Autism Acceptance/Appreciation Month

An introduction to Autism Acceptance Month/ Autism Appreciation Month and a few photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Officially April is designated Autism Awareness Month. In this post I will give my view as to why this designation should be rejected and what the alternative, as articulated by autistic people should be.

AWARENESS

Firstly the notion of ‘Autism Awareness’ is tainted by the mere fact of who the main organisation pushing it are, who I will not name here. Suffice to say that their many misdeeds include being responsible for the video nasty “I Am Autism”, and that they are associated with the colour blue and with the puzzle piece symbol. I am glad that I am separated from them by the width of an ocean!

Secondly, even if the first point above did not apply, ‘awareness’ is simply not sufficient as a bannerline aim. Awareness does not equate to understanding, and that latter is the barest minimum that is required…

UNDERSTANDING, ACCEPTANCE, APPRECIATION, RESPECT

Understanding of autism is merely a good starting point (and there are ton of places where you can find autistic people writing about autism, some which I shall list later). It needs to lead to acceptance of us for who we are, appreciation of our good points and respect for us as human beings. 

PLACES TO LEARN ABOUT AUTISM

This list is not (never in the proverbial million years) exhaustive, but it gives you some good pointers.

#REDINSTEAD, #LIGHTITUPGOLD & THE RAINBOW INFINITY SYMBOL

The organization I refuse to name tells people to #lightitupblue, for which reason that colour is off-limits (except when it appears in photos) to this site at least for the month of April. The first two elements of the title of this section refer to alternatives. This blog is following #RedInstead simply because gold letters don’t really stand out against a white background. The Rainbow Infinity Symbol, a customized version of which heads this blog, while another appears on my personal cards, is an excellent alternative to the discredited puzzle piece for the role of autism symbol. Here courtesy of stimtheline is the Autistic Bill of Rights:

Autistic Bill of Rights.pub

PHOTOGRAPHS

BlackbirdCormorants and flying gullCormorants and gull IICormorants and gull IIICormorants and gull IVCormorants and gullLibraryNar meets OuseSmall bird in branchesswimming gullsWingspan IWingspan IIWingspan IIIWingspan IV

Autism and Music

An account of the first Musical Keys session of the new year and some autism related links.

INTRODUCTION

This post comprises two elements – one an account of the first Musical Keys session of 2018 and the other sharing some excellent recent stuff about autism. Because it is an autism themed post I am using #RedInstead text (scarlet for headings and links, maroon for body text). 

MUSICAL KEYS

Musical Keys is an activity run for autistic people who enjoy music. Generally speaking it is run fortnightly, with a session for youngsters between 3PM and 3:45PM and a session for older participants from 4PM to 5PM. I had initially been expecting to renew my acquaintance with Reaper (a computer program for composing music – see here for more details) but circumstances dictated otherwise, and I actually ended up on a…

KEYBOARD

This machine can function as a wide range of instruments/voices and in a wide range of styles, and I explored a lot of the instruments in the course of the time I spent on it.

Keyboard

John, one of the two people who run these sessions, showed me how to play chords as opposed to single notes, and I experimented with playing varying numbers of notes simultaneously, and using the whole range of the keyboard. 

I created a few chords where the notes played could also form words, such as face/cafe, cabbage etc. I enjoyed making the acquaintance of this keyboard and learning something of its capacities.

Chord
These notes could form the word ‘cabbage’ (there being 2 as, 2 bs, 1c, 1e and 1g. Kirsten Murray, who helps John to run the sessions, took this picture with my camera.
Face
Here you can see the notes – I played this with my left hand, while photographing with my right.
Screen
A close up the central screen.
Voice
The screen with more of its surrounds, including detail about the ‘voice’ settings.

AUTISM RELATED LINKS

This section starts with a post from Rhi that I regard as being the last word on “mild autism”, published under the title “Autscriptic: Mild Autism“. 

My next piece comes from the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, written by Shannon Des Roches Rosa of squidalicious.com under the self-explanatory title “Eleven Ways You Can Make Your Autistic Child’s Life Easier

The next two pieces in this section are both from the blog “Autism is my Superpower

TO SIRI REVISITED

I have linked to a number of reviews of Judith Newman’s book “To Siri With Love”, although since I have not read the book I can offer no direct comment about it, and here are a few more pieces about that book:

AN ANTI-AUTISTIC HATE GROUP
MASQUERADING AS AN AUTISM CHARITY

The organisation who are the subject of this little section go by the name of Autism Speaks, who you will also see referred to as Autism $peaks, Auti$m $peak$ and A$ in various places. 

  1. From care.com comes this story, whose title “Autism Mother Sues Autism Speaks For Disability Discrimination” gives you more than a hint of the truth about this vile organisation.
  2. The website ownshrink.com has a piece titled “Autism Speaks: Torturing autistics for profit” which is as damning an indictment of an organisation that claims to be an autism charity as you could find anywhere.

