Followers of this blog will know that I have been seriously ill recently. A week ago on Sunday things took a bad turn and I was readmitted to Addenbrookes with what turned out to be a lung infection. Last night I was discharged and I am now settling back into home life.
NAS West Norfolk have been increibly supportive through a very difficult period in my life, and I am well aware that the events of the last week and a half will have caused them yet more worry. I am very grateful for everything they have done for me, and I regret that I was taken ill so suddenly as to be unable to explain the situation in advance.
FUTURE PLANS FOR THIS BLOG
I will in due course be putting up a more detailed post about my recent stay in Addenbrookes, and I have a plan for a long series of cricket posts interleaving with other stuff on the blog. I will have various other things to share, including an event which is taking place tomorrow, and which thankfully I shall be able to attend. For the moment, my apologies for anything I have missed in the last week and a half, and I sincerely hope that normal service will be resuming fairly soon.
An account of the 2018 Launch of the National Garden Scheme prefaced by the Autistic Bill of Rights and a petition to save Morley House Respite Unit.
This post in entirely autism focussed, so the text is in #RedInstead. I will build up to the account of the 2018 Launch o the National Garden Scheme, which will occupy most of the post. First, to set the scene for all the follows, stimtheline’sAutistic Bill of Rights:
SAVE MORLEY HOUSE RESPITE UNIT
Morley House Respite Unit plays a vital role in the lives of many autistic people and their families in the West Norfolk area. It is now facing closure. Jessica Kibble, a volunteer with NAS West Norfolk, has created a petition on 38 Degrees against this planned closure. At the moment, less than two full days after launch there are just short of 600 signatures, which is a respectable start, but we need more. Below is a screenshot of the petition homepage, and by clicking it you can sign and share the petition:
THE 2018 LAUNCH OF THE
NATIONAL GARDEN SCHEME
NAS West Norfolk have an allotment/ sensory garden in West Lynn for which we received a grant from the NGS. As beneficiaries we were invited to be present at their 2018 Launch Eventm which took place today at Houghton Hall.
For various reasons the only person able to be present on behalf of NAS West Norfolk was me. Being represented by one person is not ideal, but with that one person being me it did ensure that there was some genuine autistic presence at the event.
The arrangement was that I would catch a bus from King’s Lynn to the point at which the road from Harpley joins the A148, where I would be collected by car and driven up to the hall (many thanks Julia for making the arrangement and Gus for collecting me). I had initially being thinking in terms of the 8:45, arriving at the Harpley turn at approx 9:10 if it runs to time, but last night following a suggestion that this was too early I changed plans to aiming for the 9:45 bus, about which I had certain misgivings (through long experience I have developed Diogenes-esque levels of cynicism as regards British public transport running to time).
I was at the bus station with everything I needed in good time, and, mirabile dictu, the bus arrived when it was supposed to. That unfortunately ended the good news. At Gaywood, rounding the curve near the clock tower, an impatiently driven lorry got too close to the bus and damaged one of the external mirrors. The driver had to inspect the damage to see how serious it was, and that was over ten minutes gone with no prospect of any it being made up in the rest of the journey. Fortunately, my delayed arrival at the Harpley turn was not sufficient to actually make me late for the start of the event (10:30), but it was a closer thing than it should have been.
There was a table for me to set up the NAS West Norfolk display board, leaflets and some of my own personal cards, and refreshments were laid on for free (I consumed some of the sausage rolls, which were excellent, and some ginger cake, and also, having been invited to do so, took some more cake away with me).
Marie Curie Cancer Care were present as major beneficiaries of the NGS, and there was a display showcasing a sensory garden in the Dereham area. Julia, gracious host of our 10th birthday Garden Party, introduced the speeches. There were four speeches by people from Marie Curie Cancer Care, and at the end Lord Cholmondeley (pronounced as ‘chumly’), owner of Houghton Hall, said a few words.
In her role introducing the speeches Julia had very kindly mentioned the NAS West Norfolk presence, and many people came to the stall to find out more. Of course this was delightful, but it was also challenging (though I am fairly confident that the only person present who knew just how challenging I was finding it was me). Our branch chair Karan had hoped to be present for the last stages of the event, which would enable her to give me a lift back and to collect the display board for Friday, when a visitng speaker will be giving talks on autism and puberty at a venue near the Hardwick Industrial Estate (unless something else intervenes I will be present for the evening talk). She arrived at about quarter to twelve, which gave me an opportunity to look at the gardens.
