Oh Dear, What a Dilemma

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!”).


Less Is More Quote White Sentence Design Desk

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.


Concept Man Papers Person Plan Planning Research

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.


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A Change of Tack Part 2

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.


Car Audi Auto Automotive Vehicle Sports Car

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).


Icon Steps Shoes Icon Shoes Steps Footprint

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.   


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ASD, SPD, CD, Oh All The Acronyms You’ll See

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?


Boy Facepalm Child Youth Exasperated Tired

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.


Today Only Deal Of The Day Deal Sale Special

Use it while you can! Because like SPD and CD, it might soon start to mean multiple different things!



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The Many Variations of SPD

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.


Labyrinth Target Away Conception Confusion Search

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.  


Model Fashion Glamour Girl Female Portrait Studio

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.


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Second Time Around

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!


Boat Fog Marine Loneliness Nature Water Yellow

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).


Fidget Spinner Cat Biting

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.               


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My Spidey SPD is Tingling

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!


odyworn Body Camera Police Body Camera

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.


Map Europe Globe Countries States Nations

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         


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The masquerade party stops here sadly.

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.


Architecture House 3d Design Interior Design Style

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.


Child Boy Lake Water Playing Toddler Kid Little

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.


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Girls Blend In Will With Vanilla Extract

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.


Barbecue Barbeque Bbq Beef Charbroiled Grilled

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).


Coal Black Mineral Underground Mine Miners

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!



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Masking, From A Different Point Of View Part 2

Welcome back to the Audacious Aspie! This week, we’ll continue looking at the article SPECTRUM!, and how Autistic/Asperger masking affects women on the spectrum. Last time we left off, we were going through the introduction section of the article, taking note of all the interesting bits after the little story at the beginning. This week, we’ll, continue...to...go through the, uh...alright look, we’re still going through the introduction. I’m a slow reader. And typer.


Last we left off, the article pondered on whether masking might be partially responsible for less women and girls being diagnosed than men and boys. What is new, though, is that an interviewee on SPECTRUM! Makes the following comment: “ For many women, it’s not until they get properly diagnosed, recognized and accepted that they can fully map out who they are.” (SPECTRUM!, paragraph 8, introduction section).


Sounds all good and swell right? If everyone got diagnosed at a young age, or at least at all, everyone would be much happier. Right? Will, some don’t think so, including the researchers themselves (probably a bad sign if not even the people doing the research can’t decide on what their findings mean either). Why don’t they think so? While getting a diagnosis can help women better understand themselves and find, plus receive (hopefully) more and better support (or any at all), the other side says that that a diagnosis has its own parrels.


Such parrales include, but not limited to: “a stigmatizing label and lower expectations for achievement” (SPECTRUM!, last paragraph of introduction section). So why bother at all? Will, perhaps the next section of the article, aptly called “Girls blend in” (which, depending on how your feeling, can either mean “girls with autism blend into the background, their symptoms often miss read or disregarded”, or “girls blend in well with strawberry and chocolate when mixed together in the blender”. Either or).



Blender Grinder Mixer Equipment Appliance

WHile your at it, I heard that sugar and spice mix will with little children girls as will. So long as Chemical X, found in any household cleaners and hair dye, is not added.  


But we’ll find that out at next week's post (or if you actually decide to put little girls in blenders and try it out for yourself, just don’t tell the police. And if you are caught, you never heard it from me). Until next time, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.

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Masking, From a Different Point Of View

Welcome back to the Audacious Aspie! This week, we continue looking at Autistic/Asperger masking, this time, a new interviewee will be joining us today, to talk about the side of Autistic/Aspie masking that was only lightly touched on by Healthwatch Bristol: the effects of masking on women on the spectrum. What effects are there besides being belatedly (three words in a row starting with a B, and they said it could never be done) diagnosed with Autism/Aspergers? Will, let's find out together.


Everyone please welcome our next guest, SPECTRUM! (cue cheers and claps from audience. Yes, that means you). The article starts off on a rather...interesting note, giving us a short back story of a woman on the spectrum (this is sort of like the prologue of some movies out nowadays, this one being more informative though, and interesting). All of which is listed under the heading “Introduction”. But rather than give a description of all that, we’re going to skip all that and go right into the main story.


