Welcome back! This week we continue to look at the article from THE ASPERGIAN A NEURODIVERGENT COLLECTIVE (their all-caps, not mine. Probably trying to be all dramatic and such) AND THE TOPIC OF...sorry, forgot I left caps-lock on, and the topic of the article: spectrum; does it really mean what we think it means? Last week I was going on about how the author is using the colour spectrum as an example of the Autism/Aspergers spectrum, but it’s also not like the Autism/Aspergers spectrum (and how I was not able to cover that last week but hope to do so this week). So just how exactly is the colour spectrum not like the neurological spectrum? Well let's take a look-see.
You know how a black hole is a hole that sucks in everything, including light (hence the name black hole), this looks like a pic of what a white hole would look like: a hole that spews out everything, including light. Lots and lots of light.
Firstly, according to the author, we talk about the spectrum as if it’s a gradient, rather than an actual spectrum. You can either be a “little autistic/aspie”, “a-lot autistic/aspie”, or somewhere in between (alternatively, the author notes, “a-lot autistic/aspie” is also known as “tragic autistic/aspie”. Something we may have all heard of before). But, like all other stereotypical ways used to define minority groups, this is a rather simplistic way of categorizing a diverse group. It's not like your traits get worse as you move up on the spectrum (or for the nerdy/geeky, it’s not like you levelling up your character but instead of getting more powerful skills/powers, they just get worse).
Apparently, according to the article, the whole spectrum thing is so far off that even the DSM-V is against it. Calling Autism/Aspergerss an “uneven profile of abilities” (THE ASPERGIAN: A NEURODIVERGENT COLLECTIVE). Must be why there is a saying of “if you’ve seen one person with autism, you’ve met on one person with autism” (or so the article says, this is the first time I’ve heard of it). Autism/Aspergers’s, the article claims, is not one condition but a myriad of related neurological conditions, impossibly intertwined that professionals have stopped trying to sort them in neat boxes (weather the article means actual professionals or “professionals” is unclear, but probably the former).
Ever wonder how many boxes they came up with to try and fit us in? My guess is thirty, but chances are I’m not even close.
Instead, the article says, the spectrum is really more like a rainbow of traits, rather than a spectrum of traits. The colours being: Pragmatic language, Social awareness, Monotropic mindset, Information processing, Sensory processing, Repetitive behaviours and Neuro-motor differences (I won’t post the meaning of all the phrases above here, as that would take more time than I want to. If you want to see the meanings, then I suggest you visit the article here. Yes, I am that lazy). How do you know you’re Autistic/Asperger? If you check all, or most of the boxes on the list, than you, dear reader, are on the spectrum. At least as far as the article is concerned, still might want to get tested by a professional rather than a random site online, unless you like webMD.
Ever heard of webMD? I ran a test where I put in some symptoms (runny nose, sneezing, eye blinking), that happens when I get allergies, and I got a list like this: ADHD, Epilepsy, intoxication and more, in that order. I guess allergies didn't even make the top ten.
Well that does it for this week’s post. Next week we will continue to peer through this article, and maybe find out what what we are supposed to call the Autism/Aspergers’s, if not a spectrum (just looked at the article now, and it is a loooooong one, probably won’t cover all of it). But until then, this continues to be, The Audacious Aspie.
P.S. After getting some feedback and doing some research, I now regret writing my posts about CASDA and it’s proposal. I was unaware that they worked with Autism Speaks, and therefore wrote a couple of posts promoting their plan in my error. Next time I will do better.
Hello! This week, we will be looking at what is a revolutionary new idea (at least for Canada) to help improve people with ASD/Aspergers syndrome: a national Autism program. What, exactly, is such a program? Well let's just ask our next guest. They’re a company who, in a list of media companies in alphabetical order would quickly follow ABC and the BBC. They’re a company that is not only funded by a national government, but are allowed to mock them in broad daylight without any repercussions (thus far). They’re Canada’s own, the CBC! (cue hollywood cheers and screams of excite-wait! Don’t leave! I promise it won’t be this noisy or crowded for long!).
It’s really only loud and crowded for the intro! The rest of the event will be really quite and sparse! I just want it to look good for the cameras, make it look like I have thousands of adoring fans.
