Links, Pics and a Thunderclap

Some links to excellent pieces by autistic writers, especially on the subject of Judith Newman’s book To Siri With Love. Details of a thunderclap on the subject of driven grouse shooting and some of my own photos.

INTRODUCTION

I have had a busy few days imaging for James and Sons’ final auction of the year (takes place on Wednesday – click here to view on online catalogue), so it is only today that I have time for another post. Before getting into the main meat of today’s post there is a small matter of an…

APOLOGY

Some of you may have noticed snowflakes falling across pictures on this blog (as I did today, when I accessed it at the library to get a picture I needed for something I was doing). I am aware that some of my followers have sensory issues that make this sort of thing unwelcome, and I have changed my settings so that those snowflakes will not appear again. I apologise to any who were inconvenienced by this ‘seasonal’ addition of WordPress’s.

SOME AUTISM RELATED PIECES

I will start this section by stating that most of the pieces I link to here were drawn to my attention by Eve Reiland at americanbadassactivists. Another excellent source of good material by autistic people is Laina, both in her own right at thesilentwaveblog and via her specialist sharing blog Lainascollection.

My first links concern the representation of autistic people in the media:

The remaining links in this section all related to…

#BOYCOTTTOSIRI

The title of this section refers to the backlash by the autistic community against Judith Newman’s book To Siri With Love. Although they make unpleasant reading, because of what they reveal about the book, I urge you to follow up the links I give, all of which, save one, are to pieces about this book written by autistic people. The exception, which ends this section, is to an alternative reading list, and was also created by an autistic person. 

I start with what is actually last piece I read about this issue, “An Autistic’s Thoughts On To Siri, With Love by Judith Newman” which was posted on writeabledreams.

My next offering, by Susie Rodarme is titled “AN OPEN LETTER TO HARPERCOLLINS ABOUT TO SIRI WITH LOVE“, and was published on bookriot.com

Next, courtesy of goodreads.com comes Kaelan Rhywiol’s review of the book – it is a superbly written take down of the book.

Next we turn to autistichoya and “Why we must #BoycottToSiri / An open letter to Judith Newman“. 

The last specific #BoycottToSiri piece to which I link is Eve’s as yet unanswered closing challenge to the author “Judith Newman | Stop The BS and Evolve into an Actual Autistic Ally #boycotttosiri” 

I end this section with a link to a post on huxtales simply titled “The Essential Autistic Reading List“.

A THUNDERCLAP

To take part in a thunderclap you have to be on at least one of facebook, twitter and/ or tumblr. I am on the first two named, and as such have contributed approximately 5,500 connections to this thunderclap calling for a ban on driven grouse shooting. If like me (see here for a previous piece on this subject) you hold those who take pleasure in shooting at birds in utter contempt, and you are on one of the three networks mentioned please add your voice to thunderclap – more details below:

GrouseThunderclap.jpg

PICTURES

Lights, Tower StreetLight chainsLights, Broad StreetStarVancouver ArchLit up treeBlack headed gullGullsB7ackbirdBlackb1rd

Bus window 1
This network of cracks were in the upstairs front window of an X29 bus – when it is a double decker I invariably sit upstairs, and the best seat is the front window seat on the side opposite the driver.

LeafRMCSquirrel

Olympics 50p.jpg
I needed this 50p for my bus fare, so I could not keep it until a better opportunity to photograph it arose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Autism Pledge And Minimalist Personal Cards

My #TheAutisticUnion pledge and my new cards.

INTRODUCTION

Just a quick post to keep things rolling…

AN AUTISM PLEDGE

This, courtesy of Eve Reiland at AmericanBadassActivists,  is #TheAutisticUnion Pledge:

pledgeautisticunion

Every individual pledge has been published on this site, including as of yesterday mine. Mine has also been reblogged on FireBrightStarSoul for which many thanks. I reproduce it below as well:

#TheAutisticUnion Pledge |Thomas Sutcliffe

ThomasSutcliffeI pledge . . .

I pledge to always uphold the principles of #TheAutisticUnion pledge. I believe firmly in every one of the ten points of this pledge.

As someone who is both autistic and branch secretary of the National Autistic Society West Norfolk branch, I am doing my bit to ensure that autistic people are involved in the running of their own welfare/ support organisations.

You can find out more about me on my blog, http://aspi.blog and also on my London transport themed website www.londontu.be.

MINIMALIST PERSONAL CARDS

Vistaprint gave me a £10 voucher off my next purchase, with a use-by date as a reward for using them to make my 2018 wall calendars, so I used it to create a card which contains some information about me on one side and a sample photograph on the other. I collected them from the delivery office on Austin Street this morning (delivery was attempted yesterday while I was out), and they have come out superbly.

