Sunday, November 29, 2009

Positively Autistic

Wonderful series of videos I found at the Autism Acceptance Project website.

The blogger who posted insulting things in a comment I deleted about "low-functioning" autistics and saying they will never be able to "go to college" or whatnot sort of disgusting nonsense should watch this.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Autism Acceptance Project

Wonderful Website I ran into.

The Autism Acceptance Project is dedicated to promoting acceptance of and accommodations for autistic people in society.

The Autism Acceptance Project (TAAProject) will bring forth a different and positive view about autism to the public in order to foster understanding and acceptance, and to empower parents and autistic people.

We, as autistic people and friends and family of autistic individuals, do not see autism as a “tragic epidemic.” We view autism as a part of life – with both challenges and abilities that deserve to be accommodated. We believe that autistic individuals have the right to participate in all levels of autism advocacy, at all levels of government, and at all agencies and committees making policies about autism, alongside families and supporters.

TAAProject has presented critical lectures and exhibitions. We named our organization a “project” in order to address the salient issues in the best format possible each year. This will entail future exhibitions, online communities, and other creative endeavours. In so doing, TAAProject seeks to debate science, autism “belief” and public representations. We will also investigate and support educational needs backed by accurate science. TAAProject is interested in scientific, sociological, philosophical, creative and ethical answers to the question, “what kinds of help do autistics need in order to succeed and contribute to society as autistic people?”

In seeking to accomplish the above, TAAProject supports:

  1. Continued forums for exhibitions, lectures and other creative endeavours by autistic people and their supporters;
  2. Advocacy for understanding and acceptance of autistic individuals by society;
  3. The greater understanding of autistic ability and challenges, and inclusive as well as special education that understands and educates autistic intelligence, and accomodates the challenges of autism;
  4. Seeking ways to provide access for autistic individuals to participate both in our online and offline events, and address anti-ableism issues;
  5. Support groups for families and autistic individuals;
  6. A speaker’s bureau of autistic individuals and their supporters.

TAAProject wishes to model inclusion by having autistic and non autistic individuals working together on committees and our board of directors. We believe that we learn by working together.

Without this over-riding moral obligation to treat every human being with value, respect and dignity, we cannot establish acceptance, support, and inclusion of autistic people in society.

Cool Political Quiz

Your result for The Politics Test ...


You scored 84% Personal Liberty and 31% Economic Liberty!

A liberal believes in little to no government intervention on personal matters and moderate to high government intervention on economic matters. Liberals tend to be strongly opposed to war, police powers and victimless crimes. A liberal believes in protecting personal rights, particularly involving self-ownership. They believe in a social safety net or welfare state and have a tendency to oppose capitalism as an economic system. They strongly support self-ownership and privacy. More radical liberals lean towards anarcho-socialism.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

13yo Aspie Spends 11 Days Riding NYC Subway


NEW YORK, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Authorities in New York said a 13-year-old spent 11 days riding subway trains while police and his parents searched the city for him.
Police said Francisco Hernandez Jr., who suffers from a form of autism known as Asperger's syndrome, boarded a subway train after school Oct. 15 and was not found until a transit officer recognized him from a poster Oct. 26, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Investigators said they do not know how the boy evaded being spotted for 11 days, but they believe he spent the entire time riding trains and waiting at stations. The boy told police he ate small items purchased from subway newsstands. He said he spent most of his time sleeping.

"At some point I just stopped feeling anything," he said.
Hernandez said he had failed to turn in an assignment Oct. 15 and his mother told him on the phone that a serious talk about his school work was coming when he got home.

The boy's mother, Marisela Garcia, 38, said he returned to school a week after returning home.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Was at a Dance Tonight.

