Autistic Pride Award: Laina’s 500th Post

My response to Laina’s magnificent 500th blog post “The Autistic Pride Award [500th Post]”.

INTRODUCTION

Laina over at thesilentwaveblog decided to do something special for her 500th blog post. The result was an absolutely splendid post, and this is my response to it. 

THE AUTISTIC PRIDE AWARD –
LAINA’S BRIEF

This section sets the scene for the remainder of the post. First here is Laina’s brief:

  1. Whoever wants to participate, participate.  I’m focusing primarily on Asperger’s/autistic people, of course, but anyone who supports autistic people and neurodiversity is welcome!
  2. Do link back to the blogger who gave you the idea 
  3. Do link back to this blog as the original creator.
  4. Describe a bit about yourself.  However much you feel comfortable saying.
  5. List your main “special interests” or areas of primary focus/niche specialties.
  6. If you’re on the spectrum yourself, describe why you’re proud to be Aspergian/autistic or what you like about being Aspergian/autistic.  
  7. If you’re not on the spectrum yourself, you can use this opportunity to describe a loved one in your life who is and what makes them awesome, or you can explain what autism means to you and why you think the world would be a better place if it were to be more embracing of autism.
  8. (Of course, you can answer more than one!  For example, someone who is autistic can also describe how much better the world would be if it was more open toward autism.)
  9. If you like, you can list other blogs or resources that are autism/neurodiversity-positive, to give them a shout-out, too.

The fact that I am writing this post demonstrates that I wish to participate (1). I was inspired the source article itself which deals with (2) and (3), and I take this opportunity to urge you not just to read Laina’s 500th post in full but also to explore her blog in more detail. Thus, the rest of this post will start with point (4) of this list.

ABOUT ME

This is my WordPress profile statement:

I am branch secretary of NAS West Norfolk and #actuallyautistic (diagnosed 10 years ago at the comparatively advanced age of 31). I am a keen photographer, so that most of my own posts contain photos. I am a keen cricket fan and often write about that subject. I also focus a lot on politics and on nature.

You can learn more about me by reading more posts on this blog, and the rest of this post. I will include photos that relate to some of my interests, and links to other blogs the relate to my interests.

SPECIAL INTERESTS

  • Photography – as many of the posts on this blog show. There are many photographic blogs that I could link to here, but I have chosen just one, Cindy Knoke’s, from which I choose to feature a post titled “Gorgeous Greece & Her Beautiful Islands“. Here is one of my fairly recent photographs:
    Castle
  • Public Transport – I am the creator of a London Transport themed website, www.londontu.be, I have blogged here about many journeys, including Inlandsbanan and The Jacobite, while the photograph above was taken through the window of a moving train. Here is a public transport related photo to end this segment:
    Farewell to the Jacobite
  • Nature and Natural History – these linked interests are lifelong. For a natural history blog I thoroughly recommend whyevolutionistrue, while for good stuff about nature I recommend Anna’s blogthis is one of her posts about nature. Here is a recent bee picture to end another segment:
    P1020327
  • Cricket – I am listening to commentary on the second T20 between England and South Africa as I write this.
  • Autism – kind of obvious given that I am both autistic and involved in an autism charity. Before moving on to autism related blogs I offer a link to the National Autistic Society website (it is a very useful resource). I have of course already linked to Laina’s blog at the very start of this post, and I also recommend strongly theunabashedautist, americanbadassadvocates and theinkedautist.  Having (including the opening link to Laina’s blog) given shout outs to four blogs by #actuallyautistic folk I finish with a link to Autism Mom.

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BEING AUTISTIC

Many of my greatest strengths, such as my computer skills, my attention to detail, my skill at taking and editing photos are a direct product of my autism. Autism is part of who I am, and never in the ten and a half years since I was diagnosed have I wished that I was not autistic. I conclude this post with a photographic collage that I used in an auction alert email sent out yesterday:

1052 composite
I envisaged something like this when I started assembling this image – along the top we have the full lot followed by close-ups of both faces of the medal, while along the bottom we have photographs of the engraving around the rim.

A Beach Hut at Old Hunstanton

An account of the NAS West Norfolk day at the beach hut.

INTRODUCTION

I am taking a one-post break from my series about my holiday in Scotland to cover last Sunday’s NAS West Norfolk activities centred on the Mencap beach hut at Old Hunstanton which we had for the day.

