Welcome, to the Christmas special! where I find something christmassy to talk about that deals with autism. I thought it would be hard, but here we are. With any luck, while your all busy celebrating with family and friends, opening gifts, playing with your gifts, getting up hours early in excitement or having a family member body slam you until you get up (normally the youngest sibling), I will have remembered to post this. Unless I’m to caught up doing any of the above. Regardless, the title should cover it. Also, this will be an extra long post, combining two posts in one! Crazy right!?
Tiss the season to be jolly, which is appropriate for the times. With all the depressing stuff going on in the world today, we need a whole season to remind us to try and see the light at the end of the tunnel (unless your in Canada, in which case to take advantage of finally being able to light-up inside the tunnel).
What have I found that is both christmassy AND Autistic/Asperger's? Why, a source with numerous links on how to make your christmas more Autism/Aspie friendly, Hooray! (on that note, like almost all the other advice given by links I’ve found, this one will probably work for anyone and everyone, a stress free christmas is the best). What should an autistic christmas look like? Network Autism has some ideas, like: going to a quiet christmas event, to avoid all the hustle and bustle of regular christmas events. Not to mention the noise Noise NOISE! (maybe the Who’s down in Whoville would not have been harassed by the Grinch if they held a quiet festivale for his sake).
Where do we start? Why, with an Autism/Asperger advent calendar, of course! Based of an advent calendar made for schools by Katherine Learmonth, an independent educational consultant for a company called Axcis Education Recruitment, wrote an article for the Autism Network. It lists some suggestions to “help children on the autistic spectrum manage during the christmas period at school” (National Autistic Society, An Autism Advent calendar for schools, Paragraph 1). Providing interventions in a timeline (read “12 days of christmas”), that are based around their current interests. Neat concept eh?
The article than goes into detail of how you can set up the advent calendar, for schools anyways, though you might be able to replicate it in your own home. Just make it a smaller version of the school one maybe, and don’t invite twenty kids or more to come and celebrate. The instructions for creating such a calendar follow like a step-by-step process, except it’s day-to-day. I.e, on the first of December, the instructions on the article say to print out a calendar that shows all of December, than mark up-coming events that will be happening throughout the month by “Using pictures to link the calendar to their current interest” (National Autistic Society, An Autism Advent calendar for schools, Paragraph 6).
Imagine this, but Mario themed, or Star Wars themed, or Barney the purple dinosaur themed! No? Just me on the last one? (sigh), always is.
Than, on the last day in the instructions (December 20th), comes the hardest task of all: sitting back, relaxing, knowing that your children can now enjoy the holidays without stressing over all the hustle and bustle (or, if they’re already enjoying the holidays, than perhaps this can be another fun activity for them. Either way, this Autistic/Advent calendar might be worth a try, even if your kids aren't Autistic/Aspergers (who doesn't like an advent calendar depicting their current favorite topic? Regular calendars do that literally every year), and you can read the rest of the instructions here, if you want to build an Autistic/Asperger advent calendar yourself.
And now, onto the next part of this post. The chance, to not only use that extremely clever title I thought of, but also to help celebrate this, being a special post. The Christmas post (or a regular post that is longer than usual). Either way, introducing...
How A Perpetrator Perpetuates
Welcome back to part two of the Christmas special! We will take a look at how the dilemma is perpetuated by the perpetrators (see the play on words I did there? Nice isn’t it) as we come to an end of our look at the Autistic/Asperger dilemma. But enough talking for now, let’s get at’er (so I can do some MORE talking. Hey, I love the sound of my own voice, alright? It helps put me to sleep. Or so other people tell me anyways, I always try it, but it never works on me. And it’s not like I can ask them, because they’re already snoring away! It’s like...hey! You listening? ((sigh)), it happened again).
So just how is it perpetuated? Why, by making some statements of course! But what kind of statements? Well, Autistictic has a small list, some of which you might have already heard, or close to it. If you don’t have the “right amount” of Autism/Asperger’s, then you’ll see statements in the discussion like: “You are nothing like my child!”, You don’t look autistic.” (I still wonder how someone is supposed to “look” Autistic/Asperger’s), or finally “Severely autistic people DO want a cure! You wouldn't understand.” (Autistictic, The Autistic Dilemma - Functioning, Paragraph 11). And that’s only a small sample from the list, you can read the rest here if your curious.
But, if you have more than the daily recommended “amount” of Autism/Asperger’s, than you will see statements in the discussion like: “Low functioning autistic people are a burden.”, “Low functioning autistic people belong in institutions.”, or finally “Their autism is to severe, they can’t be included!” (Autistictic, The Autistic Dilemma - Functioning, Paragraph 12) I’m curious as to how the last statement was expected to make sense. “That guy is so autistic, he shouldn't be allowed to take part in the discussion about autism because he is so autistic!”
Makes about as much sense as excluding your political junky friends form discussions about politics. Everyone knows that you only exclude those whose political beliefs differ from yours, silly.
The last section of the article ends on a nice little truth-bomb, though introducing nothing that we already knew beforehand, but is nice and refreshing to hear...or, read, it anyways. The jest of the message is: all people with Autism/Asperger’s are equal, once we are treated as equal will we be accepted and functioning labels are both wrong and hurtful.
Will, that does it for this week's post. Next week, or whenever I post again in the new year, I will be moving on to a new topic. Perhaps school/college/university related, both, to give some info on how to prepare your children, or yourself, for a new year of learning, and to remind you both that soon, the long vacation will be over, and you'll be back on the education-grindstone. Isn't life fun? But until then, this continues to be, The Audacious Aspie.