Posted in Autistic Identity

On the Things I Ought to Have Been Able to Do Revisited

This is an oldie that I’m bringing back again.  In this blog post, I reflected on the three things I’m good at, and why people assume I’m “high-functioning” because I am good at those things.  I scratch below the surface to point out that I am not all that “high-functioning” if we take into account the difficulties I have on a regular basis.  This is why these labels of “high” or low” functioning are useless.

There have been changes over the year since I wrote this.  I was promoted to principal, but this promotion comes with a heavy price: I can no longer find the time to do my extra job, and had to leave standardized test assessments.  The raise was minimal, and we are struggling more financially than we were last year at this time.   I was given this job because no one else would have taken it.  It is up to me to do my best to right a potentially sinking ship around for very little pay.  I am doing my best with that task, but still, I think about what I ought to have been able to do given my seeming “giftedness.”

Read on to hear more about the burdens of being supposedly “high-functioning.”

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Posted in Autistic Identity

The Rules as Written By Hallmark, the Media, and Children’s and YA Media

This is another archived post I’m bringing back.  I’m having a really hard time at work now.  Part of it is the Protestant Work Ethic that saturates U.S. culture: you know, the whole work yourself to death thing and somehow you will be rewarded.

By the way, if you work as hard as I’ve been working and you’re Autistic, you will not only not be successful, you may burnout.

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Posted in Autistic Identity

From the Archives: The View of Autism from the Cheap Seats: Cure Talk and Autistic Culture

Here’s another old blog I’m bringing back!

Yesterday, I heard someone say at school that she was signed up for the Autism version of some training the public school folk have to attend each year.  She’s our Title teacher, who comes out to work with kids, via the taxpayers.  I wanted to ask her if an Actual Autistic person was teaching it, but I’m selectively out at work right now; my colleagues who can help me know I’m Autistic, but my principal just officially knows my husband and son are Autistic.  She’ll do the math at some point, but for now, if I need help, my colleagues can help me pretty readily.  At any rate, this is an issue I’m forever concerned about: Autistic “training” for teachers that’s usually designed by people who believe in helping us “manage” our Autism by helping us to “pass” as neurotypical.  This ends up passing on a whole bunch of information that is, in fact, harmful to actual Autistics.

At any rate, early this morning, I was following tweets by the mind behind the amazing Aspie Mermaid about a class she was in with a whole bunch of nt folk talking about Autism.  They knew SO MUCH, yet they knew nothing.  They likely had been to some of these trainings I mentioned earlier.

And then the mind behind The Silent Wave tweeted about arguing about removing Autism from the DSM, and we batted some ideas around.

These events sparked this post, where I unpack a few myths about Autism from the so-called experts and what’s really true.

Come have a look at Autism, not from the “cheap seats” at those neurotypical-designed trainings, but right in the front row of the box (the best place to watch a musical) or the front row on the floor (the best place for other events!).

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Posted in Catholic leadership, Self-Care

Preventing Overload or Not: The Guilt of Being an Autistic Leader

Just a quick note to say since our school reduced numbers, it has been quieter and the classroom that the family was in is now much more peaceful.   We did the right thing.

Meanwhile, it is hotter than average and I’ve had longer days again than usual, with extra meetings.  I’m getting over a bad cold (which was at least relatively quick in passing).  My pre-arthritis (I can’t bear to call it arthritis yet…) is twingy.  I can feel myself heading for overload.

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Posted in Advocacy, Identity, School Leadership

On Being Without

I had a humbling experience this week.

I had to admit we couldn’t serve the needs a child had and counsel the parents out of our school.

By way of backstory, my own child was kicked from his Catholic school for being Autistic when he was in pre-school.  We ended up homeschooling.  He’s happy, and we’re happy.

It was not handled well and we left our church because we were pushed out, not counseled.

But I just had to do it to another family.

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Posted in leadership

Leadership Strengths of an Autistic Female: Common?

So, I’m in an educational leadership class that had us do the Gallup CliftonStrengths “test.”  In order to do this, you must buy a new, unopened copy of Strengths Based Leadership and go online to take a test.  I think it’s also available to purchase without the book, but for nearly $20, just get the book, too, as you save nothing by just buying the online version.

At any rate, I never would have taken this but for class, however, I found the theory behind the test intriguing, and I thought you all might as well.

The theory behind Strengths Based Leadership is that we ought to focus on our strengths.  We know ourselves, and therefore if we do what we’re best at and leave others, who are better at other things than we are, to do those things, thereby, we can have an effective team.

I know I lost some Autistics there with the word, “team,” because many of us remember the definition of team meaning “ignore the Autistic and/or make him or her do all of the work and claim group credit.”  Believe me, I know.

However, in a functioning model of teamwork, each person does what he or she is best at and together they do better than they ever would alone.  In theory, at any rate.

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