A Comic Strip Explanation of Life on the Spectrum Courtesy of “The Art of Autism”

This post comes from The Art of Autism, altough on this occasion I am keeping comments open here. It is a superb explanation of life on the spectrum.

This wonderful post from The Art of Autsim can be viewed in its original niche by clicking here. I have also reproduced it below:

Although I do not usually do so when sharing other people’s work I am on this occasion keeping comments open here.

Shadow Minister for Neurodiversity

An initial to response too a couple of excellent ideas brought to my attention by a tweet from John McDonnell MP. Please share widely.

INTRODUCTION

This post comes from a tweet by shadow chancellor John McDonnell:

AUTISM MANIFESTO

It will not surprise anyone that I am in full agreement with Mr McDonnell about the excellence of the ideas mentioned above. While I have a few ideas as what an Autism Manifesto should prioritise, most notably doing something about the shameful statistics relating to Autistic people and employment in this country. 75% of all adults on the autistic spectrum in this country are unemployed, while good portion of those in employment are in low paid and/ or part time work – 85% of us are classed as ‘underemployed’.

More important however than the precise details of the Autism Manifesto (at least to me) is the question of who will be involved in creating it. While I am not arguing for the exclusion of neurotypicals from this process (never in a million years) I do repeat the autistic person’s mantra:

“NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US”

We must be involved in this process, and I conclude this section by saying to Mr McDonnell: if you are prepared to involve people from outside your party you are welcome to contact me.

SHADOW MINISTER FOR NEURODIVERSITY

Again, an excellent idea. For similar reasons to those mentioned above in connection with the idea of an Autism Manifesto I would prefer if possible the the holder of this post be someone who is themselves neurodiverse. Other than that I have no further comments to make as yet, although you can expect me to revisit the themes of this brief post in future.

 

Chris Packham and the Foxhunters

An account with links to the three source pieces of the vile abuse of Chris Packham by the pro-hunting lobby and his dignified response to it.

INTRODUCTION

I live with Asperger’s Syndrome, have previously had mental health issues including depression and am a nature lover. Chris Packham presents nature programs on TV, has Asperger’s Syndrome and has had mental health problems. Mr Packham has recently gone public about his Asperger’s and depression, and this is where the story starts…

A TWEET AND RETWEET

Yesterday morning Hunting Solutions put out the following tweet, quoted in his own piece immediately after it had happened by Miles King on anewnatureblog:

hunting solutions

This tweet was retweeted by Nicholas Soames, a politician whose own party leader has spoken of the need to end the stigma attached to mental health. As Miles King points out, given the hysterical reaction to Naz Shah having liked an offensive facebook post before she became an MP, you might think that this could cause more trouble for the party concerned. When Miles King challenged Soames about the retweet, rather than attempting to defend himself Soames blocked King. Please follow the link I provided near the top of this section and read that post in full before proceeding.

PACKHAM’S OWN RESPONSE

Chris Packham provided what was in the circumstances a remarkably restrained response in the form of an interview that was published on Huffington Post, which I urge you to read in full.

THE FOLLOW UP THIS MORNING

Miles King on anewnatureblog returned to the fray this morning because Hunting Solutions had provided a response of sorts. As this image, taken from the Miles King piece, which I urge to read in full shows it was exactly what we might expect from these people:

connor

This is classic victim blaming of the sort that Tories specialize in. I will conclude this section with my own comments on Miles King’s posts which I once more urge you to read in full:

As someone with Asperger’s Syndrome and who has experience of depression I am in no doubt that the both the original tweet and Soames’ retweet were bang out of order, and in the continuing absence of an apology there is no doubt to give these people the benefit of. The use of the word “nutjob” in the context Mr Packham having recently gone public about his Asperger’s and depression is reminiscent of the the prolonged series of smears that functioned (thankfully and deservedly very badly) as Zac Goldsmith’s London Mayoral campaign.

And Miles’ response to that comment:

thanks Thomas – a good analogy. The hunting community, feeling threatened, are resorting to a smear campaign against high profile people like Chris Packham.

