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.

 

 

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

 

What is Autism?

Some thoughts about autism provoked in a good way by anonymouslyautistic and a bad way by the folk at magiquiz.

INTRODUCTION

I am not going to attempt a scientific answer to the question in my title, merely to lay out some of my own thoughts. The original inspiration for this post was a post produced by anonymouslyautistic, titled “WHAT IS AUTISM – FROM AN AUTISTIC’S PERSPECTIVE” and brought to my attention by americanbadassactivistsAs readers of this blog will be aware I am branch secretary of the National Autistic Society’s West Norfolk branch as well as being autistic. 

 

WHAT AUTISM IS NOT

Among the things that autism is sometimes supposed to be but is not are:

  • A form of mental illness (more on this at the end of this section as you will see). 
  • A disorder
  • Something to be feared or worse still hated
  • Something that needs to be cured

I end this section with an example that absolutely shocked me when I saw it by way of twitter this weekend. I invite readers of this post to collectively identify everything they can find that is wrong with the formulation of the question below:

ableist question

If you click on the image you can go to the quiz, take it yourself and then post a comment (if you choose to do this please follow me in highlighting the problems with this question).

AUTISM AND ME

My unsuitability for front-line customer service and the difficulties I have with communication are down to autism. On the other side of the ledger my eye for detail, reflected in my photography among other things, my mathematical skills, my aptitude for working with computers and several other of my strongest attributes are also due to autism.

I will finish this section by reminding people that different does not necessarily mean less, and that we are autistic people – note the emphasis given to the second part of that designation.

PUZZLES

In this section I provide the solution to one puzzle and offer another for your inspection. Both are mathematical in nature. 

In ‘Midweek Mixture‘ I set the following puzzle:

The above table shows two putative sets of coin toss records, each for one coin tossed thirty times. Which is more like to be genuine based on what you can see?

a) series one
b) series two

To begin the solution, here is the table above with a column added:

coin tosses complete

You will see that the two sets of coin toss lists in the original problem were made up, but if you look at the results for the set of coin tosses I actually performed you will note that it looks much more like series two than series one – randomness is clumpier than we intuitively expect (the idea for this problem came from a book by Natalie Angier, in which she tells the story of a teacher who uses an experiment in which half of her class are assigned the task of inventing a series of coin tosses, and half of actually tossing coins and recording the result, while the teacher goes out of the room – and nearly always the teacher can tell the real from the fake). 

My new problem comes from the mathematical website brilliant:

octagon

PHOTOGRAPHS

As usual I end this post with some photographs, in this case featuring a family of swans I saw swimming along the Gaywood River yesterdary morning:

Swan familySwan family 2Swan family3Swan family 4Swan family 5young swanstwo swansyoung swanwhite swanwhite swan 2white swan 3Swansswans 2Swans 3

 

Autism expert

A truly excellent piece from Michelle Sutton

Michelle Sutton

I saw an advertisement today that was promoting a talk by an autism expert, a man who has an autistic son. A few days ago I saw a link to the website of an autism expert who is a psychologist and researcher. Last week I saw a short video explaining autism made by an autism expert who teaches about autism at a University. The week before I saw series of infographics made by an autism expert who is an author and counsellor to autistic people.

Each time I saw these things, I wondered what it was about the people who are such experts on autism that actually made them experts. So today I’d like to discuss: who is an autism expert and why are they experts?

I’d like to start by thinking about what makes a person an expert on a subject- any subject- just generally speaking.

The definition of…

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Autism Related Finds

Three autism related links including one featuring a seriously good infographic and one in which I get an honourable mention, and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

I was planning to do a major sharing post today, but other factors have intervened, so I am just going to share three autism related pieces. 

AUTISTIC ADULTS WANTED
FOR ART PROJECT

This was posted on messymiscreation and is exactly what you might expect a piece titled “Autistic Adults, I’m seeking your input on an art project” to be. I hope it gets plenty fo responses.

AN INFORGAPHIC ON DIVERSITY

This is an example of why Erin Human is a firm favourite of mine. This post has wonderful title: “Diversity is Beautiful“. Below is a screenshot of the feature infographic. I urge all of you to visit the original and read the accompanying text. 

Screenshot 2017-08-20 at 6.20.19 PM

NAS WEST NORFOLK OFFICIAL POST ABOUT THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY

Our vice-chair Rachel Meerwald with some input from the rest of the committee created a post for our website about this event, which you can see here. Below is a screenshot of the end of the piece (my reasons for choosing this section will be instantly apparent!).

Website10thAnn

A FEW FINAL PHOTOGRAPHS

CGs

CG
This is either an Iceland Gull or a Glaucous Gull (they have very similar colouring).

Moorhen and algaeMoorhen

RMC
The Red Mount Chapel, a sprightly 600 year old
All Saints 3
These last two shots are of All Saints Church, reckoned to be the oldest in King’s Lynn, which means that ;parts of it date back a thousand years.

All Saints 2