A Term, A Term, My Old Car For A Term

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.


Colour Wheel Chromatic Rainbow Palette Spectrum

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).


Businessman Boxes Transport Delivery Logistics Box

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.


Doctor Dentist Dental Clinic Medical Surgeon

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.

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A Search for A Special Spectrum Speech

Welcome back! This week, we will be looking at a topic that, in this particular case, has less to do with light than with people who are Autistic/Aspie: The Spectrum (hey, don’t look at me, the person who made the article used a lot of rainbow images). And it begs the question which, I believe, we should all be asking ourselves and others in the Autistic/Asperger community: What does the term “it’s a spectrum” mean to you? What does it mean to our community at large? What should it mean? And perhaps: Should we keep using the term? Now that I have filled you all existential dread, on with the show!  


The best way to keep your audience engaged is by causing them to doubt the very meaning of their existence. Once you accomplish that, you’ll have them hook, line and sinker like a fish caught on a fishing pole, seriously contemplating it’s poor life decisions up to this point.   


The start of the article makes a good point, how everyone knows that Autism/Asperger’s is a spectrum (though there might be some contention to this if I remember correctly), and that when mentioning Autism/Asperger’s, the word “spectrum” is never far behind. The article even lists some phrases of what the author means, some of which may seem familiar: “My son is on the severe end of the spectrum” (The Aspergian, “It’s a spectrum” doesn't mean what you think), “we're all a little autistic-it’s a spectrum.” and finally “I’m not autistic but I’m definitely ‘on the spectrum’.”. It’s a roundabout way of saying “I don’t think that word means what you think it means”.


But what, really, is a spectrum? Apparently to the author of the article, it’s not Autism/Asperger’s. An example given is a colour chart, showing all the pretty colour’s of the spectrum (backed on either side by pitch blackness, but no grey or white to be seen. Someone's a shadest). What exactly are we supposed to be looking at? How different the colours are all different from each other, and yet still on the same spectrum (the visible light spectrum as the author has chosen to use). They also blend together in a kind of hazy, relaxing way, but if you can stop staring at it for now and jolt yourself  awake, we can continue on with the lesson.


foxAnd furthermore, if you could stop gushing over the picture of this sleeping fox, we can move on with the rest of the show. This might help: It survives by tearing other animals, usually small ones, and eating them. Bones, muscle and all. Thought that would do it.


You may notice a couple of things that the article mentions, namely: That one colour is not more than another colour, and example given is that red is not more blue than blue! Now you may notice that that's kind of the point, and it would be a little disconcerting if red really was more blue than blue, but that's not the point that we should be looking at. The point that we should be focusing on is that red, like blue, is a colour. Red is not any less a part of the spectrum than blue is. When talking about colours, we don’t use spectrum-related phrases when describing a colour. For instance, we don’t say “I like colours that are high up on the spectrum list” or “should we go with a low spectrum colour for the kitchen?”. Than again, ten years ago the words and phrases like “legit”, “LOL” and “who wants to see a live action pokemon movie?” never existed until now, so it might become a thing the next decade or so.


Well, that does it for this week's post! Next week we will be finding out why Autism/Asperger’s is not really a spectrum at all (or maybe it is and I just read parts of it wrong. Oh well). But until next time, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.        

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The Proposed CASDA Solution Part 2

Welcome back! This week we finish up our look at the Canadian national Autism program, as well as some of my own personal thoughts on it, time permitting. Last we left off, we read some of it’s proposal points on how they plan on making life easier for all of Canada’s people on the spectrum (and probably also able to make other people's lives easier as will, spectrum or no). Now this is a relatively new proposal on the table handling an old problem, so there may not be much information on the post this week about it(if your curious and want to learn more about it, you can try looking online though I would have no idea on where to start). But at any rate, let's get’er moving!


The group, and a smart move on their part I should think, revealed the plan ahead of the Canadian federal election in October in the hopes of it becoming a major election issue (or more accurately a solution). Or at the very least an issue that the voters will pressure the parties to comment on both prior, during and after the election (let's hope it gets really popular for that to happen. Already here in Ontario Autistic issues are getting more recognition so far).  We, or at least those of us, myself included, who live in Canada, might be on the cusp of an era where neurological concerns and progressive solutions might be looked on more favourably! Exciting times we do live in.


Mountains Canada Girl Outlook Snow Nature

My father told me of an Chinese curse (not sure if it is ancient or not): May you live in interesting times. We only have to look at today’s newspaper to see what they mean, but at least this is a step in the right direction.  


And that’s it! That was the last of the article! Bet you thought, from the start of this post, that there would be more to it did you? Will to be honest, so did I until I looked on what was still left unsaid, and by that point I didn't want to change it because. But now there is space for me to exposite all over this post like a digital version of verbal diarrhea (if you’re going to try to unpack all that I’ve said after words, wear thick plastic gloves). From what I have read, and some of you have told me, is that this plan seems like a solid, bold, progressive idea to solve a-decade-and-more issue of providing actual support and available resources to people who both think and act differently than the majority of the population.