My comment on the second post:

Excellent follow up piece. I would take your reasoning re the comments about foxhunting being psychopathic a small step further and say that for true equivalence between the remarks Packham would have to labelled not just foxhunters as a group (which as you point out he did not) but an individual named foxhunter as a psychopath. As for the ‘if he hadn’t criticised us we would not have said it’ “defense”, that is simply another example of a favourite tactic of these kind of people – victim blaming.

I conclude this post with some photos…

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An eight-legged friend

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Gibraltar £1
I noticed something about this £1 coin that caused me to examine it closely – just as well I did, as it is Gibraltarian and would probably not have been accepted by the bus driver!
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Close up of the reverse
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Close up of the obverse

 

 

The Mighty On Stimming

A wonderful video from The Mighty.

A excellent video from the folks at The Mighty on stimming…

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FThemightysite%2Fvideos%2Fvb.248468271967594%2F618014308346320%2F%3Ftype%3D3&show_text=0&width=560

As this first appeared on facebook and not all my followers use facebook I am keeping comments open even though this is not my own work.

 

Attending a Training Session at NAS Headquarters

An account of a visit to London for an NAS training session, including Sutcliffe’s Laws of Travelling by Public Transport and lots of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

This post deals with events on Saturday, when I attended a training session for branch officers at NAS HQ in London. Before moving on to the main part of my post I have a small section on…

WHY I AM GLAD THAT MY FIRST POST IN MAY IS AUTISM RELATED

April is Autism Awareness month, and here in West Norfolk we certainly did our part, with our hugely successful Positive Autism Awareness Conference. However it is also important to make it quite clear that autism does not stop at the end of April. Improving awareness, understanding and ultimately acceptance of autism is a year-round task.

SUTCLIFFE’S LAWS OF
TRAVELLING BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT

I have never previously set these out in full, so here goes:

Zeroth law: Any journey involving public transport requires careful planning no matter how apparently straightforward it is.

First law: If you allow scope for things to go wrong you will have a quick, clear run.

Second law: If you decline to allow scope for things to go wrong you will have a horror run.

Third law: Because bitter experience has taught them to make allowances public transport users are less likely to arrive late than car users.

Do you recognize the more famous set of laws on which the formatting of this set is based?

GETTING THERE

The session was due to start at 10AM, which gave two options for which train to catch – the 7:54 and be tight for time or the 6:54 and have time to spare for things to go wrong. In keeping with the first law of travelling by public transport the second option was chosen. The other person travelling from West Norfolk wanted to travel there with me, so we agreed to take the 6:54. On the day preceding the journey I called in at the station to make sure that the service was running as it should be (The branch chair had kindly arranged tickets for us, requiring in return that we make sure to come back with expenses claim forms so that she could reclaim the money). Here are some pictures from this preliminary stage…

We took our places on the train and having allowed for things to go wrong had a clear run to London. Callum’s girlfriend had decided to travel with us so she could have a look round London, and at King’s Cross she and Callum arranged a meeting point before Callum and I head off towards NAS HQ.

Walking up Pentonville Road (between Pentonville Road, Angel and our London starting point of King’s Cross this was quite a monopoly board journey!) we arrived at NAS HQ almost dot on 9 o’clock, and were the only people there that early. I took some pictures while we waited for others to arrive, including the feature image…

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The #TMI mural outside NAS HQ, with Callum standing in front of the end panel.
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A close-up of the end panel.

AT NAS HEADQUARTERS

Alessia, one of the two people running the session arrived a few minutes after we had, and let us in to the building. We took our places in the training room, and examined our training packs…

THE TRAINING SESSION

The training session consisted of presentations and some group activities. I found it to be a very valuable day, definitely worth the early start. The bit I enjoyed most came near the end, when we had to decide whether certain scenarios were things we could do as NAS volunteers, things we could not do or things that we might be able to do. At the end of the session Callum and I went our separate ways, he to meet his girlfriend and I to head back (albeit by a somewhat circuitous route). The pictures I took between here and the concourse at King’s Cross station will be featuring on my
London transport themed website, so I shall not share them here.

