Note For Anyone Writing About Me

Guide to Writing About Me

I am an Autistic person,not a person with autism. I am also not Aspergers. The diagnosis isn't even in the DSM anymore, and yes, I agree with the consolidation of all autistic spectrum stuff under one umbrella. I have other issues with the DSM.

I don't like Autism Speaks. I'm Disabled, not differently abled, and I am an Autistic activist. Self-advocate is true, but incomplete.

Citing My Posts

MLA: Hillary, Alyssa. "Post Title." Yes, That Too. Day Month Year of post. Web. Day Month Year of retrieval.

APA: Hillary, A. (Year Month Day of post.) Post Title. [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://yesthattoo.blogspot.com/post-specific-URL.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Down Wit Dat's T-21 Blog Hop: December

Wooo blog hops! I should maybe make a blog hop tag. *makes tag.* Now I need to write something don't I?

I crashed pretty hard after my class trip to Jingdezhen (景德镇) back in November. I've been pretty iffy on writing since. I haven't done much of any leadership type stuff or even fully knowing what's going on in advocacy stuff since. I've been aware enough of Boycott Autism Speaks to signal boost them some, at least.

But you know what? It's OK that I can't always do more than just manage my own existence. It really is. Also, at the moment, I'm in a position where just being there and existing and making it to class every day... apparently does have some potentially important activist effect. The university that I'm at in China has apparently been worried about having an autistic student studying abroad at their school for the entire time I've been around. OK, make that ever since I disclosed, which was sometime over the summer. 

Right now, my advocacy is being the autistic student who goes out and is a student and makes at least some of the administrators and teachers think. My advocacy is being there and being visible and saying "Yes, an autistic student can go to college. Yes, an autistic student can study abroad. Yes, an autistic student can reach a high enough level of Chinese proficiency to take major classes conducted in Chinese. Yes, an autistic student can do all of these things, albeit not in the exact same way, still needing supports, still looking rather clearly different." And no, not every autistic student will follow in my exact path. Most won't. [Neither will most neurotypical students, let's be honest here, if you don't live in a multilingual household or in a household where the dominant language isn't the same as the one used in school getting that kind of proficiency in a second language is hard.]

It's still important to open those paths. It's important to make "college" and "study abroad" and "education while still acting obviously autistic" things that people think of as possibilities. I didn't go into the year intending to prove stuff to Tianjin. I figured I'd be spending some amount of time reminding the USA program people that yes, the ADA exists, not that they'd be proactively protecting me from Tianjin so I get the chance to prove competence to them. I might actually be the first openly autistic student this school has had. I'm not 100% sure, but given a lot of the reactions and questions I'm hearing about... it really sounds like I might be. 

So advocacy: Someone has to be that first person to openly go out and say "I'm Autistic and doing the thing." Or "I use a wheelchair and I'm doing the thing." Or "I have Down's and I'm doing the thing." It looks like I may have (predominantly unwittingly) wound up being that person for the university where I'm studying abroad. And I'm kind of being a Lady Knight Keladry about it. This is already interesting and I'm sure it will get more so.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Some Things

(Some cheese, one pound, I'll get the knife, this bread, it's stale, madam's mistaken THERE MUST BE MORE THAN THIS PROVINCIAL LIFE! Hi I like musicals and I was in a production of Beauty and the Beast in 8th grade so that's a thing.)

Anyways.

There's a fairly small number of hours left to vote on Project for Awesome. There was a video made for ASAN, and you can vote here. You don't need to register or anything, just click the link and click vote. It's that simple. Voting closes at 12pm Eastern Standard, 9am Pacific Standard December 19 2013, 1am on the 20th China time. If that time hasn't come yet when you're reading this, please go vote. This is actually kind of a big deal, especially for an organization like ASAN- they run on a pretty low budget. I actually looked at the numbers when I was comparing their financial situation to that of Autism Speaks- I think ASAN was working with under 1% of the funds Autism Speaks worked with, something like that. Anyways, the money would make a big difference to ASAN, and ASAN does good things, so you should please go vote.

Below you can watch the video you're voting for :) If anyone knows about a transcript, please let me know because that is a thing which should exist.


Now that that's taken care of:

I swear, We Are Like Your Child isn't completely kaput. There will be a new post up on it for Saturday, sticking a submission up. We still exist.

Tomorrow is a virtual march type thing for Boycott Autism Speaks. That's another cool thing going on.

Finals are starting to happen and I've got to get ready to present on quantum dot sensitized solar cells on Tuesday. Also write a 2000 character paper on them. I say character because this is happening in Chinese. Yup. Sciencing in Chinese, that's cool. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

A question and a twitter event

Reminder that today is the twitter-bomb, go tweet and retweet about boycotting Autism Speaks stuff! If you're not sure why we're boycotting Autism Speaks, well, I've got a tag called Problem With Autism Speaks and the boycott has a website. Feel free to read up. Why now is that Autism Speaks recently made an editorial that led to a bunch of parents who used to defend them and a bunch of organizations deciding enough was enough and realizing just how awful Autism Speaks really is.

An anonymous commenter asked me a question over on my This is Autism post.. It's a good question. My reply was long for a comment (I still answered in the comments) and I've been in a total writing-slump (note the lack of updates) so now it's a post too.
Here's the question.
Alyssa, I'm just wondering if there are any non-profit or government based agencies in China that resembles agencies such as the "Regional Center" in the U.S. I understand the social welfare in China is still developing. I also want to find out if China has laws and regulations enforcing equal treatment of autistic students in classrooms. Are there laws that mandates the enrollment of autistic students?

Hi Anon!
I don't know as much as I'd like to about autism-specific stuff. I know that for disability in general, there's the 中国残疾人联合会 (Chinese Disabled Persons Federation is the English translation) and that disability doesn't exclude you from being required to go to school for the same years as everyone else.
Unfortunately, that doesn't always mean people actually go to school. There've been reports of autistic kids getting kicked out of mainstream classes and such, and there's definitely a sense that having an autistic student in the class will hurt the education of the other kids, meaning there have also been parents trying to get their kids autistic classmates kicked out.
There are also special private schools for autistic kids, which are super-expensive (and seem to be taking their advice from Autism Speaks, so that's a bad sign). The government has special schools for disabled students as well (not sure what the stats are for how many disabled kids are in regular classes and how many are at these schools or how it varies by disability type,) but these are apparently not that well suited for autistic needs.
Since autism is recognized as a disability, anything that applies to disability in general will apply to autism. As far as I know, there aren't any laws specifically about autism, but the disability laws are actually pretty good. [China was one of the first countries to ratify the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, and 残疾人权 (disabled person rights) is a specialization you can apparently go into here as a lawyer.] It's enforcement that has issues. [You know, like folks in the USA violate the ADA left right and center?]

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Science and the environment: 2 essays

So we do in-class essays every so often. These tend to be shorter than full weekly ones for Monday reports, but longer than the ones I write on daily homeworks or preparing for tutoring reports.

Here are two that I did in the unit on environmental stuff, they're both about science and environment stuff.


随着科技发展,越来越多人买电脑,手机等。这样,电子垃圾增多了。因为电子垃圾对环境污染造成了严重的后果,所以我们要解决电子垃圾得问题。

那么,我们会怎么解决呢?根据“从个人做起”的想法,个人会用可充电的电池,长一点时间用以各手机等。这样,个人扔掉的电子垃圾会减少。

但是,个人不会从根本上解决电子垃圾的问题。公司应该多开发可以回收的产品。而且,公司应该愿意修自己的产品,不让的人多扔掉。

不仅个人,公司要来解决电子垃圾的问题,而且国家政府要来解决电子垃圾的问题。因为个人难以让公司做应该做的事,所以国家要采用规则让公司开发可回收的产品。而且,国家要资助开发可回收产品的研究。

如果个人,公司,国家合作解决电子垃圾的问题,电子垃圾会减少,对环境又帮助。


And here's the other one.


