Archive for the ‘Athena’ Category

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From 2006- Airplane ride to France

February 27, 2013

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.

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From Guilt to Acceptance of a Smaller Role in Autistic Advocacy

February 21, 2013

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,

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Being responsible versus being given a responsibility (or several)

February 18, 2013

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)

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Some suggestions for bloggers

February 15, 2013

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.

Collaborative
Athena, Ivan, and Andrea

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Reblogged from A Strongheart Moment

December 29, 2012

Please donate to the Leeshore Center. And reblog the original post to spread the word. Thanks!

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Feeling Intruded Upon

December 19, 2012

Why the hell do people always think that even when I seem to be sitting around doing nothing, I might be far away in my mind-fortress and not want to interact(even to respond to a request to do something) or be disturbed? The following is just one example one of us came up with(possibly Athena; she likes watching insects. That says NOTHING whatsoever about her “functioning level”, by the way. So “I” refers to Athena. She wrote this draft many months ago, like most of our recently published entries) While I was observing some insects going about their business, my mother asked me to hang up the laundry. Okay, forgiven. She doesn’t know that I drift away somewhere else, because I have never really told her, so she has no way to know. I have intentionally not told her or anyone else in my family. (Not the full truth; I can’t figure out how to tell them in a way that wouldn’t result in awkward questioning.) So this is more of an internal dilemma and rhetorical question than anything else. When I did not respond to her request/demand, she “invaded” my fortress a second time, and penetrated more deeply with her speech and body language. Feeling cornered, I responded (I can’t remember what exactly I said, besides “yes” or “okay mom”) to make her retreat, because I didn’t want to continue the interaction at the time. I just wanted to be content sitting on the steps, watching the insects. Alas, Mom would have me do something else.

In another post we will try to explain the benefits to us, of being able to “go away” into our mind. It can be calming and rejuvenating. But there is also a downside, such as when our thoughts get into a negative, repeating loop. It happens more to Ivan than myself or Athena. We aren’t sure why. That issue is probably worth a post on its own.

Collaborative, Andrea and Athena.

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when we were younger

December 13, 2012

*TRIGGER WARNING FOR BRIEF MENTION OF PHYSICAL VIOLENCE NEAR THE END OF THE POST*

I got the idea to write this from reading a label on a Lean Cuisine entree………”cocine en alto” which is Spanish for “cook on high”. When we were younger, we used to think that “alto” was a language, because we heard a friend of our housekeeper talking about it……..didn’t realize it meant the vocal part she sang in the church choir. I knew she was from a different country so I thought that her language was called Alto.

We had another post about something very similar. It was about Peter Pan and his pixie cohort Tinkerbell. She was dying because she drank Peter’s medicine that Captain Hook had poisoned. Peter asked people to clap so she would get better. Our out-of-body sister Natalie (Not her real name) and I were sitting on the couch watching, and we clapped because we thought Peter was talking to us. Can’t recall ages now. This was definitely more than fifteen years ago.

We (myself Athena and Andrea; though at the time we didn’t know about plurals and DID or even autism) also had other things we liked to do alone. Weather intrigued us quite a lot, so we would go to our room, close the door and then take out our beads and pretend the floor was a weather map. We put clusters of beads on the ground to denote storms. We made bigger and more circular or spirally clusters to denote hurricanes. We called it weather for The Littles. We don’t mean littles as in “insider children”. We meant small people. Very small people. Like toothpick sized. And invisible too.
We didn’t want anyone else to see what we were doing. This was a long time ago, so I don’t know why. Perhaps it was embarrassment? Not sure. We would often close our door in poor Natalie’s face. Well, not literally but I’m sure it felt like that to her. We wanted that alone time. To enter the world of the Littles and tell them what kind of weather to expect for the day.

It was a ritual that happened almost every day, probably around the same time. We cannot remember now, how long it lasted.

When we closed the door on Natalie, she often cried. That made us more annoyed because of sensory aversion to crying. We probably couldn’t understand why she was crying. It didn’t occur to us that she could be upset about not getting attention from Big Sis.

So, she would retaliate, by closing the door on us. I had no clue the events were related. It didn’t make any sense whatsoever at first. And also, there was a sense of “she is doing it to be mean, but I wasn’t.” We certainly felt that she was bullying us, and didn’t think that she might have felt the same way.

I would get upset at her and hit her or sit on her. I didn’t know how else to behave. I was less than ten at the time. We weren’t diagnosed as autistic until much later (we were almost 22).

We are pleased to report that today our relationship with Natalie is very deep and loving. We lift each other up. She doesn’t have as much time to talk to us as she would like, because of work and her own social life. We are also busy with school, especially at this time (end of semester, preparing for final exams, etc.)

This is one of a few posts we plan to write about our childhood.

Andrea and Athena, collaborative

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