Welcome back! This week we continue our look at why Hollywood keeps having non-disabled actors fill roles of disabled characters (physical or otherwise) and portray people with disabilities on screen. And what better example of this than the BBC’s remake of The Elephant man (it probably sounds more like the name of a superhero to those not in the know, but a lot sadder than most, is a one-off series and, while I did not see the movie myself, I get the feeling that everyone loses. Also a lot less action), where, once again an able bodied actor plays a person with physical disabilities. But what, if you remember form the last post, is the industry-wide systemic problem?
According to The Guardian, “it’s routine for non-disabled actors to play disabled characters, often gaining critical acclaim in the process.” (The Guardian, Why are disabled actors ignored when it comes to roles like the elephant man? Paragraph 2). How routine? Why not ask, as examples from The Guardian itself, Dustin Hoffman from Rain Man (why is it called Rain man? Is he supposed to be omnipotent about the weather because of his Autism/Aspergers? Best. Weatherman. Ever) or Eddie Redmayne (cool last name. To bad he does not actually have a red mayne, or any mayne for that matter). Also, while your at it can you get an autograph from them for me? Not that I like either of them much...or at all, but only so that I can have two autographs from celebrities to lord it over my friends. Thanks.
Much like this lady above: show it off loud and proud, saying “hey, I’m an egotistical man that had an unhealthy amount of emotional response after receiving two pieces of paper from people of whom I only know through the screen”.
What this entails is a whole lot of bad news, to varying degrees. So lets list them all! Yeaaaahhhh!! It: takes away both work and exposure from legitimate actors with disabilities, forcing more into unemployment! (not like there isn't enough already) It pushes disability representation to the side in our arts and cultures! (not that they need help with that) It also has non-disabled actors act out the characteristics of our disabled community, without any input (or involvement) from us! But if you think that it’s just people with disabilities who are making noises about this, guess again.
The trans community started to raise a fuss after a cisgender actor was slated to play a trans character. Fortunately, she was wise enough to drop the role. Now if only if only we can get a none-disabled actor, or at least a non-physically disabled actor to start with, to do the same (ah progress, you’re always fashionably late). According to The Guardian, a fellow actor once wrote that “actors ‘cripping up’ turns disability into a defining feature, disrupts the story and makes the audience become voyeurs of difference” (The Guardian, paragraph 3). You know how you want to cringe when most horror movies try to depict disability (with the notable exception of, I think, A quiet place, of whom I heard actually had disabled actors in it), especially cognitive or mental disabilities? Yeah.
Well, that does it for this week's post. Next week we will continue on with this subject, finding out just why it can be seen as contentious (which happens when we can’t find conscientious on an issue from conscious people. Though that may seem pompous). But until then, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.
Welcome back! This week we will look at an interesting, and probably controversial, topic that deals with how the media sees out Aspie/Autistic community. And, in this case more importantly, how they portray us to the wider society, and I don’t mean in paintings (though you could argue that everything is a painting of some kind: movies and video games are thousands of individual paintings in a row shown for a split second, and that books are just paintings of either words or images glued together to form a storyline. Man, thats deep. I must be what they call...woke). No, I’m talking about how they act as us in the movies: non-disabled actors playing disabled characters in movies. Will, enough talking, let's get right to it.
We all know that acting is the art of pretending to be someone, or something, your not. But there’s a difference between imitating to flatter, and mimicking to mock. There’s a reason stuff like black-face is frowned upon these days.
Have you heard of the old British (I assume it’s an old British film anyways) movie called the elephant man? If not, here's a description from IMDb “A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak. Behind his monstrous façade, there is revealed a person of intelligence and sensitivity.” (IMDb: film description of The Elephant Man, 1980). Why are we talking about it? Will the BBC is doing a remake of that very film and, surprise surprise, the actor who is playing the Elephant man is not physically disabled. Rather, it will be the actor from that 80’s nostalgic, rose-tinted (or a hit T.V. show if you’re a fan) Netflix series Stranger things.
And who exactly will this actor be? Why, none other than Charlie Heaton! You know, the guy that looks like he went for the bowl-cut/Beatles option, decided it looked to ugly, so had the barber sheer off a section at the front of his hair to make it look modern and awesome (or, if your a fan, the cutesy lad with the gorgeous Beatles-like hair do)? Will, regardless of what you may think he looks like, we can all agree on one thing: He is not physically disabled. Hair-style disabled maybe, but not physically.
Well, if the Stranger Danger actor is not fit to play the Elephant man, than who is? Why, have you ever heard of this man called Adam Pearson? Adam Pearson is an actor with neurofibromatosis (tried to copy that word for word from the article and still got it wrong, autocorrect saved the day again) a condition that, according to The Guardian, was supposed to affect Joseph Merrick (Of whom the movie is based on I assume). If you want to read more about the man behind the movie, see here by All That's Interesting. After all: if you thought that the last couple of posts were depressing...why not read something else that’s depressing! (highly encouraged by psychiatrists everywhere to bring down your mood, harsh your mellow, and to spread those negative waves. Like that famous line from Kelly’s heroes “there you go with those negative waves again”).
Hey, I gotta stay relevant somehow. You think I’m gonna let the news have a monopoly on depressing stories? Not a chance! Tears are the new show of support.
As Mr. Pearson, who The Guardian claims was not even given the opportunity to audition, says “It’s a systemic problem, not only in the BBC but industry wide.” (The Guardian, Why are disabled actors ignored when it comes to roles like the Elephant Man?, Paragraph One). Will, that does it for this week's post. Next week we will continue with this rather interesting, and relevant, topic. And fear not if your interested, I found a site with lots of sources about this topic (or if your not interested, than start panicking. You know, imagine your whole entire schedule is thrown out of whack or something, or all of your collection about your favorite interest was destroyed in a fire. Probably the same thing). But until next time, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.
Welcome back! This week, we will finish up our look at the SLATE article on Cri du chat syndrome (if you want to read the full article yourself, you can access it here). But until then let's pick up where we left off last time, when I was going on a rant about society and child rearing (always a fun topic. Try it with your friends! It’ll help you get all the romance you’ll ever want. Like someone once said: you’re going to win so much that you will get tired of winning). But enough about that, let's get back to the topic at hand.
Nothing brings people together than going on an angry rant about heavy topics like society, culture or politics. Or, if you love living dangerously, all three.
After the discovery of her son having Cri du chat, it was like she and her husband were out at sea, being told that their son would always be “profoundly disabled” (SLATE, Not Mine to Mold, paragraph 6). Feeling overwhelmed, she imagined a future based entirely on caregiving until a doctor suggested to her to have her son, you guessed it, institutionalized. At the time, she was, as she describes herself, “Clueless” (SLATE, paragraph 6), and thought the suggestion outdated (you know your assumptions about a certain demographic is, will, off-kilter when someone, who does not know much about the demographic themselves, starts to ask you “doesn't this sound...old fashioned?”).
