Yesterday, I celebrated six months of awareness of my true nature: I am autistic (Asperger’s).
This does not make me an expert (at least, not in the academic sense). It doesn’t grant me a magical power to speak for anyone else.
In the last six months, I’ve investigated this topic–and indeed this “alternate world” (at least, for me) with abnormal intensity.
But really, all I was doing was searching for terms and ideas that more-eloquently described what I had already been experiencing throughout my entire life. I had already felt those feelings, thought those thoughts, and struggled with those invisible differences; what I learned during my searching merely helped me identify and articulate them.
During this search, however, I noticed some patterns (ha) that struck me. The official diagnostic criteria and other conventional authoritative sources of information focused on what they observed through their own perspective lens; specifically, what they…
A brief, personal account of an Autism Awareness Day event organised by NAS West Norfolk.
This is a brief post devoted to an event that took place at Gaywood Community Centre today.
As someone who lives in the centre of King’s Lynn there was only ever one way I would be getting to an event in Gaywood: walking. Although principally concerned with locating the event I did get one pic en route…
I heard the event before I actually saw it because they had a live music act performing…
After briefly taking in what was on offer I headed to the main National Autistic Society stall, picked up a flier and took some photographs…
I spent £2 on tombola tickets and £1 on a keyring (It was an NAS keyring featuring Thomas the Tank Engine – as an autistic railway fanatic named Thomas I could hardly not buy it!).
I did not stay terribly long, but I was very favourably impressed – while it was not really my type of event it was very vibrant and very well attended – well done the NAS. The homeward journey yielded another couple of pictures…
An account of an autism related meeting in Norwich, loads of links, some quality dragon pictures, some infographics and some other pictures.
Although this post is based around my attending a meeting to do with Autism at the Charing Cross Centre in Norwich I have lots of other stuff to share as well, in the form of photos, infographics from various sources and a plentiful supply of links.
The purpose of the meeting was to contribute towards a wide scale report on improving Mental Health services across the board. The speaker, who has been travelling around the country listening to ideas from people emphasized that one of the things his report would contain was a statement that it must be shared with contributors.
One of the (many) disastrous things that has been happening over the last few years has been a removal of investment from preventative care in favour of crisis management.
One of the commissioners for the Norfolk and Suffolk PCT actually told the manager of Asperger East Anglia that she should tell staff “to stop working with people after three months”, which demonstrates a scandalous lack of understanding of Autistic Spectrum Conditions.
As the only person in attendance to be actually autistic rather than either a professional working in the field or a parent/ carer of someone with an Autistic Spectrum Condition I made several contributions.
The final report should be complete by the start of October, and if we have not heard anything by the start of November we have been given a green light to contact Jane Sayer at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.
HERE BE DRAGONS: A PHOTOGRAPHIC INTERLUDE
I have already dedicated a whole blog post to the dragons that can be seen in and around Norwich at the moment, but yesterday I was in parts of Norwich not covered in that post, so I have some more dragons for you…
My first two links are both related and come courtesy of Dr Marquis Grant. They are both to do with a survey for autistic people:
A petition that I have referred to several times previously in this blog is Fiona Paddon’s petition calling on the NHS to provide free tests from Group B Strep, which now has over 180,000 signatures. The next step is to pile on the pressure bby writing to MPs, to which end I have two links for you…
Finally in this subsection, a petition calling for the mayor of London to get dangerous lorries off the roads (so far this year lorries are responsible for the deaths of eight cyclists in the capital).
BLOGS AND BLOG POSTS
In this subsection are links to the some of the best blogs and blogposts I have found recently…
Although I have been out and about today, and have some good pictures which will feature somewhere, this post is going to be almost entirely given over sharing stuff from other people, as I have some fantastic links and a couple of decent infographics.
VOX POLITICAL AND A VERY IMPORTANT FOI REQUEST
There are a number of links in this subsection, which relates to a long running campaign by Mike Sivier of Vox Political. As well as some stuff from Mike himself, I have a link to a piece about the MP for Newcastle, who has weighed in on our side, and a very important blog post from Jayne Linney which I have already shared with my twitter followers. I hope you will visit all the links below:
As I often do I will start this post with a links section, before moving on to the main part of the post. I will also be sharing some high quality pictures – enjoy!!
Given the title of this post I am in this section dealing only with the non-autism related links that I wish to share – the others will be handled as part of the other section. First of all, courtesy of the Independent, a truly appalling landmark that this government has ‘achieved’ – one million food bank users. Next, through Huffington Post comes a story about Faith Schools. As someone who is a part-time minimum wage worker, I would not necessarily expect the London School of Economics to have much to offer me, but this post from that quarter is a devastating indictment of what this government have done to wages in real terms.
