Note For Anyone Writing About Me

For anyone who wants to write about me
I am an Autistic person. I am not a person with autism. Don't call me one. FYI, also not Aspergers. The diagnosis isn't even in the DSM anymore anyways.
My name is Alyssa, I'm a triple major in mathematics, mechanical engineering, and Chinese. I'm currently studying abroad in Tianjin. I have an About. I'm Autistic. I don't like Autism Speaks. I'm Disabled, not differently abled, and I am an Autistic activist. Self-advocate is true, but incomplete.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

SPLASH

Splash is a seriously awesome program. MIT runs it the weekend before Thanksgiving every year. College students and older can go teach pretty much anything, and then 7th-12th graders can sign up for whatever combinations of classes they want. I took Fractional Calculus and Make Chainmail there when I was in high school, both of which were awesome. So, everyone should register to teach if they can, and I highly recommend the program for kids in the right age group, autistic or not. You can register here as a teacher or student, and they have other cool programs too. I've seen people from as far away as New Jersey come up to Boston for Splash.

The Need for Acceptance in China

 TW: Ableism, suicide

In the last couple weeks, there have been THREE articles over at ThAutcast about autism-related incidents in China. (1,2,3)
The first was about something pretty good- the Shenzhen Autism Society arranged for autistic kids to learn how to make moon cakes. I mean, the article still has the grandmother of one of these kids talking about trying to cure said kid. "If he is older, 7 or 8, and still acts like this, there will be no hope of a cure," she said. That's problematic for several reasons:
  1. Trying to cure him.
  2. Thinking that he won't improve past age 6 or so.
  3. Thinking that acting less autistic=cured.
But it was a step towards inclusion. It was some progress, at least.
The next was highly problematic. It's still Shenzhen, where we just had the mooncakes story, parents essentially forced an autistic boy out of his class. Apparently he tried very  hard to stay- he slipped in and found a desk in the back, then he stood when they took his desk. But they were determined not to let the autistic boy be in the classroom, and he was eventually removed.

And the last is the worst. In yet another city, parents are trying to get an autistic child removed from his class. They cite that he takes up more of the teachers time (Get him an aide! It's not unusual to get aides for autistic people.) and that he has apparently thrown a chair on two occasions. It seems to me that he most likely isn't getting the supports he needs, but that if given those supports, such as an aide, he would most likely be fine in the classroom. However, the parents simply want him removed. And at the bottom, we find out that the boy from Shenzhen whose expulsion we found out about in the second article killed himself by jumping off a balcony. We know that this kind of exclusion hurts people, and it doesn't stop. When will it stop?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Blogging Together For Autism

Trigger Warning: Some dangerous cure attempts are mentioned in passing. So are organizations that support them.
I was invited to join this group on Facebook. Twice, actually. Once as a comment here, and once as a message to my page. (Yes, I have a Facebook page. It's here if you care. Or if you don't care. Whatever.) I mean, you can't actually join a group with a page, and I'm only semi-out on Facebook, and I'm not trying to make the fact that I'm autistic google-able with my real name, so there are logistical difficulties with that, but I lurk. And someone actually shared my stuff on a couple occasions, which is cool. (My overall impression is that these are good, well intentioned parents. That doesn't mean everyone is perfect, since, you know, there is a LOT of misinformation out there, some of it harmful. At the very least, no one is arguing that bleach enemas are a good idea or that vaccines gave me autism. I mostly get the impression that people just don't know how awful Autism Speaks, Jenny McCarthy, Age of Autism, Generation Rescue, etc really are for autistic people, not that they actually think that being autistic is inherently a huge tragedy that means their kids will never do anything ever (they can.))
So, I've read some of the posts and some of the conversations. I'll admit that the story that mentioned Jenny McCarthy talking about her son made me cringe, since, you know, JENNY MCCARTHY. She did found Generation Rescue, after all, and they're the one's who run that Autism One conference where they talked about bleach enemas as a cure for autism. (Yes, I will be talking about the bleach enemas thing in my paper tracing cure problems-that one is a very good example of "quack cures that can cause permanent damage." And no one seems to be quite as strongly anti-cure as I am, but then, it's not their brains that could get forcibly re-wired, at least, not in the cases of the parents. (I think there are a couple actually autistic people in the group? But the only one I know of links to Autism Speaks on her page, which kind of scares me. Because, you know, Autism Speaks is focused on finding a cure that autistic people seem to mostly not want. Plus they compare autism to diseases that actually kill people and threaten suit against autistic minors who made legally protected parodies of their site and use the works of autistic people without permission, then getting the attribution wrong.
Anyways, no one seems as strongly anti-cure as I am, but then, it's not as much that I'm anti-cure as that I'm anti-"finding a cure before getting society to a point where autistic people would actually get the choice of becoming neurotypical or staying autistic," anti-"ignoring what autistic people tell you would actually help," and anti-"parents being able to make the decision to cure or not for their kids." Which in modern Earth, is pretty functionally anti-cure, so I usually just go with that. However, if an autistic person (NOT the person's mother/father/gaurdian) decided that being not autistic was the way to go for that person's own life, I'll not argue. Heck, get society to the point where it would be truly voluntary, and you would have a shot at getting me to participate in any of the relevant studies that didn't carry the risk of an accidental cure. Some of the not being as strongly anti-cure is based in functioning arguments, which is always difficult to see, but then, it's pretty close to just the self-advocates who argue against functioning labels with any consistency. You'll occasionally see parents joining that one, but not that often.
All this said, I'm not seeing any of the "I'm abusing my kid!" red flags or anything that would trigger me. No one's come from there to tell me that I can't possibly understand their position or called me too high functioning to understand. (I understand fine. Functioning labels are fail. Extreme academic giftedness gets all the credit for people not having put me in special classes, and yes, they tried. I stim a lot. And, you know, you can't actually tell functioning levels over the internet. Plus "high functioning" might really mean "can pass for just a smart weird person unless you see the backstory problems" anyways.) The "worst" I've gotten is an anonymous comment from someone who pretty clearly just didn't know about all the REALLY BAD THINGS Autism Speaks does and thought it was just an advocacy group, and I don't even have evidence to suggest that the comment is related to the group. That kind of comment is just a part of being a blog that talks about autism a lot and isn't nice to Autism Speaks. And, you know, all the blogs I've seen have names changed/last names left out/sometimes both, with the exception of an adult talking about her own stuff, not kids, and she can make her own decisions about disclosing and not. That's kind of important, since having a disability disclosed for you can be pretty problematic when looking for jobs comes around, and yes, autistic people do sometimes look for jobs. (My disclosure status: Every in-person employer could figure it out, but none of them have known while I worked for them unless they figured it out themselves. I never did an official disclosure with my online employer, but it came up in passing and one of the administrators therefore knows. This is only possible because I don't need any accommodations, but waiting to disclose until after the job offer is a pretty common thing to do.)
So, I have now said many things. It's actually nice to get some parent perspectives that aren't going "OMG my kid is a tragedy!" and trying to cure their kids using hyperbaric chambers, chelation, or bleach enemas. It's nice to deal with parents who realize that going gluten free won't suddenly make their kid not autistic any more, though it will help with comfort/health issues if the kid has an intolerance or allergy. And it's nice to deal with parents who haven't pulled functioning labels on me. Some of them even seem to be heading in the neurodiversity direction, which is quite awesome. One talked about standing with Henry. And I think I have rambled enough.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Why, why, why do people think this is OK?

