Posted in Advocacy, Autistic Identity, writing

From the Archives: The Baggage of Autistic Literature

So I think I said at one point that I don’t get writer’s block.  And that’s true, strictly speaking.

However, as you can tell, I’m sitting here, spilling out words, but I’m using them to whine about writer’s block.  What gives?

Well, I had three pages of something I don’t much like that I gave up on writing and decided to come over here.  A lot has been going on, particularly regarding the authenticity of Autistic voices.   Far stronger bloggers than I are debating whether self-diagnosis is valid and other fun topics.  Since returning to working outside the house, though, there’s a limit to how much I can really get involved.

So instead, I do my advocacy through writing about things like education and neurodiversity advocacy “and stuff.”

But I haven’t even had time for that lately.  (By the way, hi, blogosphere.  I miss you guys.   Thanks for fighting the good fight on self-diagnosis and other demons!).

Tomorrow I’m due to write my second story for the fiction class (by the way, I’ve got a revised edition of the first story, but I’m thinking about “shopping it around for publication” so if the early draft disappears from the website, that’s why.

So, yeah, here I am, not writing the new story.

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Posted in Self-Care

Stimming with Casual Games: Trying to Recover

Hi, all.

I’ve been trying to write for over a week, but I’ve been too busy.

Any times I’m not busy, I’ve been stimming with casual games I love, like those time management games (most recently Spa Mania and Spa Mania 2) and puzzle games like Patchworkz and Gizmos.  These are basic, casual games, and I play them while watching dull things like Unsolved Mysteries (I think Amazon has them all now; I keep not being able to come to the end of it) and Survivor (some of these seasons are maddening) in my other monitor.

I also burn three Yankee Candles in my office.  They help a lot, too.

I’ve been too tired to play anything remotely immersive, though I’m almost getting there.

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Posted in Self-Care

Spoon Theory and Commerce

Uhm, this is from the archives and I forgot to bring it back.  Given how often I talk about spoons (including the one I’m writing for today, I realized, hey, I can’t link to what’s never been brought back and posted….), I thought it’s a good time to bring this one back.  Another post is forthcoming!

Shopping can be either a relief to or a heavy burden to Autistic shoppers.  On the one hand, there are the crowds and with them noise, distractions, and the constant possibility that one might have to actually engage with strangers and/or people one knows, but can’t quite place in this context.  On the other hand, a good store can be neat and orderly, with wide aisles and fantastic employees who can really save you time and money.  Some autistics love looking at the neat stacks of fruit, for example.   As such, some Autistics find pleasure in shopping while others consider it akin to entering a warzone.

Hopefully this post will help you to understand just a little bit about why it can be hard to shop with us!

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Christmas Break is Here!

The last bit before Christmas is always hard for me because I’m busy trying to “act normal” with my kids to keep them from freaking out just before Christmas.

I think we did a good job this year, since we had relative peace and continued learning like we always do so as to smooth out the panic kids get before the break.

I’ll do some thinking about school and other adventures and will be back to writing ASAP.

Catch you all soon!

Posted in Advocacy, Autistic Identity, intersectionality

Disappointing John Warriner: Why it’s Hard for Me to Change

Autistic people like to be right.

We have a saying in my house, “technically correct is the best kind of correct.”  It’s what my husband and I say to each other about ourselves or about our son when we realize we’re arguing in circles and all of us are convinced we’re right.  Because I was more able to see the point of view of other people than my husband was, inevitably I’d say something that was right in terms of, if you looked at lived experiences, and my husband would say something that he’d internalized as a rule.  Once upon a time, I’d said, “Well, you’re technically correct…” at which point he replied, “Well, that’s the best kind of correct.”  Ever since we make that the family joke.

And it really does give you a handle on why we Autistics can be difficult to change.

One of the things I learned from going to public schools myself, is that embarrassment is the worst thing in the world.  See, if you do something embarrassing two things happen 1) people can randomly bring it up in the future and use it to color their future opinions of you and 2) your mind has this irritating habit of doing this thing where, if you’re sitting there, enjoying the day, it will decide to bring you down a peg or two and replay an incident that was horrifyingly embarrassing.  Objectively, I know now that brains playing bad memories over again is a typical thing.  In fact, I seem to remember learning it in high school when I read a Dave Barry column and he mentioned his brain doing that as if it’s what brains do all the time (thanks, Dave!  You really helped me out with that!), but at the same time, I still think I react more strongly to that embarrassment than the typical neurotypical.

Female Autistics in particular have a hard time being recognized because we tend to do this thing where we’re aware of how we’re perceived and can even (often) sense other people’s emotions and what they are thinking.  We’ve learned this from years of playing detective and trying to fit in, which we might have managed in elementary years, but when things start getting too intense around middle school, we often can’t make it anymore and just get lost at the “fitting in” game.  But some of us can still sense what other people are thinking and feeling, but we can’t do anything about it so we’re ostracized for being different.

That’s not, clearly, ideal.

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Posted in Books

Read this Book

I recently read The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater.  I picked it up due to reviews, without really knowing what it was about.

Given I’m working on my pronouns in the wake of Siri-gate, it was quite timely for me.