GETTING THERE

Having checked on google maps to remind myself of the distance between Hunstanton and Old Hunstanton I decided to get the bus to Hunstanton and walk from there. Having a choice between Stagecoach and a local operator (Lynx) I naturally decided in favour of the local operator. This decision was rewarded with a fare that was less than I would have paid on Stagecoach:

P1010994

For a sunny Sunday in June the traffic was quite light, and the bus reached Hunstanton pretty much on schedule. I then set off on the walk to Old Hunstanton. I have stated before on this blog that the shortest route is not always the best on my reckoning, and this was another situation where my chief criterion was not shortness. For reasons that I will not insult the intelligence of my readers by elucidating my sole criterion for choosing my route was to stay as near the sea as possible.

blackbirdMap2Map1renewable energyFlying bird 2Flying bird 1renewable energy 2Lighthouse and ruined churchLighthouse and ruined church 2lighthouseP1020007ruined church 1Wolf sculptureSt Edmund and the WolfSt Edmunds doorwayAltarAltar stoneInfo Board - St Edmunds Hunstantonlighthouse2Lighthouse plaqueTowerTower plaqueCrowsnestSeaMap3Footpath marker

Old Hunstanton Beach
Old Hunstanton Beach. I initially failed to identify the correct beach hut, but after a few minutes scouting I was noticed by one of the others.

PRE-LUNCH – THE LIFEBOATS

Having got to know the beach hut some of us took the RNLI up on their kind offer of a tour as they explained about what they do, their boat and their hovercraft. This latter is one of only four in the whole country. The boat has to be towed into the water by tractor, and anyone familiar with north Norfolk beaches at low tide will therefore have little difficulty in understanding why the hovercraft which is an amphibious vehicle is sometimes necessary.

Propellers
I took these first few pictures before the initial tour – the building was open and no one attempted to stop people from looking.

PipingHovercraft frontsturdy ringsHovercraft jacketEnginesLifeboats LogoControls 2Controls 1RNLI Hovercraft1

beach friendly wheelchair
One of the bits of equipment the beach hut have – a wheelchair specially adapted for going to the beach (btw it did get used as we had someone who uses a wheelchair in our group).

31

Net
Net at the beach hut

BH

The Beach Hut
The beach hut
Ancient Mariner1
Identifying a lunch spot.

lifeboats info2Lifeboats info 1Controls 3Controls 4Hovercraft2Boat ShedPretoursignsGuide and gear

Layer 1 - warmth
The first layer of a lifeboat person’s gear – this one is for warmth
Layer 2 - waterproofing
this wetsuit with built-in wellington boots goes on next to ensure that you don;t get absolutely soaked.

L2WHelmet modelling

The helmet and lifejacket complete the outfitting
The ensemble is completed with a helmet that has a ;protective visor and a lifejacket with a few extras.

Boat -sterntrailer frameBoatMotortractor-trailer coupling

tractor cab
The cab of the tractor – it has two steering wheels and multiple openings.

Boat unleashedboat being pulled by tractorCab openingsCab2

TS1
This tractor has particularly large wheels – that is me standing next to one of them.

TS2TS3HC2H-003

LUNCH

I went to the Ancient Mariner for lunch, and it was quite excellent. I also had an outside table, which meant opportunities for taking photos.

BeachKitesurfing

Cliff formation from Old Hunstanton Beach
Cliff face viewed from Old Hunstanton beach

LN

Ghostship
A pint of Adnams Ghostship – excellent for a sunny day in June

82Kitesurfing2Kitesurfing3Renewable Emergy4Renewable energy 5Kitesurfing5Renewable energy 6Renewable energy 7ALOHBLighthouse and cliffOHB2Flying gullShells OHBLadybirdP1020105P1020096

P1020094
These are a subject of some controversy – personally I find this view, which shows humans at long last attempting to take care of their planet to be a lovely one.

P1020104P1020002

Politics, Nature and Autism

A mix of politics, nature and autism.

INTRODUCTION

This is a collection of interesting things I have seen on the internet recently. They are grouped broadly in three categories, the second of which includes a few pictures I took today.

POLITICS

I start this section with an important open letter from Make Votes Matter. Below is a screenshot of the beginning of the letter. This is formatted as a link so that you can add your name to the open letter should you wish to:

Open Letter

My only link in this section, which forms a natural segue to the nature section, is to a thunderclap organised by Team4Nature and tagged #VoteForHopeVoteForChange. Below is a screenshot which also functions as a link:

voteforchange

NATURE

I am going to start this section with another thunderclap, before sharing a couple of recent posts from Anna that caught my attention and finally ending this section with some of my own photographs. 

