Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Preparation for ASDay 2014

I know I'm late running for ASDay 2014, but I have most things in order!




For one, the submission form is now open and ready to take submissions.  And the Facebook event page is online.

And as always, I do advise people to review our FAQs and our Content Filter List.

I know it's only about a week until Nov 1st, but let's have a great day!!

Participation Post 2013


Contributors List

Autistic Contributors Alyssa, Yes, That Too: Autistics Speaking Day 2013
Alana, Written Words
Abby, A Story Told In Autism
Michael Scott Monje, Jr., I am at peace (with killing my socially constructed self) (see Trigger Warnings)
Leeanne Marshall, Autistics Speaking Day: My Pathway
Autisticook, Fear (See Trigger Warnings)
Sparrow Rose Jones, Autistics Speaking Day 2013
Cynthia Kim, Autistic as a Reclaimed Word
Nicole Nicholson, Isolation, Loneliness, and the Angry Aspie (See Trigger Warnings) 
Amy Sequenzia, My Fingers Speak
Ibby Grace, I Speak To Thank
Ash Satoshi, My Life in Singapore: A Message For Autistics Speaking Day
Matt Friedman, Real Monsters of Autism (See Trigger Warnings)
FeministAspie, You Gotta Fight For Your Right To Party
Patricia Elaine Chandler, The Unaltruistic Nature of Autism Speaks
Alexandra Holt, Regression. Does it Really Exist?
Nicole Nicholson, a bright light jolted Aanteekwa awake (See Trigger Warnings)
Joe Andrew Campos, We're All Awesome
Amy Sequenzia, Autistics Are Speaking
Steve Summers, An Autistic Social Issue: Dismissal and Disrespect
Rayn, Autistics Speaking Day 2013!
Jasun Horusly, The Book I Read: Jonathan Lethem’s Infinity Loop
Jasun Horsley, How Am I not Myself
Queerability, Queerability
Bird Gardener, Finding My Voice
Nightengale, Speaking from the shadows
Savannah Logsdon-Breakstone, Impact
khawkgirl, Autistic Vloggers and Autistics Speaking Day- LAFA
Bridget Allen, My Value: Autism, Feminism, and Poverty
"Aspie Kent", Being Myself
Jennifer Hughes, People Like Us (See Trigger Warnings) 
rattiepuff, Why I speak (See Trigger Warnings) 
Catsidhe, Autism on TV isn't always done wrong (See Trigger Warnings) 
Jodie Gray, Shared and Different Voices (See Trigger Warnings) 
The MoUsY spell-checker, "So you mean you're an engineer?"
Rainbow Goddess, Autistic person speaking
Tuttleturtle, But what about those florescent lights?
Judy Endow, Words for Autistics Speaking Day
Paul, A helpful guide to my elementary school (see Trigger Warnings)

Ally Contributors 
Sharon Bergman, Chickens and Autism
Autismum, Autistics Speaking Day 2013
Kelly Green, Convergence
PK, When autistic people speak their truth, just listen

Thank you all for your hard work!!  You are the success of ASDay 2013!!

Words for Autistics Speaking Day

Words for Autistics Speaking Day By Judy Endow


Autistics Speaking Day Nov 1 2013

It isn’t right that autistics are in the position of needing other people to allow us our place in this world. We need to be able to take our own ticket when others refuse to give it to us. It is wrong that we have to be dependent on the benevolence of others and at their whim to merely being granted permission to participate in everyday life on planet earth.

People need to learn about inclusion. Autistics need to learn to steal tickets when others can’t be depended upon – some teachers in schools I consult to still don’t “believe in” inclusion as if it is a religion.

But for real THEY ALWAYS have the choice on whether or not to allow us autistics a space at the table of humanity. So shouldn’t we, in turn, at least be taught how to steal tickets when those in charge decide we shouldn’t have them for whatever excuse they resurrect in the moment?

