The Autistic/Asperger Atoll Gets a Little Bigger

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.


Nuclear Weapons Test Nuclear Weapon Weapons Test

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).


George Peabody B├╝cherei Peabody Institute Baltimore

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.    

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The Dangers of Constructing Myths

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.


Fay Fairy Magic Girl Fantasy Pixie

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.



Hands Open Receiving Hold Up God Spirituality

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.


Tile Brick Red Roofing Structure Stone Texture

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.    


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Finding the Funny Bone

Welcome back! This week, we we’ll focus on a rather, humorous topic, aiming to dispel a myth surrounding the  Autistic/Asperger community. Now, we’ve all heard these misconceptions about us before: We’re cold, unfeeling, brilliant mathematicians/computer scientists, and violent (kind of an oxymoron when you think about it. You need to be able to have feelings to be a violent individual, otherwise you’re just a terminator activated by Skynet). But here’s one that you may not have heard of, at least I didn't until now: we don’t understand jokes (mostly because we, and those like us, are often the butt of said jokes). But a British podcast is aiming to change all that.


Telephone Booth Red London England Uk Street

Finally, a story coming out of UK that’s not about Britxit. A welcome break that should last,ohh, two minutes or so, depending on how long it takes for you to read this post, or even shorter if you turn on the radio.  


Have any of you heard of the podcast 1800 Seconds of Autism? It’s a BBC podcast, that seeks to dispel the assumptions surrounding our community. One of them, being the humourless one. But how does one cut through all the shetlands? (get it? Shetlands? It’s a play on words of...never mind) Why, what better tool to use than some nice, razor-sharp wit. But how did the assumption of us not having a funny bone come about? Will, we have our own good doctor, Mr. Hans Asperger’s, to thank for that.


Back in 1944, when Hitler was beginning to understand what the words “homeland invasion” and “war on two fronts” meant, Hans showed his “little professors” some humorous cartoons, probably to avoid thinking about what fate had in store for his dear Third Reich (or to try and get them in the mood to celebrate their impending liberation. Depends on what you thought of the man). Either way, none of the kids laughed (probably didn't help that there was a war going on), and so he concluded that we had not an ounce of humour in us. And it stuck (and sucked).


Fun fact from the article: A Shaun May is holding an Autism arts festival in Canterbury some time next year. Might wanna check it out. Any ways, back to the topic at hand, the same Mr. May has been studying both Autism and comedy for some years, and has come to a crazy conclusion: Just because we don't laugh at everything, doesn't mean we lack any kind of humour! A quote from the article “Just because you or I might find things funny, it doesn’t mean we have more or less of a sense of humour.”. Rather, such a thing has just been inferred by psychology! Radical right!?


Skateboard Skater Sport Radical

No? Common sense? Will maybe you're wrong, it's not like you have a psychology degree! You don’t need one to know that you have to laugh at everything to have a sense of humour? Oh.


Well, that’s it for this weeks post. Next week, we will continue to look at the rather mystifying (or not so much) reason of why the Autistic/Asperger community doesn't laugh at everything: is it truly because we lack a sense of humour, or are we like literally everyone else (in this regard): we only laugh at the stuff that we find funny? The answer to that might be revealed next week, but until then, this continues to be, tthe Audacious Aspie.     


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Merry Christmas And/Or Happy New Year!

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!?


Box Gift Present Xmas Celebrate Christmas

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).


Advent Calendar Advent Calendar Door 24 Gifts

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!”


Confused Shrugging Shrug Woman Confused Woman

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.


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