FrontBack

International Charter of Autists Rights & THE 10 POINTS OF Âû (The Autistic Union)

This is a must read document, courtesy of Eve Reiland (nee Hinson) at americanbadassactivists

American Badass Activists

Note: The International Charter of Autists Rights has been officially adopted at AmericanBadassActivists.org. Please support, share and help educate others on Autists Rights.


THE 10 POINTS OF Âû (The Autistic Union)
  1. I am Autistic. [or] I support those who are Autistic.
  2. I embrace my Autism as a very significant part of my identity.
  3. I embrace those who would sacrifice to protect all Autistic life.
  4. I embrace the belief that Autism does not need any “curing”.
  5. I embrace the self-advocacy goal of “Everything about us, with us”.
  6. I embrace the definition of Autism as a neuro-social difference.
  7. I embrace measures directed at protecting Autistics from attack.
  8. I embrace a person-centred approach to all Autism issues.
  9. I embrace rigorous scientific approaches to co-occurring conditions.
  10. I embrace Autistics leading their own welfare organisations.

1. THE RIGHT TO LIFE 

We will prevent eugenic elimination of autistic people by opposing pre-natal testing for autism.

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Downham Market Community Fair

An account of running the NAS West Norfolk stall at the Downham Market Community Fair on Saturday.

INTRODUCTION

NAS West Norfolk were invited to run a stall at the Downham Market Community Fair, which took place on Saturday, with stalls setting up from 9AM and the event itself running from 10AM to 2PM. This post is my account from my perspective running the NASWN stall on the day. There will be plenty of photographs. I have stated elsewhere that while it is not ideal to have a stall covered by only one person if NAS West Norfolk are going to have only one person running the stall that person should be me.

Community Fair

GETTING THERE

I travelled to Downham Market by train (£3 return when making the journey at the weekend), selecting the 7:54AM, which would see me arrive at the station at about 8:10AM. I saw sufficiently much to take the eye as I walked through the town that I shall be putting up a separate post about that. I arrived outside the Town Hall at 8:35AM, giving me plenty of time to take some photographs of the outside of the building.

Town Hall Exterior 5Info board 2Info board 1Detail 5Town Hall Exterior 4Detail 4Town Hall Exterior 3Foundation stoneDetail 3Detail 2Detail 1Main doorTown Hall Exterior 2Town Hall Exterior 1Carr panelAdvertisingWindowDetail 6

THE NASWN STALL

As arranged the person bringing the stall and some new leaflets arrived at 9AM, and the setup was swiftly accomplished. This was the first occasion in which the aspi.blog calendars for 2018 were on public display.

Stall
The stall – new leaflets/flyers, calendars and the display board.
Calendars
A close up of the calendars.

AROUND THE HALL

Obviously, being in sole charge of the stall I did not have much opportunity for moving about once the event was underway, but I did get sufficient pictures from a combination of the occasions on which I did move about and those taken from the stall to give a feel for the event. We start with some general pictures of the inside of the building.

Whole Hall
Two shots showing views of the hall

Hall

Parapet
This parapet is presumably the front of an upstairs seating area.
Artwork 2
The last two shots in this selection feature artwork on the walls just outside the hall.

Artwork 1

Moving on to inidviudal stalls, I got pictures of the Downham Market Horticultural Society stall, the RBL stall, and various others. The most impressive stall of the day was that being run by the King’s Lynn and District Astronomy Society. They had a big screen displaying some very impressive slides as well their display board. The Cats Protection group had a stall, that like the NASWN stall was being run by a single person. 

Sue Ryder 2Cats ProtectionDownham Market HortiRBLRBL modelsBannerSue RyderRotary

These are all the pictures of stalls other than the Astronomy Society one that I got, and it is to that group that I now turn:

Astronomy 1
Two shots of the KLADAS stall

Astronomy 2

Astronomy 3
The remainder are of slides that caught my attention.

Astronomy 4Astronomy 5Astronomy 6Astronomy 7Astronomy 8Astronomy 9

THE NAS WEST NORFOLK STALL

The event was not massively attended, but I did see quite a few people at the NASWN stall, and the experience was overwhelmingly positive. My calendars impressed a few people but not sufficiently for any to sell. From an NASWN perspective, the main point of the day of course was to improve understanding of autism and to publicise the existence of our group. We succeeded as well as could have been hoped for in both regards, with a number of the new leaflets being taken, and quite a few people leaving the event better informed about autism than they had been before it started. I also got to explain about the rainbow coloured infinity symbol, and the fact that it is a symbol chosen by autistic people to represent the autistic spectrum. I consider that this event was a good use of a significant part of my Saturday. To finish, here is our stall for a second time:

Stall
The stall – new leaflets/flyers, calendars and the display board.