Friday, October 17, 2014

A helpful guide to my elementary school

Paul wrote A helpful guide to my elementary school, part of which is quoted below. The rest you can find through the link.

Subject warnings in place for bullying and restraints.

So I wanted to write a piece for Autistics Speaking Day. I wrote this blog post that was well over 2100 words, and spoke to the idea of making sure that if a child is different, don't be their first bully. It went far deeper into things than I really feel comfortable talking about in public (not so much about my parents, who despite their faults are/were generally okay, but more about the absolutely hellish experience I had in elementary school – kindergarden through 6th grade.


The rest can be found through this link

But what about those florescent lights?

Tuttleturtle writes But what about those florescent lights?

I was going to make my post on time this year, I really was. But then things came up that were more important than writing a blog post. And now again, I vary between writing thousands of words because someone mentioned a topic that I wanted to reply to because they were wrong and not being able to pull up what I was going to write about on here. But, despite all that I'm going to write a post, even if its two days late, and even if there's a lot going on, and even if I don't remember what I was going to write about because so much is going on. And I'm going to make it meaningful.

Right now, what's meaningful to me and easy to talk about, sensory issues, so that is what I'll write about.

I don't hide from people that I'm on the spectrum and that I have bad sensory issues. It'd be rather hard to hide the sensory issues wearing blue glasses around, but still some people do overlook them and say that you can't notice. I question them sometimes, if I'm sitting sideways in a chair, wearing blue glasses, and stimming, but apparently this isn't enough to be visible sometimes.

Sensory issues can be invisible. Even more than other parts of autism. Social issues are visible if you're interacting with people. Communication issues, the same. Issues with change aren't immediately visible, but generally come up quickly, and are understood to be part of autism. Same with the other parts of RRBs. And well, stimming is usually visible, though apparently sometimes overlooked.

Sensory issues, when they're hypersensitivities at least (which within the HFA crowd seem to be the most common based on my experiences, though in SPD, hypersensitivities are actually less common than either hyposensitivities or seeking behaviors), are generally very internalized. The person reacts strongly, feels pain, doesn't process things properly, but doesn't show others very much. They don't scream out every time a florescent light turns on, but that doesn't change that the florescent light has an effect on them. It's an invisible reaction. Because others don't know. And others don't expect the environment could effect people so much.
Which leads to sensory issues being overlooked. We talk about communication. We talk about change. We talk about how many people are murdered by family members for being different. But, what about that simple florescent light?

Just for me? I hear those lights. They hurt. They feel like they're stabbing my brain with high frequency buzzing. They make me want to rip my ears off because it would hurt less than listening, and they jam my brain, because I have to listen through the buzzing. And try to concentrate through it. Eventually the buzzing might give me a migraine. A sudden noise of the sort might have other reactions, but lights are these constant offenders, like someone taking the static, turning it high frequency, putting it in headphones, and making you walk around wearing it so you're the only one who can hear it.

And then of course there's the vision part. They flicker. I don't know who gave people the idea that the flicker isn't visible to the human eye because its definitely visible. And both the flicker and the buzzing get worse as they age. A constant distraction of a fan flapping in front of your face, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, because its flicker flicker flickering. And again, people deny it, because they don't see it. And because its so fast, again, not only is it distracting, its a slow buildup of too much getting too pain. Someone flicking lights on and off is irritating. Now, have that happen always in the room. It's normal. The eyes or the processing behind the eyes or something has to compensate though, and it doesn't so much like doing so (to put it not very scientifically), and eventually the eyes are tired, and hurt and tired, and the headache sets in.

And trying to process things with these - apparently my communication skills drop significantly as soon as you turn on a florescent light, and come back when you turn it off. Other sorts of processing is harder to test, but it generally gets messed up.

I know others who are more messed up by the lights. And others who are less messed up by the lights. I have other visual processing issues (headlights are one of my biggest ones), and many others in other senses. But, we don't need to look at dealing with everyone always. We have to look at doing what we can to make things better, when we can and how we can.