TRIGGER WARNING: Major ableism, making fun of things people with disabilities do, discussions of this. (Warnings also apply to all links.)

There is apparently a site called "The Tard Blog." It's mirrored and not currently updated, but it's here. I don't recommend actually looking at it, but it's there if you want it. It was written by people who worked with these kids and wrote about them on the internet. I have no way of knowing if they used their own real names or made them up, nor do I know if they changed the names of the kids. I seriously hope they did both, because if not, that information may be locatable when the kids are looking for jobs. That is NOT OK. And no, this should not be compared to putting kids into commercials with their parents consent, since:
  1. No information is provided on the question of the parents having consented to this.
  2. Unlike having been in a commercial, which usually doesn't have your real name made public if you are a minor anyways, this could actually come back and hurt the children in the future, when they, you know, grow up.
  3. I don't think parents should be able to put their kids in commercials without asking their kids first anyways, so you won't get any points even if you somehow convince me of the equivalence.
They have an FAQ and a Disclaimer in which they claim that if the site offends you, it is because you have prejudice about people with disabilities. Not because what they are saying is potentially hurtful, but because the reader has bias. Clearly people who actually have disabilities are all biased against themselves, since most people with disabilities whose reactions to this I've seen are roaring mad. Some gems against the site:
  • This is what we deal with all the time. This is how the people who are supposed to care for us and help us treat us.-autistichedgehog
  • Apparently mocking the disabled is funny.  If that isn’t neurotypical privilege at its most obvious, I don’t know what is.-goldenheartedrose
  • I don’t find it funny, and I find it very revealing of a person’s character if they admit they find this sort of shit funny. -goldenheartedrose
  • It’s even worse given the terms which they use to refer to the students. It’s clearly not meant to be ~harmless fun~. It’s meant to provoke laughter at the expense of the individual. Not okay by any means. -pooped
  • This could have been by any of my teachers in public school. This could have been about any of my friends and me.-the-goblin-king
  • Neurotypicals wonder why we distrust them…-snatching-fedoras
And some of what I saw from the one person defending them (With reminder about the trigger warning before you continue!)
  • Exactly! That is what I am saying! It is hurtful to people, and I couldn’t give a shit if I wanted to. [That makes you an jerk. Just saying. And oppressive, given the context.]
  • Jesus fucking christ some people act as though assholes are rare. Are you really surprised to encounter a douchebag on the internet? [Not particularly, no. We just sometimes take the time to call out the ones who are actively contributing to the oppression of people like ourselves.]
  • >Apparently mocking the disabled is funny.
    yes [Well, we know who to avoid.]
  • Man, as a cis, white, neurotypical, straight, heteromantic, nontransethnic, headmate-free, undisabled (did I mention white) blogger, your problems mean nothig to me. I will sit back in my throne and forever laugh at you peasants  [yes, these are all from the same person. That would be dusche. Might I suggest staying away?]
So, what we learn from this is that some people think blogging about funny things their students do without permission and possibly without changing any names is OK. We also learn that privileged people like to derail and victim-blame. And hopefully we learned that we do NOT make this kind of blog because it is actually hurtful and hurting people is bad.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Some Do's and Don'ts of Dealing With Autistic People

Do:
  • Listen when autistic people tell you something is or is not helpful.
  • Assume people understand what is said in front of them, regardless of ability to speak.
  • Raise money for organizations that help autistic people who are already here if you are going to fundraise at all. (ASAN is awesome, Doug Flutie seems fine.)
  • Change societal attitudes about autism so that other people listen to what we want too.
  • Change societal attitudes so that people don’t pity/fear/ignore/discriminate against us.
  • Call out people who use functioning labels to describe other people.
  • Change societal attitudes so that a cure would actually be voluntary should one ever come about.
  • Research charities yourself before donating to them.
  • Call us what we want to be called. Usually, that’s autistic person, though there are some people who prefer person with autism. Pretty much none of us want to be called "affected by autism" or "living with autism," though if someone does want to be called that (not if their parents call them that, if THEY want to be called that,) it's what you should call them.
  • Respect us.
  • Respect our opinions.
  • Respect our communication choices.
  • Let us leave situations when we want/need to.
  • Write things down for us when we ask you to.
  • Answer honestly when we ask if you were being sarcastic.
Don't:
  • Compare autism to things that actually kill people.
  • Get your facts wrong while comparing autism to things that kill people. (Hi, Autism Speaks!)
  • Use functioning labels to silence people (pointing out the "low functioning" when someone "high functioning" says something, saying someone is too "low functioning" to understand the situation.)
  • Use functioning labels. Just in general. They suck.
  • Tell us we're identifying ourselves the wrong way. We call ourselves what we want to.
  • Support Autism Speaks.
  • Tell us not to judge caretakers/parents who killed their autistic kids.
  • Treat us like children.
  • Tell us "it's just your autism talking."
  • Insist we talk when we would rather type/sign.
  • Insist we leave because you think we'll get overwhelmed- we can decide that for ourselves, thanks.
  • Refuse to let us leave because you think it's fine- again, we can decide that for ourselves.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Giftedness is not the problem; the way we handle it is.

I have no problem with the idea that a person could have more or less natural talent at something. I have no problem with the idea that some people are better at school stuff than others. I am all in favor of making harder and easier classes (in MANY levels) available, as long as mixing and matching levels across subjects is OK and real learning takes place in all levels.
That doesn’t mean I’m OK with how giftedness is handled here (in the US educational system, to be specific.) See, here it means being separated from your peers in all things. And that’s not cool. Everyone and their sister and their third cousin once removed have all talked about why the system as it is has problems. So I’m going to talk about what I think would work instead. Which lots of people have also done. The only thing I bring is that I’ve been through it done reasonably well, been through it done badly, and have been through it basically ignored. Oh, plus I am twice exceptional and they didn’t know it.
  1. Make multiple levels of depth for each class.
  2. Have the ability to mix and match depth levels across classes.
  3. Have the ability to change depth level within a subject between years (with some extra work, possibly. But it shouldn’t be insurmountable.)
  4. Independent studies for special interests should be extant and doable. They should count as whatever subject area they are in or as a random elective.
  5. Yes, you should be able to dump a non-core class that you hate in order to do an independent study. (And no, mathematics past ability to do things like make change is not core if the kid insists that they want to do something that is strictly humanities.)
  6. Different learning styles exist. I’d suggest making different class sections that cover the same material and happen at the same time in different styles. So people can switch between them at need. And yes, do this at all levels. 
  7. Don’t evenhintthat being in the most in depth class for any given subject (or even for all of them) makes someone superior. Doing that is part of why gifted kids are stereotyped as uppity and having no social skills.
  8. Disability accommodations need to be respected at ALL levels.
Originally posted on my tumblr. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The "High Functioning Blogger"