HOMEWARD BOUND

Apart from providing a few good photos, the return journey was pretty uneventful (yes, on the Saturday of a bank holiday weekend I had two public transport journeys pass without incident), and I arrived back home just over 11 hours after setting off in the morning.

 

Monday Mishmash

A mixed bag of a post, featuring autism, public transport, cricket and photography among others.

INTRODUCTION

I have many things to share with you today about a variety of subjects. Read on and enjoy!

AUTISM

Earlier today I spotted a link on twitter to something posted on assistiveware called “5 Guidelines to Keep in Mind for Autism Acceptance Month”. I recommend you read it in full, and here to tempt you is guideline 3 in all it’s glory (this was the one the resonated most closely with me, though all 5 are on the money and very important:

3

Nothing about us without us.

It is not uncommon to see human interest stories about autism where parents, teachers, speech therapists, and even the school janitor all share their insights on an autistic person and what autism means for him or her. It often seems that the only person who doesn’t get a word in is the subject of the article! The problem here is that nobody is a mind-reader. I’m sure everyone reading this has experienced your parents making mistakes about your thoughts or opinions. Autism doesn’t change that. 

Not every person with autism will be able to respond to interview questions. However, many who could are simply not asked. Others can speak or write, but struggle to answer questions in real time. For these people, simple accommodations like providing written interview questions ahead of time can make a huge difference!

Another common error is to assume that no autistic person will ever read an article about autism. Writers may say we are “unlike you and me,” or “just like you and me,” but only rarely are we included as part of the “us” that makes up the readership. The truth is, there is nowhere where you can safely assume that none of us are present. Autism is an extremely variable condition, where many different combinations of traits can all lead to the same diagnosis. Whatever your audience is, chances are at least a few of us are already in it.

I conclude this section with a brief mention for another twitter find, who also caught my attention by contributing something about autism, Walsingham Support, which happens to lead neatly on to my next section…

TWO NEW PIECES ON WWW.LONDONTU.BE

I had already decided that I was going to put up a post about Mile End on the website when I saw the tweet from Walsingham Support that piqued my interest in them. I noted their address, and guessed that this was a peg on which I might be able to hang a post about Totteridge & Whetstone, which hunch proved correct. Below are links, each accompanied by a picture, to the posts in question:

  1. Totteridge & Whetstone
    Totteridge & Whetstone
  2. Mile End
    Mile End Station

THE WORLD T20 FINAL

The West Indies completed a double in the World T20, the women having romped past the Aussies to take their title. The men’s match between the West Indies and England was a match of twists and turns, which looked like England had it when the West Indies need 19 from the last over. However, Carlos Brathwaite (Brath-ut if you want to pronounce that surname West Indies fashion) then hit four successive sixes off Ben Stokes to give the West Indies victory. I listened to the early stages of this match at my parent’s house after Sunday lunch, on the first day of the year that it was warm enough to sit outside, and while listening and reading a book (Dawkins’ “The Greatest Show on Earth”) I also took some…

PHOTOGRAPHS

A word of warning to those who suffer peculiar phobias, this set of photographs features ladybirds.

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The first nine pictures were taken in King’s Lynn yesterday morning.

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Sunday pudding – a variation on a classic theme – a rhubarb and custard tart – and it tasted at least as good as it looks in this picture!

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My last picture of the day, back in King’s Lynn

AUCTION AT THE MAIDS HEAD HOTEL

An account of Wednesday’s auction at the Maids Head Hotel, Norwich, with a few other bits and bobs, including another mention of the Positive Autism Awareness Conference.

INTRODUCTION

Although mainly concerned with the James and Sons auction that took place the day before yesterday, this post will also mention a few other things at the end.