When that means in my bedroom, giving me LEDs, for when I can't use natural sunlight, that's a thing, because that's something that helps. And that's a thing that is worth mentioning even though it doesn't fix every visual processing issue I have, not to mention every sensory issue I have.
When that means, getting places to at least replace the bulbs earlier if they have to use florescents - that'd be a huge step.

But, right now, as I walk around, I'm in a way showing people that this matters, and when it comes up I explain. I'm wearing my tinted lenses, for myself, but doing it for myself is being open. And sometimes being open is enough to be saying a lot. Just wearing my lenses is enough for someone to say, why are there blue lenses? And that itself, is communicating to them about me, about autism, and about the importance of actually taking care of our sensory issues.

Friday, September 12, 2014

2014 ASDay and AWN PoC Book

Hi all! 

I know I have a few submissions from 2013 I need to post.  Sorry for the delay, I got delayed for too long.  But I am going to post them.  Just as soon as I finish this post.  

I'm getting ready for ASDay 2014.  It's on a Saturday this year, and I wanted to let people prepare in advance, to think about what they're going to do.  

At the same time, there is something I think that is important that may or may not appeal to participants.  But this is really important, important enough that I'm posting this on here and on No Stereotypes Here.  I know that ASDay matters to a lot of you because it gathers many voices in a large event, as well as other reasons, but I'd like to take the opportunity to address another opportunity coming up soon that people may want to concentrate working on. 

I'm going to have to disclose, of course, as I am Vice-President of the Autism Women's Network.  But AWN is working to publish an anthology on Autism and Race, and is looking for submissions, due November 14, 2014.  If you are autistic, and a person of colour, racialized, or non-white, I encourage you to look at the AWN submission guide and consider submitting something. 

This is a project lead by Lydia Brown, aka Autistic Hoya, who I don't know about you, but is one of the people I'd immediately ask "how much do you want me to write, and when do you want it?" if not go scrambling to look for something I've already written.  

But this is your choice.  I understand either way.  

What matters is you expressing yourself, your story, what you want to say about yourself as an autistic person and your life, what you want to tell other people, what you want to change about the world.  This is about you communicating and gaining power through that, about providing an outlet, a starting point.  

ASDay has been described as a blogging carnival, a festival of our "voices", our passions and dreams. It is a celebration of who we are, a memorial of our scars, a scream of our struggles, a rallying cry to continue on for our rights. Because of the most powerful words "I am not alone". 

Intersectionality is how different aspects of our identities affect our experiences, sometimes in different ways in different situations.  Like being a woman can be a privilege in one situation, or be a barrier in another, or being a person of colour, or being disabled, rich or poor, and so on. 

The anthology matters because for too long has books and Autism materials about us been dominated by parents, professionals, and white people who do not represent all experiences of autistic people.  I see it every time I walk into an Autism conference center and look at the book displays.  How can we be "Nothing About Us, Without Us" without all of us being published, without all of us being represented?

 It cannot happen. 

Not without projects like the Autism and Race anthology.  

Either way, I look forward to seeing your work!!  

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Autistic person speaking

Rainbow Goddess writes "Autistic person speaking" on Purple Aspie: Life on the Spectrum.

It is a well written account of going to an autistic conference where auditory sensitivities were not even accommodated, and the issues that she had throughout the conference.

Please Read!

"So you mean you're an engineer?"

The MoUsY spell-checker writes "So you mean you're an engineer?" on tumblr.

