The SCOPE Christmas Meal And Some Autism Related Links

A brief account of the SCOPE Christmas meal to which I was invited as NAS West Norfolk branch secretary and some autism related links.

INTRODUCTION

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

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.

Moorhen
The first 14 pictures you will see were taken while walking to the pub

StarlingBirds in a treeBirds on the wingCormorantWagtailCormorant 2Rooks and warning signwind turbinesbirds in the grassStarling on grassStarling 3Nar Valley ParkBridge

Calendars
My last three calendars set out in the pub.
book like wall
The first of five decor shots

decorationHungry Horse motifWall artdecoration 2

Sunset
The sunset
Chloe
Chloe Yianni
Party
The party.

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). 

ON TERMINOLOGY

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.

I finish this section with a link to post mentioned in the Autism Mom piece linked to above which appears on Autistic Not Weird under the title “A plea to the autism community from one of your own

THE “TO SIRI” ISSUE

Many splendid pieces have been produced about this subject since I last provided links relating to it, and I append a bulleted list of the best links:

A FINAL LINK

I conclude this post by linking to a story from the excellent John Pring of Disability News Service. As a strong supporter of “Nothing About Us Without Us” I hardly need to tell you why I was delighted to read “Autistic-led taskforce will address ‘hypocrisy and injustice’

 

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