THUNDERCLAP: 30 DAYS WILD

This one has been launched by The Wildlife Trusts and the screenshot below links to it:

30dayswild

ANNA’S POSTS

The first of the two recent posts from Anna that I am sharing is titled “Which Future Do You Wanna Give The Next Generation?“. This post contains both Swedish and English text, and is in particular focused on the campaign to Save Trosa Nature. Here is Anna’s picture from that post:

The second post from Anna is titled “Old Tjikko” and starts by introducing us to the world’s oldest tree (9,500 years old since you ask). It concludes with a marvellous tree infographic which is reproduced below:

Time now for some…

PHOTOGRAPHS

These were all taken today…

DSCN6510
Other than moving the tree pic to the top of the pile (see the end of the previous section for clarification) these are in the order in which they were taken (tree pic was no 6 originally).

DSCN6506DSCN6507

DSCN6509
This one is a bit blurry because it was taken very quickly.

DSCN6508DSCN6511DSCN6512

DSCN6514

DSCN6515DSCN6516

AUTISM

I saw this article on www.independent.co.uk today and knew I would have to share it. It is titled “People with autism can hear more than most – which can be a strength and a challenge“, and the content lives up to the title, more of it being devoted to pointing up the strength than the challenge. I offer both a screenshotted quote and a picture by way of aperitif:

quote

adam-mandela-walden.jpg

I end this post with yet another reference to the rainbow coloured infinity symbol that Laina at thesilentwaveblog introduced me and many others to. The version below is an envisaged centrepiece for the front cover of the 2018 Calendar (see this post for more on my calendars) and features my name in white text incorporated into the symbol and the addresses of this blog and my London transport themed website in each loop:

Personalised symbol-page-0

 

Railway Postcards and an ‘Autism Roundel’

Showcasing some railway themed postcards I have recently acquired and unveiling a personalised roundel.

INTRODUCTION

Hello and welcome to this post which focuses on some postcards I have recently acquired very cheaply at auction. 

THE RAILWAY POSTCARDS

I won two lots of railway postcards at James and Sons’ last auction. The first of these lots to end up in my possession was…

LOT 1015: FOUR BLACK AND WHITE CARDS

Three of these cards were of London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) locomotives while the fourth was of a railway station, tentatively identified in the catalogue as Ardley. Further research on my part revealed that the station is in point of fact Ardlui, a tiny dot on the map near the northern end of Loch Lomond. Here are some pictures of the cards:

Railway cards B+WKing ArthurEmpire of IndiaLNERLocoArdlui Station

While I was pleased to acquire these cards, especially at that price, the lot that meant most to me was…

LOT 1017 – TEN COLOUR CARDS
OF THE FFESTINIOG RAILWAY

These cards had a particular resonance because I have travelled on this railway many years ago. It is a very narrow (1 ft 11in) gauge heritage railway which runs to about 40 miles.

Ffestiniog Railway Map

Here is a promotional video from the official website of the Ffestiniog Railway:

Before I show the postcards, here is a link to the Wikipedia page for the Ffestiniog Railway.

Ffestiniog-Railway-07419u.jpg

Now for those postcards, starting with the official image that everyone saw:

1017

Now here are the pictures of these cards taken in my own home:

Ffestiniog Railway
All ten postcards in one shot.
Ffestiniog Railway 1-3
Postcards 1-3
Ffestiniog Railway 4-6
Postcards 4-6
Ffestiniog Railway 7-10
Postcards 7-10
Ffestiniog Railway I1
Individual pictures of each postcard…

Ffestiniog Railway I2Ffestiniog Railway I3Ffestiniog Railway I4Ffestiniog Railway I5Ffestioniog Railway I6Ffestioniog Railway I7Ffestiniog Railway I8Ffestiniog Railway I9Ffestiniog Railway I10

THE AUTISM ROUNDEL

This is based on an autistic spectrum symbol that I found out about courtesy of Laina at thesilentwaveblog (see this post for more details). I was thinking about coming up with a suitable logo for my London transport themed website, and considered the possibility of using the rainbow infinity as the disk part of the famous London Underground roundel. If I decide to go with it, this is what my personalised roundel looks like:

Roundel 1

 

 

Infinity and a New Autism Symbol

Introducing aspiblog followers to a new autism spectrum symbol, with grateful acknowledgement to thesilentwaveblog.