 

Autism and Ableism

Some thoughts on autism and ableism, and some links relating to the same, topped off with some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

I have a few links to share, and of course some photos will be included, but this post starts with some of my own thoughts before I start sharing links. I have decided that all of my own text in this post will be #RedInstead as it is themed so much around Autism. Links will be underlined and in bold, and any images from other blogs will also serve as links to the posts from which they were taken (these blogs will also have a text link). 

THE LINK BETWEEN AUTISM & ABLEISM

I am #ActuallyAutistic and have experienced mental health issues over the years. Do I consider myself disabled? The short answer to that question is no. However I do consider that the way in which neurotypical society views my condition (please note condition, not disorder) does disable me. To give just one example of this, 74% of all autistic adults in the UK, my country, are unemployed, and that percentage rises to 85% when underemployment is factored in. I am in the 26% who are actually in paid employment but not the 15%. These statistics are shameful ones (if they differ significantly in your part of the world feel free to comment further). They are based on the pathologizing of autism and indeed a more general societal pathologizing of difference. Anyone who has seen at work can confirm that I am more than capable of being a useful employee (indeed I cannot be considered as other than essential to my current employer).

Therefore, although I do not identify myself as disabled as I do identify myself as sharing some of the problems experienced by people with disabilities. 

ABLEISM

I start the sharing sections of this post with the latest in Erin Human’s series of posts about ableism. The piece is titledWhat causes ableism?”, and I offer you the infographic/ meme which heads it as an aperitif:

Next, courtesy of disabledgo comes what can only be described as a ‘good news with a massive asterisk’ story. West Yorkshire Police have confirmed that they are willing to launch criminal investigations into bus drivers who refuse to allow wheelchair bound passengers on to their vehicles without good cause. The massive asterisk of course is twofold: the fact that this has to be rated a good news story at all rather than being standard, and following on from that the fact that other police forces do not as yet appear to have made the same commitment. The full piece appears under the title “Police force pledges to investigate bus drivers who ignore access laws” and I urge you to read it in full.

AUTISM

There are a total of four links in this section, with the opener and closer both courtesy of thesilentwaveblog. The opening link is titled “Yeah I’m walking for autism“, and it is her response to yet another campaign to raise funds for purposes that are quite clearly at variance with the actual needs of autistic people. She also her explains how she uses walking. I urge to you to read the full piece, and present the picture that heads it for your further edification.

Some of you may recall that I recently reblogged two posts titled respectively Autism Speaks No Longer Seeking Cure; This Autistic Person Couldn’t Care Less and Autistics Against Autism Speaks | A Civil Rights Movement – Share & Reblog Version. Well the story being told in different ways in those two posts has moved forward with a new post from boycottautismspeaks titled “Autism Speaks Hurts. Real People Speaking.” I offer you this header graphic by way of further inducement…

My penultimate link is to a post on No Stereotypes Here titled “Words are Words“, and taking the form of an open letter to the organisation targetted in the graphic above. I present this site’s header image below.

No Stereotypes Here - Neurodiversity activist blog

My final link is to thesilentwaveblog’s most recent offering, which tackles the subject of eye contact, under the title ‘“Look me in the eye.” (No.)‘, and below is the image which heads it.

Now it is time to conclude this post with some…

PHOTOGRAPHS

ASCormorants and gullsCormorants x 3CormorantsouseDSCN5733ducklingsducklings1merulapurfleetstarlingstortoiseshell

 

 

World Autism Awareness Day

A post for World Autism Awareness Day featuring yesterday at Musical Keys and a number of autism related links.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to World Autism Awareness Day. This post has two parts, an account with photographs, of Musical Keys yesterday and some autism related links. 

MUSICAL KEYS

Musical Keys is one of the events available to members of NAS West Norfolk, and it runs fortnightly on Saturdays. Yesterday was one of those Saturdays, and it seems appropriate to write about it for World Autism Awareness Day. Although most of the focus will be on the event itself, for me it also involves two walks, one in each direction, and my coverage therefore starts with…

GETTING THERE

The weather being pleasant I decided to extend the walk there by starting off along the river front and through Hardings Pits, only joining one of my usual routes at Tennyson Avenue. Here are some photos from this walk…

DSCN5390DSCN5391DSCN5392DSCN5393DSCN5394DSCN5395DSCN5396DSCN5397

THE SESSION ITSELF

The sessions nowadays feature musical instruments, computers and i-pads. Also, John from Musical Keys was recording people, which I captured on my camera. I was on one of the computers when not taking photographs. Before the session got underway I told people that I would be taking photographs, why I would be taking them and that the intention was that they should be shared widely. Here then are some photos:

THE WALK BACK

The walk back was uneventful, although I did bag a couple more pictures.

DSCN5459DSCN5460

SOME AUTISM RELATED LINKS

I start the sharing process with…

TWO VIDEOS FROM AmericanBadassAdvocates

These two videos from AmericanBadassAdvocates are respectively about Julia the autistic character on Sesame Street and an attack on the ‘blue jigsaw piece’ people.