THE AUCTION

This section divides into several subsections, starting with…

GETTING THERE

Given the early hour at which it was necessary for me to be at the venue and the fact that I was not returning straight to King’s Lynn but was instead going to my parents because we were going to a bridge evening at the Jolly Sailors I decided to aim to be on the 5:55AM X1 bus to Norwich, with the more circuitous X8/X29 route, the first of which departs at 6:10AM as back up.

I achieved my intended aim of being on the 5:55AM bus and this bus not only departed on time, it benefited from a clear run along the A47 to arrive at Norwich bus station precisely when it was supposed to. I then walked down to the Maids Head, picking up a few photos along the way as I was in plenty of time…

THE SETUP

All the stuff for the auction had to unloaded from the van and set up in the room we were using (the Erpingham room) at The Maids Head, and a few things had to be moved around for the room to properly organised for our purposes. That and a few technical hitches notwithstanding (mere trifles such as initially having no internet connection!) all was ready by 9AM when the first viewers started to arrive.

THE AUCTION ITSELF

The auction started quietly, with only a few people present at the venue and no one bidding online on the early lots, but the internet bidding started at just after lot 100, and was very lively at certain points – lot 204 with an estimate of £50-60 went for £260, lots 283 and 286 both went for substantially above estimate, and a sequence of sets of penny reds with Great Western Railway perfins saw some spirited bidding involving a room and an internet bidder, with half a dozen lots estimated at 10-15 actually getting three figures a piece.

These are some of the penny reds which caused such excitement.

Lots 597 and 737 both sold very cheap to yours truly (even with buyers premium there was change from £15 for the two lots put together). Here they are…

In connection with these pieces of railwayana, a quick reminder of my London transport themed website, www.londontu.be.

THE CLEAR UP

The last lot went under the hammer not very long after 2PM, after which everything that had not gone to people in the room had to be loaded back on to the van. Then my colleague Andrew and I travelled back to Fakenham in the van. My initial plan had been to get the 17:38 bus on from Fakenham to East Rudham, but because we were ahead of schedule, but not sufficiently so for there to be a likelihood of me catching the 15:38, and because the weather showed its teeth when we just east of Fakenham, Andrew very kindly gave me a lift to East Rudham. I worked out that I had handled some of these lots seven separate times (carrying them to my imaging area, carrying them to the storage area, carrying them down to the shop for viewing, carrying them the shop to the van, carrying them from the van to auction venue, carrying them from the auction venue to the van and finally carrying them from the van back to the shop).

POST AUCTION

My early arrival at East Rudham proved useful – my parents had unearthed some silver spoons which needed to photographed with a view to selling them. I have two picture galleries in this connection, both created from the same set of originals – the first using Microsoft’s own image editing software, and the second, which I unveil for the first time, using my own image editing software, which was designed specifically for use with Nikon Coolpix cameras…

This is the set of images created using Microsoft software…

This was the result when I edited the same photos using my own software.

The bridge went well after a poor start – I emerged plus 13 on the evening (65p at Jolly Sailors stakes).

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY/ CALENDAR

Monday 1st February: James and Sons feature on Antiques Road Trip – episode on air on BBC1 at 4:30PM (should be available on i-player by 6PM) – I am the guy in the red jacket sat next to the auctioneer.

Wednesday 24th February: James and Sons auction at Fakenham Racecourse, starts at 10AM. This auction features a wide variety of lots, beginning with bonds, passing through banknotes, coins, stuff from HMS Britannia, Ephemera and Militaria before finishing with Stamps.

Friday 15th April: Positive Autism Awareness Conference, the Dukes Head Hotel, King’s Lynn – for more information check out the following links:

Yesterday’s blog post dedicated to this event

West Norfolk NAS’s facebook page

The Facebook event listing

West Norfolk NAS’s website

 

CALLING ALL LONDONERS

I have shared some of London mayoral candidate Sian Berry’s transport related ideas on www.londontu.be:

London City Airport

Fair Fares

This is the official Fair Fares piece

Having provided these excellent suggestions Sian has turned her attention to London’s sky high rents, with this proposal for a London Renter’s Union

If you are eligible to vote in this election I urge you to vote for Sian Berry.