Take a Peek Inside” post for those who are not autistic looking to gain a better understanding and a “Monkey Bars” post giving real life advice and resources for those on the autism spectrum. Edge of the Playground is created and run by an autistic person.
Praise for Edge of the Playground
As an educator, I continually look to current research as a foundation for appropriately and effectively addressing the needs of all learners. As a learning specialist, I am indebted to Mikhaela for her wisdom and practical advice as she provides an authentic context for what research reveals.. Years ago, Mikhaela’s mother and grandmother introduced me toTony Atwood. Until the birth of this blog, Atwood’s shared wisdom was the North star for acknowledging and celebrating neurodiversity. No less credible than Atwood’s work, this blog is impactful because it allows readers to walk in the shoes of an articulate spokeswoman who has experienced the Edge of the Playground first hand. Personal perspective, wisdom and humor combine to make this blog a must-follow for adults, educators, parents, and students who will surely recognize themselves as they dive deeply into this blog’s posts.
-Trish McRae, MEd
Mikhaela Ackerman (pictured above) is an autistic public speaker, writer, yoga instructor, and advocate. She also holds a Juris Doctorate of law. She and her mother regularly appear at advocacy and educational events to provide both the autistic person and parent perspective. Mikhaela’s writing has been featured on the Mighty, Mental Health Talk, and many others. This page serves to bring together a wide range of community to help other autistic people and families.
For more information on speaking events or to book Mikhaela click here.
Welcome to Edge of The Playground. This is a resource created by myself, Mikhaela Ackerman. I was diagnosed with autism at the age of 4 and had very limited language before that time. When I was initially diagnosed with ASD, only one in every 2,000 births were identified as being autistic and almost none were girls. Doctors sat my mother down and gave her a laundry list of everything I wouldn’t accomplish. She was criticized for not sending me to a group home to live out my days. Allowing me to try was considered “cruel.” But she did not accept this. “Let her try.”
And so I tried. I succeeded in many parts of my life, making it my personal mission to accomplish everything on the list I was told I would never achieve. I may not achieve them the same way that you do but I still find purpose in my life. I have also had failures. I’ve learned that it is not what society expects of us that matters but rather how much joy we find within our lives.
Along with autism I experienced many co-occurring conditions such as face blindness, digestive issues, and weakened immune system. I spent much of my childhood in hospitals for weeks at a time and was home schooled for an entire school year due to my illnesses. I have been blessed in my adult life to have health.
Even though most people would tell you that they cannot tell I am autistic anymore, I still struggle inwardly. Simply because you learn to adapt does not mean the hard parts of autism go away. In many ways it is harder when people are not able to tell because they have no idea the amount of effort I put into my day to day life and socialization.
But there are also tremendous strengths to autism! In my current career, it has helped me in ways I know I would not have succeeded with a typical brain. This site is meant to address the great successes autism can bring and to help others on the spectrum to tap into our core strengths. We bring a great uniqueness to this world and I know for a fact we have a leg up in many skills others do not even if we do have some harder parts to deal with.
This is my story. And just as no neurotypical person is the same, no autistic person is the same. We make up a wonderfully diverse spectrum of people. My hope is to spread not only awareness, but acceptance. To advocate for better services and fill the gap that occurs once we reach adulthood.
I am so humbled you are here and hope that you will join me in creating better understanding and acceptance. And no matter what, to always try.
Edge of the Playground™
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Note: The opinions expressed on this website and in speaking events are the sole opinions of Mary Lynn and Mikhaela and do not represent the opinions of any entity that employs them. Mikhaela and Mary Lynn do not provide any legal or professional medical advice.