I have a great interest in science, and this article concerning discoveries about the element Lawrencium and its place in the Periodic Table is well worth reading.
All except those who would murder folk whose beliefs differ from their own will find my next offering shocking but sadly unsurprising. It comes courtesy of Padraig Reidy.
A survey boat named the Humber Guardian has been moored in the Great Ouse lately. The boat is owned by Briggs Marine, and I was reasonably encouraged by what I found on their website.
There is a campaign going on at the moment to get the Sun to show Katie Hopkins the door. This is because her latest offering would have made Hitler blench. For more details, here is an article in the Independent.
Tomorrow is the last day on which people who are not already registered to vote in the General Election coming up on May 7th. 38 Degrees are running a campaign to get as many people registered to vote as possible. The process is very straightforward. I provide two options:
My final offering comes courtesy of Tom Pride and provides further grist to the mill of those of us who (like your correspondent) reckon that another five years of Cameron and co will be unendurable. Enjoy this catalogue of horrors!
A PICTORIAL INTERLUDE
Before moving on the main part of the post, here are some pictures for you to enjoy…
LIFE WITH ASPERGERS
I was diagnosed with Asperger’s at the back end of 2006, by when I was already 31 years old. I got involved with Asperger East Anglia very soon after that, and out of that came what is now the King’s Lynn Asperger Support Society (KLASS). The group was originally established as local support group under the aegis of AEA, but when they lost their funding to run such groups in October 2012 we decided to keep going as an independent group. Since then, we have had no funding at all. In 2013 we were able to use King’s Lynn Town FC‘s community hub as a meeting place, but then they changed the times at which they were available ton the public in January 2014, and since then we have had no formal meeting place.
Perhaps the area in which I have personally been most affected by having Aspergers Syndrome is in the world of work, where I went eight and a half years without having a paid job, until I got my current job at James and Sons in April 2013 (merely by going in to work on Tuesday I will officially make it two years in this job). Initially my job was for 12 hours per week, and I was therefore still on jobseekers allowance (yet another thing the Tories are consistently dishonest about is the number of people who have jobs but still need benefits to get by as the amount of money these jobs bring in is so little).
I have not directly run in to the kind of treatment that has caused Kevin Healey to be in a long-running dispute with twitter. Kevin is still trying to get twitter to protect him properly, and as part of that change.org have a petition running on his behalf – and I urge all of you to sign if you have not already done so, and share as widely as possible, starting now.
My twitter account is growing steadily, helped by the fact that I always have good photos to share, talking of which, here are a few more…
What can neurotypicals do in the way of autism acceptance? You can find out by reading the wise words of Autism Mom.
I am nearly at the end of this post, but one more thing I wish to do is signpost another blogger with an Autistic Spectrum Condition who has recently signed up to follow this blog, David Snape.
My very final words concern something very important to me: research. Ignorance is so often the father of prejudice, which is why I take part in research projects at every opportunity. I want more people to know about Autistic Spectrum Conditions and to appreciate the abilities that many of us possess. For those who have made it right through to this stage I have two final messages:
First and most important, I have been helping with a research project by an American. If you have Asperger’s Syndrome and are a social media user (and would be willing to answer some questions about these things), Rocio Watkins would like to hear from you. She can be contacted by email: email@example.com
For bird fanciers there is an excellent and informative piece about the Himalayan Griffon courtesy of Phuket Birdwatching.
I provided links to several views on the Tory plans to extend Right to Buy to housing association properties, but I think this one is also worth a look on left futures.
The Guardian has an excellent piece about disability rights, focussing on the work of Lee Ridley.
The latest news on activities by the Tory Department of Dirty Tricks comes from Mike Sivier of Vox Political.
My final offering is an excoriating piece about a horrow show officially known as The “Gay Conversion Therapy” conference. John P Ointon, whose blog Notes from the North is a regular source of good material and who has reblogged me on a few occasions (so he has good taste alround!) provided this savage (but very amusing) account.
I am not suggesting, let alone stating, that these are the first butterflies I have seen in 2015, but they are the first that have been around long enough for me to catch them on camera. I have used one of them as a basis for the very latest version of my twitter thank you message. Most of them are of brightly coloured butterflies, but did also get a pure white one…
Of course, it was not just butterflies in evidence on this walk. There were lots of other photograph worthy sights, some of which I will conclude this post by showing you…
Spring is in the air (and I have plenty of photos to bear this out). Therefore, the King’s Lynn Asperger Support Society, of which I am Group Leader, is moving venues from our winter perch at the Lattice House to our summer venue on South Quay near Marriott’s Warehouse, with the option of ducking inside should the weather not co-operate. Our April meeting will be on the 13th, starting at 6PM, after which we will be reverting to our usual first Monday of the month.
http://wfdrc.tumblr.com/ The online hub of a campaign to save a vital resource for disabled people in the Waltham Forest area.
