Just to let my readers know, I now have a bio up on the sidebar! Its viewable on the front page of our blog. Sorry it took so long. Our hope is that people will read it and want to come back to our blog
We are autistic civilians sharing one body, and we usually blog about issues related to being autistic, self-advocacy, and being multiple, among other things. Recently we became heavily interested in veteran advocacy, through connecting to several veterans on twitter and a couple on facebook. We decided to make a special list of resource sites for Veterans. It is the least we can do to thank those men and women who served/continue to serve our nation. We hope these links will be of help to anyone who happens to click through our blog. Thanks for visiting, and feel free to check out any of our other posts and leave comments!
We went to France- August 4th. 2006. I delighted in watching the moving map on the small TV on the back of the seat in front of me. Maps have always fascinated us, especially moving maps! That’s one major reason why we loved the weather channel growing up. The forecast involved alot of maps! Our favorite part of the forecast was when the map was put in motion and we could see where the weather features had been, and where they were heading in the future.
On the flight there was a little tv with options for in flight entertainment. I loved the “interactive map” screen because I could see the whole flight path and how far we had travelled and how far we had left to go.
We have since seen more moving maps on flights, this one just happened to be posted as an entry-in-progress, which has taken us quite a while to finish! Much of our writing here is stuff we started many weeks prior to posting. We wrote about that in another post.
We just LOVE moving maps (one of our special interests/perseverations) and I am glad that Athena started writing this.
We have some entries planned about the trip itself by the way.
Started by Athena, more writing by Ivan
Collaborative but writing done at different times.
Most folks who know me well are aware that I do not take much pleasure in shopping--especially the kind of retail shopping that involves plunking down major cash outlays for transitory and often cheaply made consumer goods. In short, I just about have to be dragged to a shopping mall.
That said, I can understand how shopping can be classed as "retail therapy." There's the thrill finding that seemingly perfect item to fill a need, or more likely, a want in a person's life.
So we have been dealing with many guilty and unhappy feelings lately. Let me be clear first: NO OTHER AUTISTIC SELF ADVOCATES ARE IN ANY WAY RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR FEELINGS. We haven’t, fortunately, read any posts by any advocates we know, that suggest that autistic people who aren’t involved heavily in self advocacy are bad people or not serious about wanting better representation in society. We haven’t been more involved in advocacy for several reasons. We are currently in school pursuing a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics. We have had many difficulties in school which are mostly unrelated to subject matter. Though this semester, we have had trouble with some of that as well.
These guilty feelings are doing absolutely NOTHING to help us. Well duh. They are directly NEGATIVELY affecting our concentration. They pervade our waking thoughts (not all the time, but even a few times is too many!). They are unwanted intruders.
We feel guilty about having arrived late on the scene of autistic self advocacy. This is true mainly because prior to our diagnosis, we had no contacts with self advocates, nor any occasions to learn about the movement. Had we known, we probably would have tried to get involved sooner.
Again, we must reiterate our prior assertion that NONE OF OUR GUILT SHOULD BE BLAMED ON ANY OTHER AUTISTIC SELF ADVOCATE! Our current life circumstances (primarily being in college) mean we don’t have as much time or energy to dedicate to advocacy. We just have to embrace a less visible, but no less important and significant and MEANINGFUL role in the process.
There will ALWAYS be a need for advocacy in the autistic community.
Our advice to anyone feeling a similar sense of guilt,
Some useful self-advocacy strategies:
1. Make phone calls to local television and radio stations, and talk about the issue you want to take action on. Try to briefly and clearly make your case and explain why the issue is important to you. This can be extremely difficult for people who have severe telephone anxiety issues, including yours truly. Planning and writing a script of what you will say to the person on the other end may be helpful. (write an example and link to it)
2. A letter-writing campaign. (explain more about this later)
3. Get a group together and protest at cure-oriented events such as the Autism Speaks Walks. (perhaps talk about ASAN’s Autism Speaks protest and link to the blog post about it)
4. If you have supportive family members/friends, practice advocating for yourself with them. Ask them to roleplay: for example someone can take on the role of (insert desired role here) from whom you need (insert need here)
What is the difference between being responsible and having responsibilities? To give someone a responsibility does not necessarily mean that the person is now responsible. The word “response” which means “a reaction or reply” to something, is the word I think of when the words responsibility or responsible come to mind. Actually, a friend mentioned this thought to me at a dinner outing last night…we were sitting at Noodles and Company, close to where I live, and we were talking about that briefly over a scrumptious (boy I love that word!) meal of spicy Indonesian peanut saute noodles. A person may have the responsibility of raising a child, but that alone does not a responsible person make. There are countless stories in news, past and present, of young people and celebrities having children without regard to the kinds of RESPONSIBILITIES they would have to face, and when they do not face them properly, they are not RESPONSIBLE.