So, I figured I'd run down what people seem to think is true of the autistic bloggers And I will point out which parts of the stereotype I do/don't meet and why each one is false.
  • We are all considered high functioning by doctors. (I probably would be, since I can talk, but it's iffy because I have hurt myself stimming.) [Doctors can't agree on who is and isn't high functioning... because functioning labels have big problems. Which means we've got bloggers who haven't been given any functioning label, bloggers who've gotten both high and low at different points/from different people, and basically any other way of being considered for these labels.]
  • We all speak. (I usually do, but not always. I am a part time AAC user.) [I believe I have listed non-speaking autistic bloggers before? I've met some of them too.]
  • We have difficulty in social situations. (It depends on the situation.) [I think most of us do in at least some situations. It's just not the biggest problem we have.]
  • This social awkwardness is our biggest autism issue. (NOPE NOPE NOPE. Sensory processing issues are much worse. So is people being mean about stimming. Executive dysfunction is a problem too.) [Bahahahaha. I think that people taking away AAC devices when they think no one is watching or getting death threats over telling people you deserve to be treated like a human being or sensory processing issues or motor skills issues are worse.]
  • We don't have those "other medical cooties." (Pretty much, actually. Sensory processing issues, dyspraxia, stuff like that, but if I have anything life-threatening it's news to me.) [Amy's got epilepsy and cerebral palsy. Kassiane has epilepsy and adrenal failure and I forget what all else. Henry has a hearing impairment. One of the moderators for autistic eagle has a pain disorder and is immunocompromised. Amanda Baggs has gastroparesis, uses a wheelchair, has some sort of movement disorder. Jim Sinclair uses a wheelchair, no I don't know why.]
  • We don't have public meltdowns. (That totally explains why I melted down three times in front of the same teacher this past summer. AKA NOPE.) [Autistic Hoya blogged about one too. So yes, some of us do.]
  • We all have the Aspergers diagnosis. (Nope.) [Speech delay disqualifies you from Aspergers, as does never speaking. Remember those non-speaking bloggers? How about the ones who just had speech delays, like Julia and Kassiane- Kassiane was diagnosed before Aspergers was considered a thing?]
  • We're obsessed with social justice. (Not really. I just get to engage my actual obsessions offline. And I don't think trying to make people stop dehumanizing me is social justice.) [Life experiences and social justice aren't the same.]
  • We think all the autistic kids are like us. (No, I'm well aware they aren't all just like me. I've met some of them, remember? I think E from The Third Glance is just like me, though.) [The bloggers are sufficiently varied that we can come up with someone similar. And we're aware that we're not even all like each other, so we can't think every individual kid is like every single one of us.]
  • We don't stim in public. (I've had everything on my desk including my pen confiscated in a failed attempt to make me stop fidgeting. I flapped all through some of my finals. I've flapped in front of every in-person employer I've ever had. I made chainmail out on the desk in class.) [Kassiane posted a picture of herself stimming in public too. It's not just me.]
  • We're all good at math. (I am.) [Autistic Hoya isn't. And she hates it, too.]
  • We hate parents of autistic kids. (Not usually, but I don't usually trust you unless you earn it first, either.) [And that's pretty common. We kind of have reason not to trust you, since it is parents who kill their autistic kids and parents who get the sympathy of other parents when this happens.]
  • We think autism is a blessing. (I think it's sometimes awesome and sometimes stinky.) [Thinking it's sometimes awesome and sometimes stinky, but needs accepting because it's who we are is pretty common.]
I think I've about covered it. Did I miss anything?

Monday, September 24, 2012

My notecards from Talk About Curing Autism's site.

 Trigger Warning: Curing autism, autism being called hopeless/devastating

Have some more notecards!

"About TACA." Talk About Curing Autism (TACA). N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2012.
  • According to their website, TACA is a national non-profit that aims to help families affected by autism, including by educating families and speeding up the time from diagnosis to treatment. They aim to improve the quality of life for people with autism. 
 
Ackerman, Lisa. "Our Story." Talk About Curing Autism (TACA). N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2012. 
  •  TACA was founded by the parents of an autistic child approximately 11 years after their son's diagnosis because they felt that a support group for parents with struggles similar to theirs would be helpful. 
  • The common message is one of fear. The founders were told that "Autism has no hope, no cure," and institutionalization was recommended. It was in response to this message that they felt the need to form the support group.
 
"About Autism." Talk About Curing Autism (TACA). N.p., 29 Mar. 2012. Web. 12 Sept. 2012. 
  • Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) describes autism as a devastating neuological and biological disorder. It lists communication, social skills, behaviors, learning, and medical issues as the five main areas autism affects. 
  • TACA says "autism is a life-long disability for many affected individuals." As autism in the way the brain is wired and there is no cure, how are there any individuals for which it is not life-long? More likely, then, is that they consider autistic people who can pass to be no longer autistic, an opinion which ignores the extreme efforts required to pass.
  • TACA claims that the one in eighty-eight statistic currently put out by the CDC for the prevalence of Autistic Spectrum Disorders is only for autistic disorder and does not include Aspergers Syndrome, PDD-NOS, or other ASDs.
  • Language with negative connotations is commonly used to describe ASDs on the TACA website. Examples include calling autism "devastating" and stating that it "strikes" four times as many boys as girls.
  • TACA holds that medical research is urgently needed in order to find a cure for autism, and that recovery is possible.
 That's it for this installation of notecards.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Self-Advocacy is important for EVERYONE.