有人认为科技发展越快,环境问题越严重。他们拿空调的发明,塑料袋的制作,车的使用等当他们的例子。反而,科技发展得越快,科技找解决环境问题的做法也越快。因此,我们不应该把环境问题归咎于科技的快速发展。

对环保来说,科技的快速发展是一柄双刃剑。人们滥用塑料袋对世界造成白污染。人们为了方便多开车又带来了不便(交通阻塞)又带来了环境问题。公司,为了挣钱,给世界巨大的污染问题。从企业革命开始,科技的快速发展及人类得经济选择一起带来了越来越严重的环境问题。

但是,科学也带来了一些解决环境问题的方式,即回收,太阳能,水能,风能。人们不使用这些方式来解决一些环境问题不是科学的问题,而是社会的问题。有一次,加拿大的一家公司提供完全没有排放的一辆车。没有人买这家公司的车。这不是科学得问题。我们不应该责备科学:环境问题是人类的问题。科技只当人类的工具。

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Chinese Practice

Chinese, primarily education, should be trigger free?
 
为了帮助贫困问题,这些年轻人甘于放弃好的工作机会。他们宁要帮助贫困问题,不看重自己的工作。


之所以英语横扫了中国,是因为在国际贸易现在多用英语,而且是因为科学现在多用英语。中国要开拓国际市场,所以学贸易的人都学英语。而且,企业靠科学,科学多用英语。因此,中国也注重科学,科学家要学好英语。


在高考决定孩子的命运这样的情况下,出国留学是反对你不同意的决策。如果孩子生病,考得不好,他就不能上好的大学。这是应试教育和高考风靡一时的一个问题。在全球化的推动下,这个学生可以出国留学。孩子知道除了考高考以外,还有机会上大学会营造放松的氛围。因为只有钱的学生才可以出国留学,所以留学有如高考:有一些好的学生可以用这个做法读大学,但是也有很多好学生无法读大学。


随着全球化及科学的快速发展,教育越来越重要。父母为了孩子的成功要营造对学习好的氛围。为了进入好的大学,学生甘于化过长时间学习。但是,社会需要的教育反其道而行之。随着科技快速发展,人需要的知识也快速改变。由此,学好怎么自学宁应该普及,不比化太长时间学什么内容。例如,我和我的外公都是工程师。我们两个人,上大学的时候学到完全不同的知识。他的学习没有电脑软件,而我的教育靠软件。甚至我上初中的时候,没有我现在用的软件!因为科技发展的越来越快,所以我未来的工作会需要完全不同的软件或者做法。而且,个人可以上网查什么内容。如果我已经知道背景,也学好了怎么最好上网查事情,什么信息都容易找到。归根到底,学生最要学好怎么学习,大部分的内容在其次。


中国父母认为子不教,父之过,所以父母有责任教孩子。因为美国父母包括很多文化不同的父母,所以难以说“美国”的父母是不是这样认为的。但是,美国父母与中国父母在家庭教育的内容是不同的。在美国,如果孩子做不道德的事情,人们会认为这是父母的责任,但是上学的问题是孩子或者老师的责任。在中国,好像父母认为孩子读书的问题也是他们自己的责任:子不教,父之过。在道德的方面,中美两国父母同意:子不教,父之过。在读书的方面,中美两国是不同的:如果美国学生因为父母不让他学好所以有教育问题,人们才会认为这是父母的错误。如果父母没有来帮助孩子学习,这件事不是父母的责任,父母真的做什么事,害得孩子的学习,才能说这是父母的错。而在中国,帮助孩子的学习也是家庭教育的一部分。总之,中美两国家庭教育的不同点不是家庭有没有责任,而是家庭教育应该包括什么内容。

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Different People Value Success Differently

Copying the starting point from earlier, since it's only a few paragraphs. It was written on August 27, 2013, and I'm adding/finishing posts based on both of the ideas I have of where I might have been going. The first such post is here, talking about translation related stuff. These are the original couple of paragraphs.

每个人想要的成功或许不同。

I saw that as someone's background for their laptop on the train to the airport to orientation for my study abroad program. Yes, I read Chinese, and also I can write and speak. I've actually got a tag for things about China/Chinese, and another for things that are in Chinese

Anyways, this was translated as "Different people value success differently." Which is true. It's not exactly how I would translate it- my understanding is that this is about what people think success means more than how they feel about success, but it works. [I am not saying the translation is bad or wrong. The meaning I think the original is saying is one of the meanings the translation can have, it just seems easier to get a different reading from it than the one that I think is intended.] I'd have translated it to "Different people have different ideas of what success is."
 

I'm guessing that I was going to talk about translation, like I did yesterday, or about the actual content of the thing. Because both of the translation possibilities (“Different people value success differently” as per this person's computer screen and “Different people have different ideas of what success is” as per my own understanding of Chinese) are things I could talk about.

Different people valuing success differently I think means people attaching different levels of importance to this thing called “success.” I don't think it's about different definitions. I think it's that for any given definition of success, different people will have different ideas of how much it matters to them. If your definition of success is “college education and not in poverty,” it's something I'd like to achieve for myself. I wouldn't demand that other people get the college education if they don't want to, and I'm aware of the nature of poverty. Getting out once you're there isn't easy, and it's not always possible. But that's in the “definition of success” part, not the “how much you care about success given a definition” part.

Another definition I've seen, thank you Radical Neurodivergence Speaking for this one, is “college degree and a full time job.” I don't actually care about this one. If I can support myself part-time or by mixing part-time stuff, that's fine with me. If I do it by writing fantasy novels (ha ha not likely but this is November and I'm writing fantasy for NaNoWriMo so let me dream, especially since I'm actually well aware this isn't likely so you're not telling me anything new,) that's fine with me. So I don't put all that much personal value on “success” if that's what success means. Whoever made that definition clearly does put value on that definition of success.

So yeah. It's kind of important to realize that for whatever version of success you have in your head as what you want, well, not everyone's going to care about reaching that version of success themselves. If your idea of success for an autistic person is “can pass for neurotypical,” I'm making no effort to reach that goal. Not sorry, not on my to-do list.

Now for the “different people have different ideas of what success is” bit. I am apparently echoing myself, because I didn't actually need to check to make sure I'm using the same personal translation consistently. Yay echolalia.

For me, success looks like self-supporting, enough time that I can do at least some writing (getting any money off my writing is optional, but would be nice,) probably an educator of some sort, someone other than me does things like making sure that food and laundry and organization happen because I'm not great at that, and friends. I don't care much if I'm generally interacting with said friends online, though I'd like to be able to see any given friend in person at least once every few years and a friend in person at least once a month or so. Online contact needs to be possible pretty consistently- that's something I want daily. Kids will probably be a thing at some point, at which point “be a good mom” is a goal, pretty much as defined by kid-once-grown. Or kid-most-of-the-time. I've no illusions that I'll be perfect, but being able to admit it when I mess up should help?

Oh, and I don't want to live with my parents. It's not personal, I just need my own turf. A sibling might be OK once they're old enough to have their own place, but... not as a “I live at their place” kind of thing. It'd need to be a “we got a place together” kind of situation or a “they crash at my place” kind of situation. And I need my own room. That's not optional, long term. Might not need to be where I sleep every single night, but I need a room that's mine that I have the right to kick everyone else out of if I need to.

So there. That's an Alyssa definition of success. I've actually got a decent number of those things, and I think it's totally possible for me to get the rest over time. I probably need to finish college and get a job that's more full-time than what I currently have before I can do it, but I think those are goals I can meet.

The ideas of success that I listed as examples or from other people? Some I will meet. Some I won't meet. Some I'd like to meet (I do prefer not to live in poverty, thank you very much.) Some I give no cares about. Because different people have different ideas of success.

Monday, November 18, 2013

This is autism

I've actually talked about this sort of thing before. On Tumblr, I have a "This is what autism looks like" post from about a year and a half ago. I'll be reblogging myself to get it out there again. I've written some poems that are relevant, too. They're copied and pasted at the end of this.

Anyways.