But, upon going to some experts (and we all know those types of “experts”), they only made her worst fears seem right, even to the point of wishing she could go back in time to try and fix it. But she eventually realized that you can’t choose what your kid is going to be like. I would say more, but if you yourself have children of your own, you can pretty much fill in the blanks from here (also I don’t have kids myself, and I’m totally not letting you try to fill in the blanks so that I don’t have to type as much. Nope, I’m not lazy).
Would a lazy person try to minimize the amount they have to write each week, just to make time to watch cat videos? Yes, but I don’t watch cat videos, because I already have a cat that I can sit and watch for her to do cute stuff ours hours on end. Priorities people.
The author tried to get advice from therapists and teachers, but they weren't much help either, as “they didn't have access to long-term data, just a few decades of small scientific studies” (SLATE, Not Mine to Mold, paragraph 6). But here's the kicker: when the author then turned to social media, she found that the recommendations from the “experts”, therapists and teachers were not only outdated and lacking long-term data, but also incomplete, ignoring one perspective (deemed crucial according to the article, and they are not wrong): those from adults with disabilities. Long story short: she soon discovered that there is a whole different world concerning our Autistic/Aspie community and the disability community as a whole, one that rarely ever sees the light of day.
Well, that does it for this week's post. Next week we will be looking at another topic, as per usual. If I said it once, I’ll say it again (and again, and again, and…): we so do love our stable routines. If I was expected to suddenly start writing about clowns or the surface of the earth, my whole life would be ruined! (if you’re on the spectrum, you know what I’m talking about. If not, then imagine that one day you suddenly warped from your home country to halfway around the world! Or if you are halfway around the world, then imagine that warped to the other half of the world!). But until then, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.
Welcome back! This week, we will continue to look into the topic of Cri du chat syndrome and one mother's journey of caring for her child with the rare genetic disorder (and all the fun that it implies). Last week we left off by recounting some of the advice that was given to her by professionals, boiling down to having her leave her son at a feeding clinic isolated by his family (save for whatever time she would be able to go see him, which in her case would be none because of her busy schedule), the ever popular option of institutionalizing him, and the one good idea: reaching out to other parents who are in similar situations. Now let’s see where this parenting adventure will take her next.
Notice how I seem to depict all out adventures either on a boat cruise or under the water? Never on any actual land mass. Except for that one time with the fair and travelling to Britain and Scotland, but they don’t count as they are an island surrounded by water.
On top of everything else that she has experienced thus far, there was yet another realization that became quite clear to her: Raising a child on the spectrum (not to mention one with an extremely rare genetic disorder) was a lot different from raising a normal child. This was made extremely apparent to the author, as she has both a child who has all of the above, and some who do not. The author has, as they say, lived experience. Much like I have lived experience of accidentally putting my hand to close to a candle for a couple of seconds, but long enough so that the hairs start to burn. Lived (painfully) experience.
Concerning the parenting of her other children, she has a number of sources she could draw on, most of which, from what I understand, without much if any help from institutions. Sources like: generations of parenting knowledge, her own childhood experiences, observed other families parent/child dynamics, and parenting advice from conversations, magazines, newspapers, fictional books/movies/T.V shows. In other words, society, much like all other aspects of our lives that it touches, taught her, in large part of in whole, of how to raise her normal children.
But how many television shows, movies and/or books do you know of that teaches parents how to raise a child that is on the spectrum? (or at least those that give positive advice on such matters). Do you know of any family with generations of knowledge on how to parent a child on the spectrum? Have you ever heard it discussed? Probably not, or rarely if so. Society, it seems to me, does not seem to know what to do with such a child even if it dropped from the sky and started to do a jig. Except, of course, for the parents who are themselves on the spectrum, from which they might be able to benefit from their own childhood experiences at least.
Childhood can teach us many things. How to raise our own kids, what bugs are safe to eat raw, why attacking a nest of red ants can hurt a lot, and most importantly, how to try and not get in trouble.
Will, that does it for this week's post. Next week will be the last post on this subject, and the last stop on this particular tour of the Autistic/Aspie Atoll. Please leave in an orderly line as we drop you off onto your own island. Also, do not forget any valuables/items you bought with you on the trip, otherwise we will keep all items in a lost and found box/sell them on the black market for top dollar. Whichever comes first (hurry, they go fast). Until next time, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.
Welcome back! This week, we will once again dive into unknown waters (mind the kraken), and explore the little-known island, called Cri du chat. A place that, not many, least certainly not me, has heard of before, but is akin in many ways to our own little cluster of islands that I like to call, the Autistic/Asperger Atoll (an island for each of us, lord knows we could use alone time sometimes). In fact, much like the island of Down syndrome the Cri du chat island is so close to our own island chain, that one might consider even consider it a part of the Atoll. But what is Cri du chat, despite a metaphorical island that I made up? Will, it is much more than just a fake island. Much more.
Doesn't all this talk about islands and atolls just want you to take a vaca to a real Island resort? Basking in the hot sun, being served hand and foot, holding on to dear life while trying to not be blown away by the blast from a nuclear bomb test...will, at least the first two.
Cri du chat syndrome is, according to SLATE, a rare genetic disorder that gives the person who has it with “multiple intensive disabilities” (SLATE, NOT MINE TO MOLD, paragraph 1). One of them being nonverbal Autism/Aspergers. This particular article of SLATE tells a rather sobering tale of a mother learning of the unique challenges posed, not by her son, but by the institutions who are supposed to care for people like her sons, and their families. Not gonna lie folks, it won’t be easy to make jokes with this one as opposed to the last one (which was all about our humorous side! Will, all about the myth that we don’t have a humours side but you get the idea).
So just what was it that the institutions suggested? Only the usual suggestions: leave him in a feeding clinic were a group of caregivers will put him in a room with a bunch of strangers and repeatedly encourage him to eat something over an extended period of time. Or, and I’m sure that this is one that we, or our parents at any rate, have been told at least once in our/their lives, that she have her son institutionalized (the world seems to think that we belong only in an institution. And they’re right. I’m in an institution after all. Okay okay, it’s a postsecondary education institution but it still counts as an institution).
Man, I wish my universities library was this fancy. I would never tire of walking around its seemingly endless levels than. Or until closing hour came and they chase me around the library until finally cornering me and catching me, after suffering some scratches and bite marks. (sigh), a man can dream.
But, her being the mother of the child, only had to imagine herself in her childs shoes in those situations, and know that it would be, will, a pretty poor choice to put it mildly. But there was one bit of advice that was suggested to them (by whom the author does not say): “seek out other parents of children with similar medical issues.” (SLATE, Not Mine to Mold, paragraph 4). A kind of community were a sense of belonging, tips on practically everything (examples given are going through the educational system and picking out wheelchairs), and commiserating over a shared struggle. Group healing, in other words.