As an electrical engineering graduate who works on the railway and is known in the office for IT skills, perhaps it is a bit ironic that I participate in Autistics Speaking Day. If my job isn’t stereotypical, I don’t know what is.
This one response I got when I tried to explain what it means to be autistic says it all:
“So you mean you’re an engineer?”
Way to be dismissive. That’s like saying “but you don’t look sick”.
In the context of the original conversation, I was trying to explain what it means to be autistic, and received such a response when I mentioned communication difficulties.
Yes, poor communication is a common problem amongst engineers, and there are probably quite a lot of engineers who are on the autism spectrum. Perhaps the stereotype allows me to “pass” as allistic because my communication difficulties are then excused as being typical for an engineer. (The concept of “passing” is a complicated issue in itself.It still doesn’t make it right to conflate my neurology with my occupation.

Shared and Different Voices

Jodie Gray writes "Shared and Different Voices". Trigger Warnings for abuse.

When I first found out about an autistic community made of Autistics adults, children, and teenagers who were actively involved in speaking for themselves and about their own lives - I was thrilled. I thought that this community held very many similar beliefs with each other, that the community was good and supported each other. I must admit that at this early time perhaps I even held a false truth that all autistics were great people. I mean I knew that Autistic people spoke in different ways- sign language, body movements, writing, typing, screaming, singing, talking, and others. I knew autistic people came from all different racial back grounds, and of all different religious beliefs. I believed out of some false hope that this community was without fault, and with acceptance for everyone in it.

Autism on TV isn't always done wrong

Catsidhe posts "Autism on TV isn't always done wrong" on LiveJournal. Warnings for spoilers, and Trigger Warnings for violence, murder.


Overload is a feature of autism, to the point were I would talk about how my autism interacts with my circumstance, but there is so much going on that I find myself unable to extract any particular thing to discuss: the forest is so big, I can't describe any trees.

So instead of talking about that, let me talk about television.

There are autists on TV, even if their attributes are usually inconsistent and subject to plausible deniability by the show's writers. That is: it doesn't matter how obvious that the traits are, the writers will deny that the character is anything of the sort. Presumably so that they can explain away any mistakes they make.

Still, there is Sheldon Cooper, and Temperance Brennan, and Data, and (I'm told) Abed Nadir.

Characters in historical features, however, are more difficult to nail down. Not least because the assumption seems to be that, in accordance with Age of Autism dogma, there weren't any autists before the 20th century.

Which is, of course, ridiculous.

Historical autists who could feign normality, or were in circumstances where they could function, were just folks who were odd. Autists who could not function were "idiots", and typically ignored in the records. If they lived that long.

There's a good argument that Fitzwilliam Darcy was on the spectrum, given how he was described as acting stiffly and formally, and abnormally so even by the standards of the time, but hiding behind his demeanour a rare kindness and sensitivity.

Sherlock Holmes, for different reasons, as well.

But as far as it goes, that would seem to be that, unless you include the archetypal absent-minded professor. And even that is typically a trope in its own right, and with only tangential connection to autistic traits as is typically presented.

And then there is Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, series 2, episode 8: "The Blood of Juana the Mad".

Spoilers and potential triggers ahead

Friday, November 1, 2013

When autistic people speak their truth, just listen

PK writes "When autistic people speak their truth, just listen" on Walkin' on the Edge