What is autism?
It's always a person or a group of people. There is no autism detached from the person- there's no way to split off "this is the autism and this is the person." Any metaphor that tries is going to be a bad metaphor. So I'm not going to do that.
It's also probably a lot of different things, because seriously this isn't specific. There were a lot of ways to meet criteria in DSM-IV-TR. There were 3129 different ways before getting into single criteria that can be met in different ways and known traits that aren't on the DSM list.
Even when the core bits are the same, presentation isn't always going to be the same. It might not even be all that similar.
Autism is better understood as a foundation everything else gets built on (kind of like a neurotypical makeup is a foundation that a neurotypical person's mind/personality is getting built on) than as... probably most of the things I've seen it understood as. Environment and experiences and such are going to affect what happens from there, just like with neurotypical folks (and with allistic folk who aren't neurotypical.)
So what's autism?
It's all the A/autistic people and the people with autism and the undiagnosed who think they're just broken or wrong and the undiagnosed who've gotten along OK. It's all the people whose minds and thoughts and experiences are built and reacted to using an autistic foundation instead of one that's close enough to "average" or "normal" to get called neurotypical.
Autism is people. It's not an outside force stealing them away. It's people, right around 1% of people.

Now have the poems woot.

Anniversary

I stand in front of you.
I tell you exactly who I am.
I am a college student,
And I am Autistic.

And yet, and yet, and yet you assume,
I must be a parent,
I must be writing about my child,
An anniversary of diagnosis must be for my child.
No, it's for me.
An anniversary of diagnosis must bring back sadness.
No, it is a victory for understanding and hope.
An anniversary of diagnosis is a difficult day.
No, I want a cake. (Or ice cream. Ice cream is good.)
An anniversary of diagnosis is a day to reflect.
That much, at least, is true.
But what to reflect on, what to think?
Autism: 0, You: 1?
This is not zero-sum
Defeating autism?
We're not separate.
Remembering that my child (what child? I have no child yet) is still my child?
How could I forget that?
How could a different neurology cause anyone to forget that?


Autism Is

Autism is a word for the ways I will never, can never be normal.
It is also the word for "why this doesn't bother me."
Autism makes me a foreigner in my own country.
It also protects me from culture shock, as I am accustomed to being "other."
Autism makes it harder for me to find friends.
It also keeps false friends away.
Autism makes it harder to take notes in class.
It also means I don't need to.
Autism makes mint, strobes, sirens painful.
It also allows me to stim.
Autism makes oral speech less natural to me.
It also provides my abundance of words.
Autism means challenges.
It also means solutions, if only I am allowed to use them.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

China and the WTO

Oh hey talking about China and the World Trade Organization because assignments.

This is the "presentation" I gave by typing it without looking at dictionaries or my notes or Google translate or Nciku or anything else, since speech wasn't really working when I was supposed to present. I started by flapping a lot and eventually gave up on the whole speech thing, typing this. The grammar should be fine, if a bit simple.

中国1995年开始申请入世。中国为什么要入世呢?
第一,虽然中国二十年前改革开放,但是中国公司开不拓国际市场。加入贸易组织会帮助中国公司开拓国际市场。例如说,联想开拓美国的个人计算机市场是中国入世后才发生。
第二,中国出口会被超大的关税。如果中国入世的话,中国产品被的关税曾下。
第三,中国的两极化问题越来越重要。在中国入世的推动下,中国农民更容易把农产和特产卖给国人。
中国2001年才当贸易组织的第143成员国。入世后,中国市场有巨大的改变。有一些中国公司开拓了国际市场(例如联想),也有跨国公司开拓了中国市场(例如星巴克)。从2001年到2007年,中国的纺织品和衣服出口增加高达220%。现在,中国出口总额是世界最多的。虽然中国还有过严重的两极化问题,但是农民把产品卖给外国人有帮助。
短期看,中国入世给中国经济带来大的改变,长远看入世会继续对中国生产深刻的影响。谢谢大家。  

This is the one I wrote as a report ahead of time. There were several words and grammar points I was required to use, and I probably messed up several of them. It's how I learn, right? 


中国入世不是一件小事。中国1995年申请加入世贸组织,2001才入世。中国入世经历了六年的时间。那么,中国为什么要花那么多时间,那么多力气入世呢?中国原先不是世界市场经济和多边贸易化体系的一部分,哪怕改革开放了二十年,中国仍然被排斥在世界经济之外,中国仍处于局外者的状态。因此,入世会让中国的经济进一步发展。与此同时,在加入世贸组织之后,在世界经济的推动下,中国对外贸易的风险降低了。因为在世贸组织成员国当中,每个国家都需要遵守关于贸易的条款和法规,这样就等于刺激了中国经济的发展,中国公司由此受益。从2001年到2007年,中国纺织品和衣服出口增加多达220%。表面上,这只是纺织业的进步,而实际上,中国所有的出口都有这样的趋势,根据这一事实完全可以判断中国的进出口总额是怎么改变的。短期看,这是纺织业的快速发展;长远看,加入世贸组织,为中国公司开拓国际市场提供了良好的机会。而且,入世也让跨国公司更容易的开拓中国的市场,给中国人更多选择。中国从加入贸组织收益巨大:现在,中国国内生产总值排在世界第二,超过除了美国以外的所有国家。中国的出口总额排到世界的第一,跟所有的欧盟出口总额接近。因为中国加入了贸易组织,所以中国的关税下降了,但进出口额增长了。因此,虽然关税少了,但是中国政府从关税得到的钱增长了。
除了上面谈的以外,中国政府也希望加入世贸组织会对经济两极化问题有所帮助。经济结构的二元化造成中国总体的发展不足,东部沿海地区先进的工业化、城市化经济和中西部落后的农村经济同时并存,差距很大。如果有什么政策会对农民有所帮助,中国政府一定会尝试。加入组织给中国8亿农民以发展机会:例如农民可以出口农特产。只有8亿中国农民从入世中受益,才能说中国从入世中受益。

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Have an Excerpt!

I'm doing NaNoWriMo.
Today you're getting an excerpt. Not really edited, but what of the stuff I put up here is?

Yes, Alex is autistic. No, she doesn't know she's autistic. No, she's never going to find out.
This isn't where the story actually starts, but it was the first thing written- I'm not actually writing in order, and it seems like Alex and Kaili are each getting about a books worth of stuff before they meet.


Alex leaned against the palace wall, absently gliding her fingers against the smoothness of the marble, and waited, ignoring the servants bustle as they moved tables and hung banners outside. She was hours early for the tournament sign-up, which would not open until noon: she preferred to avoid the explanations her mother would demand if she left dressed as a boy with her breasts bound, carrying the sword she wasn't supposed to have, with her hair in a style used by long-haired young men instead of the proper ladies bun she hated spending her time on. She also preferred not to be late or poorly dressed for the banquet that evening. “I spent my afternoon signing up for a tournament” would get her in more trouble than no explanation at all. So she made sure to be early.

It paid off. She was the first to sign up, which meant she was the first to leave. On her way out, she noticed Jasson entering the courtyard. She hoped he didn't recognize her. That was one headache she didn't need.

Then Alex remembered. She'd planned well for getting out of her room for sign-ups, rising well before dawn. But how was she going to get back in? She couldn't exactly walk in with her hair down and her breasts bound, no more than she could walk in with her sword out. Not with her parents awake, which they would be by now. With luck, they wouldn't be worrying about where she was yet. They knew her habit of walking in the mornings at home.

She ran towards Jasson's rooms, across the palace- she'd seen him enter the line to sign up for the tourney, and that meant he wasn't in his rooms. Then she stopped. She had no way to get into his rooms. She looked around: she stood in the gardens, and the winter weather meant few people lingered. Alex stepped off the path and behind some bushes, hoping the cold would last until she could return. She didn't want anyone lingering long enough to notice her things. She put her sword, dagger, and shirt into her pack, pulled out the short dress she had thought to bring, closed the bag, and slid it under the largest of the bushes, cursing as she discovered the hard way that this bush had thorns. She looked at her arms- there were several lines where her skin was lighter than it should be from the scratches, but no blood. With luck, the scratches would fade before a maid noticed, or worse, her mother.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Mine and Thine for Disability MOOC

Trigger Warning: References to ableism, death
 
I did the mine and thine exercise, approximately. I say approximately because in quite a few cases, the thing that I would be most frustrated by getting is not the thing that the friend most dislikes. [Cerebral palsy versus anxiety is the big one there- since I've already got anxiety issues, I'm kind of used to it. I don't have cerebral palsy and it's hard enough to play my particular set of sports while dyspraxic, so it'd be not so awesome for me to suddenly have it. Which I think kind of illustrates the point: the challenges we've already got aren't as big a deal to us as the ones we're not adapted to.]

I also realized just how many of my friends are also Disabled. Multiply disabled, in many cases.