Will, that does it for this week's post. Next week, we will continue our look into the article about Cri du chat, though probably not for too much longer, as there is so much sadness and depression in the world already, that if we really wanted to read about kids being mistreated by an uncaring system (an odd obsession I know but bear with me), we really only have to read the newspaper or listen to the radio. Hold on, I’ve just received news that it has always been like that. Will than, as an unlicensed and uneducated-in-the-ways-of-psychology psychologist, In recommend you read or listen to a happy story each and every day, or even go one better and get some physical exercise as often as you can.
On further reflection, you probably don't need me telling you that. But until then, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.
Welcome back! This week, we will continue to learn more about the misconception: do people on the spectrum get humour. We already know the answer (yes) but there are other factors of the myth that are important for us to learn as to why it came about, why is it still around and just how wrong is it really? Will, that is what we have been learning for the past two weeks now, and this week will be no different. Please welcome back to the stage to help explain the whole debacle, the BBC! (pre-recorded cheering)
Last we left off, we were talking about how last year was a big shock (to the BBC at least) of just how funny people on the spectrum can be, one way of which was having a special on an international streaming/film production/god-knows-what-else company. A lot of humour, in my opinion, is taking the mickey out of patterns of our daily lives, but how does someone with Autistic/Asperger’s view such patterns in our lives? Will, the creator of the aforementioned Netflix show Nanette, has her view on things.
Take this picture for example: is your life pattern one of a series of beautiful coloured glass steps leading ever upward towards success, or a nightmarish glass slide leading ever down towards a circle brightly lit by the ever-burning flames of the home of beelzebub? Could go either way really.
She herself “understands things a lot deeper than a lot of people” (Do autistic people ‘get’ jokes? Paragraph 14), and by “things”, she means feelings. But what is strange is that our good doctor Asperger is not only responsible (according to the article) for kick-starting the no-humour myth, but he is also known to believe that people on the spectrum lack both empathy and social understanding (wonder if he watched as many cartoons as his “little professors” have before coming up with these, um, “interesting” ideas).
However, not only did the no-humour belief have a huge upset last year, but so, it might seem, did the no empathy/social understanding myth. The article states that many of the people who watch Nanette seem to agree with her “analysis of feelings and emotions” (Do people autistic people ‘get’ jokes?), which kinda pokes a giant hole in the foundations of the myth doesn't it? Someone should really have it bulldozed as it’s a health hazard.
This guy's got the right idea. Or is it manure he’s shovelling over? Hard to tell the difference between the two.
Will, that does it for this week, and also (for now at least) my analysis of the myth: people with Autism/Asperger have no sense of humour. Next week we will be moving on to a different topic, as always, of which may (or may not) exclusively deal with Autism/Aspergers. But until next time, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.
“Approximately 15 per cent of British Columbians over 15 years old self-identify as having a disability. Our goal is to prevent and remove barriers so everyone can participate and feel included. This way, B.C. will be a better place to live, work and visit for everyone.” (Province of British Columbia, 2018)
According to the Province of BC website, we have committed ourselves to become a truly inclusive province by 2024 by implementing the following strategies:
While these action items may support a stride towards an inclusive province over the next 6 years, I would ask, how will the Province of BC be held accountable to its commitments? What should people with disabilities do if these values of inclusivity are not upheld? I can say with confidence that, despite the good intentions of the Province, individuals with disabilities are often rendered voiceless in instances of discrimination. I would suggest that this is largely due to the arduous process involved in escalating a complaint to the BC Human Rights Tribunal.
The Province of Ontario has established an Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. This Act provides Ontarians provides citizens living with disabilities with the option to pursue legal action against their discriminators other than going through a Tribunal process.
I am hopeful that the British Columbia Accessibility Act drafted in May 2018 will give British Columbians the same option. It is difficult to comment on the current content of this Act given that there has been very little progress made. However, I anticipate that its intention is to offer an additional avenue of recourse to citizens living with disabilities who have experienced discrimination. Such an Act may also provide the citizens of BC a measure of autonomy in their pursuit for equity and an opportunity to address their complaint via litigation. Hopefully, this would alleviate the pressure related to the victim’s responsibility to prove and present their case to Tribunal decision makers and make way for case law to preside based on individual circumstances.
The Province acknowledges that there is a significant number of British Columbians living with disabilities and that we should be working towards being a truly inclusive province. Therefore, I hope we continue to find ways support equity and diversity and hold those who do not align with this goal accountable.
Canadian Law Faculty members debate over the provision of extra-time on exams for mental health-related disabilities.
The debate related to students with disabilities being granted extra time for exams continues in this November 2017 University Affairs article by Andre Costopoulos.
In his 2016 article published in the Education and Law Journal, Bruce Pardy, a law professor at Queens University, argues that “extra-time accommodations are not legitimate and should not be granted because they tilt the playing field against the best students.”
In response to this argument, Renu Mandhane, Ontario Human Rights chief commissioner, conveys a poignant response in an article published by the Huffington Post. In short, she asserts that “The hard truth is, not all subjectively desired qualifications are objectively essential. Just because a professor might prefer a student who does not require additional time on an exam, does not make the absence of mental disability an essential qualification. Instead, a careful, good-faith inquiry into the truly necessary qualifications must be undertaken to support the needs of our students.”
Likewise, in response to Pardy’s article, York University’s Benjamin Berger, Associate Dean and Lorne Sossin, Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School, respectively, point to the importance of universal design in a National Post article published in August 2017. “This is the idea that barriers are not in the individual but rather in the environment, and that appropriately designed environments remove barriers that are unnecessary.”
Welcome back! This week, we continue to look at the myth: people with Autistic/Asperger don’t have a sense of humour. Last week, we found out about an BBC podcast who seeks to discredit various myths, including this one, with sharp-wit and humour, along with how the myth started in the first place. But how do you explain to people that the myth is no less a myth than one about faye people or pixies? (probably the same thing, but you get the idea). Will, let's find out.
Think about it, which sounds more likely: that people on the spectrum don’t get humour? Or little humanoids are flying around, causing all sorts of problems or doing whatever it is they are said to do?
How would you explain it? The article might have a solution: a listener to “1800 Seconds of Autism” once wrote (to whom it does not say) that “once you own autism” (Do autistic people ‘get’ jokes? Paragraph 10), it transforms from “constellation of character defects (Do autistic people ‘get’ jokes? Paragraph 10) to something that can be understood (though the article has added the word “vaguely” in front of “understood”). Apparently, you can explain it much like a colour-blindness of sorts, one that cannot see green, but ultraviolet instead.