From the trivial to the life-changing, the ability to advocate for what you want and need is important. Think about it. Let's say that you were taught that whatever went wrong or was not what you wanted, you could not do anything about it because you didn't really know what was best for you and that what you wanted did not matter. Let's say you were taught this through the actions of someone who thought they were doing what was best for you by protecting you from everything, but whose belief that you could never have autonomy over your life or live on your own showed in everything they did. And slowly, you came to believe them. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy, isn't it?
But if you were taught that what you want matters, and that if you bring up an issue, someone will listen and try to fix it, you learn that it is well worth the effort to try. You learn that you can tell people what you need, and that if they don't listen, that it's their problem, not yours. You learn to advocate for yourself. Sometimes it is frustrating- perhaps people only want to listen to your parents. But if all your parents will do is demand that you be listened to, occasionally, as a last resort, jump in with those who simply will not listen to a child, and sign the paperwork to make whatever it is you asked for legally consented to, you learn that you are in control of your own life.
Clearly, the thing to teach is self-advocacy if long-term independence (or long term interdependence on people of our choosing) is to be achieved.
Now that I've done all the nice rhetoric, perhaps you want to know how to actually do this. It's not that hard, really. (This is advice directed at parents, now.)
  • Get some form of communication up. It's OK if all you can come up with is a way for two-choice questions to be answered, though it's certainly better if you can come up with a way for your child to come up with what they want and say it themselves.
  • If it doesn't really matter (like wanting to wear a costume that doesn't violate the dress code to school, perhaps,) just go with it. It teaches your child that their wants do matter.
  • If there is a good reason that they can't have what they want, explain why. The explanation can come later, if need be, but make sure they understand.
  • Get input on the important things. REAL input. And take it into account.
  • Bring your kid to IEP meetings and insist the teachers listen to what your kid says (or let your kid write something to them if your kid doesn't want to go/doesn't want to talk to them.)
  • When something goes wrong for your child that you could handle yourself, but which your child also has the language skills to make an attempt at, offer them the chance to try.
  • If they ask you to handle it this time, that's self-advocacy too- they asked you to do something.
  • Remember that cruddy ice cream example on the Autism $peaks transition kit? Go ahead and do that if it comes up, starting as soon as your kid has the language skills to do it. Because for someone just learning to talk/just learning to use AAC/just learning to communicate in public methods, a fairly low-stakes self-advocacy isn't a bad way to start.
And yes, people who need help with daily living can advocate for themselves. I'm not entirely sure why this needs stating, considering that non-disabled children advocate for themselves on a fairly regular basis and needing help with daily living is considered part of being a kid, and also considering that a big part of self-advocacy is asking for that help and then getting it. If you can do it all yourself, you don't need to advocate to get other people to do things.

This has been in response to Emma Refuses To Get Off the Bus and A Self Advocate is Born! It's a great story, and it demonstrates how important self-advocacy can be from a young age by way of Emma noticing that the bus was taking her to the wrong school and refusing to get off in the wrong place. She did the right thing there. She said all the right things, telling them they were taking her to the wrong place, and in the end she simply refused to get off.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Just Imagine for a Moment

Trigger Warning: If it's related to oppression/dehumanization/abuse/murder of autistic people, it's probably in there.

Imagine that you knew beyond all shadow of a doubt that most people would abort rather than have a child like you, even many who think abortion is wrong.
Imagine that you knew that no one really saw you as fully human.
Imagine that you knew people like you were being tortured in an attempt to make them act less like you.
Imagine that you knew most people like you would be abused by people the world considers saints.
Imagine that you knew these "saints" would get away with it because simply dealing with you gave them the title.
Imagine that you knew your parents would, perhaps did, put you through risky and baseless treatments in an attempt to make you less like you.
Imagine that you knew that if your parents killed you, this would be seen as something that happened to them, that they would get the sympathy, that you would be erased from the story of your own murder.
Imagine that you knew the people who joked you had no soul weren't really joking.
Imagine that you knew people considered you incapable of emotion.
Imagine that you knew people dedicated their lives to making sure no one like you ever existed again.
Imagine that you knew people thought that you either stole their child from them or are what remains after their child was stolen.
Imagine that you knew people believed you couldn't understand what was said in front of you.
Imagine that you knew everyone like you was seen as inherently broken, inherently tragic.
Imagine that you knew no one cared what you wanted or thought should be done to help you.
Imagine that you knew the world wanted to replace you with a stranger in your body.
Imagine that you knew they finally found a way to detect people like you before they were born.
Imagine that you knew what that meant for people like you in the future.
Imagine that you knew what that meant for yourself as you grew older, that you would not meet others like you in younger generations.
Imagine that you knew the time limit this put on your fight for acceptance.
Imagine that you knew your words would be erased.
Imagine that you were like me, and tell me you wouldn't be afraid.

Friday, September 21, 2012

On "Political Correctness"

I don't like that word. See, politicians are not always politically correct, but they still get listened to as correct. Also, politically suggests that this has to do with politics... and no, it really has to do with reality and not dehumanizing people and not stereotyping people and not using words that have such a history of oppression behind them that you are likely to trigger PTSD in some members of the marginalized population being described when you use them. That's not being political. It's being a decent human being, which in the political environment of this country today, just might be the exact opposite.
So.
I am a big supporter of the idea of calling people what they want to be called, and of not oppressing people, and of not dehumanizing people. Those are all important things. And that's what political correctness is supposed to be about. And most of the criticisms of it are privileged people saying that free speech trumps those things, which I don't think is a particularly valid criticism.
That doesn't mean I like it as it stands- what is and is not politically correct seems to have a tendency to be defined by what privileged groups think the right thing to call marginalized groups is, and then silencing members of marginalized groups who disagree. Like the whole person-first vs. identity first issue in the autistic community, we see people who are not autistic telling people who are autistic that they are referring to themselves the wrong way under the guise of political correctness. That's not being what politically correct is supposed to be. If anything, it is nearly the opposite again.
And of course, that's what happens when political correctness is considered a good thing. When a marginalized group tells you what they prefer to be called, however, their request is instead derided as "too PC." So we have two conflicting definitions of what PC is depending on the situation- it is simultaneously a reason to use the words that privileged people want to use because those words are politically correct and a reason not to use the (somehow also) politically correct words that marginalized groups actually want because political correctness is too limiting. If I didn't know better, I would ask if this were 1984, because this reeks of doublethink.
Between the use of political correctness as defined by privileged people and the fact that the name is rather misleading in this political climate, I'd say that it is not the term we really want. It's been corrupted too much. So no, I do not support political correctness as it stands today. I support treating people like human beings and not using marginalized groups as insults. Which means that what I support seems to be acting like a decent human being.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My first installment of NOTECARDS.

 Trigger Warning: Discussion of cures

Two sources today! 

Gernsbacher, Morton Ann. "How to Spot Bias in Research." APS Observer 19.6 (2006): n. pag. APS.  
           Association for Psychological Science, Nov. 2006. Web. 11 Sept. 2012.
  1. In one study, the ability of autistic people to better recall which words they had and had not heard was chalked up to representing words “in an aberrant manner,” which seems odd unless you think about the preconceived expectations regarding autistic people. This is an example of study bias, as is the later assumption that the autistic participants in a second study which found no such difference must have also had other impairments.
  2. Gernsbacher recommends removing all group labels from a study in order to test for bias. If the interpretations cease to make sense upon removing the labels, then the study is biased.