In terms of disabilities, I came up with: blindness, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, depression, autism, anxiety, Ehlers-Danlos, ADHD, dyspraxia, PTSD, sensory processing disorder, and unspecified heck if I know extra medical issues. Yes, that's five friends. I think four friends is the shortest list I could pull that list from, no, I'm not telling you which friends.

I'm leaving unspecified off because I don't know what they are.

For my personal ordering of what I think would be most frustrating for me to adapt to, and let's be real here, I would adapt because that's what humans do, it's epilepsy. (See also: one of these things is not like the others... sudden unexpected death from epilepsy is a thing. I'm fairly sure none of the others can be directly fatal without the aid of outside factors.)

Then comes blindness. My auditory processing isn't good enough to do well with a screen-reader, so I'd need to learn braille, and adding an extra language is obnoxious, in terms of why blindness would be frustrating. Also, from the experience of a Blind friend, people tend not to to image descriptions. Access barriers. They would be obnoxious.

I think depression is next. The executive functioning issues I've already got because of other stuff, but I prefer not thinking the world is horrible and that nothing is worth it. It would make it harder to use caring about a thing to eventually overcome the executive dysfunction pile of messyness.

Now cerebral palsy. I like playing Ultimate, and that'd be harder with CP. Also, ramps. They are insufficiently good at existing where I want them to exist.

Ehlers-Danlos/PTSD are next as the ones where “This would really stink. But I'm not actually convinced I don't have the thing. I'm not sure what I would change, actually.”

ADHD I seriously might as well have. Pretty sure the only reason I don't “have” it is because the person evaluating me was aware of the whole “don't say ADHD and autism at the same time” thing in DSM-IV-TR.

Now for stuff I do have.

Anxiety is obnoxious. I would like to get rid of this one, thank you. Unfortunately, most of the stuff I am anxious about, it is because this stuff actually does happen. That means that even if “this is not realistically going to happen” did work for anxiety (if you think it does, then clearly you have never had anxiety) it wouldn't work for me because this realistically is going to happen. Does that even still count as anxiety?

Sensory processing disorder is also obnoxious. If I got to keep the ability to stim while getting rid of this, I would do it. Otherwise... frustrating as it can be, yeah, I'll keep it. Not even “I'd take it over thing X.” Just “Between having and not, I'll keep it.”

Dyspraxia can go away, please. I'd like to stop walking into walls and falling over and such sometime before aging causes me to start falling over again? Yeah that's not happening. Kind of obnoxious.

And now autism. I'm Autistic. Notice that this is the only one where I insist that I am going identity-first here and I am capitalizing it. This should tell you something about how I view autism. I want nothing to do with a cure, I want nothing to do with suddenly not being Autistic anymore. I'm keeping this, thank you.

So what do I learn? I learn that some of the disabilities we've already got, we might want to get rid of because it's obnoxious to deal with, some are just part of what is, and some we would fight to keep. As far as ones I don't have, I generally don't want it. If I don't mind much either way, chances are I've already got a lot of the traits.

That's my thing from mine-thine. Since I saw, “if you have a disability, describe your reaction to this week's lesson,” here's that, quickly. I admit it. I wince every time I see autism used as an example when touting person-first language, because as an Autistic person, I know autism is a disability that doesn't have that kind of consensus. It's important to respect people who want to be referred to that way, yes, but it goes both ways and I am Autistic not a person with autism and telling me I am a person first is the opposite of helpful my problem is with people refusing to acknowledge the ways I am different. I winced when one person with a disability (names, faces, what are these? Remembering names and faces isn't a thing that happens) said that he thinks people with disabilities are demeaning themselves when they call themselves “cripples,” because that's not what they are and they're people first. He has the right not to want that language himself, and to have his desire not to be referred to that way respected. It's not his place to tell other Disabled people they can't have it. It's not his place to tell them what it means for them. Just like it's not mine to tell him he should call himself parapalegic instead of saying he has parapalegia, it's not his to tell other disabled people what they call themselves.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Educational Experiences

Uh, have a thing I typed out in Chinese class when speech wasn't a thing and we were talking about experiences with education. If you read Chinese, then:

Trigger Warning: References to school abuse.

If not, I mean, the warning still holds but you can't read what I wrote?

我从幼儿园到四年级在波士顿的一个私校上学。父母送我到这个学校不是因为教育的质量好,而是因为他们担心波士顿公立学校的安全问题。这个学校的学生对我不太好。他们认为我太奇怪。因为老师也认为我太奇怪,所以他们不太愿意帮助我。甚至有一次,老师用一本书打我。学生,老师都会欺负我。因为这是小学,所以学得放松一点。但是放松也有问题。他们不愿意让我学我想学得数学。因此,我从四年级参加数学得补习班。

搬到别的小镇的时候,我开始上那儿的公立学校。因为五年级还是小学,所以挺放松。

六年级是初中的第一年。大部分的学生上一门数学课,一门科学课,一门历史课,及两门英文课。学校第一年有中文课,就是让选中文六年级的学生上一门英文课,一门中文课。七年级,所有的学生选外语。有中文,发文,及西班牙文。六年级学中文的学生可以继续学中文,也可以换到发文或西班牙文。外语是学生第一次选自己选课。学生继续欺负我,但是初中的老师喜欢我。

从八年级开始,数学班被分开。我以为我会参加数学高级班,而实际上我的数学比高级班的数学更高级。那一年我是“自学”数学的。我真的做数学补习班的作业或者练习数学比赛的问题。我不太明白我妈妈为什么让我八年级的时候考美国的高考。。。但是考了。考到2130分,所以朋友说我不应该上高中,应该上大学。

九年级开始高中。学生可以换他们学的外语。除了中文,发文,及西班牙文,高中生也可以学拉丁文。而且,科学从九年级分高级班和“标准”级班。除了高级班的介绍物理课以外,我上了十一年级的高级数学班和中文23的高级班。(一年学了两年的中文课。有点复杂了。)因为上适合我的数学课,所以九年级停止上数学的补习班。从十年级开始,历史和英语课也会分开到高级班和“标准”级班。注册明年的课的时候,老师会看今年的成绩。但是最后,如果你决定你要上高级班的课,这是学生和家长的选择。个个学生都要学四年的英语,三年的数学,三年的科学,三年的历史,级两年的外语。学完了以后,继续读或者.选别的课是学生和家长的选择。因为每一年都有注册课的问题,所以我现在很熟悉我高中注册课和安排课的做法。我的问题大部分是从九年级学两年的中文课和上十一年纪的数学课来的。最大的问题大概是第三年的数学课。因为十年级的时候上最高级的数学课,所以难以找第三年的数学课。最后,我上网上大学的数学课,再成为“自学”数学。其实不是自学,而是上大学的课。

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Internet

Meh. Chinese internet. It's a mixed bag, really-some is really fast, some is really slow. My real annoyance is more school internet than Chinese internet, if I'm honest. The internet at school in the USA sometimes had these issues too, and my high school internet was almost always horrible. Besides, the internet was totally fine at my host family two years ago. Well, not totally fine. The great firewall is obnoxious, and whoever said Facebook got unblocked was sadly mistaken. So was the person who said that you could get to blogger.com but not blogspot blogs. Both are blocked. I'm only still blogging here because I know ways to get around the firewall, and even those are occasionally iffy. Freegate has been pretty good, and it's free, but I've only gotten it to work with Internet Explorer, which I hate. My other proxy, which I like, randomly decided that working with blogger was going to stop being a thing, which is frustrating. Add that to school internet that doesn't always work at all, and yeah, sometimes the internet annoys me.

I'm a college student. My homework for my daily Chinese classes is posted online. If I do not have internet, I can't even find out what my homework is, let alone download it and finish it. [Depending on the homework in question, I may also need internet to do the homework itself, like when they want us to search for news about something on the internet or watch a news recording on the internet.] So I really do need internet. People can talk about how technology is doing all kinds of bad things all they want, not that I agree with them much of ever, but the fact remains: For my current position in life, I need internet access.