 

 

Ageing With Autism

An account of the Ageing With Autism conference that took place in Norwich on Wednesday.

INTRODUCTION

The title of this post is the same as the event in Norwich on Wednesday at which I was running a stall for NAS West Norfolk. This post tells the story of that day.

THE PRELIMINARIES

This event was organised by ASD Helping Hands, and they invited us to have a stall there, which we accepted. The intention was that I and our branch chair would jointly run the stall. Other factors intervened, meaning that the branch chair could run me over to Norwich with the stuff for the stall, see me set up and then depart, leaving me to travel back by bus. Fortunately someone else very well known to us was able to take the stall stuff back in their car (although not heavy, the display board even when folded and bagged is bulky and awkward – it would have been very difficult taking it back to King’s Lynn on the bus). This meant that I would be running the stall on my own. Having only one person to run the stall was not ideal, but in the context of people who might run an NAS West Norfolk stall if the stall has to be run by a single person I am the right person to it, since at least that does mean the we have an autistic person present (the NAS in NAS West Norfolk stands for National Autistic Society after all).

GETTING THERE

I had arranged to meet the branch chair on Winston Churchill Drive, near her son’s school (as a single male I did not wish to be seen loitering directly outside a school!), which meant a longish walk (I was not paying a bus fare for a journey of that length). I travelled by way of The Walks, the path on from there in between the two academies, various back roads in Gaywood which led in the general direction of Gaywood Park, and then through Gaywood Park to the latest point at which I could join the main road, which I then followed to the roundabout opposite the entrance to the grounds of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and then walked on to Winston Churchill Drive to await the branch chair. Here is a map that is posted opposite where I waited:

Map

The journey from there to Norwich was uneventful, but having located King Street we discovered that it was blocked halfway along its length, so I took the stall stuff and made my way to the venue while the car was parked. Setting the stall up did not take very long, and I was ready for action.

AT THE EVENT

I talked to various people through the day and also picked up information from other stalls at the event. The first person I spoke to was Daphne Rowlands of Children’s Autism Services, who came over not long after I had set up. During an early quiet period I walked round the room looking at the stalls, which were run by (in no particular order):

As well as all these organisations, a number of ordinary folk attending the conference came over to speak to me, and we may or may not hear more from them. The last session of the conference ended at 3:00, and at 3:30, with no one having come to my stall for several minutes I decided it was time to pack up (in theory I could have stayed another hour). After accompanying the person who would be temporarily looking after the stall stuff to her car and helping her to load I took the opportunity of being in Norwich to visit the Millennium Library before catching the bus home. I arrived home somewhat more than 11 hours after setting off. 

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are the photographs I took at the event (and a couple taken later in the day).

Agenda
The agenda for the conference.
Thomas
My personal sheet, attached to the NASWN notice board
Acrostic
The NASWN acrostic
Allotment 1
The first of two pieces about our allotment

Allotment 2

NASWN
The whole NASWN stall.

alphaASD helping handsRespectrumRespectrum2StallsStalls2Stalls3Fish pic

Carpet Pattern 2
The patterns in the carpet caught my attention (based on fingerprints?)

Carpet patternCarpet patternsCarpet

Milestone
An unusual signpost in Norwich

Numerous Neurodiversity Nuggets

Links to some important pieces about neurodiversity, and a few photographs at the end.

INTRODUCTION

This one is mainly a sharing post, before I finish with some of my photos. As always links will be in bold and in a different colour from the surrounding text. However, before moving on I give a special mention to Eve Hinson of americanbadassactivists who signposted me to a lot of the links I share below.

A SILENT WAVE SPECIAL

We start with an old favourite, Laina over at thesilentwaveblog, who has produced a gem of a post titled “15 More things not to say (or do) to an (this) Asperger’s / autistic person“. Here to whet your appetite is her first point:

1 – “Oh, you must be high-functioning.”

Please–Don’t Be That Person.  Any sentence containing “you must be” is an assumption, and you know what They Say about the word “assume” and its spelling and all that.

If that weren’t filled enough to the brim with potential land mines, let’s factor in the sheer wrong-ness of the statement.  Maybe I’m functioning OK today.  And maybe, so are you.  All is calm, all is bright.