It’s the story of an incident on a bus in which a Black teen lit an agendered person on fire.  They were just napping on the bus when the Black teen got the idea of lighting their skirt on fire.  The skirt burned too hot, too fast, and they were very damaged as a result.

This is told as a narrative journalism where the author interviewed everyone involved.  It is particularly helpful because it goes over a lot of terminology including pronoun usage in such a way as to explain it in a very neutral fashion, which can make it a little easier for someone like me who is still working on pronouns.  The reason the race of the perpetrator matters since it’s also a story about his identity as well.  It’s a very powerful story.

What I particularly like about the book is that Slater doesn’t make the story about “Dashka-the-author”; rather, she presents both teenagers’ stories and then you’re not sure who you’re mad at, by the end.  It is a story of an incident, and well told.

And as it’s YA lit, it’s a quick read, besides.

 

Posted in School governance, School Leadership, Self-Care

Seclude/Restrain and Other Pointless Forms of Discipline in Schools

[Image: eighteen wooden, red-tipped matches are lined up in a semi-circle (that presumably continues outside the frame) against a black background. The eighth match from the right is lit] image from Pixabay]
Not again.

We have a school district not too far away that keeps doing things that make no sense.

A few years ago, this district had a situation where the principal decided a meltdown didn’t end fast enough and she sat on an elementary student’s legs and held him down so she could, in her eyes, force the meltdown to “peak” so it could end faster.  That was about 2.5 years ago.

Last month, the district decided to hit the news again.  This time, a young child (this district only has grades K-3 in these schools, so these are little elementary kids besides) took one of the other students’ play-doh and decided to throw it at people.  The teacher called in the principal when the kid wouldn’t give it back, and the principal dragged the child down the hall and put him in a closet.  Okay, now it’s a “time out” space, but it was effectively built to be a closet, so…it’s a freaking closet.

For throwing play-doh.

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Posted in Advocacy

The Lady at Guadalupe: Permission to Be Yourself

If you don’t know anything about apparitions of Mary, you may not know about some powerful stories.  Inevitably, the “certified” visions appear only to children or people who have no power in society.  As an example, Our Lady of Lourdes appeared to a young girl who was illiterate, yet was able to repeat what the lady said, that she was the “Immaculate Conception.”  There was no way that young Bernadette, far removed from the theologians of her day, could possibly have known they were all kicking around the idea of Mary’s immaculate conception and whether or not it was true.  No one in the village really knew about that going on.  Later, in Fatima, Portugal, “a lady” appeared to three shepherd children.  One day, she made the sun dance.  The weirdest part about the sun dancing was that not everyone there saw it, which seemed to make it even more believable as divine (Bible stories inevitably have unbelievers seem to not see a thing).

But the big common denominator inevitably is: a silenced voice sees a lady (the viewer or viewers rarely call her Mary, but eventually they figure it out or someone else will eventually decide it is she).

Today is the celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of the Americas (not just Mexico, as some might believe).

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Posted in Advocacy, Neurodiversity

Boycott To Siri Update

Thanks for all the visits recently in the wake of #BoycottToSiri.  I’m so humbled by the neurotypical allies joining us, and even more humbled to hear my words are being used in this movement.

Have a look at our hero, Amethyst Shaber, who posted video message to understand the movement and how you can help http://autismgazette.com/videos/videoamythest-schaber-boycotttosiri/.

 

Next, head to this review by the amazing Kaelan Rhywiol if you want to understand the specific problems of the book: https://twitter.com/kaelanrhy/status/936307207968137216

 

 

 

Posted in Advocacy

neurotypicals Are Very Odd Creatures: Watching Survivor to Analyze Neurotypicality

So, a long time ago, when the television show Survivor first came out, I watched it and was utterly fascinated.  The main thing I loved about it was watching Richard Hatch play a game no one else yet understood was the actual game of the show and (spoiler alert) be rewarded with a million dollars.

[A blue piranha with red stomach is hidden in some underwater grass. Jeff Probst, the host of Survivor, pointed out that a bigger fish can take your finger off with one bite. Image from Pixabay]
If you don’t know the game, the gist is they strand people on an island in two groups and early on, the way you get power is by winning challenges, many of which are physical, which can be a real problem due to (as the show goes on) less and less food being available to you unless you’re good at finding it on your own.  There are mental challenges, too, but these get hard given the lack of food as well.  The trick is to figure out how to stay healthy physically so you can compete physically and mentally.  When there are too few people to have two separate groups, they merge them together and the challenges become individual.  If you get “immunity,” the others can’t get rid of you by voting you out, but almost all of the people who are there after the merge then become a jury who decide who wins the million at the end, so if you’re too devious in your scheming, it will cost you.  Maybe.

Anyway, when the game first started, the original group had literally no idea what the game was, so it was relatively easy for Hatch to create a core alliance and use it to have an effective voting bloc to ensure that what he thought, strategically, would be the best thing to do, he was able to actually carry out.

Fast-forward to the season I just finished, season 6 (I only really watched the first, some of the celebrity edition, and the all-star season, so I’m watching old ones).  I was incensed this season, more than before, and it made me think about the “pretty people” vs. the rest of us and what all this means for society.

Continue reading “neurotypicals Are Very Odd Creatures: Watching Survivor to Analyze Neurotypicality”