It goes on to say that NT’s (a slang for Neurotypicals) make sense of the world in their own ways, and not always in the same way. They don’t have deficits, just that their “acuities don’t fully overlap.” (Do autistic people ‘get’ jokes?). Confused? Makes sense? Probably one of those explanations that you need to think about before you get it. Or need another explanation to explain the explanation. Apparently though, this explanation can work across the entire “plain” (of existence? Elemental? Magical?), which includes humour. But, compare this myth to what has happened over the course of last year, according to the article, and something does not seem to hold up.
Not that the myth really held up much if you actually talked with someone on the spectrum, but the BBC seemed to have had a rude awakening last year concerning us and humour.
In 2018 alone, Autistic/Asperger comedians got their own taste of the limelight (why is it called limelight anyways? What if you hate limes? I like apples, so can I call it the applelight?), either by making shows on Netflix (like Nanette) or by making it to one of the top 3 spots on talent shows (like Britains got talent, where a bloke on the spectrum made it to second place). Proving that not only does the no-humour myth not hold water, but that it has so many holes in it that it’s structural integrity is poor and liable to collapse by the meerest breeze. Thus having debris fall onto the sidewalk and road, cause a road blockage that will hold up traffic for hours on end, than causing people to riot in the streets over having to try to back up and take a detour.
This is why we as a society need to learn on how to use more stable material, like facts, when it come to building theories. Or at least choose firm, stable ground if your going to start building misconceptions.
Then once all the debris are cleared, all the inconvenienced travellers once again head on their way to wherever it is they were going. And that is why myths are bad for society. But enough about the dangers of poor building methods, next week we will continue to learn more about this no-humour myth. But until then, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.
Welcome back! This week, we we’ll focus on a rather, humorous topic, aiming to dispel a myth surrounding the Autistic/Asperger community. Now, we’ve all heard these misconceptions about us before: We’re cold, unfeeling, brilliant mathematicians/computer scientists, and violent (kind of an oxymoron when you think about it. You need to be able to have feelings to be a violent individual, otherwise you’re just a terminator activated by Skynet). But here’s one that you may not have heard of, at least I didn't until now: we don’t understand jokes (mostly because we, and those like us, are often the butt of said jokes). But a British podcast is aiming to change all that.
Finally, a story coming out of UK that’s not about Britxit. A welcome break that should last,ohh, two minutes or so, depending on how long it takes for you to read this post, or even shorter if you turn on the radio.
Have any of you heard of the podcast 1800 Seconds of Autism? It’s a BBC podcast, that seeks to dispel the assumptions surrounding our community. One of them, being the humourless one. But how does one cut through all the shetlands? (get it? Shetlands? It’s a play on words of...never mind) Why, what better tool to use than some nice, razor-sharp wit. But how did the assumption of us not having a funny bone come about? Will, we have our own good doctor, Mr. Hans Asperger’s, to thank for that.
Back in 1944, when Hitler was beginning to understand what the words “homeland invasion” and “war on two fronts” meant, Hans showed his “little professors” some humorous cartoons, probably to avoid thinking about what fate had in store for his dear Third Reich (or to try and get them in the mood to celebrate their impending liberation. Depends on what you thought of the man). Either way, none of the kids laughed (probably didn't help that there was a war going on), and so he concluded that we had not an ounce of humour in us. And it stuck (and sucked).
Fun fact from the article: A Shaun May is holding an Autism arts festival in Canterbury some time next year. Might wanna check it out. Any ways, back to the topic at hand, the same Mr. May has been studying both Autism and comedy for some years, and has come to a crazy conclusion: Just because we don't laugh at everything, doesn't mean we lack any kind of humour! A quote from the article “Just because you or I might find things funny, it doesn’t mean we have more or less of a sense of humour.”. Rather, such a thing has just been inferred by psychology! Radical right!?
No? Common sense? Will maybe you're wrong, it's not like you have a psychology degree! You don’t need one to know that you have to laugh at everything to have a sense of humour? Oh.
Well, that’s it for this weeks post. Next week, we will continue to look at the rather mystifying (or not so much) reason of why the Autistic/Asperger community doesn't laugh at everything: is it truly because we lack a sense of humour, or are we like literally everyone else (in this regard): we only laugh at the stuff that we find funny? The answer to that might be revealed next week, but until then, this continues to be, tthe Audacious Aspie.
Welcome, to the Christmas special! where I find something christmassy to talk about that deals with autism. I thought it would be hard, but here we are. With any luck, while your all busy celebrating with family and friends, opening gifts, playing with your gifts, getting up hours early in excitement or having a family member body slam you until you get up (normally the youngest sibling), I will have remembered to post this. Unless I’m to caught up doing any of the above. Regardless, the title should cover it. Also, this will be an extra long post, combining two posts in one! Crazy right!?
Tiss the season to be jolly, which is appropriate for the times. With all the depressing stuff going on in the world today, we need a whole season to remind us to try and see the light at the end of the tunnel (unless your in Canada, in which case to take advantage of finally being able to light-up inside the tunnel).
What have I found that is both christmassy AND Autistic/Asperger's? Why, a source with numerous links on how to make your christmas more Autism/Aspie friendly, Hooray! (on that note, like almost all the other advice given by links I’ve found, this one will probably work for anyone and everyone, a stress free christmas is the best). What should an autistic christmas look like? Network Autism has some ideas, like: going to a quiet christmas event, to avoid all the hustle and bustle of regular christmas events. Not to mention the noise Noise NOISE! (maybe the Who’s down in Whoville would not have been harassed by the Grinch if they held a quiet festivale for his sake).
Where do we start? Why, with an Autism/Asperger advent calendar, of course! Based of an advent calendar made for schools by Katherine Learmonth, an independent educational consultant for a company called Axcis Education Recruitment, wrote an article for the Autism Network. It lists some suggestions to “help children on the autistic spectrum manage during the christmas period at school” (National Autistic Society, An Autism Advent calendar for schools, Paragraph 1). Providing interventions in a timeline (read “12 days of christmas”), that are based around their current interests. Neat concept eh?
The article than goes into detail of how you can set up the advent calendar, for schools anyways, though you might be able to replicate it in your own home. Just make it a smaller version of the school one maybe, and don’t invite twenty kids or more to come and celebrate. The instructions for creating such a calendar follow like a step-by-step process, except it’s day-to-day. I.e, on the first of December, the instructions on the article say to print out a calendar that shows all of December, than mark up-coming events that will be happening throughout the month by “Using pictures to link the calendar to their current interest” (National Autistic Society, An Autism Advent calendar for schools, Paragraph 6).
Imagine this, but Mario themed, or Star Wars themed, or Barney the purple dinosaur themed! No? Just me on the last one? (sigh), always is.
Than, on the last day in the instructions (December 20th), comes the hardest task of all: sitting back, relaxing, knowing that your children can now enjoy the holidays without stressing over all the hustle and bustle (or, if they’re already enjoying the holidays, than perhaps this can be another fun activity for them. Either way, this Autistic/Advent calendar might be worth a try, even if your kids aren't Autistic/Aspergers (who doesn't like an advent calendar depicting their current favorite topic? Regular calendars do that literally every year), and you can read the rest of the instructions here, if you want to build an Autistic/Asperger advent calendar yourself.
