Posts Tagged ‘Autism’

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Reblogged: Not-So-Retail Therapy

February 24, 2013

This post reblogs a refreshing alternative to conspicuous consumerism, and adds some of our own thoughts triggered by the reblogged post. We should all strive to evaluate our needs and wants more carefully. There is a big difference between the two. Oftentimes what we THINK we need is actually a very strong desire, but doesn’t fit into a “vital” category: food, shelter, safety, water, health.

Speaking for ourselves, we find shopping (for ourselves) to be mostly a chore or obligation, and not one that we would consider “fun” or “relaxing.”

Shopping with someone else, to assist xem in finding things xe needs, is a different story depending on the person. For instance, our sister N needed to find dress shoes to match her dress for the Inauguration Ball (her boyfriend was on Obama’s campaign staff and the Inauguration committee staff also- thats why she was able to go). I (Andrea) and our mom met her in DC and we were out for 4 hours. I was exhausted by the end of it. All for a pair of shoes. But she NEEDED them for the occasion. And I figured since I don’t get to see N much now because we live 6 hours apart, that shopping was a way to spend some sister-time together. I actually insisted that I accompany mom and N on the shopping trip, to their pleasant surprise (they both know I hate malls due to noise and crowds.)

I was certainly thankful to be OUT of the mall when we all finally finished. After that I think we had a nice meal together. Mom and N probably said something about being proud of me for braving the mall for so long. I must have thought to myself “glad to help” and “thank goodness for comfortable ear plugs!”

Shopping for pleasure, to us, is an oxymoron most of the time.

Collaborative, mostly written by Andrea, finished by Ivan in her absence

Adventures in Thanks-Living

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. I’ve been there and done that and have come to find the outcome severely lacking.

Now I practice “not-so-retail” therapy. Let me explain. As a member of The Compact, I avoid buying new items that contribute to an ever-growing waste stream and violate principles of justice and equity that I hold important.

My latest “not-so-retail” therapy sessions involved Goodwill, Staples, and Dollar Tree. Here’s the…

View original post 635 more words

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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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From diaryofamom: she’s not a baby

November 27, 2012

This may very well rub some autistic self-determination proponents the wrong way. I was taken aback the first time I read it. Some truths are harder to accept than others. 2 positive things to take away from this:

1) this mom didn’t want to write about it or admit it BUT SHE DID BOTH! There will be time to dissect all the “why she may not have wanted to admit it” later on. I don’t know the reasons. They are her reasons. But I think this is a big step for her and her family. I say this as an autistic person myself.

2) Her other daughter, an NT, pointed it out to her. This girl has ally potential already. Key word is POTENTIAL.

Kudos to DiaryOfAMom for fessing up and writing this. That was a huge step. One that should be recognized.

Ivan

a diary of a mom

*

I don’t like this post.

In fact I hate it.

Its content is raw and embarrassing.

But I’m publishing it.

Because I think it matters. 

~

She was right.

Of course she was right.

That’s why it hurt so much.

*

That’s why I got so defensive when she said it — and tried to pretend that I didn’t know what she meant.

“Mama,” she said, “you don’t have to talk to her like she’s a baby.”

*

The words hung in the air — thick, accusatory.

My gut reaction was denial.

“I wasn’t, honey.”

It sounded ridiculous. Like I’d just said that the sky wasn’t blue. But look, Katie, my brow is furrowed as though I’m confused, and I’ve even cocked my head to the side for good measure, so I must not know what you mean.

“Mama,” she said, going along with the game,”ask me the same…

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Ann Coulter Discussion Continues

November 24, 2012

We are very glad that people are still thinking about Ann Coulter’s use of the r-word. Just yesterday I saw that someone had found our blog using the following search phrase: “autistic girl’s letter to Ann Coulter”
We do not know of such a letter, just the one we found and reblogged, written by a young man with Down Syndrome.
Talk is good, as it induces thinking. Now it is time for action.

