A brief account of today’s Autism Awarenss event at King’s Lynn Library, with some photographs.
Today at 1PM there was a gathering at King’s Lynn Library for World Autism Awareness Day, in which we talked to the library about things they could do to make themselves more accessible to autistic people and in which we got details of an autism friendly youth group that they are starting. As well as ourselves and library staff a young woman from SCIOPE was also present.
AWARENESS IS BARELY THE BEGINNING
Obviously awareness is necessary, but it should not be thought of as a goal or an endpoint – to borrow from a famous quote it is at most the end of the beginning. To be of real value it needs to proceed to acceptance, understanding of our needs and appreciation of our strengths. The library staff seem genuinely committed to helping autistic people, and they listened to all our comments. There was talk of autism friendly hours in the evening, which I think would be an excellent idea.
A CONSTRUCTIVE DAY
I feel that this event was very constructive and potentially valuable. I await practical developments with interest – as an autistic person who is a great supporter of the library I hope to be able remember today as an occasion when things moved in the right direction. I was very glad to be able to attend – as an advocate of “nothing about us without us” I always feel that I should be involved with this sort of thing, and there had been a possibility that my health would prevent that. Fortunately it did not. Now for…
I start with an infographic posted on the NAS Norwich facebook page by Johanna Corbyn which I consider to be excellent:
To set the scene for my own photographs that relate to this event here is the official King’s Library picture, originally posted on their facebook page:
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.
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:
Among the things that autism is sometimes supposed to be but is not are:
A form of mental illness (more on this at the end of this section as you will see).
Something to be feared or worse still hated
Something that needs to be cured
I end this section with an example that absolutely shocked me when I saw it by way of twitter this weekend. I invite readers of this post to collectively identify everything they can find that is wrong with the formulation of the question below:
If you click on the image you can go to the quiz, take it yourself and then post a comment (if you choose to do this please follow me in highlighting the problems with this question).
AUTISM AND ME
My unsuitability for front-line customer service and the difficulties I have with communication are down to autism. On the other side of the ledger my eye for detail, reflected in my photography among other things, my mathematical skills, my aptitude for working with computers and several other of my strongest attributes are also due to autism.
I will finish this section by reminding people that different does not necessarily mean less, and that we are autistic people – note the emphasis given to the second part of that designation.
In this section I provide the solution to one puzzle and offer another for your inspection. Both are mathematical in nature.
The above table shows two putative sets of coin toss records, each for one coin tossed thirty times. Which is more like to be genuine based on what you can see?
a) series one
b) series two
To begin the solution, here is the table above with a column added:
You will see that the two sets of coin toss lists in the original problem were made up, but if you look at the results for the set of coin tosses I actually performed you will note that it looks much more like series two than series one – randomness is clumpier than we intuitively expect (the idea for this problem came from a book by Natalie Angier, in which she tells the story of a teacher who uses an experiment in which half of her class are assigned the task of inventing a series of coin tosses, and half of actually tossing coins and recording the result, while the teacher goes out of the room – and nearly always the teacher can tell the real from the fake).
My new problem comes from the mathematical website brilliant:
As usual I end this post with some photographs, in this case featuring a family of swans I saw swimming along the Gaywood River yesterdary morning:
I am planning a major blog post for tomorrow morning, but there are a couple of things I wish to share now.
HERITAGE OPEN DAY
Heritage Open Day 2017 is on Sunday September 10, and as usual many King’s Lynn buildings will be opening their doors for the occasion. This year I will be among the volunteers. I will be stewarding at 11-13 King Street between 12 and 2PM. Here are a few pictures of the place taken today:
A WARNING FROM AMERICA
There is an online magazine called Autism Parenting Magazine. Amy Sequenzia, a very well known autistic person and autism advocate has had a very bad experience with them recently, as has one of her friends. I found out about this from americanbadassactivists, who put up a post linking to Amy’s original, which appears on the Autism Women’s Network. As someone who is both autistic and heavily involved witha charity that helps autistic people I am shocked by the attitudes and behaviour of the people who run this online magazine. Below, in screenshot form, is some of the detail from Amy’s piece:
A POSITIVE ENDING AND PHOTOGRAPHS
I always like to end my posts with pictures, but before I do here is a link to something much more positive than the last piece I linked to. This piece, from Science Whysis titled “We Are Family” and it ends with a wonderful quote from Maya Angelou: “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.”