INTRODUCTION

I hope you have noticed a rather dramatic change to the header of this blog! The rest of this post is devoted to explaining the reason that I have adopted that particular header. Before going on into the main body of the post I am going to point out that is this post will be featuring coloured text the distinction between ordinary text and links is the usual in such circumstances – links are underlined and in bold.

INFINITY

Many mathematicians have written about infinity, including Georg Philip Cantor who demonstrated conclusively that not all infinities are equal. As one who has read plenty about infinity and who is autistic the symbol that now forms the header of this blog has a particular resonance…

THE DISCOVERY

This morning when I was going through my emails I came across a reference to a blog post on thesilentwaveblog titled “Autism Spectrum symbol?“. Naturally I read it with some enthusiasm, starting with the explanation of why the puzzle piece is unacceptable (it was chosen by others, not us, and it is associated with a hate group who masquerade as an autism organisation). Then came the symbol itself, a rainbow (or spectrum) coloured infinity symbol, as shown below.

Autism Symbol.jpg

BACKING MY JUDGEMENT

Having been thoroughly impressed by this symbol, and believing it important to walk the walk as well as talking the talk I set about using it as the base for a new header for this blog, and came with putting the name of the blog inside the symbol, one half in each loop, and one half green and the other half red. My new image before I increased its size to the necessary width for a header was this:

Aspiblog

I hope this rainbow coloured infinity and customizations of it such as mine for this site blow the tainted puzzle piece right out of the water. I await feedback with interest.

 

Autism Acceptance Revisited

A post sharing some of the best recent stuff about autism from the true experts – autistic people.

INTRODUCTION

As this is an Autism themed post and we are still in the month of April my text will all be in #RedInstead. Links will be in bold and underlined. 

AUTISM ACCEPTANCE

Autism acceptance is about people accepting us for who we are, focussing on the positives and on our abilities, not on our limitations (both perceived and actual, though the former are both much greater and much more important in terms of the effect on us). The Art of Autism recently put up and excellent post about this titled “THIS BEAUTY QUEEN’S MESSAGE IS AUTISM ACCEPTANCE“. I offer this screenshot as a tempter:

AOA

ABA THERAPY = CHILD ABUSE

ABA stands for Applied Behaviour Analysis, and is still recommended in certain circles. Those who were subjected to this as children and have subsequently written about it are unanimous in condemning it. It would appear based on this sample that the most frequent outcome of ABA therapy is that an autistic person ends up an autistic person with Post Traumatic Sress Disorder. I link to two very substantial pieces by a former practitioner of ABA who has learned the error of her former ways, with thanks to Rachel Rainey who put me on to these two pieces today. The pieces posted by madasbirdsblog are:

  1. The original mea culpa piece titled “I ABUSED CHILDREN FOR A LIVING
    MC
  2. A follow up piece provoked by a response defending ABA, titled “I ABUSED CHILDREN AND SO DO YOU: A RESPONSE TO AN ABA APOLOGIST“. This piece is very long (over 9,000 words) but I recommend you read it in full. My screenshot comes from just after the start of the post, and I hope muy reasons for this choice will be obvious:
    ABAdetailed.jpg

A NEW FIND WITH A
GREAT “WHAT IF?” PIECE

  1. This next piece was originally published in May 2016 but is still absolutely relevant. From a blog called autnot and titled “If the world was built for me” it does precisely what you might expect from the title. The screenshot below is from the end of it:

If.jpg

ERIN HUMAN’S ABLEISM SERIES

Regular visitors to this site will know that I have been greatly impressed by Erin Human’s series of posts focussing on ableism. I am delighted to share with you two new posts in this series:

  1. A piece titled “Is there a cure for ableism?” which tackles ways in which this scourge can be dealt with.
  2. Under the title “Ableism Therapies” a post which lists some important links:

‘AWARENESS’ IS NOT ENOUGH

Some of you may have noticed that unusually for a post of this nature I have yet to mention thesilentwaveblog. Fear not, I conclude the business part of this post with a link to a post titled “Awareness’ is not enough ~ Part 3: Talk is cheap.  Please take action“.

PHOTOGRAPHS

BRCHB1
Another railway themed horse brass. I will be doing a piece connected to this on my London transport themed website eventually. This first picture is formatted as a link to the website of the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre.

DSCN6260

 

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