Chez, Michael, MD. Autologous Cord Blood Stem Cells for Autism. ClinicalTrials.gov. Sutter Health,    
          20 Aug. 2012. Web. 5 Sept. 2012. <http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01638819>.
  1. The purpose of this study is to "evaluate the efficacy of one infusion of stem cells from autologous umbilical cord blood in patients with autism over six months after infusion as measured by changes in expressive and receptive language." It aims to do so by demonstrating improvements in behavior and learning, along with levels of several serum values. Improvements in behavior and learning will use measures of receptive and expressive one word vocabulary tests and a developmental disorders behavior index.
  2. This study uses the banked cord blood of the children participating for the infusions 
  3. The sample size is 30 children of mixed genders ranging in age from 2 to 7. They must be diagnosed with autistic disorder, not Aspergers Syndrome or PDD-NOS, and they must not have epilepsy, cerebral palsy, fragile X, muscular dystrophy, or known genetic markers that overlap with autistic spectrum disorders.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Not What I Need

I am currently taking a class in Chinese literature, conducted in Chinese. It's for the Chinese major. It's not what I need right now in my Chinese studies, but it seems to be what they want to give me. See, it's required that I take it before graduating with the Chinese major, and there isn't anything else running that it would make sense for me to take, so I am taking it. (And by those "not make sense," I mean "have already taken.") But this class doesn't really make sense for me to take right now either. I'm taking 7 classes, 1 math,  4 engineering, the lit class, and the Chinese Econ class. The math class is great. The engineering classes are mostly related to things that aren't my area (I don't need to know what happens when alloys are heated to the melting point or how buildings stay up or how to machine things because I am doing nanotechnology at room temperature and things behave differently at the nanoscale and I'm not able to work in machining because of my sensory issues.) However, the engineering questions need to be taken in a specific order at specific times in order to graduate on time, which I would like to do. Also, there is a good chance that I will need some of those things for the capstone project senior year unless we manage to get a nanoscale research project out of a company (fingers crossed.) The Econ class is needed for the Chinese major and relatively interesting.
The Chinese Literature class, on the other hand, is simply useless. The vocabulary we are getting from it is not related to what I would use in real life situations ever, nor is it the technical terminology that I actually need. (I need the vocabulary to take a graduate level math class and do nanotechnology research while in China. They are teaching me how to talk about morality. Which might manage to avoid complete uselessness if I get into autism self-advocacy kinds of things while I am in China, but even that is iffy. High-level morality doesn't play much into that many of my posts. I use raw facts and the basic "right" and "wrong" more. So this is not exactly helpful.
On top of that, I'm taking a lot of classes, assisting online math classes four nights a week, grading and tutoring for a math class at school, doing nanotechnology research, and trying to play sports. I say trying because this lit class is during Ultimate practice. Which is a problem, because my mental health takes a serious downturn when I'm not active. Not dangerous, but it would probably qualify in the depression area, which does not help with my already poor executive functioning skills. So changing my schedule around so I can actually play sports would be nice.
And finally, there is no reason that I have to take the two-semester literature sequence this year. I can take it the year I get back from China, or I might even be able to take it over the summer when I don't need to take anything else. I mean, that China trip that I'm possibly translating for has been designed to work with the Chinese Summer School, and I think they might have the literature course as an option for that now. So there are other ways I can get this requirement done.
Which means that I am highly tempted to drop the course. I mean, it meets Mondays and Wednesdays. If literature were to go away, I would still only have 12-1, 2-3, and 6:30-7:15 properly free on Mondays for doing things like homework and lunch and dinner. Wednesdays would have 12-12:30 and 6:30-7:15 and that's it. It's not like I have tons of extra time in my life for classes that aren't helping me right now.
Thing is, the people who run the program that is going to send me to China will probably be pissed when I tell them this. I've probably already played the "took Chinese for seven years before I even got here" card as much as I can get away with, and they aren't fans of not taking any Chinese classes. So I am a bit worried about bringing this up. I'll still have the two hours of tutoring per week, though, and I think they need people who actually speak the language more than they need to get pushy about taking language classes at a specific time. I hope so, anyways. They know I'm studying to take the HSK Level 5, which is an extra test score I don't actually need but will help me get in. Assuming, that is, that I pass. Considering that I was inches from passing two years ago, I think I should be able to this time.

Invisible or Simply Unnoticed?

On AllisticNTprivilege, someone asked:
Doesn't have to do with allistic privilege specifically but I noticed it on your blog. Ableism is when people call disabilities hidden/invisible instead of UNNOTICED. Because I notice things like people sitting a lot or not eating certain foods and stuff like that. But abled people don't like to notice stuff like that so they call it hidden or invisible. But they're the ones hiding it- from themselves.
It got me thinking. Because hidden might not be fully accurate, and invisible is definitely inaccurate for certain things. I mean, offline people have this tendency not to believe I'm really autistic even when they have seen evidence of, well, every autistic trait I have, or close to it. It's not hidden. I'm standing in front of them, not looking them in the eye, talking about a special interest, and flapping. Yes, that's right. I flap in public. I visibly flinch at loud noises. I curl up and close my eyes and cover my ears and hold my breath. And yet no one sees, because no one wants to see.
Or there is E. Her autism is showing too. She has, of course, been taught not to attract attention when her autism shows, to become invisible her self as best she can. But it still shows sometimes, in her bounciness learning about her special interests or in her reactions to sensory overload.
Or we have Autistic Hoya. She's had people assume she was drunk and maintain the assumption after informing them that no, she's not drunk. She has a disability. She's had to leave department stores over the scents. She jumps and flaps in public sometimes too.
Basically, no matter how much you classify our disabilities as invisible, neither the disability parts nor the pathologized differences parts are actually invisible or hidden. Our differences are just ignored unless they are being shamed, pathologized, or attributed to something else. (I think that there are some things which are disabilities under the social model because of improper supports, like sensory issues, and some things which are just differences people pathologize because they are different, like the flapping, and I don't consider my flapping to be a disability. So I do consider those to be two separate categories.)
At the end of that, it seems that perhaps invisible and hidden really aren't the right words. Perhaps unnoticed or ignored is more accurate for those disabilities that we really can see evidence of if only we look?
(This does not apply to certain illnesses, like pain disorders, MS, etc. It mostly applies to things where if you know what you're looking for and you are paying attention, you can tell if it applies to your friend. Like "autistic" you can figure out.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Person With...

I am Autistic.

Don't insult yourself like that!

I'm... not?
I'm stating a fact.
I am Autistic.

But it is!
Person-first isn't, though.

Fine.
I'm a person with whiteness.
I'm a person with femaleness.
I'm a person with the ability to speak Chinese.
I'm a person with an interest in art.
I'm a person with math skills.
I'm a person with three younger siblings.
And I am Autistic.

I think you missed my point.
You are a person with autism.

And you are a person with neurotypicality.
And you are a person with the ability to get on my nerves.
And you are a person with a lack of respect for self determination when you tell me what to call myself.
And I am Autistic.




Note: There are two "speakers" here, alternating by stanza. The first speaker is an Autistic person who cares about language, and the second is someone who thinks everyone needs to use person-first always. I don't actually care which you use for yourself because self-determination is important; I just expect the same level of respect for my choosing to call myself an Autistic (person is optional since Autistic only applies to people last I checked) and not wanting to be called a person with autism.

Monday, September 17, 2012

And today I do not executive function.

Seriously. I apparently don't today. I have not managed to do:
  1. The papers I'm supposed to grade.
  2. The Chinese homework due last Wednesday.
  3. The Chinese homework due today.
  4. Any notecards whatsoever.
  5. An intro paragraph or anything.
  6. Any of what I had planned for today.
  7. The econ homework due tomorrow.
  8. The engineering design homework due tomorrow.
  9. The engineering analysis homework due tomorrow.
Instead, I have:
  1. Found yet more sources because I always need more sources.
  2. Eaten junk food.
  3. Talked to people about a completely different autism-related project (Autism 101 for a Splash.)
  4. Argued with some people on tumblr.
  5. Discussed ableism on facebook.
  6. Tracked down the people who linked to my blog for a shout-out note.
  7. Written this.