The first set of pics from today…
GENERAL ELECTION 2015
While I thoroughly understand and respect those who wish to vote for a left-wing alternative to labour, I urge care. By voting for a small left-wing organisation you may just end up helping the tories. In my own constituency I am faced with only two remotely palatable choices, labour or green. The fact that labour have selected an excellent candidate in Jo Rust, and the fact the only time this seat has been occupied by anyone other than Henry Bellingham since 1983 was between 1997 and 2001 when labour held it have been sufficient to sway me. I will vote labour and I will do so with a song in my heart, and I want to see a huge turnout at the ballot-boxes in King’s Lynn because that is how we will do our part to ensure that we are not saddled with another five years of Cameron and his cronies.
Here in plain text is my personal voting history in general elections…
MY GENERAL ELECTION VOTING HISTORY
1997: Labour and celebrated long and hard as the government that had been in power all my conscious life was finally booted out.
2001: Socialist Alliance – I was in a rock-solid labour seat at the time and could afford to vote to the left by way of protest.
2005: Respect – see above
2010: Liberal Democrats – my worst ever mistake in a general election, but at the time it seemed sensible. The labour candidate who had been parachuted in from Leicester then torpedoed his own credibility with a speed to rival that of a Ukipper and the only other possibility to unseat the sitting Tory was the one I voted for. Five years of betrayals later I can say with certainty that I will NEVER make that mistake again.
2015: Labour – with a smile on my face and a song in my heart. We have an excellent candidate in Jo Rust, labour took this seat in 1997 (the only period since 1983 when the MP has been other than Henry Bellingham) and can therefore do so again.
Having reached this stage you deserve some more pictures…
A good turnout helped ensure the success of yesterday’s signature collecting session in King’s Lynn. Although it was grey with the King’s Lynn ‘lazy wind’ (cannot be bothered to go round you so goes straight through you) blowing the response was excellent. Even I, though I rarely fare particularly well gathering signatures (this is one area where having an Autistic Spectrum Condition does make things difficult), collected over 20, and received some kind comments even from some of those who did not sign. The total number of signatures gathered in central King’s Lynn yesterday will certainly be in the high hundreds.
Here some pictures from yesterday’s activities, some of them taken for me by the photographer from the Lynn News who took team pics for that publication…
There has been a lot of sporting action this weekend. In the six nations there have been wins for Wales against France and for Italy against Scotland. Italy should have won by more than three points but Kelly Haimona had another shocker with the boot. Likewise, the principal difference between France and Wales was that Camille Lopez had a poor game with the boot whereas Leigh Halfpenny was up to us usual stratospheric standards for Wales. The Frenchman who kicked Ireland’s Jamie Heaslip in the back has deservedly been banned for the rest of the tournament – if he ever plays international rugby again he will luckier than he deserves to be.
In the cricket world cup, England suffered another humiliating defeat, this time at Sri Lanka’s hands. Having tallied 309 from their 50, England should have been capable of putting up some sort of defence of that total, but Sri Lanka had nine wickets and three overs to spare at the end. In the battle of the co-hosts New Zealand emerged victorious. The margin was only one wicket, but with more than half of their overs unused! Australia’s batting having done a passable impression of a house of cards, their bowlers fought back well to make a contest of it.
A week today is the date of the next meeting of the Kings Lynn Asperger Support Society. We will be meeting at the Lattice House on Chapel Street from 6PM. Our April meeting will be a week later than usual, on the second Monday of the month, because April 6th is Easter Monday. We will be moving to our summer venue of the quayside near the Lower Purfleet, which gives us the back up option should the weather decline to co-operate of ducking into Marriott’s Warehouse (what – British weather decline to co-operate – surely not!). I have produced an information sheet using Word, which I have then turned into a JPG for online usage (already shared with my twitter followers)…
The Cricket World Cup is still in full swing. Recently we have witnessed India thrashing South Africa, Sri Lanka just sneaking home courtesy of a magnificent innings from Mahela jayawardene against Afghanistan who continue to do the associate nations and themselves proud and England finally demonstrating that they have not completely forgotten how to play the game they invented. On that last however, a victory over a Scotland team whose bowling had about as much venom as an earthworm is nothing to be shouting about. I for one would not be prepared to put money (even had I such a commodity) on England getting the better of Afghanistan and Bangladesh as they need to to progress. In many ways actually, falling at the first hurdle would be better for England than a reprise of 1996 where they reached the quarter finals having beaten the non test playing nations in their group and not looked remotely like beating any test playing opposition and were then thoroughly humiliated by Sri Lanka in the quarter final. An elimination at the first stage cannot be window dressed so it would mean reality having be looked squarely in the eye. A few final pics…