When we have more time and energy, possibly over either Thanksgiving or (more likely) Winter Break, we will attempt to create a list of bookstores which sell her books, with contact information so that people can call and voice their concerns. We would love some help with that if anyone is up to the task; then it can get done much faster and we can get on with making calls or writing/emailing those bookstores! Seriously, we need to do this. Hitting Ann Coulter where it hurts the most, in her wallet, is the best way to send her and everyone else a message loud and clear: that hurtful and offensive comments do not and will not go unnoticed and unchallenged any longer.

Solidarity, fellow advocates and allies!

Let’s do this!!!!!!

Ivan

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Mental Health 2013

November 21, 2012

I found this while perusing through posts in various tags we follow. This is a brilliant idea, and I think autistic advocates should have a theme for next year too! A theme for blogging buttons, not just for topics.

How about tackling one theme topic each week too? We can recycle topics also. And then at the end we could have a “blogthology” like Loud Hands has their anthology of stuff written by autistic people. Which unfortunately we didn’t know about until it was too late to submit something. That’s okay, I am sure there will be more opportunities to submit our stuff.
We are looking for feedback on this idea.
Andrea

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Emotions are so weird and irritating

November 17, 2012

Oftentimes I feel that the expression of deep emotions such as sorrow, sadness……etc………are very difficult or even impossible for me to express in any way that comes close to a resolution of those feelings. Athena can cry and feel some relief when she is done crying. Sometimes. I can’t, for some reason. When I cry from overload and stress, it is a very lonely and despairing feeling that blankets my being. Even depression, which all three of us struggle with, hits me much harder than my headmate-sisters. Perhaps it has something to do with gender? I am male and they are female. But that sounds a bit too stereotypical for me, that men always take such things harder. Or is it that women take it harder? Either way that explanation is too simplistic. There are other things going on here. I hate my emotions. I can’t even get excited without being afraid of “crashing” (it happens all the time)

Why is that? I wish I knew. This is very hard for me to write about, because it often makes me feel very ashamed, and more like a child than an adult. But, that thinking is internalized ablism. Now I can finally recognize it for what it is.

But how can I learn to be more at peace with my emotions?

Anger is the emotion that is most accessible to me.

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I love my family. But…

November 13, 2012

I love my family BUT….they can be too critical. They can be very impatient. They don’t respect the boundaries of the fortress (well that’s because they don’t know it exists in the first place. It is that way for a reason. More than one reason in fact.) I don’t think they’d respect those boundaries even if they were aware of them, and actually it would be even worse for my privacy if they did know about them. Our mother has a tendency to make assumptions about our abilities based on inadequate information (we can’t or won’t explain fully what’s going on.) For example when I say to her “gee, this math is really hard,” she might say something like “well, you know, nobody is FORCING you to do it, you can do something else!”

This drives us nuts! And what drives us even MORE nuts (and makes us anxious and unable to fully disclose or even halfway disclose all of our struggles) is that when we DO open up about certain difficulties we have, for example going to sleep at a decent time, which we do understand is important, mom says something like “well then maybe you shouldn’t be worrying about college right now.”

That drives us absolutely bonkers.

Here’s another thing that drives us nuts. When we were living at home, and not in school, Mom wanted us out of bed by 8:30 in the morning when we had no reason to be up at that time. She expected us to do this without fail. Then she would give us chores to do. Which wasn’t a problem really as we were living there rent-free. The idea of waking up at a certain time every day in the morning is actually an idea that we can embrace! But the manner in which she finger-wagged and something in her tone made us instantly averse to it.

In fact this has been a common occurrence with our family and our mom in particular. She is often correct in her assertion that we should do things this way or that way, and her advice is not wrong. But the HUGE PROBLEM is with the MANNER IN WHICH she gives said advice. We aren’t sure how much our averseness to it has to do with our particular neurology and how much of it has to do with the parent versus adult child dynamic. Things like tone and body posture and yelling really get in our way of being able to listen to and make proper judgments on the merits of her suggestions. Another major issue is that we cannot articulate in the moment, why we cannot or will not follow her advice, because of all the vibes getting in the way and feeling put under a microscope. It’s very difficult to come up with a concrete example of what we’re talking about here, but if we do manage to come up with one we will write it up in a separate post and link to it.

All that said, we do love our family.

Ivan

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