I don't need to call it a blessing.

Considering something a blessing and accepting it are two different things.
Why do I feel the need to state this? Well, in this Daily Beast article, author Hannah Brown writes:
And while the high-functioning bloggers may disagree, it’s hard to find the blessing in a condition that prevents so many who have it from making any long-term, meaningful decisions about the direction of their adult lives.
And there are just so many things wrong with that. So here's a (presumably incomplete) list.
  1. High functioning and low functioning are not well-defined terms, and they are not particularly useful. I've talked about the fact that they are problematic before, actually. And there are a bunch of people who've gotten both of these cruddy and potentially harmful labels at various points.
  2. The assumption that the bloggers are high functioning is also problematic. Partly because the labels are problematic, partly because the stereotype of what people think "high functioning bloggers" are doesn't even match up with who gets those labels, partly because very few of the bloggers meet the stereotype regardless of which (if any) labels people have slapped on them, and partly because blogging does not require anything beyond some method of typing or access to someone who will type what you communicate in some other method (transcribing ASL?), which is pretty irrelevant to which label other people decide you get. Remember how I, too, Stand With Henry? He blogs, and he's 13 and non-speaking. He does all kinds of cool stuff like playing sports, and he doesn't need to fit a near-impossible stereotype to do it. (Do any of us actually fit what she thinks we're like? Because the HF blogger stereotype goes way beyond the high functioning label from psych people or educators. I don't think I even meet it, and I'm a triple major.) Plus we've got Amy Sequenzia, Larry Bissonnette, Amanda Baggs, Tracy Thresher, Hope Block, Sue Rubin, and Carly Fleischmann. None of them speak. They all blog, they all make decisions about their own lives, and they're all awesome. Larry helped make a documentary. Hope presents at conferences. Everyone's heard me fanperson at Amy by now. So no, blogging and meeting the stereotype Hanna Brown has of us are not the same.
  3. Even so, using the supposedly "low functioning" (who really do speak for themselves and have the ability to make decisions given half a chance) to silence the assumed "high functioning" is not an OK move. Shocking as it may sound, the autistic people society calls "high functioning" understand the lives of those society calls "low functioning" much better than the neurotypical generally do by way of also being autistic. So yes, we do understand their position reasonably well, and probably better than you do, even if you are the parent of one.Oh, and calling someone too low functioning to understand is even worse because they risk losing autonomy over their own lives if the wrong people hear you say that.
  4. Who said anything about calling it a blessing? I'm just finding the awesome parts of what, well, is. No matter what anyone's opinion on a cure may be (I think society can cover all the problem parts just fine if it really wants to, and I don't trust people anywhere near a cure until we're at a point where it would be truly voluntary, so I fall under DO NOT WANT,) none currently exists. Which means autistic people are staying autistic, and accepting what is and finding the good parts of what is is, well, part of having hope and a positive outlook and staying mentally healthy. So accepting something and calling it a blessing are two different things.  
  5. Might I point out that the same blogging non-speaking autistic people are making plenty of long-term meaningful decisions about their own lives? It's not the autism that prevents it. It's the presumption of incompetence that people like Hannah Brown make when they say such things.  

Sunday, September 16, 2012

War Against Autism Ignorance-A call to arms

Trigger Warning: Discussion of abuse/murder of autistic people, the people who give sympathy/support for it.

Go read this. I'll wait.
War Against Autism Ignorance
Did you read it yet? Ok, good. That's what I'm going to talk about. Because we DO need to fight back.

I'll admit it. I have no intention to stop boycotting things. But I will ALSO give alternatives in my letters where I explain exactly why I am boycotting. I will even talk to someone and suggest the alternatives politely before I boycott. We all fight in our own ways.
That said, I like the call to arms. I agree with it. It might not be our job to educate, but I don't see other people educating for us and getting it right. I see other people educating against us instead, and that has to stop.
Autism Speaks, Generation Rescue, Jenny McCarthy, Age of Autism, 
Kim Stagliano, Autism One Conference, Dan Olmstead
These are some of the people educating against us, rather than for us. These are the people who give sympathy to our murderers. These are the people who sometimes actively try to silence us (I'm looking at you, Social Media Crisis person over at Autism Speaks.) These are the people we need to counter. These are the people we need to out-debate, out-moral, out-science, and out-shout. And we're going to do it because WE are the true stakeholders, we are not tragedies, and we will NOT be silenced. 
Nothing about us, without us!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I, too, Stand With Henry.

Henry wrote a short post on Ollibean about his civil rights and wanting to be able to go to school in his neighborhood. Everyone should read it. Everyone should be up in arms. He can communicate. He can learn. He thinks he can do the work for a normal classroom, and the school refuses to even let him try because of his disabilities, even with the offer that his parents will supply the support staff for it. What with this being a public school, I'm fairly sure it's illegal for them to do that, but who here actually thinks schools stay within the bounds of the law? Blast, my school didn't even know about the part where I'm autistic, and they did illegal stuff related to my shellfish allergy. Which is, you know, bad. And needs to stop.
So my point here is that the neighborhood school is discriminating against Henry. (Henry does not speak. He uses an iPad to communicate instead, and yes, I have seen him type. He can type. He can answer questions. He can ask questions.) And they need to NOT discriminate against him. And I STAND WITH HENRY.
You should stand with Henry too. There is a Facebook page for standing with him here, and these other blogs (people's names given if their blog is not otherwise named and they share their name) have written about standing with him.

Mama Be Good
Emma's Hope Book
Amy Sequenzia
Raving Mother From Hell
Raising Rebel Souls
ThAutcast
Lily Frost  (Henry's sister)
Emilie's Blog
Aspergers and Me
zachfoster71  (very short)
Enabling Occupational Therapy
Girl With The Cane on Blogspot
Balanced Imperfection (not purely about Henry, but does mention him)
Paula Kluth
AZ Is Amazing
Autism Rights Watch

(Yes, you can send me a link to where you wrote about standing with Henry and I will add it.)

There is now a petition on change.org for Henry. 
Also, NPR, Yahoo, and TakePart have covered the story, and Henry is mentioned in the last two paragraphs of this story in the Orlando Sentinel. The Huffington Post has interviewed Henry as well.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Hey, Good Autism Writers (and Autism Parents) Actually Exist!