And now, onto the next part of this post. The chance, to not only use that extremely clever title I thought of, but also to help celebrate this, being a special post. The Christmas post (or a regular post that is longer than usual). Either way, introducing...
How A Perpetrator Perpetuates
Welcome back to part two of the Christmas special! We will take a look at how the dilemma is perpetuated by the perpetrators (see the play on words I did there? Nice isn’t it) as we come to an end of our look at the Autistic/Asperger dilemma. But enough talking for now, let’s get at’er (so I can do some MORE talking. Hey, I love the sound of my own voice, alright? It helps put me to sleep. Or so other people tell me anyways, I always try it, but it never works on me. And it’s not like I can ask them, because they’re already snoring away! It’s like...hey! You listening? ((sigh)), it happened again).
So just how is it perpetuated? Why, by making some statements of course! But what kind of statements? Well, Autistictic has a small list, some of which you might have already heard, or close to it. If you don’t have the “right amount” of Autism/Asperger’s, then you’ll see statements in the discussion like: “You are nothing like my child!”, You don’t look autistic.” (I still wonder how someone is supposed to “look” Autistic/Asperger’s), or finally “Severely autistic people DO want a cure! You wouldn't understand.” (Autistictic, The Autistic Dilemma - Functioning, Paragraph 11). And that’s only a small sample from the list, you can read the rest here if your curious.
But, if you have more than the daily recommended “amount” of Autism/Asperger’s, than you will see statements in the discussion like: “Low functioning autistic people are a burden.”, “Low functioning autistic people belong in institutions.”, or finally “Their autism is to severe, they can’t be included!” (Autistictic, The Autistic Dilemma - Functioning, Paragraph 12) I’m curious as to how the last statement was expected to make sense. “That guy is so autistic, he shouldn't be allowed to take part in the discussion about autism because he is so autistic!”
Makes about as much sense as excluding your political junky friends form discussions about politics. Everyone knows that you only exclude those whose political beliefs differ from yours, silly.
The last section of the article ends on a nice little truth-bomb, though introducing nothing that we already knew beforehand, but is nice and refreshing to hear...or, read, it anyways. The jest of the message is: all people with Autism/Asperger’s are equal, once we are treated as equal will we be accepted and functioning labels are both wrong and hurtful.
Will, that does it for this week's post. Next week, or whenever I post again in the new year, I will be moving on to a new topic. Perhaps school/college/university related, both, to give some info on how to prepare your children, or yourself, for a new year of learning, and to remind you both that soon, the long vacation will be over, and you'll be back on the education-grindstone. Isn't life fun? But until then, this continues to be, The Audacious Aspie.
Welcome back! This week, we will continue to look at the Autistic/Asperger dilemma, taking a look at what kind of tactic it is and how it’s perpetuated (all the while I try to see if I can fit in some humour here or there in this depressing topic. Still more fun than writing an exam). But without further ado, let's get going (or, as the Irish and some others pronounce it, let's get goin).
To do a take from that popular Boney M song back in the day, Ohhh those Irish.
So what kind of tactic is it exactly? Will, according to the article from Autistictic, it’s a silencing tactic, made specifically to...will, “silence other autistic voices” (Autistictic, The Autistic Dilemma - Functioning, paragraph 6). The name pretty much says it all. They are used by “harmful people” (Autistictic, The Autistic Dilemma - Functioning, re: trolls, bored kids, the comment section) to try and shut down an person with Autism/Aspergers, everytime we try to speak out against both someone, or something, negative.
These harmful people, who employ the dilemma against us, claim that someone has to have the “right amount” (Autistictic, The Autistic Dilemma - Functioning, paragraph 7) of Autism/Aspergers for someone to have, in order for them to even consider what we have to say. Yes, you read that right, the “right amount” of Autism/Aspergers. No, it’s not the effect of the computer’s light playing your eyes, nore is it a trick of the light bouncing of the magazine pages if you're reading this from one. Now no more questions. (sigh), okay, one more question, you in the back, “Do they really believe this?” Actually, no ,they don't.
The “right amount” of Autism/Aspergers they say someone should have is agree-with-them-on-everything kg, or 13 Pds of horse manure. The actual “amount” of Autism/Asperger’s you have matters not a drop. It’s a highly convenient debate tool for them, enabling (an appropriate word for this kind of topic I think) them to disengage themselves from the topic at hand and from having to defend their actions/views. By merely saying that the person on the other side is either too much Autistic/Aspergers, or not Autistic/Aspergers enough, frees them from the tiresome activity of having a fair, rational and respectful debate. Such things are sooooo last year.
Of course exact measurements vary from person to person. In order to make sure you have the correct measurements, scoop out thinking-for-yourself kg, or 2mm, than smooth it out and you'll have the “right mount”.
Well, that does it for this week's post. I was hoping to get to the part where we learn how the dilemma is perpetuated, even had a cool name for this post that rhymed, but I’ll have to save it for the next post, especially if I want this ready before Christmas (which, by the way, I have one already in the works for that as will). But until then, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.
Welcome back! This week, we will tackle a problem concerning labels (and no, it's not that they exist), but rather two certain types of labels. One fellow blogger has called it the “Autistic Dilemma”, though it affects both people diagnosed with either Autism or Aspergers. What is the “Autistic Dilemma”? Put simply, society either declares you to be A) too Autsitic/Aspie, or B) not Autistic or Aspie enough. But wait, there's more! (there’s always more. No one ever says “but wait, there’s less!”).
Un”less” it’s one of those commercials that tries to shoehorn the saying “less is more” and trying to turn it into some kind of lame joke. (sigh), commercialists, don’t quit your day jobs.
Now according to Autistictic, the negative effects of the dilemma are thus: people can be “more” or “less” Autistic/Aspie, much the same way as telemarketers can be “more” or “less” annoying, and I know what I’m talking about: I’m the son of an insurance salesman. Being either/or means that society can justify itself treating you differently compared to someone else, who is also Autistic/Aspie. And last but not least (you'll love this one), society has more of a right to “designate how impaired the person is rather than the people themselves” (Autsitictic, THE AUTISTIC DILEMMA-FUNCTIONING).
What does this mean? Will, from what I understand, it’s a tactic used by our detractors to try and silence us in the discussions about Autism/Aspergers, to ignore whatever we have to say on the subject. As will, I believe that it is an attempt to cause a rift within the Autistic/Asperger’s community, an imaginary conflict over who is “better”, people who are “more” or “less” on the spectrum. In either case, by taking a look at the dilemma, we can begin to see not only how wrong and disenfranchising it is within the Autistic/Asperger discourse, but also come up with replies to individuals who might attempt to use such a tactic. But first, let us understand some of the aspects about the dilemma.