My son was diagnosed 2 years ago at the age of 4. I was aware of autism and read about it mostly through Temple Grandin’s books. I had seen Rain Man back in the day, and the Temple Grandin movie most recently. For someone whose life hadn’t really been directly touched by it, I was reasonably well educated about it, but I didn’t (and still don’t) LIVE it.
Some people may say, “of course, you LIVE it, your son has autism!”. Yes, he does. He is autistic, and he has some challenges that we deal with. We are “lucky” in that he is very verbal, academically proficient, not sensory-sensitive. Our lives are pretty much like most neuro-typical families – so far. I worry about what will happen as he gets older, as social situations get more complex I fear he will be bullied. Even though he communicates well, he thinks differently, and I hope he can process things and let me know if something is troubling him. I watch his social interactions and I see the difference, the “other-ness”, and I know how people can be when you’re “not like them”, especially in school. But I think these are worries that MOST parents have, and are not just the worries of an “autism parent”.
But I don’t LIVE the autism experience. My senses aren’t constantly assaulted in every-day situations – I can filter out most noises, smells, etc., unless they’re over-the-top annoying. I generally can interpret body language and facial expresson. Eye contact doesn’t flood my brain with information that I’m unable to process quickly/effortlessly. I am aware of where my body is located in space. I am aware of how my body feels inside (pain, discomfort, sick, etc.). I can regulate my emotional states pretty well. MY stims (nail biting, hair twirling, nail-polish-picking) might not be considered polite, but they don’t get stares. I understand the non-literal nature of turns-of-phrase/figures-of-speech and the BS chatter of small talk. Every day isn’t a struggle to deal with an enormous amount of input, above and beyond the general experience of living.
The only reason I know this, is because I’ve read autistic voices: The Loud Hands AnthologyAutisticookInvisible StringsIncipient TurvyKarla’s ASD Page (Facebook), Aspergers and MeA Stranger in GodzoneTemple GrandinThinking Person’s Guide to Autism. Their experience is not mine. Their experience is not even the experience of my autistic child. But in no way, shape or form does that lessen the truth of their experiences. In my blog travels, I have read reactions of parents who say “but my child isn’t like you – can’t type, can’t blog, doesn’t live on their own – so you can’t speak for them” - and what I (and the autistic people who are sharing their stories) get from this is “If you are not as visibly impacted as my child, you are ‘not autistic enough’ and your experiences don’t matter”. Never mind that the blogger commenting ISN’T verbalDOESN’T live on their own  – these people generally jump on the defensive and don’t take any time to find anything out about the autistic person they are dismissing.
And to their defensive reaction, I call Bullshit! Since when does pain have to match to matter? Since when does one person’s experience make another person’s experience less valid?
Then there is a myth that autistic people lack empathy - which I know from personal experience with my son is false (perspective taking, maybe, but empathy? – no way). Again, I call bullshit – since when is a lack of empathy an “autistic thing”? Neurotypical people lie, cheat, steal, kill, abuse, bully, and otherwise treat people like crap all day, every day – but somehow lack of empathy is an “autistic thing”?! Give me a “socially clueless” autistic person who misreads cues and unintentionally upsets me over a neurotypical person who is deliberately screwing me over for their own gain any day of the week.
So if you know someone who is autistic/aspergers/”on the spectrum”, or someone who knows someone, and if you want to expand your horizons and maybe make the life of someone who is autistic a little easier – READ THEIR WORDS. You might be made uncomfortable by what you read, but growth hurts sometimes - that’s why it’s called growing pains.

Why I speak

rattiepuff posts "Why I speak" on Portrait of An Alex . Trigger Warning for stim suppression, ableism, abuse

Why I speak

People Like Us

Jennifer Hughes writes "People Like Us". Trigger Warning for ableism, murder of autistic people.

[Note: This piece was written for Day of Mourning as a speech (opening remarks for the NYC vigil) but never delivered (because of technical difficulties in accessing the text when it was to read, not because I didn't want to deliver it). I've sort of been sitting on it ever since, for various reasons. Autistic History Month seemed like the perfect time to finally share it, but be warned that it focuses on a very dark time in our history and how it wasn't as isolated as our society might like to think.]

Being Myself

"Aspie Kent" posts "Being Myself" on Aspie and Allie: Autistic and Allistic couple, dancing through life together.