I was nervous as hell asking a woman to dance with, bud I did with a friend/co-worker and I had a lot of fun.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Autism, Baby Boomers, and Social Change

IMO it's not a coincidence that AS became an official diagnosis the same year (1994) that the Baby Boom Generation took the reins of political power in the Federal Government. The Boomers in general, on the New Age Left, Fundamentalist Right, and Technophobic Center, developed a hatred towards what they called the "Reductionistic Scientism" of their parents, the exact kind of logical, analytical thinking us Aspies are good at. Our way of thinking has thus become pathologized. The hysteria over a non-existent "autism epidemic" is, IMO, an expression of this anti-analytical mindset, exposed in bigoted nonsense about autistics being "souless" and "lacking empathy"

Autistics are a symbol of what many Baby Boomers in their heart fear, individuals that embody the rational, logical, analytical mindset of their parent's generation that they rebelled against in the 60s and 70s, and this we are considered "disordered" and need to be "fixed".

Saturday, November 21, 2009

YouTube Video about an Autistic Alaskan Scientist

I thought this was great:

Autism and OCPD

A few months ago my Cognitive Behavioral Therapist made a suggestion about me having Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (not to be confused with OCD, which I also have). Which is, essentially, an extreme version of what is popularly called an "anal-retentive" personality, stemming from Freud's ludicrous notion that perfectionism stems from refusing to go to the bathroom when one is little. Wikipedia describes the symptoms of OCPD as:

The primary symptoms of OCPD are a preoccupation with details, rules, lists, order, organization, and schedules; being very rigid and inflexible in their beliefs; showing perfectionism that interferes with completing a task; excessive focus on being productive with their time; being very conscientious; having inflexible morality, ethics, or values; hoarding items that may no longer have value; and a reluctance to trust a work assignment or task to someone else for fear that their standards will not be met.
Some people with OCPD, but not all of them, show an obsessive need for cleanliness. Those that do not show this tendency are sometimes good at setting up systems to maintain cleanliness, but may not follow through with the need to clean because of other "more important" priorities. For example, the need to get a good grade or finish a project at work might cause the OCPD person to have a quite messy and unorganized home. But if that same person was suddenly unemployed or finished with other activities, he or she could very well start becoming obsessed with cleanliness as other activities take up less time.
Completion of a task or problem by an OCPD individual can be affected when excessive time is used in getting such to be considered right. Personal and social relationships are often under serious strain because the OCPD individual insists on being in charge and the only one who knows what is right. Uncleanliness is seen by some OCPD individuals as a form of lack of perfection, as is untidiness. They may routinely spend considerable time using a precise manner, as for instance putting everything in precisely the right place in precisely the right manner. OCPD sufferers can be anxious about the potential for things to go wrong in their lives and respond by hoarding money.[3] Pathological money hoarding, looking like miserliness or stinginess to other people,[3] may occur to minimize that spent on daily living.
There are few moral grey areas for a person with fully developed OCPD. Actions and beliefs are either completely right or absolutely wrong, with the OCPD individual always in the right. As might be expected, interpersonal relationships are difficult because of the excessive demands placed on friends, romantic partners and children. Sometimes frustration with other people not doing what the OCPD individual wants spills over into anger and even violence. This is known as disinhibition.[4] Persons with OCPD often have a negative outlook on life (pessimism) with a low underlying form of depression.[5][6][7] This can at times become so serious that suicide is a real risk.[8] Indeed, one study suggests that personality disorders are a significant substrate to psychiatric morbidity. They may cause more problems in functioning than a major depressive episode.[9]
People with OCPD, when anxious or excited, may tic, grimace, or make noises, as in Tourette syndrome, or do impulsive[10] and unpredictable things, including risk taking. They may keep their homes perfectly organized, or be anxious about delegating tasks for fear that they won't be completed correctly. They may even insist on taking over a task someone else is doing so that it will be done properly. About one in four OCPD individuals may display rigid and stubborn characteristics, a defining criterion.