And who should be the first brave soul/scape goat-if-it-all-falls-apart to lead the charge on such a daring idea? The federal government (i.e Ottawa)! And who is the poster man (he’s kind of old to be called a boy these days) to be the face of this bold plan? Why, who else other than sheriff Sen. Jim Munson of course! (doesn't the name Jim Munson sound particularly Canadian wild wild west to you? Not only polite, but also a man with some authority as will). But he’s not alone, the activist organization CASDA, or Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance (and an extra A in there and you get CASADA, which would sound a lot like their country of origin) is teaming up with him in this endeavor for improved Autism care.
Now, they have released a blueprint (even though it may not actually be blue. How many blueprints these days are really blue you think?), detailing that all provinces, territories and, of course, the federal government to work together to create and maintain services for both children and adults on the spectrum (Don’t die of shock now anyone, but a major Autistic/Asperger organization, at least in Canada, actually remembered about the existence of adults being on the spectrum! ((little girl shriek of glee)). Either way, like I said before, this a bold plan indeed, if only because getting the federal and provincial/territorial governments to work together on something without political in-fighting soon breaking the alliance is, will...problematic at best. This can either go really well, or really poorly.
Sort of like trying to when the lottery innit? Except when you lose at the lottery, you really only $2.00 or so on the ticket, plus all your hopes and dreams of becoming rich (until the next time when you repeat the process). When you lose in the government, you stand to lose a lot more.
That being said, it’s promising news that a Senator and an activist organization are joining forces for just such a cause. Perhaps the political world might be able to pull it off after all. How long exactly has CASDA, and the senator, been calling for support for people on the spectrum? Why, over a decade of course (the senator once participating in a senate inquiry years back calling for a national autism inquiry. He was advocating for a national Autism support program before it was cool...politically). Inside the blueprint, the the chair women of CASDA says, one will find an “overarching vision and promise to the community we represent” (CBC news, Group calls for national autism program, Paragraph 6) like a lifetime guarantee to full and equal access to resources both whenever and wherever you need’em. Now that, is a plan that I can get behind.
So, especially if you live in Canada, you may want to get out your sacrificial daggers, find that virgin and light that fire, ‘cause we might need all the dark magic that we can get.
That does it for this week. Next week we will be continuing our look at this Canadian National autism program, and pray/hope/make a blood sacrifice in the hopes that if it comes to fruition, and is found to work like a dream come true, the next government coming in won’t scrape the whole deal all because it was the last party that implemented it. Here in Canada, it probably happens more than we would like to admit. But until then, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.
Welcome back! This week, we will once again dive into unknown waters (mind the kraken), and explore the little-known island, called Cri du chat. A place that, not many, least certainly not me, has heard of before, but is akin in many ways to our own little cluster of islands that I like to call, the Autistic/Asperger Atoll (an island for each of us, lord knows we could use alone time sometimes). In fact, much like the island of Down syndrome the Cri du chat island is so close to our own island chain, that one might consider even consider it a part of the Atoll. But what is Cri du chat, despite a metaphorical island that I made up? Will, it is much more than just a fake island. Much more.
Doesn't all this talk about islands and atolls just want you to take a vaca to a real Island resort? Basking in the hot sun, being served hand and foot, holding on to dear life while trying to not be blown away by the blast from a nuclear bomb test...will, at least the first two.
Cri du chat syndrome is, according to SLATE, a rare genetic disorder that gives the person who has it with “multiple intensive disabilities” (SLATE, NOT MINE TO MOLD, paragraph 1). One of them being nonverbal Autism/Aspergers. This particular article of SLATE tells a rather sobering tale of a mother learning of the unique challenges posed, not by her son, but by the institutions who are supposed to care for people like her sons, and their families. Not gonna lie folks, it won’t be easy to make jokes with this one as opposed to the last one (which was all about our humorous side! Will, all about the myth that we don’t have a humours side but you get the idea).
So just what was it that the institutions suggested? Only the usual suggestions: leave him in a feeding clinic were a group of caregivers will put him in a room with a bunch of strangers and repeatedly encourage him to eat something over an extended period of time. Or, and I’m sure that this is one that we, or our parents at any rate, have been told at least once in our/their lives, that she have her son institutionalized (the world seems to think that we belong only in an institution. And they’re right. I’m in an institution after all. Okay okay, it’s a postsecondary education institution but it still counts as an institution).