Instead of what used to happen, which was to either lock us all up in an institution out-of-sight-out-of-mind like, ostracize us by calling, or hinting at, what we have as a disease meant to be cured (as well as coming up with all these weird ways that is can be passed on: touch, close proximity, or even by looking at us if I have the last one right). Which begs the question, they did know that it was neurological “disorder”, or whatever you want tot call it, right? It’s not like we were zombies or anything (than again, in most pop-culture references, the only way to stop a zombie was to destroy the brain. Maybe the Z-virus is not just any virus, but a neurological virus at that? Could explain the whole Autism/Asperger’s is a disease spread by vaccines myth: People just watch too many zombie horror movies).


Zombie Horror Undead Monster Photomontage Death

Now, I don’t blame them for wanting to watch all of the zombie movies and other media that they can get their hands on, I love a good zombie horror book myself, but even I don’t treat other groups of people as if they are literal versions of horror monsters. Last time I killed someone with a silver bullet, it was really my hairy uncle George. I’m just glad no one found the body.


Perhaps even this national Autism proposal could one day help dispel all those myths and misconceptions about us, and increase societies acceptance of us as well. Provided, of course, that the people working on the proposal, once it’s actually being acted upon, continue to listen to people who are on the spectrum and not just professionals or “professionals”. While it could be a great leap forward in the betterment of all people Autistic, Aspie, and our NT friends and families, it could also be a large step backward if those running the show ever lose sight of their ultimate goal. First things first, we need to see if the bold idea gets off the ground in the first place.


Well, that does it for this week's post. Next week I’ll have a different topic in mind to write on (that or I’ll just look one up. Last part usually works). But until next time, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.


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The CASDA Solution

Welcome back! This week, we continue our look into the national Autism program suggested by the activist group (hope I got that right) CASDA and the senator (I know I got this right) Mr. Munson! Together, their team is...well, I can’t think of a clever name for their team, but if they had a team name I bet it would sound awesome...probably). But anyway, last week we introduced the blueprint, the team members and a little bit of what is in the plan itself. This week we will dig deeper into what the plan details, as well as what else pops up in our...investigation (of the CBC article, not the inner workings of CASDA or such. Sorry to spoil the epic moment you all probably had there).


Sherlock Holmes Detective Magnifying Glass Loupe

No dramatic sleuthing for me. Better left to the journalists, or P.I’s, or detectives, or hired killers. You never thought hired killers did much detective work did you? But did you ever try to track a target that's on the road every day? It’s hard...allegedly...so I’m told.


First of, let's dive into the exciting world of policy discussion! (cue cheers, lots and lots of cheers, and some whistling). What else does the policy blueprint suggest this federal/provincial/territorial alliance change to make the lives of people on the spectrum easier and better? Changes (or should I say because it’s stipulated in the actual blueprint itself, immediate changes?) to the federal tax code! I envy the lucky bugger who has that job, he’ll have the most fun. Why the tax code? To give greater benefits to not only those with ASD/Asperger’s, but also their families as well! Now the question remains just how much money will we receive.


And while the federal government is busy with all that, the provincial governments have their own work cut out for them. They have the task of “creating nationwide standards for care and access to services.” (CBC, Group calls for national autism program, paragraph 8). Whenever you or I think that our work load is getting to heavy, remember this: at least your not responsible for basically telling all of your nation's service providers whatever standard they now have to reach, while making sure that the standard is both feasible for the services providers and gives at least a reasonable amount of support to people with ASD while at the same time deciding what would entail as a reasonable amount of support. That felt hard just typing it.


Student Typing Keyboard Text Startup People

I feel sorry for the people who have to work on this part of the project alone. Their time spent in college and/or university must seem like a vacation compared to this.


And that's not the only ambitious goal that the proposal has in mind. Another one is to help those on the spectrum find housing and employment, giving us the chance to become independent members within our communities. Which when you think about it, is an oxymoron. If you’re a member of a community, you’re not really independent are you? How was the plan designed? Why, with input from members of the ASD community and family members of course! Now you may wonder how that can be any other way, but if it was common practice for activist groups to include members of the community they are supposedly rooting for in on the planning stage, let alone activist groups for the Asperger/Autism community, CASDA would have no reason to proclaim it like it is some kind of achievement.


Well, that does it for this week. Next week we will be continuing on with this topic again were we wrap it all up! And I might get a chance rant some more on what I think about things! Another chance to show you guys the beautiful sound of my own voice. One time, I was in a mall right? And I went into this store right? And there was all this anime that I wanted, so I went up to the cashier and...you all seem to be looking at your phones and watches. Probably have somewhere urgent to go somewhere, so I’ll tell the story the next time we meet. I know I know, those were groans of sadness of a good story ending for now. But it will have to wait  until next, when this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.


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