For perhaps the first time in over forty years, I am being myself. I am taking a break. Pausing for a few hours, and just being me. Setting aside the exhausting work of trying to be the person that my allistic acquaintances expect me to be.
You see, I’m autistic.
I’m successful in my work, I’m the father of two wonderful children, and I am autistic.
I’ve spent most of my life trying to fit in, but until recently, I didn’t really understand why I’m
different. I’ve struggled to understand what people mean when they say things that don’t make sense to me, and I’ve agonized about trivial misunderstandings for days. I’ve gone to unimaginable extremes to avoid conflict, because in conflict I fear that my differentness will become a weapon to be used against me. I’ve thought and thought about things that many people would probably consider trivial, yet thought nothing about things that they seem to worry about a great deal.
And this past summer, I finally learned why.
Because I am autistic. My mind works differently.
In order to succeed, I’ve spent most of my life subconsciously compensating for the ways that my mind works differently. I’ve tried to behave like the many non-autistic people with whom I must interact. Ignoring the odd looks and blank stares at my failed jokes. Counting everything I see, absorbing patterns, getting lost in details. Struggling with words and feelings, experiencing powerful emotions but not knowing how to describe them or react the way allistic people do.
And yet, most people I know would not recognize me as an autistic person.
Eccentric, weird, aloof, or perhaps even reclusive. But not autistic.
Because I have unknowingly worked very hard to hide behind a caricature of myself. An allistic version of me. A facade. A fake.
The real me, the autistic me, has been here all along. And it feels good to be able to drop the charade, to just be myself.
Until I have to leave the house again, when I will put on my mask, slip back into character, and try to blend in with the alien expectations of this strange world that is my home.
For the time being, I am myself. I am relaxed, and comfortable, and enjoying some quiet time with my spouse. And I am me, not the character I often play, or the person that society expects me to be, but my happy, eccentric, autistic self. And that feels good.

My Value: Autism, Feminism, and Poverty

Bridget Allen writes "My Value: Autism, Feminism, and Poverty" on It's Bridget's Word.

There is a dollar figure attached to my right to exist. Do not tell me it is not there. That is a lie. I see it every time I look in the mirror as if tattooed on my forehead. There exists a ledger; a balance sheet of what I contribute and what I take.

Intangibles count for nothing.

Joy counts for nothing.

Nothing.

Every op ed piece I read defending food stamps or other benefits bend over backwards to point out the majority of recipients are employed. The majority are good people. Good people work.

But I do not work. I am autistic, and being the autistic I am means I am real world, social model disabled. I do not work because I cannot. There are a dozen hypothetical ‘what if…’ or ‘should be…’ scenarios in which I could hold down a job, but that is not my reality.

How much of myself do I have to lay bare for you to accept that work, as it exists today, is a thing I cannot do? I tried, and I had to chose between powering through another year or two that would kill me or come damn close, or admitting I cannot so my children could grow up with a mother.

My childhood was infused with a popular feminist theme. I was taught that a Real Woman is financially independent. She doesn’t need a man be it a husband or larger entity (The Man) to support her basic needs or the needs of her offspring. A Real Woman knows children are an accessory to a career, not something one builds a life around. I regularly heard the words “housewife” and “brood mare” used interchangeably. I am loathe to believe this is real feminism, because empowerment that exists on the denigration and neglect of other’s needs empowers no one.

Growing up, I was also told over and over again my worth was tied to doing Great Things. That lesser people lived ordinary lives, and that for me to live an ordinary life would be tantamount to complete failure. In order to be a worthy human, I needed to be financially independent while actively improving society. Nothing less would do.

So do I own my complete failure, or do I redefine what it means to do Great Things? I embrace both, which yields a very messy work in progress.

I started to apply for disability once, but every worker I spoke to asked some the same question: if you are too disabled to work, how can you be a fit mother? I was told, repeatedly and in no uncertain terms that if I submitted an SSI application, a Child Protective Services investigation would be in my future. That is not a risk I could take. My children need me. I know this as much as I know anything. I am the best possible mother on earth for those particular children. That is not negated by my sometimes inability to speak, or walk, or work.

I cannot do it, and I am sick to my teeth justifying myself on this. I had to justify my dirt poor, EBT dependent self daily. Now I am privileged enough to not be poor. Now I am loved unconditionally for exactly who I am by a partner who can work, but I refuse to hide behind that veneer of acceptability. I cast off strangers’ easy assumption that I choose to stay home. If I could choose, I likely would stay home, but I don’t really have that choice. I’m too disabled for gainful employment, and it would be a slap in the face to too many people I respect to fake that.