A pervasive pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and mental and interpersonal control, at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:
  1. Is preoccupied with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules to the extent that the major point of the activity is lost
  2. Shows perfectionism that interferes with task completion (e.g., is unable to complete a project because his or her own overly strict standards are not met)
  3. Is excessively devoted to work and productivity to the exclusion of leisure activities and friendships (not accounted for by obvious economic necessity)
  4. Is overconscientious, scrupulous, and inflexible about matters of morality, ethics, or values (not accounted for by cultural or religious identification)
  5. Is unable to discard worn-out or worthless objects even when they have no sentimental value
  6. Is reluctant to delegate tasks or to work with others unless they submit to exactly his or her way of doing things
  7. Adopts a miserly spending style toward both self and others; money is viewed as something to be hoarded for future catastrophes
  8. Shows rigidity and stubbornness

It fits me pretty well. I am an extreme perfectionist when I'm doing something, slowing me down. In issues of morality I tend to think in black and white even when I know in the back of my head that things are more complicated than that. I'm a big pack-rat and hate throwing things out. I hate delegating tasks and prefer to do them myself lest the person screw up and do it "the wrong way" (as I mentioned in a previous post when i worked at a preschool). And I am famous for being extremely stubborn.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Aspie Special Interests

One of my big obsessive interests lately has been languages and linguistics. I've been rampaging through all the libraries I can find looking for stuff on linguistics, especially historical linguistics, linguistic typology, and English dialects. I have also become interested in constructed languages, and am creating my own, a science fiction language descended from American English called Eridanian.

Here is a sample of Eridanian, the Lord's Prayer:

O Faarr Vos en Habn,
boNeem Vii boid haali.
BoRoow Vii boidonkom,
BoViu Vii boidonbedon,
en davoud loox en Habn.
Shujiheupos tsovoof tadadei,
shujifogivos tsens vos,
n veifogivam tadoos
de' deisen etwos.
Shujiin'leedos irrou raagdoon,
bo' shujiiseevos fraa eevu.
Kos bodarou, pawo, n qoorei
bomo au Vii, fravo n avo.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Survey: Bullies prey on autistic kids


A shocking new online survey has found that nearly 90 percent of autistic children in the Bay State have been targeted by bullying so violent and ruthless that a state lawmaker says teachers and school systems must be held accountable.

The survey conducted by the Massachusetts Advocates for Children includes painful testimony from parents of autistic children who felt so tortured they stayed home from school for extended periods and even considered suicide.

“We were frankly shocked by the magnitude of the problem,” said attorney Julia Landau, director of the Autism Special Education Legal Support Center at MAC. “It took our breath away.”

About 400 Massachusetts parents responded to the online survey between Sept. 23 and Oct. 12. The survey was prepared as part of an effort to pass legislation requiring that autistic children be taught bullying coping tactics as part of their individual educational plans.

State Rep. Barbara A. L’Italien (D-Andover), who is sponsoring a bill to make teachers responsible for intervening when autistic children are bullied, said school systems have to be held accountable.

“The school systems are oftentimes not seeing it as part of their job,” L’Italien said. “But if it were a kid who was blind and stumbling, they’d immediately address it.”

A whopping 88 percent of parents who responded to the survey said their child was bullied. More than half of parents surveyed said their children were hit, kicked or chased. Nearly 40 percent of the children were bullied for more than a year, the survey results said.

The survey also found only 32 percent of parents said school officials provided an "adequate" response to their complaints about bullying.

Marie Nazzaro of Woburn said public school officials offered her son, Sean, 14, an out-of-district placement after the tormenting got so bad during his fourth-grade year that he confided an elaborate suicide plan to a school psychologist. The boy spent 10 days in outpatient treatment after that episode, his mother said.

“It was very heartbreaking,” said Nazzaro, whose son has Asperger’s syndrome.

On top of the bullying, Nazzaro said her son got caught in bad situations because his autism makes it hard for him to read social cues. In one incident, Sean hit his head on cement and vomited after charging a group of boys he thought were hurting some girls. It turned out the children were having a friendly shoving match, but Nazzaro said her son didn’t realize that.

Dr. Elizabeth Caronna, who directs an autism center at Boston Medical Center, said social skills should be addressed because so many autistic children don’t even know they’re being bullied.

“The first thing is teaching a lot of these kids to identify when it’s happening before it spins out of control,” Caronna said. “It’s such a big problem. It’s so prevalent.”

I am not surprised, unfortunately. It infuriates me that schools tolerate this. I have a bit of PTSD from being bullied.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I Hate Dental Work.