Chess Love Story

Like the story between these 2 chess knights! “Forgive me, my dear, but I must move horizontally towards you and smack you aside like a naughty person, as my lord demands it”.


However, that does not mean that we will skip the introduction entirely, as the paragraphs after the little story do contain some useful information, but if you want to read the story, you can find it here (just go directly to the top of the story, where the big green E lives). As mentioned in  the previous article, scientists: those bright lads and lasses that live in the labs and such, found out that many Autistic/Aspergers women mask, or “camouflage”, theirs condition. Maybe possibly kinda explaining why, as SPECTRUM says “three to four times as many boys as girls are diagnosed with the condition” (Paragraph 6, Introduction Section).


It also might explain, so the article says, why girls who are diagnosed young often show “severe traits, and highly intelligent girls are often diagnosed late.” (Paragraph 6, Introduction Section). That could lead to some interesting conversations: “Hey! How's the baby?” “Ohh, shes good. We think she might have Autism though.” “Okay, so when are you going to have her tested?” “Ohhh, maybe when she’s 13 or so, my spouse and I read somewhere that if we wait a couple of years to get her diagnosed, she will become highly intelligent!” “Umm, I don’t think that's-” “I want her to be special!” “(inwardly to self) Trust me, if you're her parents, she’ll be special alright”.


Will, that does it for the this week's post, next week we will continue to look at the same topic and article. And keep an eye out for extra content coming soon to, content not yet scene on this site! But until then, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.


Loco Locomotive Railway Historically Diesel Front

Special much like this train! Ever scene a train with graffiti all over it? Does YOUR train have graffiti all over it? No? That's why this train is special.


But before we end here, here’s a little video talking about spectrum masking as will. Some of you might already recognize where it’s from.


Sources used:


Truth Talk: Parenting a Teen with Mental Health

Desperate Sad Depressed Hopeless Loss Concern

“This is Emily's teacher, Joan Bush. You will need to come to the school immediately to pick up your daughter. She's not doing well. It's important that you come right away.” I pressed 7 on my cell phone to delete the message and promptly called the school back.


“Hello may please speak with Mrs. Bush? Ok, I will be there as soon as I can. Is she safe? Yes, I'm on my way.” I hung up the phone and walked next door to my colleague’s office. I could barely find my words but managed to string together a sentence or two explaining that I had to leave and update her on the work I was dropping to pick up my daughter from school.


I got the call at 10:30 am. It was just one of many emergency calls I had received at work over the past school year.  This time would prove to be particularly terrifying as I would soon learn from the school counsellor that my 17-year-old daughter had unsuccessfully tried to end her life. She had been staying at her father’s home and had taken pills two nights prior to confessing her actions to the school counsellor.


This was the worst it had been. Emily was diagnosed 2 years ago with an eating disorder and it was abundantly clear that she had been battling anxiety and depression for several years prior. Further psychiatric investigation lead to the discovery of post traumatic stress symptoms and borderline personality traits. In short, she has an incredibly difficult time coping with the world around her, managing her emotions and navigating personal relationships due to trauma. Up until this point, she had not planned or attempted suicide although she was prone to depressive episodes and suicidal thoughts.


Following the call from the school, Emily was admitted to the pediatric mental health unit at the hospital. There, she spent a few days stabilizing on medication and reflecting on her actions. Since then, she has been relatively stable on medication and receives regular counselling.


What is a parent to do? For the last 2 years the gripping fear that she might harm herself or worse manifested itself in me like a physical illness. I wasn’t sleeping or eating well. I was battling my own anxiety and depression while trying to stay stable for my daughter. I felt like I was making all the wrong parenting decisions. I would allow Emily to validate this feeling when she would get angry and accuse me of being selfish. The constant worry was affecting my work and impacting my relationship with my partner and my younger daughter. Sometimes, I would forget to breathe.


When Emily was first diagnosed, my social work brain kicked in and I managed to connect her with all the community and clinical mental health resources I could think of. I tried to stay positive and supportive. I bought her the food she liked best and drove her anywhere she wanted to go.  Yes, I got angry sometimes. Maybe more than I realized. We would fight about her teenage-mental-health-ridden behaviour. She would tell me to stop making it about me. And I would end up feeling guilty about the way I had handled things and apologize. The more at-risk she became the more desperate I was to find a solution. Nothing was working. I felt completely helpless.


If you’re a parent of a child who lives with mental health, you know that this is an on-going and unpredictable story. So, as a fellow parenting-work-in-progress, I thought I would share a few things that have resonated with me on the journey thus far.


First, Emily was right. It’s not about me. In all of this, I realized she can only be accountable for her own mental health and behaviour and can not be expected to shoulder my hurt feelings, fear and anger, no matter how justified. Next, however flawed I think her views are, she needs her truth to be heard and validated rather than challenged. I can still hear myself saying, “I understand how you feel BUT….” Finally, I needed to let go of what was and still is beyond my control and that is, I can’t save her. The choice to do the work necessary to stay alive is all hers. Truth be known, I’m still working on this one.


If you’re an imperfect parent like me, you’ve probably felt like a failure, blamed yourself for your child’s mental health and carried the guilt of it around like an overpacked suitcase. There may be times you’ve felt exhausted and wished you could hand in your parental resignation. Perhaps you’ve felt completely alone, unable to share your struggle for fear of being judged by other parents, colleagues, friends or neighbours. Well, I am here to tell you that you are not alone. So I’m just going to validate your truth right now by saying simply this: I understand how you feel. Period.

About the author: 

Jennifer Mei is a Registered Social Worker whose current role is working with post-secondary students to develop a customized academic accommodation plan. Jennifer’s history working with individuals with disabilities began in the realm of vocational rehabilitation and job placement. It was in this role that the reality of barriers faced by equity seeking groups fueled her passion for social justice, equity and diversity. Over the last decade, her journey brought new understanding to the intersectionality of social locations and how ones location defines their position of power in a multitude of shifting contexts. It is with this lens that Jennifer seeks to help level the playing field for students whose power has been institutionally compromised due to disability. Her own experience with mental and physical health has also brought a personal element to her commitment to ensuring equal access to education, anti-oppressive practice and the protection of human rights.

Study Identifies Distinct Origin of ADHD in Children with History of Brain Injury

Skull Brain Head Science Medical Exhibit Display

The results of a recent study indicate that there are two types of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  

One is known as “developmental ADHD” and is related to genetic factors.

The other appears to be linked to a “mild traumatic brain injury, such as a concussion.”  

Brain trauma such as a concussion is not out of the ordinary with 20 % of teens reporting a “mild traumatic brain injury.”

The study evaluated the “origins” of ADHD in 418 youth aged 8-22.

The results of the study indicate that understanding the source of the brain injury may determine different kinds of treatment.


Journal Reference:

Sonja Stojanovski, Daniel Felsky, Joseph D. Viviano, Saba Shahab, Rutwik Bangali, Christie L. Burton, Gabriel A. Devenyi, Lauren J. O’Donnell, Peter Szatmari, M. Mallar Chakravarty, Stephanie Ameis, Russell Schachar, Aristotle N. Voineskos, Anne L. Wheeler. Polygenic Risk and Neural Substrates of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms in Youths With a History of Mild Traumatic Brain InjuryBiological Psychiatry, 2018; DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2018.06.024

To Mask, Or Not to Mask, That Is The Question.

Welcome back to the Audacious Aspie! This week, we will finish up on the look at the Bristol Health article about Autistic/Asperger masking, than introduce a new guest talking about the same topic. Or that was the plan anyways, Before Healthwatch Bristol wouldn't stop yapping before time ran out, forcing me to reschedule the interview with guest number 2. As an Aspie, nothing is worse than a disrupted routine. So anyways, let's get back to the topic eh?


Blogger Business Coffee Computer Connection

Imagine someone knocking over your tea onto your computer, smashing your potted plant and tearing up your reading material, than pouring all the contents of both the plant and material onto the remains of you computer. That’s how bad a disrupted routine is for us.


Here’s something you may not have known, or at least I did not know: masking can help increase the chances of a miss-diagnoses (though, upon further reflection, it does make sense. It is after all, called masking, not revealing. Revealing is for when the police have unmasked you, than go after you in a high-speed airship chase. Some steam-punk reference there for all of you fans of the genre, me included.) The article explains that it might be a reason why “some people may never get diagnosed or only in Adulthood.” (Paragraph 6). Or at least able to hide their Autism/Aspergers from people who are not on the spectrum.


Ever wondered why fewer girls and women get diagnosed than men? Well, the article thinks that masking may have a hand in that. Both women and girls, the article claims, have more masking behaviours than men and boys. What's more, some may not even know that they are Autistic/Aspergers, rather attributing their struggles to either being tired or hungry (or both, to which I call it: tungry).


Cat Mieze Pet Animal Portrait Animal Lazy Cat Fur

See this cat? It’s grumpy because it’s hungry, with no food in it’s food bowl. Therefore, it’s tungry. Just like my cat in real life when she's tungry, or mad, or being a cat.


This of course, the article claims, can lead to them both blaming themselves, and continuing their destructive habits (rather than let their true nerd shine and totally dive in their own particular obsessions head first). Others are more resistant to getting socially burnt out, and yet others do not get burnt out at all when they are with people close to them, like their parents or spouse.


Finally, the article concludes with the observation that more research is needed as to why more males than females get diagnosed with Autism/Aspergers, with masking perhaps being the main culprit. Will, that does it for this week's post, next week we will continue to look at the whole masking masking mayhem, this time turning to a different article, digging ever deeper into the mystery of the mask (no, not Jim Carrey’s The Mask, though that would be undoubtedly cool. It’s time to P.A.R.T. Y? Because I gotta!) Until next time, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.

Sources used:


Eye conditions provide new lens screening for Alzheimer's disease

Eye Human Face Vision Look Person Eyeball Iris

Scientists have found an important correlation between Alzheimer’s disease and 3 degenerative eye diseases:  

  1. age-related macular degeneration,
  2. diabetic eye disease, and
  3. glaucoma.

They now have a new tool to identify those at increased risk of Alzheimer’s.

The 5-year study followed 792 people, age 65 and older over a span of 5 years.

None of the individuals had Alzheimer’s at the beginning of the study.

There are currently 45 million people globally who have Alzheimer’s disease and this number will explode to more than 131.5 million by 2050.


Journal Reference:

Cecilia S. Lee, Eric B. Larson, Laura E. Gibbons, Aaron Y. Lee, Susan M. McCurry, James D. Bowen, Wayne C. McCormick, Paul K. Crane. Associations between recent and established ophthalmic conditions and risk of Alzheimer's diseaseAlzheimer's & Dementia, 2018; DOI: 10.1016/j.jalz.2018.06.2856

Affordable and Inclusive Housing Needs in Ottawa-Orleans

La Coalition des familles francophones d'Ottawa (CFFO) Banner Image

Raising Awareness about Affordable and Inclusive Housing Needs in Ottawa-Orleans

Affordable and Inclusive Housing Needs in Ottawa-Orleans

Good afternoon,

Over the last year, Gisèle Doyle has been attending developer's proposal meetings, and canvassing current Councillors and candidates about the need for inclusive and affordable living for people with intellectual disabilities.  To date, Gisèle has received requests to meet from some of them. In parallel, Serge Lavoie has reached out to other potential supporters (city staff, community organisations, developers) to explore other housing solutions in Orléans. With that in mind, Gisèle and Serge concluded that we need to get as many families together to define the respective needs and expectations for our loved ones bearing in mind that individual family needs are rarely the same and that elected officials need to be more aware of our needs.
It's election time, and we have 24 candidates running in Orléans/Cumberland and we think that this is a good time to raise awareness about the Housing Needs for persons with developmental disabilities before the new Ottawa municipal council decides the total number of affordable housing units to be included in residential developments under the new provincial Regulations after the October 22ndmunicipal elections.

Consequently, we would organise an all candidates meeting together with you, family members, before the end of September. The purpose of this event would be to present our case for affordable housing for persons labelled with an intellectual handicap and provide an opportunity for discussion with the candidates.

Prior to this meeting, we hope that we could meet with a group of parents soon after Labour Day to identify the various type of housing that you would like to see built in the Orléans area to meet the needs of our loved ones as well as define the contents of our presentation. Please indicate, your preferred date for a parent meeting from the following:

  1. Wednesday, September 5th at 7:00 pm;
  2. Thursday, September 6th at 7:00 pm; or
  3. Monday, September 10th at 7:00 pm.

If you are interested in attending, please e-mail Gisèle and Serge by next Friday (August 24th), to ensure we book an appropriately sized room and set a date that is most convenient for those interested in participating in the preparatory meeting.
Thank you,

Gisèle Doyle, Parent
Serge Lavoie, Parent 
and Director of the CFFO Project "Moving to a Place of My Own"

Click here to send email and participate

Logements abordables et inclusifs à Ottawa-Orléans

La Coalition des familles francophones d'Ottawa (CFFO) Banner Image

Sensibiliser à propos des besoins de logements abordables et inclusifs à Ottawa-Orléans

Les besoins de logements abordables et inclusifs à Ottawa-Orléans


Au cours de la dernière année, Gisèle Doyle a assisté à des réunions de propositions de promoteurs et a sollicité les conseillers et les candidats actuels au sujet de la nécessité d’offrir un mode de vie inclusif et abordable aux personnes ayant une déficience intellectuelle. À ce jour, Gisèle a reçu des demandes de rencontres de certains d'entre eux. En parallèle, Serge Lavoie a sollicité d’autres sympathisants potentiels (personnel de la ville, organismes communautaires, promoteurs) pour explorer d’autres solutions de logement à Orléans. Dans cette optique, Gisèle et Serge ont conclu que nous devions réunir le plus grand nombre de familles pour définir les besoins et les attentes respectifs de nos proches, sachant que les besoins individuels des familles sont rarement les mêmes et que les élus doivent être plus conscients de nos besoins.

Nous sommes en période électorale et nous avons 24 candidats à Orléans / Cumberland et nous pensons que le moment est bien choisi pour faire connaître les besoins en logement des personnes ayant une déficience intellectuelle avant que le nouveau conseil municipal d’Ottawa décide du nombre total à inclure dans les ensembles résidentiels en vertu du nouveau règlement provincial après les élections municipales du 22 octobre.

Par conséquent, nous organiserions une réunion de tous les candidats avec vous, membres de familles, avant la fin du mois de septembre. Cet événement aurait pour but de présenter nos arguments en faveur de logements abordables pour les personnes présentant un handicap intellectuel et de donner l’occasion de discuter avec les candidats.

Avant cette rencontre, nous espérons pouvoir rencontrer un groupe de parents peu après la fête du Travail pour identifier les différents types de logements que vous aimeriez voir construits dans la région d’Orléans pour répondre aux besoins de nos proches et définir le contenu de notre présentation. Veuillez indiquer votre date préférée pour une réunion de parents parmi les suivantes :

  1. Le mercredi 5 septembre à 19h00;
  2. Le jeudi 6 septembre à 19h00; ou
  3. Le lundi 10 septembre à 19h00.

Si vous êtes intéressé à participer, veuillez envoyer un courriel à Gisèle et à Serge avant le vendredi 24 août pour que l’on puisse s’assurer de réserver une salle de taille appropriée et de fixer une date qui conviendra le mieux aux personnes intéressées à participer à la réunion préparatoire.
Gisèle Doyle, Parent
Serge Lavoie, Parent
et Directeur du projet de la CFFO "Passage vers mon propre toit"

Cliquez ici pour envoyer un email et participer

MASKquerade Part 2: There’s Always That One Late Person

Welcome back to the Audacious Aspie! This week, we continue to look at Healthwatch Bristol and their article on what, is Autistic/Asperger masking. Now that the article has given it’s explanation of Autistic/Asperger’s masking to us, we shall move on to the next part of the conversation: “What does it mean for Autistic people?” (What is autistic masking? Second Section). The answer might surprise you (unless it was written by Sherlock or Captain Obvious, in which case it would not).


So what does masking mean for Autistic/Asperger people? Will, that would depend on the situation. Sometimes it's automatic, we meet someone and, in the blink of an eye, automatically try to mask our Autism/Aspergers, like meeting someone in the office, purchasing groceries, or giving someone directions. Other times we put a lot more effort into it, consciously trying to mask our Autism/Aspergers, like during an interview for a job, talking to the police or talking to your boss.


For the quick social interactions, like when buying groceries or giving directions, the masking is instant and painless (for some), especially when done many times over. But for the prolonged and/or possibly frightening social interactions like talking to the police or in an interview, the masking, while starting out instant (for some), eventually becomes forced and physically draining. Ofcourse, what social interactions do and do not require prolonged masking varies from person to person, with some being pretty at ease when talking to police officer, while others find talking to the cashier at the mall a struggle of Herculean proportions.  


Hercules Statue Greek Ancient God

As in, Ancient Greek Demigod proportions. You have to be able to: smite everyone and anyone just because they looked at you wrong, into really, really weird romances, and just be an all around missed up kind of deity.


What are examples of masking behaviours? The article itself lists some: maintaining eye contact (which, I was told years ago and with great success, can be negated by looking at the person's forehead), trying to stay still, copying others behaviours and other signs of masking behaviour as will (for the full list, visit the website itself). Doing these things, all at the same time, can cause us to feel socially drained and/or burnt out (something that has been repeated in the article over and over again. Think it’s trying to say something?)


Laptop Woman Education Study Young Computer

So stressed out, that you’ll get a sudden urge to eat your pencils. All 10 of them (yes, I actually counted how many pencils are in the picture. So what?)


Will, that does it for this week's post. Next week, we will continue to look at Autism/Asperger masking, as it is to interesting a topic, I believe to drop after one post. And perhaps, we will learn that masking has negative effects other than social burnout? As always, we’ll see just how far down the rabbit hole goes. But until next, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie  


Sources used:


Un-fore-gettable Day for ParaSport® Ontario

Michael Schneider / Invested Media/ Find the Joy Event Photography
Michael Schneider / Invested Media/ Find the Joy Event Photography


TORONTO — The inaugural Para Pro Am Golf Tournament, hosted by ParaSport® Ontario, welcomed over 225 golfers and guests, including PGA of Canada pros, ParaGolf Ontario golfers, celebrity golfers, members of the Federal Government, para athletes, Paralympians and other special guests.

Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes presented an award from the House of Commons during the dinner portion of the evening, congratulating ParaSport Ontario for its “role in the development of athletes with disabilities in our province” and “continued support toward providing active living opportunities and commitment to the principle of inclusive sports.”

Honoured guest Khelyse Crowe-Kasule, 8, and her father Ivan shared some incredible moments together on the greens.


It was the first time since her injury less than three months ago that she had met so many others with limb loss like herself.


Crowe-Kasule was also in good company among 30 other youngsters with disabilities who all share a passion for sport, and played seven different parasport games throughout the day with ParaSport Ontario’s team of ambassadors.


Crowe-Kasule was also presented with a special set of TaylorMade junior golf clubs and personal coaching from guest Todd Keirstead, world-class entertainer, trick-shot artist and adapted golf instructor.

There was much talk and enthusiasm throughout the day among sponsors, members of the parasport community and of course paragolfers themselves to see ParaGolf included in the 2024 Paralympic Games.


Said Joe Millage, ParaSport Ontario Chair, “We are committed as an organization to take on that challenge to get paragolf on the Paralympic program.”

For more on the event watch the CTV Toronto coverage.

Photos attached


For more information, please contact:
Erin O’Sullivan
Communications Coordinator
416-426-7187 ext. 304


Visually-impaired, Diane Bergeron is an Ironman

Diane Bergeron is a visually impaired athlete from Ottawa, who recently completed the 125k ultra marathon Canadian Death Race as part of a first ever visually impaired relay team.  

Diane started running in 2009 and since then has competed in half and full triathlons and an Ironman competition.

As a blind person, Diane trains inside, doing spin, treadmill and pool workouts.

She works with a trainer from Fitness Dynamics over Skype and is connected with Achilles, an Ottawa group that supports para triathletes.

Guides provide support and allow Diane and other visually impaired athletes to participate and achieve their goals.

Diane is “not a gold medalist or a pro”....she’s “just doing something” (she) “loves”. Source.

Electric and hybrid vehicle safety

Have you ever had a collision or a near miss with a car or bicycle?

This is your chance to contribute to research conducted by Monash University to explore the impact of electric/hybrid vehicles and bicycles on safety for pedestrians who are blind or have low vision.

The study is interested in your experiences with navigating these potential hazards during independent travel. Your feedback is vital and will inform the development of ways to enhance safety for pedestrians who are blind or have low vision.

If you have 15 minutes please fill in the survey. The survey closes on Sunday, August 26.

If you would like assistance to complete the survey, please contact Caitlin McMorrow at
Vision Australia at Caitlin.McMorrow@visionaustralia.org

© 2018 Paracor Initiative