A responsibility is an obligation bestowed on someone, and “being responsible” is a character trait usually acquired over a certain period of time. The length of time depends of course on environmental factors such as life experience, age, education level (sometimes, not always) and other things. We may explore some of these other things in future posts. People with disabilities can certainly be responsible. That discussion deserves its own post.
Being responsible is learned behavior. NT people learn it by observation and imitating peers. So too can autistic people, but it can take much longer. First do we understand what a responsibility is? Autistic advocates definitely have responsibilities that they take on themselves. Some of us organize protests against Autism Speaks events. Others organize major events such as the ASAN annual gala. Need link to this. Include more examples)
Others give presentations at Autreat, the annual retreat by and for autistic people.
The advocates who participate in these activities have chosen to take on these responsibilities. They are not forced or coerced by others to do these activities. These are real responsibilities though, just like going to work if one has a job, going to school (in my case) or taking care of one’s children. And some autistic people have children too, but that isn’t all that relevant except it is another responsibility that some of us have.
We will have other blog posts upcoming about things related to this: specifically we have plans for a post about the damage parents/family can do to autistic people by calling them “irresponsible” for not doing certain things. If you have something to say about that, or this post, we would love to hear from you!
Collaborative, all of us (finished by Athena)
This post will deal with organization of ideas and maximizing readership by spacing out entries.
Do you sometimes find yourselves able to write several posts at once, and then have periods where ideas float around but nothing concrete comes out, or you can’t put into coherent language what you are thinking? We certainly do. We have come up with a working solution to that, which may be of some help to others. WordPress has a feature which you can use to delay publishing. You can schedule a different day for your posts to be published. The benefits to this will be continued readership when you can’t get ideas into writing immediately. If you publish several posts in one day or even over two or three days, chances are that readers will miss a few of them because the human attention span limits what we can read for comprehension and process and respond to. Spacing out publication increases the number of people who will read your posts, can increase followers, and also “buys you time” to craft more posts from your ideas. Go to the publish icon and just select a day in the future to publish a post, click on update, and the word “publish” will change to “scheduled”. Save the changes and your post will automatically be published on the day you have selected beforehand. Thus your blog won’t have to be “quiet” during the periods in which you are experiencing writers’ block.
Another suggestion: make a draft with a list of your ideas. Write incomplete thoughts and number them. This is good if you start writing but cannot finish a post. When whatever you are working on has more than a paragraph or two of material, cut and paste it into its own separate draft, so that your ideas list isn’t insanely cluttered with words from many different unfinished, undeveloped posts. This has helped us immensely. You don’t need to do this for every unfinished post; if you already have a title in mind and a decent amount of writing ready to come out, just start a separate draft.
One caveat: you may find that you need to renumber the ideas if you are like us and want things to stay in sequential order. We are picky about putting new ideas down the list in order. If you aren’t worried about that, you can take a shortcut and just keep listing ideas as you come up with them, not being concerned with numbering.
Sometimes looking at the search terms people have used to get to your blog, can be a great way to come up with new ideas! Maybe you haven’t written anything specifically about squirrels for example, but you notice that one of the search term expressions has to do with squirrels.
You can then write something, anything, related to squirrels. Maybe you remember a particularly fat squirrel you saw at school a few years ago. Interesting thing to write about if your blog is more “casual” (not for a professional job) or a personal blog.
I may have a follow up to this post….about more blogging ideas.
Athena, Ivan, and Andrea