Man, I wish my universities library was this fancy. I would never tire of walking around its seemingly endless levels than. Or until closing hour came and they chase me around the library until finally cornering me and catching me, after suffering some scratches and bite marks. (sigh), a man can dream.
But, her being the mother of the child, only had to imagine herself in her childs shoes in those situations, and know that it would be, will, a pretty poor choice to put it mildly. But there was one bit of advice that was suggested to them (by whom the author does not say): “seek out other parents of children with similar medical issues.” (SLATE, Not Mine to Mold, paragraph 4). A kind of community were a sense of belonging, tips on practically everything (examples given are going through the educational system and picking out wheelchairs), and commiserating over a shared struggle. Group healing, in other words.
Will, that does it for this week's post. Next week, we will continue our look into the article about Cri du chat, though probably not for too much longer, as there is so much sadness and depression in the world already, that if we really wanted to read about kids being mistreated by an uncaring system (an odd obsession I know but bear with me), we really only have to read the newspaper or listen to the radio. Hold on, I’ve just received news that it has always been like that. Will than, as an unlicensed and uneducated-in-the-ways-of-psychology psychologist, In recommend you read or listen to a happy story each and every day, or even go one better and get some physical exercise as often as you can.
On further reflection, you probably don't need me telling you that. But until then, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.
Welcome back! This week, we continue to look at the myth: people with Autistic/Asperger don’t have a sense of humour. Last week, we found out about an BBC podcast who seeks to discredit various myths, including this one, with sharp-wit and humour, along with how the myth started in the first place. But how do you explain to people that the myth is no less a myth than one about faye people or pixies? (probably the same thing, but you get the idea). Will, let's find out.
Think about it, which sounds more likely: that people on the spectrum don’t get humour? Or little humanoids are flying around, causing all sorts of problems or doing whatever it is they are said to do?
How would you explain it? The article might have a solution: a listener to “1800 Seconds of Autism” once wrote (to whom it does not say) that “once you own autism” (Do autistic people ‘get’ jokes? Paragraph 10), it transforms from “constellation of character defects (Do autistic people ‘get’ jokes? Paragraph 10) to something that can be understood (though the article has added the word “vaguely” in front of “understood”). Apparently, you can explain it much like a colour-blindness of sorts, one that cannot see green, but ultraviolet instead.
It goes on to say that NT’s (a slang for Neurotypicals) make sense of the world in their own ways, and not always in the same way. They don’t have deficits, just that their “acuities don’t fully overlap.” (Do autistic people ‘get’ jokes?). Confused? Makes sense? Probably one of those explanations that you need to think about before you get it. Or need another explanation to explain the explanation. Apparently though, this explanation can work across the entire “plain” (of existence? Elemental? Magical?), which includes humour. But, compare this myth to what has happened over the course of last year, according to the article, and something does not seem to hold up.
Not that the myth really held up much if you actually talked with someone on the spectrum, but the BBC seemed to have had a rude awakening last year concerning us and humour.
In 2018 alone, Autistic/Asperger comedians got their own taste of the limelight (why is it called limelight anyways? What if you hate limes? I like apples, so can I call it the applelight?), either by making shows on Netflix (like Nanette) or by making it to one of the top 3 spots on talent shows (like Britains got talent, where a bloke on the spectrum made it to second place). Proving that not only does the no-humour myth not hold water, but that it has so many holes in it that it’s structural integrity is poor and liable to collapse by the meerest breeze. Thus having debris fall onto the sidewalk and road, cause a road blockage that will hold up traffic for hours on end, than causing people to riot in the streets over having to try to back up and take a detour.
This is why we as a society need to learn on how to use more stable material, like facts, when it come to building theories. Or at least choose firm, stable ground if your going to start building misconceptions.
Then once all the debris are cleared, all the inconvenienced travellers once again head on their way to wherever it is they were going. And that is why myths are bad for society. But enough about the dangers of poor building methods, next week we will continue to learn more about this no-humour myth. But until then, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.