OTHER LINKS

AmericanBadassAdvocates also put up this piece about London listening and not ‘lighting up blue’ but instead ‘lighting up pink’, pink being one of the colours of the National Autistic Society. To read in full please click the image below.

I am taking the next two links together because they are complementary. Broken Brain – Brilliant Mind with “#REDinstead for Autism acceptance – now, there’s an idea” and thesilentwaveblog with “Don’t ‘light it up blue‘ for me” each provide compelling reasons for avoiding blue and using red instead to raise autism awareness. The two graphics below provide links to each post in the order in which I have mentioned them.

redinstead

The Art of Autism have produced a post consisting of 18 Temple Grandin quotes. Once again I link by way of an image:

Temple Grandin's ability to think like a cow has enabled her to design over half of all cattle facilities in the United States

Our Autism Blog has put up a post titled “Meltdown, tantrum or bad behaviour”, which I link to by way of the infographic below:

My last two links, which end the post are on a theme of…

ROLE REVERSAL

Erin Human has produced a post in which she comes up with alternative designation for April of ‘Ableism Awareness Month’. Click on the graphic below to read in full:

I conclude my World Autism Awareness Day post with a link to that most brilliant of all role reversal posts, thesilentwaveblog’s “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Neurotypicality: a handbook on the rest of the world for Asperger’s / autistic people”. Click the image below to read in full:

 

 

Too Much Information and Autism Acceptance

As Autism Acceptance/ Appreciation Month gets underway I share some of the best autism related pieces of the moment, some thoughts of my own and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

I have a number of autism related links to share. Some of you will notice that the heading of this section of the blog is a different colour from usual. One of the links I shall be sharing gives more detail on this. For the moment suffice it to say that for the month of April save when it features in photographs the colour blue will not feature in this blog. As for the second half of this post’s title, I refer you to my last post, accessible by way of the graphic below:

AUA

TOO MUCH INFORMATION

Last year the National Autistic Society released a video entitled Too Much Information. This year they have produced a second, which has already had approximately a million views. As I cannot embed this particular video I link to it by way of the screenshot below and this link to the original.

TMI

SOME OTHER AUTISM RELATED LINKS

My first two links both come from a site I have recently come across called “A Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism“. 

  1. We start with a post titled “Autism Science to Watch Out For”, which you can visit by clicking the screenshot below.
    ASW
  2. My second selection from this site, titled “An Open Letter from an Autistic Child in Meltdown, Written by an Autistic Adult Who Still Melts Down From Time to Time”
    does precisely what it says on the tin. Again the link is by way of a screenshot:
    Meltdownletter

The Art of Autism site have put up a post titled “APRIL IS AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH – WE PREFER AUTISM ACCEPTANCE MONTH“, which can be viewed by clicking their lovely graphic below:
AutismRainbow

My next link comes from a recent follower of this blog, americanbadassadvocates, who this morning, having very generously reblogged my previous post, came up with this splendid offering titled “#NORMALAUTISTICHERE | SESAME STREET’S JULIA HUMANIZES AUTISTICS, AND SOME FOLKS HATE THAT“, which I link to by way of the image below.

This brings this section to a close because although I have a couple more links to share they are on the same theme and I have chosen to give them a section to themselves…

LOOKING AHEAD –
ACCEPTANCE TO APPRECIATION

Autism Acceptance Month is a better title than the old title for this month. Some however, and I fully sympathise with their reasoning, consider that even this is inadequate, and have introduced another title, Autism Appreciation Month. This appeals greatly to me, as an extension of the principle by which the title Autism Acceptance Month was arrived at. I have two superb posts to link to which between them make a good case for Autism Appreciation Month:

  1. Eclectic Autistic, whose post titled “Autism Appreciation” appeared not long after my own post of yesterday. Click on the screenshot below to read this excellent post in full:
    AutismAppreciation
  2. Finally, no post of this nature would be complete without something from thesilentwaveblog. This post, titled “#RedInstead ~ Autism Acceptance / Appreciation Month” both fills out the case for Autism Appreciation Month, and provides some detail as to why I am not using blue in the text sections of this blog during April, and why with blue ruled out I made red the first colour to appear. To read it in full please click on the picture below.

SOME FINAL WORDS

At some point in the near future I will be putting up a general sharing post, and a post about public transport specifically. Also, this afternoon I will be attending a Musical Keys session, and I will take plenty of photographs there for sharing – this session will definitely feature in a blog post as well. I have no doubt that I will also find plenty more excellent autism related posts to share. My final words before the photo section are these:

“DIFFERENT” AND “LESSER” ARE NOT SYNONYMS

and

ENJOY AUTISM ACCEPTANCE/ APPRECIATION MONTH!!

PHOTOGRAPHS

pb1
The first five pictures in this selection were taken on Sunday.

pb2pb3pb4pb5

squirrel1
These last two pictures were taken on Thursday.

squirrel2