But now, let’s stress the human system.  Kind of like building an epic metropolis on SimCity and then tearing it down with Godzilla or something.

If the human system encounters a Godzilla attack that is destructive enough or lasts long enough, the system will suffer.  It might even destabilize.

By assuming I’m “high-functioning” (whatever that even means anymore), people who say stuff like this are, by comparison, speaking poorly of those who act differently.  Which, on many days, includes me.  

Not only that, but they’re undermining the sheer force of will (and luck) it often takes for me to suppress my natural self and create a likable Pseudo-Me that gets past the social metal detectors.

Please, never make assumptions, never put anyone else down (even if it’s disguised as a compliment to my face), and never underestimate the energy it takes for me to persuade the world to accept me. 

MUSEUM VISITING THE
“ART OF AUTISM” WAY

The Art of Autism website is a regular source of good material, and this piece, by Julie Blair is no exception. It is chock full of good advice on how to make a museum visit really work. Cited at the end of it is Lisa Jo Ruddy of autisminthemuseum which I also recommend. 

NEUROCOSMOPOLITANISM

This section is one that I owe to Eve Hinson (see intro) – it was one of her posts that put me on to Nick Walker’s site, neurocosmopolitanism. I offer you four golden nuggets from this site and urge you to do some more exploring of your own:

  1. Neuro-what? – Nick’s opening post, in which he sets the scene for what is to follow and defines neurocosmopolitanism (a word of his own coinage). Here is a quote:
    Neurocosmopolitanism goes beyond this baseline of acceptance, as cosmopolitanism goes beyond mere tolerance of cultural differences. The neurocosmopolitan seeks to actively explore, engage with, and cultivate human neurodiversity and its creative potentials, in a spirit of humility, respect, and continual openness to learning and transformation.
  2. Throw Away the Master’s Tools: Liberating Ourselves from the Pathology Paradigm – In which Nick attacks what he calls “The Pathology Paradigm” and seeks to replace it with “The Neurodiversity Paradigm”:

    The Neurodiversity Paradigm

    Here’s how I’d articulate the fundamental principles of the neurodiversity paradigm:

    1. Neurodiversity – the diversity of brains and minds – is a natural, healthy, and valuable form of human diversity.
    2. There is no “normal” or “right” style of human brain or human mind, any more than there is one “normal” or “right” ethnicity, gender, or culture.
    3. The social dynamics that manifest in regard to neurodiversity are similar to the social dynamics that manifest in regard to other forms of human diversity (e.g., diversity of race, culture, gender, or sexual orientation). These dynamics include the dynamics of social power relations – the dynamics of social inequality, privilege, and oppression – as well as the dynamics by which diversity, when embraced, acts as a source of creative potential within a group or society.

  3. What is Autism? In which Nick sets out to provide an introductory definition of Autism. Here is paragraph 1 of his outline:
    Autism is a genetically-based human neurological variant. The complex set of interrelated characteristics that distinguish autistic neurology from non-autistic neurology is not yet fully understood, but current evidence indicates that the central distinction is that autistic brains are characterized by particularly high levels of synaptic connectivity and responsiveness. This tends to make the autistic individual’s subjective experience more intense and chaotic than that of non-autistic individuals: on both the sensorimotor and cognitive levels, the autistic mind tends to register more information, and the impact of each bit of information tends to be both stronger and less predictable.
  4. Guiding Principles for a Course on Autism – Precisely what this title suggests. I quote the closing paragraph of principal 1:
    So a good course on autism should actively and uncompromisingly promote the neurodiversity paradigm, just as a good African-American Studies course is actively and uncompromisingly anti-racist. Work based in the pathology paradigm, if it’s assigned at all, should be assigned only so that the instructor and students can critique it in order to hone the students’ skills at recognizing and critiquing such work.

IDENTITY FIRST/ PERSON FIRST

This one comes from Autism, Or Something Like It. Titled ““Autism Parent” and the Horrible Duplicity of the “Autism” Label” it explains why the designation autistic person, which happens to be preferred by the vast majority of #actuallyautistic people, is preferable to so-called ‘person first’ terminology. I quote three key paragraphs below:

As for me, I’ve been pretty black and white about my stance on this. Autism is not a set of behaviours, nor is it defined by the inability to perform tasks. Autism is a neurological difference, present at birth and scripted into genetic codes (for more on the definition of Autism that we use in our household, please see this fantastic post, What Is Autism?, by Nick Walker).