I don't know if he ever called himself an "Autism Dad." He definitely writes a decent bit about autism for the Huffington Post, and he has an autistic son. And no, he is not autistic. If I remember correctly, the woman who writes Emma's Hope Book also writes for the Huffington Post, and she's awesome too. So we've got TWO, count them, TWO parents of autistic kids writing good articles about autism for the Huffington Post. I'm not entirely sure that talking about the fact that their kids are autistic on the Huffington Post is wise, since, you know, employers use google, but barring that worry, the stuff they write is good. And most of what they write there is not directly about their own kids, but autism in general.
Yes, the point of this post is mostly to say that these are two people who write good articles about autism. (Usually. They do still write some problematic stuff, like the recent letter "from" Emma to her teacher that is on Emma's Hope Book and the fact that they're making it pretty hard for the kid to hide their diagnosis from Google if they wanted to.) It's also to remind me that I should check their articles to see if any of them would make decent sources for my research paper, and I am writing it now because of this article, which might actually make a decent source. I mean, at the least I can quote it as a NT writer who deals with the tragedy  of an autistic son saying that the goal of autism science shouldn't be to prevent or eradicate autism. But seriously. Go read that article now. He talks about how right now, no one seems to know what causes autism, science can't make up it's mind, but all the articles seem to agree on the very problematic concept that autism is a scary thing that needs to be either fixed or prevented. And it is good.
And now to talk about that paper because I need to think about it or I'll not actually get it done...

From these two authors work on the Huffington Post, I think I at least might use the article I linked above, and these others:
The Depiction of Autism and Why it Matters
A Letter to You (Who Wrote 'I Wish I Didn't Have Aspergers')
Autism: Death, Fear, and Hope
Autism 'Awareness'
The Curious Case of Autism and MMS
Supporting Real Autism Science
Can We Do More to Accommodate Autism? 

Oh, and BTW, I am changing to a consistent midnight Eastern time update. If there are two posts in a day, the second could be whenever. But if there is anything new that day, something will come at midnight.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Disability In China


TW: Descriptions of abuse and exploitation of disabled people
General warning: No, I don't actually think this is a particularly good proposal as far as having hard facts. But the professor says story is better than statistics, and that stories should grab people. I think I avoided making the disability itself seem tragic or portraying the people with disabilities inherently more innocent, at least. And there are some statistics in the relevant articles.

Liu Xiaoping is covered in third-degree burns. He has marks on his wrists from the chains used to keep him from running away at night. He is not a fictional character. He is a 30-year-old man who spent 10 months held captive in a brick factory. He was tricked there because of an intellectual disability. When he became too weak to work anymore, he was thrown out on the street, where he was eventually found. We only know about his story because He Wen is also missing, presumably also held at a brick factory. He went missing over a year ago, and his father, He Zhimin, stumbled upon Xiaoping while searching for Wen. Liu Xiaoping, He Wen, and others like them are recruited with the promise of the equivalent of $10 per day, which they never see. Instead, the equivalent of $4.50 per day is paid to the person who recruited them for each worker she brings. Even with the essential enslavement of workers with intellectual disabilities, the brick factories are still often short on labor, as it is difficult to find workers willing to work in the brick factories. Perhaps this is why there is a demand for workers with intellectual disabilities, who are perceived as easier to trick, easier to control, and less likely to be searched for with any determination.
How does the exploitation of those with intellectual disabilities affect China-the individuals, the families, the businesses, the social structures and perceptions of people with disabilities, and the economy in general? Do these stories about the exploitation actually lead to real changes? What else can the narrative of disability in China look like?
 Disabilities are not limited to the intellectual, of course, nor are they always present from birth. Some disabilities are acquired, like those of Li Nan and Zhang Haidi. One day, Li Nan was a renowned dancer. The next, a car accident left her in a wheelchair with both legs amputated. This could happen to anyone. The Premier visited her, and she commented on the need for better accessibility in public spaces. There is now a law in China mandating wheelchair accessibility. Zhang Haidi acquired her disability at a younger age, becoming paraplegic at the age of five from a surgery to remove tumors from her spine. While she attempted suicide at one point, she also later became a poster child for the revolution when it spoke about people with disabilities, and she currently heads China's Disabled Person's Federation. She was among the first people with paralyzed limbs to obtain a driver’s license in China under regulations that allow for driving a modified car after a three month training period.
These two examples serve to show that just because we and our loved ones are fully able now, we do not know that this will remain the case. Disabilities exist. They always have, and they always will. The question I think needs answering is how disability affects Chinese society? How does disability affect the Chinese national economy? What about the personal finances of people with disabilities in China and the finances of their households? What effects can the way the government defines and provides (or does not provide) accommodation for disability have on the personal, family, and community scales in China? Essentially, how does China handle disability, and what economical effects result from the intersection of disability and Chinese culture?
Sources:
Demick, Barbara. "China's Disabled Exploited as Slaves." Los Angeles Times. N.p., 26 Feb. 2011.
Web. 9 Sept. 2012.
Levi, Eric. "Disability Rights in China." Disaboom. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Sept. 2012.
"Zhang Haidi." Chinaposters.net. N.p., 29 July 2012. Web. 9 Sept. 2012.
Articles relevant to the question:
Loyalka, Prashant, Lan Liu, Gong Chen, and Xiaoying Zheng. The Economics of Disability in
China. Working paper. Rural Education Action Project, May 2012. Web. 9 Sept. 2012.
Weiss, Thomas C. "Overview of Disability in China." Overview of Disability in China. Disabled
World, 16 Mar. 2010. Web. 9 Sept. 2012.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Something From the Summer

Sometime over the summer, I went on vacation somewhere with my dad, stepmother, and siblings. I will not be more specific because I am going to mention a child I suspect to be on the autism spectrum without his name and I want to make sure no one could ever figure out who I suspected autistic no matter how much stalking they want to do. Because revealing someone else's disability or suspected disability without consent is a bad thing to do, period.
So: We went on vacation. While there, there was a community campfire and karaoke at the campfire. I signed up for and sang something. So did my siblings. Then there was this boy who signed up, but said he wasn't much for singing and did an interpretive dance for the song instead. He tried to get my youngest sister up to dance too, at least semi-randomly from the people there, but she didn't want to, so I went up instead. It was fun and everyone was having a good time. My Aut-dar was going off, but I didn't ask, and his parents didn't say anything. We did a couple more songs over the course of the evening, and he was very friendly, and I made a smore with him over the campfire.
Mostly this is an example of the fact that some people who at least might be autistic actually do just fine when everyone just decides to be OK with the difference instead of insisting on a mythical normal. It's something I can be all moralistic about all I want, but I've been told that neurotypicals usually like a person and a story attached, so here is a short story where one possibly autistic kid and one definitely autistic adult had a good time being a little weird and no one cared, with few enough details that I don't think anyone could track down the kid.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