Knowing if only half the battle. And after all, research is fun right!? Right?
First off, according to the dilemma, if you are “not Autistic/Aspie “enough, you are: supposed to be silenced in discussions around A/A (Autism/Asperger) spectrum because you can’t understand what “real” Autism/Asperger’s is like. You're not diagnosed because you don’t seem A/A enough (not sure if this diagnosis is, in this context, coming from the internet troll or a psychiatrist or such). Denied support because you are able to do some stuff that, stereotypically, people with A/A are not supposed to be able to do (this is also the reason, according to the article, that you could be denied adequate healthcare). Or finally: be talked over in online (or, assuming, live) discussions by someone who is “voicing their own opinion” (Autistictic, THE AUTISTIC DILEMMA-FUNCTIONING).
However, if you are “too” A/A, than: you are to be silenced because you supposedly don’t have the capacity to understand the topic of discussion, or to communicate what you want. Automatically assumed incompetent because you can’t speak or perform some daily tasks without assistance. Denied the opportunity to partake in, or perform an, activity because you are supposedly unable to do it. Denied adequate healthcare because, will it’s just your A/A showing. And finally: you need someone to speak for you, without even considering your own views about the topic being discussed.
Well, that does it for this week's post. Next week, we will continue to discover more and more about this dilemma of ours, and how we can solve it (much like solving a 1000-piece puzzle: all the frustration and consternation, twice the fun!). Until next time, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.
Welcome back! This week, I will pick up where I left off last time, talking about the situation facing people with Down syndrome, and realizing that there are some similarities with our own problem. Namely, how society has come to a strange conclusion that we: those who are neurodiverse, disabled, or diverse in any way, shape or form (I remember hearing about how the trans community got sick and tired of everyone thinking that just because they are different from the norm, their lives are somehow immeasurably worse. We hear you). Also the shared pain of driving in the city at night. Or during freezing ice, heavy rain, with other people who don't know how to drive. Driving man, it’s a struggle.
Ever stop to think that, on an almost daily basis, we are driving, or sitting in, large, fast-moving machines that have the power of a hundred horses or more, outrun any other land-based mode of transportation, is either made entirely of metal or plastic, and with the simple turn of a steering wheel can turn a fast moving killing machine?
So what specifically is the problem we, people who are neurodiverse, disabled, and other, is this: our society has a rather weird idea on what it’s like to be, well, not normal. And this idea is not new (and also a chance to show off some of what I learned in my media communications class! Hooray for showing off!). We all take something for granted, like for example, sight. Does not need a wheelchair, prosthetic limb, or the like. Or having a neurology that fits within society's definition (this might be an odd way of trying to mention neurodiversity, but I think we all know what I mean). And to someone who perfectly understands the rules of society, has sight, and does not need such devices like a prosthetic limb or a wheelchair, that way of life can seem like the best way, perhaps the only way, to live.
Than, when someone comes in (is born, immigrants from somewhere, etc.) that is not, in your view, lucky to have all the same abilities that you have, their life must be somehow worse with no benefits at all, and therefore deserves your undying (and incessant) pity. Or is a life form of lower stature than you, and plans to usurp you and everyone like you through their devious, none-normal way of life (shout out to the eugenics movement, you forcefully-sterilizing chums you). Either way, they’re not like you, and that's bad.
And this is where the which came first, the chicken or the egg/nature versus nurture debate comes in, concerning media-communications of course. See, there are a few theories about who is the bigger influencer of society. Either public personas (think local politicians, celebrities, popular media personalities) believed in these negative stereotypes of the diverse members in their midst, and used their influence on the common folk to teach them how to behave towards them, how to imagine them (poor, unfortunate, can't do what we can do), and on and on. From here, the media is influenced by the public personas, which is in turn influenced by the mass population (this, in media-savvy lingo, is called the 2-step approach).
Though, to be honest, it sounds more like a dance move than anything media-like. “Okay everyone, were going to learn how to do the 2-step approach now”.
The other major theory is this. The public personas decide to cut out the middleman altogether, and either directly influence the media themselves, or create their own media, and use the/their media to pass on messages to the public about how those who are diverse deserve pity because of, well, you know. The public than consumes these messages and acts on them, believing the messages in part or in whole (this is called the Hypodermic needle approach. You learn new stuff everyday, like how hypodermic needle sounds more frightening than it does educational).
You can see the dilemma. The point is, the bias that, from what I read, society holds towards people with Down syndrome seems to read parallel, word for word, the same bias that society holds towards people with Autism/Asperger’s and others. So, during this holiday season (or regular season but with just more snow and unforgiving cold), while you about your business buying groceries, working, keeping on top of school work or taking advantage of opportunities cropping up for you (Or both). Or even fighting to change your societies views of whichever oppressed group you belong to/sympathize with, spare a thought for others like you who are facing the same kind of problems. Perhaps even reach out to them, form an alliance, and push for social change together.
Strength in numbers. Until next time, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.
Welcome back! This week, on our continued look at SPD, or CD, or whatever acronym you want to use it use (not that it will matter much, as the chances are that it is probably already being used for something else). First off, I apologize about making a false claim, or in modern parlance, fake news, in the last post, were I thought that there was a link on paragraph 4 of the article, that contained the link to see if your child has SPD/CD/etc. It’s not on paragraph 4, but actually on the one above that, paragraph 3. Also, the link does not work, as my publisher says. So...yeah, if you tried to use it, now you know my frustration when upon finding out that some of the links I used in the just-recent past, no longer work. Internets a wonderful thing eh?
I guess that makes me a member of the fake-news media now. Maybe I should change the name than, something Infowarsy. I know! Communication Conflict! Perfect.
But where was I, oh yes. I was just beginning to read the part of the article that says why it’s bad to scapegoat stuff like poor behaviour on SPD/CD. Focusing to much on your childs SPD/CD would mean that you might miss-out on other issues he/she might have, like ASD, ADHD, or an LD (all of which have a D at the end of their acronym. If your child’s first or last name also ends with a D, and this goes for the parents to, you might be in trouble). Care.com than goes on to make the same claim that the last article did, that a lot of children (this one even has numbers with it, a 70-90% chance) have ASD along with SPD/CD, but not every child with ASD has SPD/CD. Confused yet?
What's the difference between a child with ASD and SPD, and one with just SPD? Why, the “social piece” (Sensory Processing Disorder: Signs and How to Cope) of the puzzle, of course. The child with ASD will have a hard time socializing, while the child with SPD won’t. Likewise, seeking occupational therapy to help solve your child's social problems will do wonders if he/she has ASD and SPD, not so much if they just have SPD.