So when I say that Sam is Autistic, I am neither defining him by what he can do or what he can’t do; I am describing him by how his brain (probably the most fundamental part of who he is as a human being) functions and by how this set of differences sets him apart from people who are not Autistic.

And…

Unfortunately, in many cases, the zealous movement of ‘person first language’ actually reenforces that which it is trying to combat. By stating repeatedly that Autism is a (implied ‘negative’) label and should not “define” our children, what is inherently being done is underscoring the idea that Autism is something that should be perceived as ‘deviant’, as opposed to a naturally occurring divergence from normal.

MYTHBUSTERS (AUTISM VERSION)

I end the sharing part of this post with a piece presented in comic strip form on everyday feminism, titled “8 Things You Were Probably Taught About Autism That Are Completely Wrong“. I hope you will visit the post and sample all eight of it’s parts. As an aperitif here is number 3:

AS 3

PHOTOGRAPHS

wagtailGreyfriarsDevice, greyfriarsGuanock Gate 1Guanock Gate 2Blackbirdspider1spider 2Spider 3Bird

 

 

About Autism

Some important autism themed pieces and a few of my photographs.

INTRODUCTION

I have several important links relating to autism to share with you, and I urge you to continue that sharing process. Just to remind my readers I am #actuallyautistic, and also branch secretary of the National Autistic Society’s West Norfolk branch, and in that latter capacity I will conclude this introduction by reminding you of NAS’s catchline:

UNTIL EVERYONE UNDERSTANDS

A NOTE ON ATTRIBUTIONS

I found some of these pieces by way of people other than the original author. In such cases as well as crediting the actual author I also intend to mention the person who gave me the tip off. If you seen an underlining anywhere it is a link, and those links that are body text will be in a colour other than black to further highlight them.

INCLUSIVE AUTISTIC TRAITSAUTISTICALITY

This piece was brought to my attention when the Neurodivergent Rebel reblogged it. It is a long piece, but very readable and absolutely bang on the money. The list itself is too long to quote here, but the screenshot below which explains the problems that the post goes on to address brilliantly is a good start:

IAT

THE LEFEVER BIKE RIDE

Paul and Jamie Lefever recently undertook a sponsored cycle ride from King’s Lynn to the National Autistic Society’s HQ in London, a distance of 118 miles. A full account, under the title “11-year-old Jamie cycles 118 miles for our charity (4 September 2017)” is available on the NAS website.

Jamie Lefever.

ABA THERAPISTS BUSTED

This piece, written by Amy Sequenzia, a well known autistic person and advocate for autism, was originally posted on the autismwomensnetwork under the self explanatory title “ABA Providers Making Fun of Autistic People“. I include a graphic from this post below:

Image is a photo of a group of human figure-shaped wooden pegs clustered to the left and a single wooden peg standing off to the right. Text says,
Image is a photo of a group of human figure-shaped wooden pegs clustered to the left and a single wooden peg standing off to the right. Text says, “It is about how ABA “therapists” REALLY see Autistics. It is about them making fun of us because they see us as broken and hopeless. -Amy Sequenzia, autismwomensnetwork.org”

 PREPARING AN AUTISM FRIENDLY SECONDARY CLASSROOM

With the new school year just getting underway, Lynn McCann of Reachout ASC has published a very informative and constructive piece under the title “Preparing an autism friendly secondary classroom“. 

AN AUTISM RELATED TWEET

While preparing this post I saw the following tweet, from Paul Isaacs, so here it is:

WEB RESOURCES FROM THE NEURODIVERGENT REBEL

I end the post with something I have touched on before. Previously I only included the email address for those who wanted to add to the list. This time I include the list as well:

web resources

This is a growing list. Please send suggestions to NeurodivergentRebel@gmail.com

PHOTOGRAPHS

As always, I end this post with some of my own photographs:

wagtail in pigeon's shadow
The pigeon in the background helps to show how tiny this wagtail is.

Squirrel

climbing squirrel
No I have not rotated this shot – the squirrel really is on a vertical tree trunk.

high tide and sunset

Rathskellar and Hanse House
This shot shows Hanse House and the Rathskellar, the latter of which is hosting a charity beer festival this weekend.

Marriott'sPlaques

27 King Street
I was due to steward at 11-13 King Street between 12 and 2PM on Heritage Open Day, but this has now been changed to 27 King Street, which is this fine building.

27 King Street - plaque

EIFCA boat 2
The Eastern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Auhtority.
Cockler and research boat
The cockling boat Baden Powell and a Fisheries Research vessel.

Serene DawnCormorants and West Lynn ChurchCormorants 6 (1)Cormorants and gullsPC