So here I sit, grateful for the privilege of things I still do not take for granted. Indoor plumbing on demand. Food my children can actually eat. Health insurance, and the ability to make copays. But all those privileges; privileges that should be rights, do not make me a better person than I was when I bartered baked goods made with food stamp purchases for enough cash to make sure my cancer was still in remission.

I am just as autistic,
I am just as disabled, and
I am just as valuable.

Autistic Vloggers and Autistics Speaking Day- LAFA

khawkgirl presents "Autistic Vloggers and Autistics Speaking Day- LAFA" on her YouTube channel Life As a Feral Autistic.





Impact

Savannah Logsdon-Breakstone posts "Impact" on Cracked Mirror in Shalott. Trigger Warnings for mentions of murder, attempted murder, and ableism; internalized ableism; suicidal ideation.  


This is a difficult post to write. It’s always difficult, of course, to touch on the subjects of murder and ableism, and on how they are excused. It’s more difficult to talk about the impacts in personal ways, ways that are your own lived responses and realities, rather than as abstracts. There’s a distance to the abstracts that keep you feeling safe, even though you know you aren’t. And this doesn’t even account for the risks that writing about those impacts can have on you personally. It is, plainly, all around difficult.
As a child and teen, I mainly just shrugged off these representations as I heard them. They may not have been as prevalent in the media I consumed, but they were, as they are today, “normal” things to hear. But just because something is de rigor doesn’t mean they are truly forgotten at all, even when they hold no special importance in the moment. Those words and memories are still in there, waiting for another train of thought to hook into them and pull them to the surface. It might be later that day or a decade away, but when you fish for something to carry you out of distress, sometimes you hook a poisonous fish instead.

Speaking from the shadows

Nightengale writes "Speaking from the shadows" on LiveJournal.


I was debating whether or not I should say anything for Autistics Speaking Day this year, because most of the time, I’m not speaking out as an openly autistic person. A few people know at work and in the community, but in most cases when I speak about autism at work or at community events, I do it without disclosure. And so I wonder if I’m a legitimately speaking autistic in the spirit of Autistics Speaking Day.

But I’ve decided to speak out. And specifically, I’m going to speak about the three reasons I’m not openly autistic at work and in my community, things I’m afraid would happen if I were. Things I have legitimate reason to fear, based on current available evidence. My fears are that I would be disbelieved, professionally discredited or tokenized. 

Please Read the rest on Nightengale's original post. 

Finding My Voice

Bird Gardener writes "Finding My Voice" on Take a Left at the Moon. Trigger Warning for forced hospitalization, some bullying, medical discrimination.

I wasn't diagnosed as Autistic until I was in my thirties. I was always a bit different than other children (okay, a wee bit more than a bit). I spent much of my "social" time with others in awkwardness and misunderstanding. I preferred to be alone. I was highly sensitive to light, sound, touch and scents. I had this capacity for feeling far too much and was often told I was too sensitive and that I needed to toughen up. I was ridiculed and teased, bullied and beaten up frequently for being different. I didn't have many friends. I had neighborhood "friends" who I played with during the weekends and after school at times but they never socialized with me at school. Much of the time I spent watching them play and listening to them talk. I would play next to people not necessarily with them. 

I didn't have a good friend until third grade. She was different too. She was not one of the popular kids and she was often ridiculed and teased as well. We were fringe kids. We didn't participate with the majority of the groups and never fit into any cliques. We bonded over our "differentnesses". 

Queerability

Queerability has submitted their entire blog, with many awesome and informative posts about disability issues and intersectionality. Very excellent materials.

How Am I not Myself

Jasun Horsley writes "How Am I not Myself", published on Omni Reboot.