But the school internet has a tendency to stop working without warning. They didn't tell us when they took the modem and router for upgrades and there was no internet at all for a week. That made for a fun week of getting homework done. [This was about a month ago. I have fairly consistent internet now.] The internet in my room occasionally disconnects me randomly. After the upgrade, I don't think it's really any worse than the internet at my school in the USA, but the internet in the classroom is actually pretty bad. Sometimes it works, but slowly. I can work with that, since all I really need in the classroom is for nciku to work. Nciku is important. That's my dictionary for when I forget words. Google translate is nice too, for getting a vague idea of grammar structures that we're learning. No, don't try to translate a long paper using just Google translate because you will be sad, but if you read two languages, one quite a bit better than the other, Google can be a good starting point. That's what I use it for. Heck, even translating stuff I wrote, I'll sometimes grab Google and nciku. They're way quicker than paper dictionaries, plus they've got more colloquial words and update faster.

Other times, the internet will load so slowly that not even nciku will load, and turning instant translate off for Google translate isn't enough to get it to work. By the time a page loads, I don't even need that word anymore. That's a problem.

At worst, the internet won't even pretend that it's working. Can't connect to any networks. Just. Nothing. That's no good for language stuff. It's just not. Some of my classmates have cellular internet, so they're not quite as doomed as I am when this happens, but I don't have cellular internet. I have it in the USA, since I finally got a smartphone and have mixed feelings about it. [It's a phone. Mixed feelings is a step up. Why are you calling my texting device?] Here in China, I have the most basic phone ever. I only have it because my teachers practically ordered me to get it. Not a fan of phones. Never was, probably never will be. I'm cool with this. I like typing stuff. Point is, I don't have mobile web here, so if the wireless is down, I do not have internet in the classroom. Simple as that.

Wooo, internet. Love internet, hate when it doesn't work.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fixing Problems

Oh hey have a Chinese essay about responsibility for fixing environmental issues where I cited Young Wizards because why not?

随着科技发展,全世界的变化越来越明显。但是无毫节制地发展是一柄双刃剑。在国际越来越发达,越来越全球化的同时,世界面临越来越严重的环境问题。解决这些环境问题是谁的责任?我们应该怎么来解决环境问题。

如果说,“谁引起问题,谁就要解决问题,”的话,那么公司应该解决环境问题。从工业革命开始,公司都为了获益滥用我们世界的资源,从而引发了严重的环境问题。不仅公司滥用资源,而且公司从前不注意可持续发展。现在面临的环境局面就是公司的责任。他们的做法是资本主义弊端的体现:为了获取高额利益而不择手段但是,令人欣喜的是当代的公司纷纷意识到了自己这种做法的错误,并开始逐渐改正。那么,公司应该怎么解决环境问题?现在,公司为了卖更多产品会卖很多残次品,让客户快把产品扔掉。公司必须停止这样的做法。而且,公司要生产可回收的产品。在可再生能源的一方面,公司应该加强研究:怎么可以用可再生能源来生产产品(例如:使用电开车是应该研究的一件事)。总之,公司应该采用保护环境的行为准则。

但是,“谁引起问题,谁就要解决问题,”不是唯一的看法。在Duane写的“年轻眩人”系列丛书作者认为的做法是“谁找到了问题,谁就要解决问题。”如果说我们世界也是这样的话,那么个人要解决环境问题,特别是环保专家要解决环境问题。虽然个人来解决环保问题并非能从根本上解决环保问题,但是个人少开车会大局方面有利于环境的保护。由此,个人应该做自己可以做的拿少开车来说。如果每个人都少开车就会让车排放的尾气下降。而且,少开车会让个人多走路,多骑自行车,多坐公交车。因此,个人的身体健康和城市里的交通情况都会改善。再如,个人应该买可回收的产品,而且,如果个人只愿意买可回收的产品和用可再生能源做的产品,那么公司都要卖这样的产品。这样,个人的消费理念引导公司保护环境

政府个人和公司的领导。那么,政府应该怎么做?因为政府已经资助科技研究,所以资助环保和可再生能源研究是好的做法。除了环保和可再生能源研究以外,政府也应该多提出环保的政策。如果政策和个人的消费理念都鼓励公司做环保的事情,公司的做法会变得更加环保

个人不能从根本上解决环境问题。公司最看重的是收益。政府政策会让公司现在做的好一点,但是因为公司比个人更具有经济实力,所以公司的下一代会让政府改变政策。由此,解决环境问题的做法需要个人,公司,及政府一起来解决。这样,我们才能给子孙好的环境。

Monday, November 11, 2013

Languaging Differently

This is a thing I was thinking about, after my fun times with my teachers saying I don't use formal enough language when I write and speak in Chinese class. I'm actually way more formal in my writing and oral reports for Chinese than I ever was in classes conducted in English, since our classes have basically been “here have more formal words and here's how to use them” for the last few years. That said, I'm still nowhere near as formal in my speech as my classmates. I've been studying the language for sometimes twice as long, and I'm definitely more fluid with the words I'm comfortable with, but formality? Ha. That's basically not a thing.
 
And here's what I realized:
 
People still think I'm a good tutor and a good teacher. They do. In fact, what they usually say is that my explanation was the first one that made sense to them. Now, what's different about the way I explain stuff? Oh, wait. It's that lack of formal language again, isn't it? Yes, that's right, the same thing I'm getting in trouble with in my Chinese classes, the same thing that's gotten my essays marked down since at least the seventh grade? It's what makes me a good teacher.
 
Now why are we trying to change the weird language usage that makes me a better teacher? What is the advantage of changing it?
I've heard several things from teachers who are trying to change it.
 
No one will take you seriously if you write like that.”
It's not formal enough.”
You need to learn to code-switch.”
“The words you're using are too simple.”
Your sentences are too simple.”
What will you do when you're writing about complicated things?”
 
Here's the thing. I have written about complicated things. I've used the technical terms when they make more sense, and I've used simple words when they are better words, and it works. Isn't the sign of a good teacher that they can take a complicated thing and make it simpler? Make it make sense? It seems to me that using simpler words to the extent that we can is a better idea, if the goal is to make people understand instead of being to show off how much you know.
 
My sentences aren't always simple. Sometimes they are. I don't understand why complicated is an end in it's own right, so “too simple” is something I'm just going to keep throwing out.
 
I do have some ability to code-switch. It's not much of a much, but it exists. I need a reason to use this ability, though. I'm not going to tire myself out code-switching for no good reason.
Formality is a social expectation. It really is. As such, if it has negligible effect (or maybe even helps) with functionality, fine, I'll go with it. When it actively impedes function, that's not cool. In this case, demanding formality does, in fact, actively impede function. It does this in multiple ways.
One is that it makes it harder for me to communicate the meaning I want to communicate. Sometimes that's because the more formal word doesn't have the same shade of meaning the less formal one does. Sometimes that's because I just can't think of the more formal one. Sometimes it's because nitpicking my vocabulary slows down my ability to come up with sentences to the point that my brain is way ahead of my speaking or writing and then I lose track of what I'm thinking. This leads to The Sads.
The other time formality causes a problem is when I'm teaching. A good teacher explains things in ways that their students will understand. That's not the same thing as explaining in the most formal way possible. In fact, my experience as a tutor and teacher tells me that those things are often opposites. The simplest, most conversational explanation is the one that my students tend to understand. At that point, yes, formality is impeding function. That means formality needs to go away.
 
Finally, the first reason. “No one will take you seriously if you write like that.” Is this my problem? I'd argue that it's other people having a problem with the packaging of an idea and therefore ignoring the idea itself. I'd also argue that it's a load of nonsense. If it were true, I wouldn't have readers who take my writing seriously. I certainly wouldn't have had a blog post of mine cited in an academic journal. I wouldn't be presenting at conferences and workshops. I wouldn't be getting pieces accepted in books. I am getting taken seriously while writing like this. I'm getting taken seriously by people who realize that not everyone is going to write the exact same way, and that that's fine. I'm getting taken seriously by people who care more about ideas being communicated than they do about how smart I can make myself sound while in the writing.
I really don't care how smart I can make myself sound in the writing. It's not the point. I care how well I can get the idea across. If my natural mode of speech and writing is one that works well for teaching beginners (I'm going to take beginners words for it over that of “experts” who might say it doesn't work,) I'm hanging on to that. I don't want to be the person who learns the fancy codes and finds that they've lost their personal voice. I don't want to be the person who needs to be re-taught to use words people know.
If the way my brain tends to bounce off jargon-heavy and meaning-light writing makes it harder for me to write that way and then I keep writing to explain, I'm honestly OK with that. (I'm fine with technical terms, but when they are strung together in ways that don't mean much or when the terms themselves are too broad, my mind starts bouncing. Academic papers tend to be bad, even when I understand the concepts. Being written by someone whose first language isn't English is generally OK- some of their issues are similar to my own, even. Not always picking the word that best suits the situation, even if the meaning is right? They'll do that, and I'll do that.)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Silly NaNoWriMo Thing

You know what? Fun things. Fun writery things. It's NaNoWriMo. There's a guinea pig on the forums for NaNoWriMo, well, really it's the guinea pig's owner, and they've got a novel up. Only 400-something words, and it's day 7, so they're gonna need a lot of help if they want to get 50,000 words by the end of the month. See, the way they're working is to collect words other people send them. There's a basic plot idea, Batpig and the Princess Bouncy Braids, and chaos is supposed to ensue. Here's the novel's page.