And if that’s not confusing enough, SPD also shares some symptoms with ADHD: inattention? Check. Fidgetiness? Yep. Distractibility? You got it. But how do you really find out what's going on, if it’s really SPD/CD that’s causing so much grief with your child, or something else? Will, the article suggests that a good strategy to find out is “finding out what helps to mitigate the impact.” (Sensory Processing Disorder: Signs and How to Cope , Paragaph 8). If “stimulant medication” (Care.com), works, than that is what the child needed What is Stimulant medication? I dunno. If occupational therapy helped, than there are some sensory-based issues at hand.
However, as helpful as therapy and medications can be, they are not, in and of themselves, the cure. Societal acceptance (along with some cat and dog love) can really go the extra mile when it comes to making it easier to live with certain disorders like SPD/CD or ASD. If society does not accept you, for whatever made-up reason, than no amount of medication or therapy in the world will help you feel better in the long run. Sometimes, in cases like these, the worst effects are not internal, per say, but external.
WIll, that does it for this week's post. Next week we will learn more about SPD/CD, and probably find out about other acronyms currently being used for the disorder. Fortunately, ASD still means, in the english language anyways, Autism/Asperger’s Syndrome Disorder. For now anyways. Until next time, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.
Use it while you can! Because like SPD and CD, it might soon start to mean multiple different things!
Welcome back! This week, we will continue our search into SPD (Witch, I just learned, is also the acronym for a political party, the SPD: Sozialdemokratische Partie Deutshlands, or Social Democratic party of Germany. So instead, for the sake of being clear, I’ll call it cognitive dissonance, C.D. Like Compact Disc...which is also C.D. Never mind, use whatever acronyme you like.) is from the viewpoint of Care.com. Care.com: because the hyperlinks Wecare.com, Icare.com and HowtospotSPDinchildren.com was already taken, while Whocares.com was not an option. Last time we left off, the article had a link to where you could evaluate your child to see if they have SPD (you can go to the Care.com article here, look for the third paragraph), followed by some lists of how it affects children in varying ages.
Much like running into dead ends in a labyrinth, finding an acronym that, while it could perfectly suit your intended purpose, could also already be in use, meaning something entirely different.
But you may be asking yourself, along with the article: How can you tell if your annoying little tike has SPD, or is just being an annoying little tike? Will lets see. That, as another interviewee form the article states, would depend. Is it a quirk, or a part of your child neurology? Let’s use an example from the article “it’s one thing if your kid only eats three types of food… But if you can’t take your child to a family thanksgiving dinner, that’s a whole other level” (Care.com, paragraph 6).
Then again, if the dinner is happening at your uncle and Auntie May’s house, I wouldn't be to disappointed at not being able to take your kids there, as no-one else would be going. You can only take so shouted phrases like “hashtag MAGA!” “SAD!” and “Lock her up!” before you surrender to the urge of putting on your pink, knitted pussy cat hat and white “Bad Hombre” T-shirt. Of which, of course, you carry around with you for both fashion and for this just such an occasion. Or at least the hat.
It’s the kind of fashion thats screams “2 more years, just survive, 2 more years”.
Family dinners aside, the interviewee believes that that a consultation is needed if SPD is interfering with them doing the things they both want and need to do. Either socially, academically, or behaviorally. However, another interviewee of the article states that SPD is only one piece of the puzzle, as they say (pray that there is not 1,000 pieces, that there seems to be in every, other puzzle these days).
That ends it for this week's post. Next week we will move farther down the article, and see why it is a bad idea to blame SPD for every unfortunate thing that happens to, or because of, your child. Much easier to blame the father's side of the family, because after all: that's where your child's aunt and uncle May reside. Until next time, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.
Welcome back! This week, we will continue our search into SPD in general from our favorite psychology site, Psychology Today! Or we would, if the site link I have still worked, which it does not. So since Psychology has quite literally left the building, please welcome our next guest, Care, Inc and their post, Sensory Processing Disorder: Signs and How to Cope!
Much like the mist here is blocking our sight of the ocean, so has Psychology Today disappeared. Here one week, gone the next.
So, just what are the signs of SPD? Will, according to an interviewee on the site, it can be described best as this “ Imagine driving a car that isn't working well. When you step on the gas the car lurches forward or doesn’t respond. The horn sounds blaring. The brakes sometimes slow, but not always...You are engaged in a constant struggle to keep the car on the road, and it is difficult to concentrate on anything else .” (Sensory Processing Disorder: Signs and How to Cope). It has also been described as a neurological traffic jam.
Car troubles aside, it is very much a real, and constant, problem for, approximately, 5 percent of the children and families who are affected by it. And, according to the article, it affects everyone who has it differently, ranging from: bumping into class mates because he/she can’t process messages to joints and muscles. Getting distracted by clothing that feels like sandpaper, or looking for some stimuli to feel calm (if this is what I think the article is trying to say it is, there is another name for it: stiming: you pick up an object and just sorta play with it with your fingers, a distraction of sorts. Remember the fidget spinners that were popular some years back? They are, quite possibly, the epitome, of stiming).
I mean sure, you could use it for its intended purpose, which is to spin it around all day everyday like it’s going out of style, or you could just try to eat it like this cat. That's stimulating to, I guess.
The fallouts, though, of SPD (Though whether the fallout is due to having SPD, or not performing actions like stimulating, or why the article chooses to use the same word one would use when describing the effects after a nuclear power plant goes boom, the article does not say) are quite serious. Tantrums, withdrawal, battered self-esteem, poor academics are the most common types. To find out if your child has SPD, the article has a link to a site that lists some criteria, along with heavily suggesting that you get them evaluated if “more than a few symptoms for their child” (Paragraph 3).
Will, that does it for this weeks post, next week we will continue to look at SPD from the Care.coms perspective, unless it, to, disappears like the last one did, then I’ll just have to try again. 3rd times the charm right? Until next time, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.
Welcome back to the Audacious Aspie! This week, we switch gears from taking a look at masks, maskquerades and powerpuff girls, to a new topic at hand: SPD. To those who have not heard of the acronym before, no, it is not the initials of a police department (This is the SPD open up! It’ll really help you navigate your feelings and get help rather than lock it all inside!) rather, it is stands for Sensory Processing Disorder. Please welcome our guest this week, Psychology Today!
Imagine if that was what the police meant when they said “open up”? Or if your councillor was a retired police man/woman, and they started every session with “I am your councillor! Open up! Release your feelings and concerns!”.
In this article, P.T. (Psychology Today) attempts to explain what SPD is and how it affects those who have it. SPD, the article claims, is a neurological disorder (hey! Another post about another topic of neurology! If there are any people studying, or whose work revolves around, neurology, your welcome) that affects all our five senses: sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing (poor hearing, the first four have a partner who shares the same first letter, but hearing has no one). At least it does not affect or sixth sense: our minds eye! Wait, hold on, I’m being told that since A: the mind's eye is, in fact, an eye, and therefore vision. B: since the mind's eye resides in our mind, which is our brain, which is, will our neurology, it would be affected, perhaps the most. Never mind (get it? Never mind? Ha ha, sigh).