This exploration of Philip K. Dick’s neurological condition and potential autism is an edited version of a longer essay, taken from a book-in-progress about neurodiversity, culture, technology, and “extra-consensual perception,” by Jasun Horsley. The full, unedited, piece can be read here.

Philip K. Dick was a sci-fi prophet, among the most prescient science-fiction writers of the second half of the 20th century.

Among other things, he recognized that not only would technology provide us with the opportunity to expand our ideas about reality and ourselves—it would force us to do so. He foresaw that the opportunity of technology was also the crisis of technology, and that this crisis was not merely social, but existential, or even spiritual.

Less remarked upon—but in many ways more remarkable—is the way in which Dick’s fiction explored alternative forms of human consciousness, human reality, and human individuality. These explorations have have nothing to do with technology; rather, they present a biological crisis-opportunity. Which is to say, several of his novels involve a form of innate psychism possessed by a small minority, a mutant strain viewed either as a threat (crisis) or as a resource (opportunity) by the controlling powers.

While Dick’s worldview has long been described as “schizoid” (even Dick sporadically described himself that way), the word “autistic” has rarely, if ever, been attached to him or his work. This strikes me as a peculiar oversight. By my reckoning, Dick was the first writer to consider the psychic implications of autism in a work of fiction, or anywhere else.

The Book I Read: Jonathan Lethem’s Infinity Loop

Jasun Horusly posts "The Book I Read: Jonathan Lethem’s Infinity Loop" on Auticulture.

main_TalkingHeads_480
Here’s a review I wrote for Amazon (here).
I was surprised to see so many negative reviews of this book. What’s not to like? At one point Lethem remarks that his identification with Fear of Music as a teenager was so strong that you could have placed the album where his head was and it would have adequately represented his inner self. If you haven’t ever felt that way about an album, book, or movie, this isn’t a book you should read. Lethem isn’t doing standard music criticism or cultural analysis—thank God, who needs more of that?—he’s exploring the strange liminal zone between his own psyche and a rock album that got so deep under his skin (like Byrne’s air) that it had a hand in forming it (his psyche).
But then, some people don’t know shit about the air.
For Lethem writing this book, everything seems to be up in the air. That’s the point. Lethem can’t tell where Fear of Music ends and he begins, or vice versa, and the reader isn’t supposed to know either. And it comes directly from his heart to you. What Lethem can do as well as any music writer I’ve ever read, however (as he also showed in his novel You Don’t Love Me Yet), is describe musical progressions and effects in coherent language that somehow captures the essence of music and meaning, that merges forms, creates prose that sings the praises of songs that narrate, so the music and the analysis get together, load their trucks, burn their notebooks, and change their hairstyles. This is one of those abilities that mystifies and humbles me: I don’t know how Lethem does it. I can only absorb it admiringly and, as with great music, enjoy its ineffability and my own incapacity to understand how he does it. Ironic, because Lethem’s Fear of Music is kind of about that: Lethem’s still-adolescent fumbling, joyful, jerky, melancholy, intense, searching, desperate, weary and inspired attempt to come to terms with his inability to understand Fear of Music and, at the same time, his inability not to at least TRY. Maybe that’s why some people didn’t like it? Too naked, too honest, too raw—like Fear of Music the album, Fear of Music the book offers no comfort or solace besides the comfort and solace of forgoing comfort and solace: “I ain’t got time for that now.”
Fear of Music has been my favorite album for thirty years. My favorite song was Heaven, which is about a bar where they play your favorite song, all night long. (How’s that for an infinity loop?) I had never read anything else by Lethem before I read his little book. It did not disappoint, which in itself is about as likely as a party where everyone leaves at exactly the same time. Lethem writes like a building on fire, like he’s flat on his back, with no regrets, like he’s a little freaked out, like he’s charged up, like he’s got it figured out, like he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, like there’s a party in his mind, like he’s inside a dry ice factory.
It’s a good place. He gets his thinking done.
This is the book I read.
sf.Lethem-4_