The current excerpt is my words (as I'm writing this, anyways,) so I feel totally fine reprinting those here in case reading those encourages you to make words. It's silly. It doesn't need to be good. There's not even a requirement that submissions fit or make sense with the stuff that's already there or be related to anything. Just a scene, paragraphs, whatever, written in November when you're bored or feel like it. Like karlianne said.

Exerpt is always the most recent submission, and the first submission of the month is me, so that's how you can make stuff connect if you want to try. Paragraphs can be NaNoMailed to the guinea pig if you're on the forums, or if not, you can email it.

 

It was a dark and stormy night when Princess Bouncy Braids went riding on her Pretty Princess Pony. It's a good question why she would go riding on such a night, but this happened, and since she is a princess, she can pretty much do what she wants. Sometimes that means it'll be a really bad idea, and she'll do it anyways just because she can. Her parents, the King and the Queen, are the only ones who have the authority to make her listen, and there's not much of anyone else you can go to once Princess Bouncy Braids decides she really wants to do something. In this case, the something was going out riding despite the fact that it was midnight, and it was thundering, and then it started to hail while she was saddling Pretty Princess Pony. The stable pig did send a messenger pigeon to the King and Queen, but they were busy in diplomatic meetings with the meerkat ambassador in the hope of preventing the war that seemed inevitable. And so they didn't read the message, and Princess Bouncy Braids went for a ride at midnight.
It was a dark and stormy morning when the Pretty Princess Pony returned without Princess Bouncy Braids. Unfortunately for everyone there, the Pretty Princess Pony couldn't speak guinea pig, and so no one could ask her what happened. If they could find someone who spoke pony, that would be another matter, but for the time being, they would have to search without a witness report. That would make the search harder. Oh, yes, that would make it much harder. I suppose I'll need to make sure they don't get anyone who speaks pony to the palace until it's too late for Pretty Princess Pony's memories to help them, won't I? We don't want her ruining my plans, after all, even if I didn't get to start making them until after Princess Bouncy Braids was foolish enough to go riding alone on a dark and stormy night. I'm just taking advantage of the situation. That's all. Can you blame me? I do so love a good bit of chaos, and if I'm lucky? Well, if I'm really lucky, they'll blame the meerkats. Then war really will be inevitable, and won't that be fun to watch?
_________________________________________________________________

Oh, isn't this wonderful? The King and Queen didn't blame the meerkats. They did something even better. They and the meerkats are both convinced the capybaras framed the meerkats! Hiding my trail and watching chaos ensue has never been so much fun. Now there will be three nations at war, all because that fool Princess Bouncy Braids saw fit to ride alone on a dark and stormy night. I'm just taking advantage of the situation, after all.



There you have it. Fun writery things. And it's NaNoWriMo participation of a sort without the full level of NaNoWriMo commitment. Good for kids, maybe? Or just for fun.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Chinese essays

Have an assortment of Chinese short-ish essays.


政务微博为政府形象带来影响。在好处的方面,四川地震后,政务微博使得政府更能找被地震害的人民。四川人纷纷发微波,让政府知道什么事发生了,最好怎么帮助。而且,政府会使用微波引发信息。但是,政务微博是一柄双刃剑。例如,“僵尸微博”给政府负面影响:人看没有更新微波,会认为政府不在乎。由此,中国政府应该注意怎么使用微波:会有用,而政务微波并非魔弹。



联想公司1984年在北京成立。一开始,联想公司所有的员工都是中国科学院计算技术研究所的成员。1988年联想公司开幕香港队部,也是联想第一次找新的员工。因为联想成立的20万人民币是政府投资的钱,所以有些人以为联想现在是政府的企业,与自由市场有悖。但联想是为了商业化中国科学院的研究结构成立,而不是政府的企业。依在下偶见,联想公司就是中国市场好质量的象征。联想公司怎么到这样的情况?

IBM公司中个人计算机部前,联想在国内个人计算机市场遭遇瓶颈,联想务必开拓海外市场。如果不开拓海外市场的话,联想继续卖得不好,会有太大的问题。但是在海外,人以为中国只能做便宜的产品,人尚未相信一个中国公司能卖好的电脑。而且,联想的科技不如硅谷的科技。

这时候,IBM也面对问题。鉴于IBM公司中电脑业务不好,拖累了IBM公司的整体业绩,IBM想卖个人计算机部。联想知道I收购IBM公司对联想公司的产品有很大帮助:IBM的科技得以发展联想的电脑。



当谈到环保这个话题的时候,很多人批评政府,公司做得不够。在批评政府及公司做得不够的同时,也在很多人自身做得也不够。人去出的时候不一定关灯,就把电能挥霍一空。如果个人无毫节制的滥用石油,天然气等,就让下一代面临更严重的能源匮乏问题!多用煤,石油,天然气会产生环境问题。环境问题会导致人的健康问题。因此,无论是顾及眼下还是着眼长远个人都应该少开车,支持保护环境的公司。这些都是保护环境行为的体现。令人欣喜的是,如果支持保护环境公司的人许多,所有的公司都会开始可持续发展。不仅个人要自己做这样的事,而且个人更要教孩子这样做。如果教孩子的话,下一代会继续保护环境,教他们的孩子,下下一代也会这样做,等。正像中国俗话说的那样:“子子孙孙无穷匮也。”

Friday, November 8, 2013

Handwriting: Not for everyone

So I pulled up some old notes from my iPad about NCIE over the summer. Specifically, I pulled up some notes from a session about Universal Design for Learning, which is a cool thing. People should be doing more of it. It's important. Not everyone learns the same way, and making sure everyone has at least some things they can do to learn (and that it's OK not to be able to do all the things) is a Big Deal.

Warning for school stuff and ignoring/invalidating access needs

So here's relevancy from there in case you didn't feel like looking at the notes.
"I want all students to write because that's what gets assessed on those horrible tests." NO. You want to change those tests. I'm sorry, no, you're talking about universal access, do it for real. Handwritten thank you notes can be an access thing. Not everyone can learn to handwrite. It's just not possible.
I don't honestly remember if the person giving the presentation said this, or if another person in the presentation said this, or if it was getting criticized. Just so everyone is clear, I have no clue 
who I am criticizing. Which means I'm criticizing the sentence "I want all students to write because that's what gets assessed on those horrible tests," and that's really it. Well, I'm doing it talking about universal access, since I'm doing it in the context of a presentation about universal design, and I'm going to be talking about disability, but there's no person attached to these words.

"I want all students to write." From the context I have, the meaning was "hand write." This actually is a problem. I know, there will be people who bemoan the "death" of handwriting, but a lot of the people who are now not hand writing at all are people who couldn't have done it legibly before. So all that's changing is the thing being complained about: illegibility or the decision to do something other than writing by hand. Wanting all students to be able to write by hand is already not being universally accessible. Some students can't do it because of CP. Some students can't do it because of other motor issues, like not being able to hold a pencil/pen properly, dysgraphia, etc. Some students can learn to do it properly, but it's so much effort to hold the pencil or pen properly that they can't also come up with new and creative words at the same time. Some can write without pain, but if you think anyone's going to be able to read what they wrote after... yeah, that's not going to happen. That's where I am, by the way. I got banned from handwriting my math homework a couple times, because my teachers couldn't read my handwriting. I can't always read my handwriting, honestly. If you want to see what it looks like, here. This is the typed up version.