The journey home had a delayed start, because the field in which visitors cars were parked proved to be too muddy for most of said vehicles to handle. Karan’s car was one of those that needed a tractor-assisted start (I will endeavour to remember this next time I find myself travelling behind a slow-moving farm vehicle!). One underway however, our return journey passed without incident.
A brief account of the SCOPE Christmas meal to which I was invited as NAS West Norfolk branch secretary and some autism related links.
I am including autism related links because it was in my capacity as NAS West Norfolk branch secretary that I was invited to attend the SCOPE christmas meal (our organisations are looking to work more closely on various things).
The meal was arranged for The Gatehouse, a Hungry Horse pub located near the South Gate, at the edge of King’s Lynn (hence the name) with food booked for 3PM. The plan was for a few things to be discussed as well. I arrived at the pub not long after 2PM, purchased a pint to drink slowly while I waited for others to arrive (SCOPE were paying for the food, so I reckoned I could allow myself a couple of drinks) and settled down to wait.
Others began arriving at around 2:45, and Chloe Yianni from SCOPE, who was running the event, arrived just before 3PM.
Most of the ‘meeting’ element of the day took place between the main course and dessert, accompanied by a very impressive sunset (yes folks it gets dark early in these parts in December).
I enjoyed the occasion and look forward to working closely with the people from SCOPE in 2018 and beyond.
SOME AUTISM RELATED LINKS
A majority of the links in this section are to posts on USian (acknowledgement to New Zealander Heather Hastie for this term) blogs/ sites, and most of the rest are British, although a few other countries also feature. As an internationalist I am proud that people from many countries visit this blog (108 in the last year, 123 all time).
This section relates to a wonderful post put up by Autism Mom a couple of days ago under the title “I WANT TO BE CALLED AUTISTIC” I offer you my own comment in immediate response to that post, which I stand by:
Well done to both you and your son. Although my own strong preference is to describe myself as an autistic person I am quite happy for those who choose to do so to describe themselves as people with autism – what I will not accept is a well meaning neurotypical person seeking to make the decision on our behalf – it is our decision and we should make it ourselves.
Also, here is a quote from the end of the post:
Person first versus identify first: He cocked his head and asked me to explain more.
“I want to be called autistic,” he announced after I had finished. “Saying “person with autism” sounds like I have a disease. I don’t have a disease, this is just how I am.”
And then he added: “Actually, I want to be called by my name, but if you need to describe my autism I want to be called autistic.”
Make it so.
If you are reading this and have an autistic spectrum condition please feel free to add a comment about how you would prefer to be described.
An account of running the NAS West Norfolk stall at the Downham Market Community Fair on Saturday.
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 elsewherethat 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
Two shots showing views of the hall
This parapet is presumably the front of an upstairs seating area.
The last two shots in this selection feature artwork on the walls just outside the hall.
An account of the Ageing With Autism conference that took place in Norwich on Wednesday.
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.
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).
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:
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’sAutismServices, 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.
Here are the photographs I took at the event (and a couple taken later in the day).
A walk, some dreadful weather and a double-booking. Also some photographs.
Musical Keys run regular sessions for NAS West Norfolk, and I attend these sessions both as a participant and in my role as branch secretary of NAS West Norfolk. Today should have been a Musical Keys day, and after lunch I set off on an afternoon walk with the Scout Hut in Gaywood as my envisaged final destination.
A LITERAL DAMPENING
Although I was ultimately aiming for Gaywood I decided to lengthen the walk by going along the river bank as far as my regular cormorant observation point and then returning to the route to Gaywood by way of Seven Sisters and the Red Mount Chapel. Unfortunately I was near the end of the riverside stretch when the rain started coming down in stair rods, and it stayed raining all the way to Gaywood. Although Gaywood Library is small there are sometimes good books to be found there, and I did find some today.
A METAPHORICAL DAMPENING
While in Gaywood Library I logged into a computer, and it was there that I saw a facebook post telling me that Musical Keys had been cancelled due to a double booking. As I was still not fully dried out from the walk to Gaywood I was more than usually annoyed by this.
A POSSIBLE CHANGE OF LOCATION
This is not the first time we have had problems of this nature with this venue, so it is natural to be considering new venues. The British Red Cross have a suitable room in thier building at Austin Fields which is close to the centre of King’s Lynn. It is true that the principal approach from outside King’s Lynn, Edward Benefer Way/ John Kennedy Road, is prone to traffic jams, but I think the good outweighs the bad in terms of this venue.
Even in the poor weather I experienced I was able to get a few decent photographs:
Some important autism themed pieces and a few of my photographs.
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’sWest 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.
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: