Autism and Ableism

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

INTRODUCTION

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

THE LINK BETWEEN AUTISM & ABLEISM

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

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

ABLEISM

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

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

AUTISM

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

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

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

No Stereotypes Here - Neurodiversity activist blog

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

Now it is time to conclude this post with some…

PHOTOGRAPHS

ASCormorants and gullsCormorants x 3CormorantsouseDSCN5733ducklingsducklings1merulapurfleetstarlingstortoiseshell

 

 

Stuff

Lots of autism related links, some photographs, some science links, some public transport links and a bonus section revealing explosive news concerning Unite leadership challenger Gerard Coyne.

INTRODUCTION

I have many things to share today and some of my own photos to put up. I have a few science and nature type links to put up, a few public transport links, and first and foremost some important stuff about…

AUTISM

For this section of the post I am using #RedInstead of any other colour I might use. Links will appear in bold and underlined. 

My first link comes courtesy of Erin Human, and is titled “What is Ableism?” I am using the feature image of the post as the link.

My next link comes courtesy of ideas.ted.com and is titled “Autistic people are not failed versions of “normal.” They’re different, not less“. Please click on that title to read this important piece in full.

Next we come to a piece which will help to explain why this section is entirely in red, courtesy of AmericanBadassAdvocates, titled “#BOYCOTTAUTISMSPEAKS #REDINSTEAD | MEMES AND THINGS GALLERY FROM AROUND THE WEB”. Please click on the image below, selected from their gallery, to view the full post.

red-graphic-with-redinstead-and-autism-acceptance-graphic-nancy-jobes_660173

Following from this, the Autism Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) has produced a post titled “ASAN Condemns White House Autism Proclamation” which title really speaks for itself, and serves as the link.

Followers of this site will need no introduction to thesilentwaveblog, featured here with not one but two fantastic posts:

  1. First of all, by way of a counterblast to one of the nastiest phrases used by those who insist on pathologizing autism comes this post, titled “Autism didn’t ‘steal’ me”. Click on the image below to read the piece:
  2. The second offering is titled “Asperger’s / autism, socializing, and respect”, and once again the link is by way of the image below:

Next, and penultimately, we have a newspaper article and a response. The article, published in the Merced Sun-Star under the title “Autism awareness brings dozens of Merced County families to Livingston” can be viewed by clicking the image below:

Two people in a potato sack race during Families With Autism on Sunday April 2, 2017, an event sponsored by the Carlos Vieira Foundation and 51Fifty Energy Drink. The event is for families with autism to celebrate National Autism Awareness Month.

AmericanBadassAdvocates founder Eve Hinson made a brilliant response to this article. A click on the screenshot of her comment below will take you to the blog post in which I first saw it.

EHL

I bring this section to a conclusion by linking to a splendid listing of posts on theme of Autism Acceptance. The post, which you can red by clicking on its title, features a very positive mention of this blog. The title, which renders further comment superfluous, is “In 2017, Autism Awareness Is So Outdated: Demand Autism Acceptance Now“.

PHOTOGRAPHIC INTERLUDE

I have decided to break things up a bit in this post by having my photographs in the middle between the Autism related links and the first of my other sets of links, so here they are:

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A COUPLE OF SCIENCE LINKS

Both of these links are to pieces about the same topic, and both come from livescience.com – discoveries of giant sized dinosaur footprints in Australia. The first link is to a piece titled “Photos: Dinosaur Tracks Reveal Australia’s ‘Jurassic Park‘”, and that title serves as the link.

The second link is to a more in depth article about this footprints, titled “Crikey! Refrigerator-Size Dinosaur Footprints Discovered in Australia“. 

PUBLIC TRANSPORT RELATED LINKS

These three links are all from an organisation I have only recently come across, called Transport For All. I present them as a set of bullet points:

BONUS (VIA SKWAWKBOX) – COYNEGATE

Originally I had not been going to include this, but a development that occurred while this post was under construction caused me to change my plans. First, a quick clarification: The “Coyne” of “Coynegate” is not the eminent evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne who remains a firm favourite of this blog, but the much less well known Gerard Coyne, right-wing challenger for the leadership of Unite, Britain’s biggest trade union.

Mr Coyne has run a dreadful campaign, and the only question would appear to be whether he will finish a distant second or suffer the humiliation of coming third behind left-wing challenger Ian Allinson. The incumbent, Len McCluskey, will retain his position by the proverbial country mile.

However as documented by The Skwawkbox blog, as well as running an appalling campaign, Mr Coyne has (with the assistance of high ranking Labour right-wingers) perpetrated a breach of the Data Protection Act on an enormous scale (involving comfortably enough people’s data for it to be considered a criminal breach, opening the way to a huge fine) and Unite, who might otherwise be considered for legal purposes a receiver of the illegally accessed data have today told him that he is on his own. 

I finish this section, and the post with links to the last two Skwawkbox pieces about this issue:

  1. From this morning, a post titled “BARRISTER: COYNE’S DPA RECKLESSNESS COULD COST HIM – AND UNITE – £MILLIONS”, accessible by clicking on the screenshot below, which introduces said barrister and the first two paragraphs of his opinion:
    barrister
  2. The even more explosive post that went up while this one was under construction, titled “EXCLUSIVE: UNITE WASHES ITS HANDS OF COYNE OVER #DPA BREACH”, accessible by clicking the image below:
    washing hands

These are merely the last two of a substantial number of posts that The Skwawkbox have done about this issue, and I urge you to read some or all of the others as well.

 

 

 

 

World Autism Awareness Day

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

INTRODUCTION

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

MUSICAL KEYS

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

GETTING THERE

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

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THE SESSION ITSELF

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

THE WALK BACK

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

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SOME AUTISM RELATED LINKS

I start the sharing process with…

TWO VIDEOS FROM AmericanBadassAdvocates

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

OTHER LINKS

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

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

redinstead

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

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

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

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

ROLE REVERSAL

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

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

 

 

Too Much Information and Autism Acceptance

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

INTRODUCTION

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

AUA

TOO MUCH INFORMATION

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

TMI

SOME OTHER AUTISM RELATED LINKS

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

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

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

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

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

LOOKING AHEAD –
ACCEPTANCE TO APPRECIATION

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

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

SOME FINAL WORDS

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

“DIFFERENT” AND “LESSER” ARE NOT SYNONYMS

and

ENJOY AUTISM ACCEPTANCE/ APPRECIATION MONTH!!

PHOTOGRAPHS

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

pb2pb3pb4pb5

squirrel1
These last two pictures were taken on Thursday.

squirrel2

 

 

 

Autism Acceptance Month

Setting the scene for Autism Acceptance Month, explaining why the original title, Autism Awareness Month is no longer acceptable. Numerous links and photographs.

INTRODUCTION

This post is by way of setting the stage for April, which starts tomorrow after all. As well as my own stuff this contains links from other autism related sources. The title of the post begs a question…

WHY NOT AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH?

There are two parts to the answer to this question:

  1. The original title is tainted by its associations. A very large organisation which I shall not name (think blue jigsaw pieces though) which presents itself as an autism charity but should be treated as a hate group uses this name. Although I am separated from this organisation by the width of the Atlantic Ocean I am a thoroughgoing internationalist and therefore stand in solidarity with autistic folk across the pond and refuse to use the tainted title.
  2. Even aside from being tainted the title is not fit for purpose. Awareness by itself means precisely nothing. I have created a simple graphic showing how things needs to progress from the basic starting point of awareness:
    AUA
    It is from that final goal of acceptance that the alternative title, coined across the Atlantic for reasons I have already stated, and gratefully adopted by me, comes. I have chosen white text against a purple background for my graphic because purple is the colour used by the National Autistic Society (NAS), and I am branch secretary of NAS West Norfolk.

SOME AUTISM RELATED LINKS

I start with this section with a link to a very detailed listing of blogs by people who are #actuallyautistic. To view this valuable resource in full please click on the screenshot below:

AABL

Next up is a piece from Eclectic Autistic titled “Wrong Model, Wrong Research”. This piece attacks what the author calls our society pathologizing difference and I recommend that you read it, which you can do by clicking on the title above.

Now we come to one of the pieces that inspired this post. It was created my mamautistic, and has the title “Being Autistic is Everything – Autistic Acceptance” and you can access it by clicking the image below.

Next we come to a good news story from the Irish Times. Shannon Airport has become the first airport in the world to open a sensory room for the benefit of autistic passengers. For the full story click on the graphic below which is taken from it.

Ryan Cunningham (4) from Gaelscoil Donncha Rua, Shannon tries out Shannon Airport’s new sensory room.  Photograph: Diarmuid Greene/True Media

We now come to a special subsection of this sharing section of the post…

A SILENTWAVE SMORGASBORD

The silentwaveblog has played a major role in inspiring this post, with one post in particular, the last of the three I shall be sharing, virtually setting the creation of this post in motion. 

  1. This piece, titled “The Double Edged Sword of Labels in the Autistic World”, is quite simply the best analysis of the rights and wrongs of labelling that I have ever come across. It also ends with a splendid vision of a future that may just be within reach. To read in full please click on the image below.
  2. Next we have “The problem with the OWN channel’s ‘For Peete’s Sake’ reality show“, which is an excellent critique of a newly launched TV show. This show may (being charitable) have been created with the intention of being part of the solution but it is quite clear from silentwave’s analysis that poor/ absent research plus maybe a bit of laziness has turned it into part of the problem. Click on the image below to read in full.
  3. The post that I regard as having pushed the starter button for this one was put up the day before yesterday and is titled “Update, March 29: what I’ve been doing lately & Autism Awareness Month“. I posted a comment in response to it when I first saw it, and the enthusiastic response from silentwave to that comment prompted to me to expand on it here. To read it in full please click on the graphic below.

THE FINAL SHARE: A VIDEO

This video, called Amazing Things Happen, has already been viewed almost 2.5 million times. Having seen it on facebook I offer you this link. Below is Amazing Things Happen’s own description of the video:

Amazing Things Happen

An introduction to autism that aims to raise awareness among young non-autistic audiences, to stimulate understanding and tolerance in future generations.

It is intended to be viewed, discussed and shared widely by anyone but especially teachers and parents.

PHOTOGRAPHS: A MEETING OF TWO SPECIAL INTERESTS

Regular followers of this blog will be well aware that I always like to include some of my own photographs somewhere in my posts. Since this post is by way of being an introduction to Autism Acceptance Month I decided to theme this section created from one of my special interests, photography, around another, railwayana. You will note the use of the phrase “special interest” in preference to “obsession”, with the latter having negative connotations. Similarly it is preferable to refer to Autistic Spectrum Conditions rather than Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Here are those pictures…

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This was given to me by a work colleague (four images).

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1-10pics
These are the pictures I took of lot 369 and said in my previous post that I would be sharing them on here. I omitted to capture the text for cards 41-50, but otherwise this gallery is complete and has some close ups as a bonus.

1-10text11-20pics11-20text

21-30text
You will notice that having started with British cards this set also has some international ones.

21-30pics31-4031-40pics41-50pics

EgPalpics
The first of eight close up pictures, each of which features two cards. Only one of the four pairs of cards chosen for this treatment is British.

EgPaltextRh-SopicsRh-SotextSSRpicsSSRtext

Undergroundpics
The only British trains to merit a close-up in my gallery.

Undergroundtext

I end this piece with another showing of the graphic that appeared in the introduction and then a final message:

AUA

ENJOY AUTISM ACCEPTANCE MONTH!!

Some Thoughts on Autism

A post about autism featuring some of my thoughts, a petition that I urge you all to sign and share, some highlights from other blogs by autistic people and some of my own photographs.

INTRODUCTION

The origins of this post lie in a quote from a post on includedbygrace which I include here as a combined screenshot and link to the original.

Angela

Since seeing that I have seen several posts on autistic blogs that I wish to share with you, come across a petition that is so important that I feel I must share it and ask my followers to sign and share it as well. Also, the imminent approach of April has prompted me to think once again about…

AUTISM AWARENESS, UNDERSTANDING AND ACCEPTANCE

I am more than a little ambivalent about ‘autism awareness month’, and my misgivings are twofold:

  1. To be worth anything awareness must be the most basic of starting points, and needs to lead on towards understanding and ultimately acceptance (see the quote from includedbygrace in the introduction). 
  2. If you consider autism during ‘autism awareness month’ and not for the rest of the year that is simply not good enough. Autistic Spectrum Conditions affect those who have them every day of every month.

This leads on the role of…

AUTISM CHARITIES/ ORGANISATIONS

As someone who is both #actuallyautistic and involved in the running of a local branch of an autism charity I am obviously supportive of some of these organisations. However I am very firm in saying that such charities or organisations must be dedicated to improving the lives of autistic people, and that they should make conscious efforts to include #actuallyautistic people in the running of the organisation. 

There is one very large organisation based across the Atlantic from me which I shall not name (both because I am not a fan of naming and shaming, and also because I do not wish to give them any more publicity) who promote themselves as an autism charity but are in actuality nothing of the kind. They did fairly recently amend their homepage to remove from it references to seeking a cure for autism, but it did not require much scrutiny for it to be obvious that this was not a leopard changing its spots but a leopard trying to con people into believing that it had changed its spots.

I conclude this section by re-emphasing that awareness is not a final goal, it is merely the starting point on the following path:

AWARENESS – UNDERSTANDING – ACCEPTANCE

SOME AUTISM RELATED SHARES

I am now moving to sharing some other stuff I have found, starting with…

A VERY IMPORTANT PETITION – HARRY’S LAW

This petition, calling for an urgently needed change in the guidelines used at hospitals when dealing with autistic children, to be known as Harry’s Law, contains a video as well as a lot of explanatory text. I shall embed the video below the screenshot that I am using as a link. I urge all of you to read the text, watch the video and sign and share the petition. 

Harry's Law

UNASHAMED

Here I am linking to a post on elephantsneverforgetsite, and I am using a screenshot of the end of the post as the link.

elephantsneverforget

THE SILENT WAVE

It is hardly news by now that I am a big fan of thesilentwaveblog, and there have been several excellent posts from that quarter of late. We start with a post titled “Conformity does *not* make life “less difficult” for Asperger’s / autistic people”, which I link to by way of the splendid picture that heads it.

My next share from this splendid blog is a collection of autism related online quizzes. I sampled one of these quizzes, and may check out others in due course. The language used to convey the implications of your result is not always well chosen. I was told at the end of the one I did that I almost certainly “suffer from an Autistic Spectrum Disorder”. No – I have an Autistic Spectrum Condition – what I suffer from is the attitudes of people like whoever deemed that an appropriate form of words. Once again, I use an excellent graphic from the original as the link.

My third link from this source is to an excellent post about being diagnosed with an Autistic Spectrum Condition in adulthood. The title of the post is “Relief and grief ~ the reality of adult Asperger’s / autism discovery”. It must be stated that of the two emotions referred to in the title of this post relief comes first in more ways than one – it is the more significant, the more constructive, and certainly in my own case was very much the dominant one. Once again I am able to link by way of a headline picture:

I complete both the silentwave tribute and the sharing section of this post my once again pointing readers of this blog to the marvellous “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Neurotypicality: a handbook on the rest of the world for Asperger’s / autistic people” which you can visit by clicking the link below:

SOME PHOTOGRAPHS

I end this post with a few of my own photographs, which in terms of what is relevant to this post the following in common:

  • All were taken by an autistic person (me), and
  • All feature one of that autistic person’s special interests.
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All of these pictures are in fact close-ups of parts of lots that will be going under the hammer in April, and the special interests to which they relate are public transport, science and nature. All of the lots that these images relate to are numbered between 968 and 985.

 

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As one of my favourite science blogs says “It’s an amazing world of science…let’s go exploring!” You could start by clicking this image to visit them.

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