So there's where I'm coming from as the main reason it's bad. I don't much care why you're trying to make everyone do a thing that not everyone is capable of. Not sorry, I don't care. Don't force the kid to do a thing the kid can't do. Go advocate for accommodations on "those horrible tests." And yes, the tests are bad. I did well with them because I read fast and can bubble things in and can use the test to take the test in many cases, but that doesn't make them good. It just means that they lined up pretty well with my specific set of abilities. Universal design means making sure enough of the tests line up with the students abilities that they can show what they know and pass. Don't break your moral of universal access because someone else doesn't get it. Go demand accommodations. The ADA is your friend here.

Someone must have mentioned handwritten thank you notes. I had to do those after my Bat Mitzvah. It was not fun, largely because it had to be legible. Ha. My handwriting. Legible. That is not a thing that happens, so it took obnoxiously long and it actually got painful because trying to make it legible does start hurting after a while. If typing thank you notes is an access need, you type those thank you notes. If a word processor not connected to the internet (heck, a text editor with no spell check on a computer not connected to the internet) is what you need to use for your essay questions because it's an access need, it's what you do. It's the ADA and IDEA and whatever else, you sue people if they try to tell you that's not a reasonable accommodation. It is. Yes, try to teach writing by hand because it's useful, but if a kid can't do it, accept that. Seriously.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Flagship Orientation Reactions

So I just found the notes I took during Orientation in Washington DC for my Chinese study abroad program that I'm on now. Heads up that a lot of it is me being right on the edge of meltdown because a lot of the things they were suggesting as methods were things where, um, if I could do the thing up to neurotypical standards I'd not have been getting into trouble because of “poor social skills” as a kid ever. Which is a thing that happened. When it wasn't that, it tended to be things like me not even getting into the conversation enough to show off my funky social skills because of same social issues.

So there were a lot of “if I could do that, we wouldn't be having this problem” kind of reactions, and there were a lot of “well, that's not going to be accessible to me...” kind of reactions.

By the time I was typing the bottom stuff, I was actually visibly crying. I know this because our Residence Director asked if I needed to leave and if I wanted to talk and then when I followed her outside she handed me a tissue. And I was also incapable of speaking. English, anyways. If the cause of my losing speech happens in a completely English-speaking environment and it's because of a thing that was languaged at me, I can apparently still speak Chinese fine. Unfortunately, those requirements tend to mean the ability to speak Chinese doesn't help much, but in this case it was a useful skill to retain.

Anyways, here's the notes. And it turned out putting things on walls is not allowed, and so I am sad.



Yeah looks like a lot of this is going to be “how do you need to change the expectations so I can function as an Autistic adult.”

phone on? Selective mutism. TEXT ME.

Inappropriate offensive or risky behavior- OK, this is super-vague and therefore scary because inappropriate is the word that people like to use for freaking HAND-FLAPPING. And because “offensive” goes right next to “inappropriate” as words that are used as the key words behind “Don't be Autistic.” I need a real description.

Ok, “communicate with people so that unintentional rudeness is less of a thing” is decent advice. Vague and all, but it's a good thing to do. [Though, um, unintentional is kind of a key word here, in that it's an accident by definition? Hi words. But I get the meaning, and it's a good goal.]

Example LUR is totally cognitively inaccessible to me, I understand wanting to know how I'm using the language but asking me to answer that sort of question set is going to take up all the energy I have and mess with my ability to do the actual work because those questions mostly give me “What is this even asking for?” reactions. The rest give me “My brain has just gone completely blank” reactions, which isn't much better.

[Oh god oh god are they going to expect that I can make small talk in Chinese? Nooooo I can't even do that properly in English. Culture references? HELP I CAN'T CULTURE REFERENCE.]

Mid-program and end-of-program OPI are going to be the real-people ones, not the computer ones, right? [Also, I'm going to need to take it in a space large enough for me to pace, on a speaker phone.]

Reactions to foreigner speaking Chinese. We want to get past “honored foreigner” and be a friend, classmate, etc.

OK, proper decorum is likely to get me into even more trouble in China than I do here. “American's are more tolerant of idiosyncrasy” means “I'm DOOMED” considering that I'm too far out there for freaking America.

Certain things” and what you do and don't express gratitude for. So what's the thing? Same with apology. Specifics please? OK also body language. UH-OH. “Was it sincere or not?” NO. INSERT INTERNAL CURSING HERE. BAD. “elementary you're supposed to know these things already”? NO TRY BODY LANGUAGE IS EVIL AND HORRIBLE THAT'S NOT A THING I CAN DO INTENTIONALLY. I'M NOT GOING TO HAVE THE ABILITY TO MAKE IT THROUGH THE DAY IF I SPEND MY ENERGY ON THAT.

I can take notes at least a little bit typing [Yeah you can tell because these are notes] but I can't do it by handwriting really at all.

WOOT words. I like knowing more words. [Wait, people don't usually have words as their big things through the intermediate language level?]

Talking about how each discourse has its rules and which words you use and you stay in that discourse frame. I mean, I'm actually writing for academia about how calls for submissions that claim to be including people outside of academia need to be written in ways that laypeople can understand, which is relevant to that question. [And part of my thing is that dagnabbit my chapter will be accessible.]

Ooh double standards! Professors may toss in a random English word and that's OK but we foreigners aren't supposed to. I can kind of understand it though. It's kind of like if English is your first language you can get away with a lot more messing with syntax than a student of English can.

Yay for taking charge. If I get to be taking charge than I can maybe drag people along the lines I can actually use.

Oh god “didn't communicate the right set of emotions.” Yeah this is actually really triggery.

NOOOOOOO. BAD. Key to executive function? Oh wait that's one of my big issues. Well, at least Kassiane's Autistifying Habitats thing can help me as long as I'm allowed to put stuff on walls. Otherwise... I might be about to be sad.

The small c cultural elements in stuff are important. Even proficient non-native speakers can interpret stuff differently from native speakers because of that.

Ah crud they national security thing does a “putting the pieces together” graphic. Yeah this isn't a day filled with autism-ick images and words coming back in other contexts at allllll /sarcasm

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Insecure Writers Support Group!

Trigger Warning: References to (fictional) people thinking of murder of disabled people as merciful.

Hi.
So this is my first post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group.
The badge for the insecure writer's support group. Name in red text on a background of I'm not actually sure what.
I'm almost a week into NaNoWriMo. Guess what? I'm totally insecure about that. I have no clue if my writing is good or awful, and as much as I know NaNoWriMo is about giving myself permission to write badly? I'd rather write decently. Or even well. I'm meeting word counts, which is good, but yeah. Nervous as anything.
It probably doesn't help that the ideas I have actually are ambitious. I know that with my (lack of) executive functioning skills, if I don't just get it all out at once, I'm not going to get it out, so I'm not going to try "dropping out to give it the time it deserves" or whatever. I'm just nervous because this is not an easy first novel, unless this winds up being really different from what's in my head. I might take the two long-term protagonists an
d write their stories into separate novels that's what I'll do (yeah, that's going to mean giving up half my current wordcount but if that's what it takes to make this work and I think it might be...)
See, they're both autistic. And they present significantly differently. And they're both girls. And a lot happens to them before they meet. Alex travels a lot- she has to, since she's not even from the same country as Kaili. Kaili deals with ableism in all sorts of forms, and she moves to a tower because she's had it with people. Especially people who think it'd be merciful to kill her. Which yes, that's something people say about disabled people.
That's another thing that's really hard. Kaili is very obviously disabled. The ways the world reacts to her are hard to write.
Or the fact that I really, really want to go back and write Nina Morow's story.
I might need to, once I finish with Kaili and Alex.
And titles? Ha. How do I title?
The first million words of fiction are going to be bad.
Well. That's great news.
Put the first hundred thousand words of fiction where no one will ever find them, and after that, start putting them up. Try to sell.
I think that puts this NaNoWriMo into the range of things I should put up and try to sell. Because it's actually not my first time writing a novel. My first one was done over the course of my junior year of high school. It was bad, but I wrote a lot of words. Judging by the density of my (often illegible) handwriting and the notebook I filled, that was about 78,000 words of complete and utter junk. No, really. I've since attempted to re-read it. It was bad.
I assume I made the other 22,000 words up in other creative writing contexts, considering that I took three semesters of creative writing in high school (none of my failed novel was used in that class) and write fanfiction. So... Oh my goodness I'm actually going to put this up and hope people buy it what am I doing I am a college student.
I should probably shut up and write story instead of angsting about NaNoWriMo. If I let me, I might write 50,000 words of angst about it instead of 50,000 words of novel. Which would be bad. NaNoWriMo, not NaAngstWriMo.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

My Memories of the Autreat Mess

Trigger Warning: I'm gonna go with gaslighting and access fails?