Got a molar pulled today. Surprisingly it was not even close to being as unpleasant as getting fillings. I just felt some pressure and a popping feeling when the nerves going to the tooth root were snapped, totally painless. What sucks is the gauze in my mouth absorbing the blood from the empty tooth socket, so uncomfortable. Looking at my yanked tooth was kinda of cool, though.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I Do Not "Suffer From Autism"

Excellent post by fellow aspie Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg:

I do not suffer from autism.

I suffer when someone calls my way of being a disorder.

I suffer when others invest time and money to prevent people like me from being born.

I suffer when anyone suggests that I might recover or be cured.

I suffer when others feel sorry for me or for the family I have created.

I suffer when I fear that people will consider me broken.

I suffer when my being autistic scares people away.

I suffer when others try to silence me.

I suffer when people suggest that I do not have all the same feelings they do.

I suffer because I must describe my way of being by referring to a medical diagnosis.

I suffer because I live in a society that does not celebrate difference.

I suffer because I live in a culture that does not cultivate sensitivity.

I suffer because I live in an environment that values appearance over substance.

I suffer because I live within a social order that calculates human worth based on productivity and conformity.

I suffer because I live in a world that does not honor the gifts that autism brings me.

I suffer because I have learned to apologize for who I am.

But make no mistake: I do not suffer from autism. I do not suffer from who I am.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Language and Thinking in Pictures

I think in visual images andwhat I call conceptual "mental diagrams" , not in words like in most Neurotypicals. Temple Grandin famously called it "thinking in pictures", which was also the title of her most well known book. My thinking is like 3-D computer graphics with a Hi-Def monitor with surround sound, only many times more realistic. I only have words in my thinking when I am remembering what I or someone else said, or are engaging in mental echolalia of some quote, I don't have purely internal "self-talk", there is always some degree of actual talking to myself, even if it is not audible.

When I do math in my head I see and manipulate the problem or equation in my head. The same happens with many things, I can visualize things and mentally manipulate these visualizations very easily. This is very useful for learning cell biology, anatomy, and molecular biology. My interest in Paleontology from an early age, beyond the typical kid's interest in dinosaurs, is in large part based on that fact that I can very easily see how these extinct creatures "worked" just by looking at the bones

My first indication that this was not how most people thought was when I ran into completely serious philosophical and neuro-psychological writings suggesting that "Consciousness" requires language, which struck me as ridiculous, or even that language evolved not for communication but to enhance cognition, which made me wonder what that person was smoking after I got myself to stop laughing at the absurdity of it. Apparently other autistics have had similar reaction after reading about such language-centric nonsense.

An odd result of this visual way of thinking is that I will very often not be able to recall the word for a perfectly common, mundane thing. At work on Friday, for example, I could not recall the word "Broom" so I did the motions of sweepings to recall the word and to get my job coach to understand what I meant. I am also notoriously bad at remembering names, which can be extremely embarrassing.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Autism/AS and Accidentally Regularizing Irregular Verbs.

I have noticed recently that I seem to have a tendency to accidentally regularize many irregular verbs a lot more often then other people do. I'll say "flied", "choosed", "catched" "throwed", "teached", "freezed" "sweeped", "costed", "beated" , hurted, shutted, etc. 

Though it was very odd.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Almost Had a Meltdown at Best Buy Today

I went to pick up my old computer from the Geek Squad. The 2 people ahead of me took, like, a half hour to do whatever they were doing, getting me ticked off, the constant beeping sounds and alarms coming from every which way, all the people close to me, and many other things were overloading my senses. Then this rude woman that didn't seem all that bright pushed right through the line because she was told that whatever she was getting would be ready in 5 minutes, as if that gave her an excuse to cut in line! That almost sent me over the edge.

Not fun!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

ACK!! Stupid Aspie Moment!

Was bored and decided to give my disabled lady friend a call to what she was up to. Should have expected that she would be at her BF's watching the Vikings-Packers game but didn't connect the dots. She gave me her signature humorous expasperated "Tay-LOHR, I'm watching the GAME!!!" when I asked how she was doing and asked me to call back after she got back to her place. LOL, I'm so embarrassed...

EDIT: Vikings WIN!!! :-D