Not only that, but it also affects our sense of movement, or what they call the vestibular system, along with/out our positional sense, or in science jargon, our proprioception (no, you cannot say “I must have SPD” every time you have too much to drink at the bar and can’t stand straight, or at all. Not even Brett kavanaugh can say it, though that may not stop him from trying). What does it mean? Will, you’ll still be able to taste, touch, smell and so on, but rather, the information coming in will be scrambled and thrown about. To quote the article “sensory information is sensed, but perceived abnormally” (Psychology Today, paragraph 2).
Such an unorthodox way of receiving information can cause the two D’s and the C: Distress, Discomfort and Confusion. How is all of this related to ASD, you might be asking? Will the author, in writing a book some years back, admits that while SPD is not a “qualifying characteristic for a diagnosis of autism” (Psychology Today, paragraph 3), she claims to have not met even one person, who has ASD, with some kind of problem in those areas. Of course I, myself, would like to see what kind of evidence she has to support that claim, as the only time I ever feel time I ever feel like my senses are mixed up, or problems standing and finding my way across town, is when I’m about to have a panic attack, got knocked on the head, or went for a drive without a GPS or a map.
It’s times like those were thank the heavenly lord for putting GPS on our phones, and helps me appreciate my phone all that much more (until it autocorrects a message right after I sent it, destroying whatever my original intention was).
But that does it for this weeks post. Next week, we will continue to look into SPD, and all that it entails. Or at least parts that it entails. What to do you think? Should SPD be a qualifying characteristic for ASD? Have you yourself experienced, or know anyone who has, symptoms of SPD? While you go and argue about that everywhere on social media, I will leave like a polite, troublesome host before things get any worse. This has been, and continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.
And while you are in a flame war, here’s a video to help calm you down before you jump back in
Welcome back to the Audacious Aspie! This week, we will continue where we left off last week. And this will be the last of the posts on the article from SPECTRUM!, as it was a longer article than I thought, even to finish just two of the four sections it contains (did I bite off more than I could chew? No!...okay fine, yes, yes I did. Only a little bit). If you want to read the whole article yourself, you can read it here, and see how long it is. But without further ado, let's bring this thing home.
Specifically, a home made entirely of rectangles like the developer had a bunch of spare garages on hand, got creative (or lazy) and stacked three of’em together, than called it a day.
So, after it was discovered that girls with ASD behave a certain way, some researchers decided to do a completely, not-creepy thing to do: visit some schools at recess and watch a bunch of kids play and interact with each other. And who did these researchers decide to stare at and take notes of? 16 year sold? Nope. 11-10 years old? Nope. 8-7 years old? Yep. At least these kids are getting the chance to get diagnosed and receive help early.
So how did these children behave exactly? Will, as with the last entry, complete opposites. The girls with ASD, they discovered, seemed to be social butterflies. Literally, as they would fly from group to group, activity to activity, while boys (and I can attest to this personally) preferred isolation, playing by ourselves and away form any major area of vocus. Thereby it was found out that the old practice of looking to see if little Bobby or (fun fact: how Canadian is my laptop? When I put the word “or” after “Bobby”, it automatically assumes I’m wrong and fix it to say “Orr”, after famous Canadian Bobby Orr. It’s that Canadian) Barbra are off to the side contently playing by themselves to see if they might be on the ASD spectrum is, well, now outdated.
I tried to find a picture of a child playing alone without it looking really depressing to try and show it from the ASD child's perspective, and only found this.
However, the reason some girls with ASD, compared with other girls, go from group to group is a little different. Some of the girls with ASD go from group because, sadly, they are often rejected from each group but are more persistent than most boys to fit in that they just try repeatedly with each one. The reason they try so often is because “these girls may be more motivated to fit in than the boys are , so they work harder at it” (SPECTRUM!, Girls blend in section, paragraph 4).
Will, that does it for this series of posts about SPECTRUM!, where we looked at the effects of ASD masking on girls and women. Next week will be, well, as the British comedy group Monty Python used to say “and now for something, completely different”, as we will be going on a different topic.Until next time, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.
Welcome back to the Audacious Aspie! This week, we continue to discover how Spectrum masking effects women with Autism/Aspergers, time diving in to the next section of this rather thought provoking (and long) article, appropriately named Girls blend in. What does it mean? Are they able to camouflage themselves into any environment at will, like urban, forest and desert? Is this really a cannibalistic cook book in disguise all along? Sadly, no, as the topic is more serious, far more important, and not based on grotesque cooking practices.
Cooking practices like: how to serve a human-thigh roast, which is illegal, unethical, and unfairly criticised by those who have not even tried one.
One reason that girls are less likely than boys to get diagnosed with Autism/Aspergers, is because many more boys are being identified as on the spectrum. Because of this, the idea of boys being on the spectrum become far more accepted, almost to the point of becoming a norm (if such a word can even be used when describing something along the lines of Autism or Aspergers). Even when clear signs are visible of the girl to be on the spectrum. Were as far less girls are diagnosed to be on the spectrum than boys, and therefore a girl on the spectrum is, sadly, seen as a more outlandish idea compared the same being said of boys.
Instead, they are more often than not just shuffled around, agency to agency, doctor to doctor, misdiagnosed with one thing or another. Eventually, however, professionals like doctors and psychologists, started to wonder if autism looks different in girls as opposed to boys. Upon some interviews of both girls and women who are officially on the spectrum, they “couldn't always see signs of autism” (SPECTRUM!, second section, second paragraph), but instead, like intrepid media miners looking for the next big thing, they saw “glimmers” of a “phenomenon” called camouflaging (get it? Miners, glimmers of gold, and phenomenon the next...big...never mind).
Where as regular miners mined for minerals like coal or diamonds, media miners mine for quips or good ideas (or sometimes controversy or drama to help sell copies).
There might also be some gender differences, so the article says, that could help explain why girls with autism/aspergers often escape the gaze of the clinician (they really used the word notice, but I chose gaze because it sounds more sinister): it’s a ying-yang thing. Boys on the spectrum “might be overactive or appear to misbehave” (SPECTRUM!, second section, second paragraph), where as girls are, more often than not, anxious or depressed. You think the clinicians mind explodes when he/she is faced with a boy or a girl who reacts opposite to their normal gender Autistic/Aspie reactions? I hope not, it would scar the child for life and make a really big mess in that tiny little office.
That is it for this week’s post, we’ll continue to look at the rest of the section in the coming posts still to come, making cannibal and Power-Puff girls (yes, I watched them as a kid, dont judge) along the way. Perhaps even persuade some little informational videos to tag along with us (like the one attached to this little post here). Until next time, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie. And now, to the cinemas!