YAY School

Classes have started once more. I've had them all at least once. So, here be what I think so far:
  • Materials Engineering- I'm not sure how great the lab will be because we haven't had that yet, but the teacher seems pretty cool. And you know, materials engineering and nanotechnology get along well, which is win. Because nanotechnology is where I actually want to go with this engineering stuff.
  • Chinese Literature- This doesn't seem as painful as I was expecting it to be. But then, I've been studying Chinese for about 2-3 times as long as most of my classmates, so it's probably hurting them worse than me. So far, I can pretty much read and understand the selections. The computerized OPI scares me more than this class does at the moment. That and the HSK...
  • Engineering Design- This one seems more directed at large scale engineering stuff for mechanical engineers, so it's not exactly the "What Alyssa Wants To Do" class, but it seems manageable. 
  • Intro Economics: Made in China- Uh, I know way more about China than pretty much any of my classmates, and I know Chinese, and I've got some familiarity with Chinese politics, and even a little tiny bit with Chinese Disability Studies. I am going to OWN this. Except that the teacher likes to be sarcastic. I discovered this when I arrived and asked if this was Econ. He said, "No, philosophy." I believed him and left to try and find Econ. I don't think he realizes the extent of "Alyssa does not pick up on sarcasm." Also, we have to write a one page proposal about something related to China that we think deserves being looked at. I plan to talk about how the way China handles disability affects their economy.
  • TOPOLOGY- YAY math. Math math math math. This is a graduate math class. I am a junior masters student. (Yes, I am a junior, and I am also enrolled in the masters program. Somehow this works.) I had this same teacher my first year for Intro to Rigor, and I've graded for him for several classes, including grading final exams. He's already asked me to grade for the undergraduate Abstract Algebra class this semester. Also, we did a little bit of topology in Real Analysis last year, and I liked it then. So this is awesome. (Math is one of my autistic special interests as opposed to just being something I'm interested in, and yes, there is a difference.)
  • Engineering Analysis- This one is also more directed at the macroscale stuff, but it's math and programming, mostly. That means I don't care. It can be about a platypus for all I care, math and programming are awesome.
  • Lab for Intro Manufacturing- I did the main course this summer, which is what that India thing one. The lab part seems like it will be mostly OK except for the group work, which is bad. Also the plant visit is going to be a problem, I suspect. Insert dread here. Sensory overload here. And "uh-oh" goes here.
Yes, I am taking a total of seven classes. I might sit in on the Putnam preparation seminar as well, and I assist math classes four nights a week with the Art of Problem Solving. Oh, and I play ultimate and fence. I am a busy autistic college student.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Versatile Blogger Award

*faints*
So, E over at The Third Glance decided to nominate me for this. (BTW, I study mechanical engineering, but my research is in the chemical engineering department. I can't do industrial because sensory overload on factory floors.) Once I got through the "Wait, what?" reaction, I figured, hey, sure, I'll do this. So, here be the way it works.
Versatile Blogger Award:
  • Thank the person that gave you the award in a blog post & link back to their blog.
  • Pass the award on to 15 bloggers you follow.
  • Include 7 random things about yourself in your post.
  • Include the rules in your post.
  • Notify your nominees by leaving a comment on their blog.
Thanks E! You're pretty awesome. And... yeah, I kinda am you. Except different special interests and my parents tended to be decent about it my weirdness. (They have some trouble with the part where autism is behind the weirdness, but oh well.) Anyways, thankies muchly.

And here be 7 random things about me:
  1. I have three siblings, all younger, all of whom I held the day they were born. 
  2. My favorite color has been purple since forever. Or at least as long as I've been able to communicate one.
  3. I started talking when I was six months old, and my favorite word was "AGAIN!"
  4. I am good with computers. What this means is that when I mess my computer up, I do so in a way that takes computer skill to accomplish and even more computer skill to fix. Like somehow making part of my bootloader wind up on a flash drive. I still don't really know how that happened.
  5. I can do a roundoff, but not a cartwheel. Don't ask.
  6. I make a lot of my own clothing because I want to wear clothing that covers me thoroughly, doesn't show my shape, is comfortable, and is reasonably colorful (mostly purpleful.) That's not exactly easy to find in a fashion world that is definitely catering to what guys want to see.
  7. I will happily put the same album on repeat for several weeks/months as long as I like the album. Right now I'm listening to everything Amy MacDonald has on her website this way.
And now to nominate people! (Just because I nominate you doesn't mean you have to participate. I'm guessing most of you probably won't. I know it's meme ish/chain letter ish, but it seemed like a fun one to me. And it seemed like a way to spread the blogger love. So I'm doing it, and I really don't care at all if you do or not. )
In no particular order despite the numbers:
  1. The Third Glance. Because I AM HER. Not really, but yeah. She's a PhD student in some sort of sciency thing so far as I can gather, and she is really cool. She writes good stuff, and gets all the points.
  2. Autistic Hoya. She goes to Georgetown, and she is partly responsible for my ever managing to accept the fact that I'm autistic and that this is OK. She also gets all the points. And yes, I have read every post she wrote on that site.
  3. Neurodivergent K. She's actually on both tumblr and blogger, and she is made of win. She is autisileptic (autistic and epileptic, I think the word is her invention) and likes dancing and gymnastics. TW because triggering stuff happens to her, she talks about it, and she doesn't blunt her anger.
  4. Just Stimming. Uh, she runs the Loud Hands project. And that means she is awesome. She also writes good stuff.
  5. The 3 R's: Reading, 'riting, and Rambling. You may now gasp. She does not talk about autism. She is an English teacher. She talks about stuff related to teaching fairly often, and about stuff related to her opinions on various things too.
  6. I Still Find It So Hard. He has been through pretty much everything and is somehow still here. I am very impressed. And he talks about a lot of things, so versatile just makes sense. TW because triggering stuff happens to him, he talks about it, and he doesn't blunt his anger.
  7. The ASAN Blog They aren't going to take it, I think, because they are way more professional than this meme-ish award, but you should still read them. Because... It's the autistic self advocacy network. Meaning they say stuff that actual autistic people think by way of it only being actual autistic people.
  8. Emily Willingham I don't know much about her, but she approaches autism issues from the "I'm a science writer and I know what I'm talking about with these things," and she is apparently the science editor for my next nomination...
  9. The Thinking Person's Guide To Autism. They're awesome. They use actual autistic people and the use research and I should probably get a move on donating a copy of their book to my university library like I promised Autistic Hoya I would...
  10. Countering. Written by a mother of three, all of whom are apparently on the spectrum. She seems pretty cool.
  11. Emma's Hope Book. Another of the fairly few parent blogs I actually like. Warning that some of the earliest posts are not quite so awesome, but it's been good for a while. She's not afraid to look at past mistakes either, and some of the times she does that are among her best posts.
  12. Ableist S*** My Mom Says This is a submission based Tumblr blog about ableist things people say. It doesn't exactly publish regularly, but what it has is good.
  13. Ballastexistenz. Written by Amanda, a non-speaking autistic woman. She talks about important things. She also makes a good example of the fact that the kid you think is low-functioning probably does understand what you're saying. I'll probably be citing her in that paper I'm talking about writing.
  14. Existence is Wonderful. I found this on Amanda's blogroll. She's autistic too, but her writing isn't all (or even mostly) about autism. She writes about lots of geeky stuff that I find awesome, though, and I like to share awesomeness.
  15. Ableism and Ability Ethics and Governance . It's about ableism and ability, as the title suggests. It's pretty cool. It has good information.