I'm doing it. I'm writing up my memory of the Autreat debacle. There's an official report on the ANI Facebook, which I can't link properly because of fun with my proxy and the Chinese internet. I'm bystander 2 in that, which is totally inaccurate but hey.
Heads up that K is Neurodivergent K of Radical Neurodivergence Speaking, since I know her blog URL here's that, as of this writing her write-up is in seven parts and the most recent stuff pile on her blog.

So here's my memory. Some of this is before Autreat.

I had K's thing about what to do if she's having a seizure. It's very much written in K's style, which is fine by me, I understand it fine. One of the things that stood out was that if she's having a seizure, people need to back off. Unless there's a reason that she must be touched, like about to walk into traffic, or if she's still in the room with the trigger, hands off, and if must move, slowly, carefully, calmly. Which means keep security, etc, off K's case in emergencies. We established that I would be a person who helped run interference in emergencies, keeping people away from K. That's background.

Now flash forward to Autreat, in the room where the incident began. Stuff is a bit fuzzy, because that happens when I'm overloaded, and also this was a while ago. I remember a not-particularly-coherent K sounding scared when there was a bass sound, and I remember her trying to get at medicine of some sort, and I remember her hands going over her ears. I remember someone going over to the TV to turn it down, and I remember that person getting yelled at. I also remember a lot of yelling happening after that. The first yelling was definitely the person being upset about the TV being turned down because of her daughter. I can say that much. Order gets a bit fuzzy. Speaking isn't a thing that was happening much for me, again, happens under stress. Pretty sure K was out of the room by the time a sarcastic comment was made by Shaun of “because autism means we can only care about ourselves,” which got responded to with “Exactly.” Not with a thing about etymology. Just agreement. At which point there was a question of, “If you think that, why are you here?” Again, not a statement. A question. Considering the statement that was just made and what Autreat is supposed to be about, a pretty reasonable question.

When K did the whole leaving the room thing, the person who yelled about the TV being turned down at least started standing up. So I was pretty sure that this was a move to follow. So I put myself such that to get from sitting on the couch to the door, she'd have to go through me. Not attacking her, which is probably why I got called a bystander and not a support person, even though I was doing exactly the support job that I was supposed to be doing, but hey. It also might have something to do with my never having yelled directly at this person, which shouldn't be a defining factor of who is and isn't a support person for K. Really shouldn't. Those are guesses for why I might have gotten called bystander 2 in the official report, but I'm not actually sure. Not a mind reader, can't know. What I know is that it's not accurate.

Yelling yelling yelling, couch person yes acting like she might be triggered, bystander in the kitchen area acting possibly triggered and I think saying openly that she was, and me being a bit confused because why would someone who has their PTSD triggered by yelling be the one to start the yelling? I mean, people getting angry and forgetting stuff like their own limits happens, yes, but it's still a little confusing to watch a person do that.

Eventually leave kitchen and I forget what.

Eventually text from friend of K using K's phone (I know this because I just checked my phone text history.) Go find K, who I think is in common area of her floor crying at this point? Help acquire food for her and also acquire own food, per request of K's friend. Food important. People coming, people going. Time passing. Meeting. Lots of yelling about not assigning intentions. Sometimes this happened after person repeating intentions that person doing action had actually stated, which isn't actually assigning intentions. It's taking word on intentions. Lots of suggesting that thing is about use of common space. Which yes, is problem, but big problem is about how to handle access violations once they come up. [And seriously what is with refusal to accept that TV is a want and not a need? I do not understand, but as I'm not a mind-reader I'm not going to understand. But yes, that was one of the things that we weren't allowed to say, that TV is a want and not a need. Also question about adult daughter's agency, which, um, no one's talking about what she did because she didn't do the things that were problems?]

Lots of confused. Lot's of K crying. Lots of “NO DON'T REDUCE THIS TO USE OF COMMON AREAS.” Because yeah, that's a thing. But there's a lot more than use of common areas. Use of common areas could have prevented the thing, but this was about how to handle access issues once they happened, I think. And went badly.

Lots of discussion of how triggered person who yelled about the TV being turned down was. Not so much about how K could easily have wound up in the ER, and how “you're not going to die” is a thing that was said to a person who's been clinically dead from seizures before. Suggestions that statement of daughter having seizures was meant as understanding the problem. Given demonstration of not understanding (see also: you're not going to die,) would be a false demonstration if so. Again, not mind reader, but is pretty clear that telling a person with epilepsy who has been clinically dead of seizure before that they're not going to die indicates a lack of understanding.

Um. More discussion. Goes to very late. Not good- lack of sleep can make epilepsy stuff worse, I remember this from another time I was with K.

Morning. I see text from K, and respond assuming that I missed a text from last night. Nope. Is text from this morning. K crying, not sure she feels safe to leave room to come meet with me and another person related to a meetingful thing I don't even remember properly. I know there was supposed to be a meeting because text records, and also that K says she is feeling gaslit. I think I help acquire the soggy breakfast for K before spending much of morning in K's room, but am not sure 100%. I know I got to attempt eating said soggy not that great breakfast, and yeah, it was soggy before the rain got on it too. That day was not a good breakfast.

Spend morning with K. Lots of crying happening, decent bit of K hitting head against wall and saying she wanted to go home and being triggered and being in meltdown. I admit that I am impressed with her ability to maintain crying that long, as I become exhausted much faster than that. I also try to be comforting. I don't think it worked very well. Apparently my saying that I'd understand if she left and couldn't be my first witness made her feel really bad about maybe not being able to do it. My understanding was a sign of my being a decent enough person for her to care, or something similar. My memory is a bit foggy, but it was something along those lines, and this is her having said something of the sort, not me mind-reading it. Also, there was wailing of “I don't know.” There was a lot of that. And being afraid to leave room unless it was to go to the airport and get on a plane home.

Go acquire food for people- I am in the Subway contingent that acquires food for many room people. I think we got a total of 4 sandwiches, including mine an Ks and also one for the person who was driving. One other, and yes, I know who, but don't know if she's cool with name reveal so I won't.

Eventually there is a Jim. Who isn't going to apologize for the gaslightyness, or for much of anything if I understand correctly. Which, hey, at least honest, since fake apology is bad and K's pretty clear about not wanting those. But also suggests not understanding what went wrong. I wasn't processing in real time for this, and the only person who was, Jim said either that person or Jim had to leave. After wailing “I don't know” from K multiple times, another person suggests maybe that person leaves. I will take K's word for it that the kicked out person's name is Shaun, and that this person is cool with name being open. Shaun looks at K, asks “Is this what you want.” K wails “I don't know” yet again. There has been a lot of wailing of “I don't know” this morning and into afternoon. Starting to wonder if there are any other phrases K can currently access, at this point. Which is bad sign. Focus is very much on “there are number of people waiting for presentation” and not so much on “how to we make K feel safe.” That's not a good sign. K moves from wailing to moving really fast, but since I'm not processing in real time I don't quite get what's going on.

Go to presentation room with K. K gives presentation. It is very good. Apparently this is because K's autopilot is very well-tuned. That good of an auto-pilot does not happen for good reasons. Text record suggests that swimming happened in between presentation- for sure that I did that, possibly K too, but I don't remember if she did or not. I shower, brush hair, go to K's room and K fancy-braids my hair.

Nothing bad particularly happens at 5A, though I was only semi-coherent for it. Usually I can make words off the cuff pretty well, but not then. So I was left with not the words I was was expecting to have.

I spent sufficiently much time in K's room instead of mine helping her try to feel even a little bit safer during Autreat that all my chargers were in her room instead of mine. I think that should say something.