If you Light it up Blue for Autism, you're supporting Autism Speaks and Autism Speaks doesn't support Autism...


You may have noticed a lot of people on Social Media using frames for their profile pictures, it's become a bit of a fad, like: 'Puppies are great', or 'Facebook frames suck'.  Stuff like that (I may have made the last one up).

Now, I'm usually a calm and placid man, but there is one frame in particular which generally provokes a reaction in me, usually only seen when a member of the Government appears on the television and tells us how lucky we all are (kind of a grab the nearest heavy object and beat the crap out of the screen type reaction).

The Autism Speaks frame... You'll have seen it.  This one:

I do not HAVE Autism


"Language shapes the way people perceive us and treat us.  It translates into actions"
- Daniel Marner, Autistic and Advocate 

I had a conversation/heated debate/argument today, with somebody about a bumper sticker.  (I can hear my wife groaning in the background about getting embroiled in Social Media arguments)

The bumper sticker read:
" I love someone with Autism"
But, how sweet! Right?

No, not really and let me tell you why.

The advent of the Autzi


Humanity has overcome the food chain, and having surpassed all other predators, has now turned to a strange form of cannibalism: humanity preys upon itself. We cull our own herd. We murder our own children. This is what we call “progress” 
 - A.E. Samaan

**Content Warning: Eugenics, Supremacy, Genocide, Nazism**

Functioning Labels: Why you shouldn't be using them (thanks a bunch, Terminology Dudes)


The difference between high functioning autism and low functioning is that high functioning means your deficits are ignored, and low functioning means your assets are ignored.
- Laura Tisoncik, Autism Advocate

So... Autism, what exactly isn't it?


In my article entitled 'So... Autism, what exactly is it' I talked about just that, but what I didn't talk about, was what an uninformed person might think Autism is.  So I'm going to go over some commonly held beliefs and myths and debunk them... Coz they ain't true!

I have a face for radio...



It's taken me a while to figure out how to upload an audio file onto this site, but i hope it was worth the wait...

This is an interview for BBC Radio Tees with Scott Makin,from the beginning of September 2017, with myself and my wife Michelle, talking about Autism and relationships.

I've fluffed a lot, and I mean a lot, I've used incorrect terminology and Person First Language. So if you listen and hear that, or spot that i've done anything else cringeworthy, please forgive me. I was incredibly nervous, I'd never been in a radio studio before let alone talked to the wider world about Autism. I had also only been given only a couple of days notice of the interview. If you'd seen me five minutes before it, you'd have found me hanging from the light fittings on the ceiling...

I did manage to gather myself towards the end and get in a nice message about advocating.

...

How to be a good Ally

Beep, beep!  Stay in your lane! Beep, beep!

An Autistic Ally is many things, but one thing they are not, is Autistic.

What an Ally is, is someone who is prepared to listen, learn and act upon direction from Autistic people.

So... Autism, what exactly is it?



I could sit here and write a huge load of spiel, but why waste my time regurgitating something that has been written and rewritten (usually badly) by a million different people.  So instead, I'll let you have an excellent description, written by Nick Walker.  

You can find the description here and it is also available in many different language translations.

Firstly though let me give you a paraphrased quote from the wonderful, Steve Silberman:
"A Neurotypical brain runs on Windows, an Autistic brain runs on iOS, neither is broken, they just work differently"

A little publicity for Autistic Women (still not enough though)


I stumbled upon this article in the Guardian today.

It showcases a VR video created to help generate publicity for undiagnosed Autistic women and also to show people (Neurotypical people, I assume), what it can feel like to be inside an Autistic mind. The video follows a surprise birthday party through the eyes and ears of Layla, an Autistic teenager (or so we're told, we never actually see her) and shows us how she struggles with the sights and sounds, the anxiety of having to converse with a variety of different people, the lack of understanding of how the situation is making her feel and the ignorant dismissal of Autism.  Most importantly it shows how all of this is happening inside Layla's head.  She's masking and it takes someone with understanding to recognise that she is unable to cope with the situation at all.

Have a watch of the video and see what you think.

Why Neurodiversity needs Self-Advocacy


So, admit it... The title threw you!

Firstly you're asking what on earth Neurodiversity is and secondly, you want to know why it needs to advocate for itself.

The answer to your first question is easy:

Neurodiversity (ND) simply means: A fundamentally different way of thinking caused by neurology.

Someone might have Autism, or SPD, or Bi-Polar, or Depression or any of a myriad of neurological or mental issues that make them different to a Neurotypical person ("Normal"- for want of a better word and I use that term very loosely).  All of those things make a person see, react and negotiate the world very differently, when compared to a Neurotypical (NT) person. An ND brain is hard-wired completely differently to an NT brain.

"But everybody is different!" I hear you cry!  And, yes, they are.  But a collective group of Neurotypical brains, on a basic level, work, think and act in the same way. A collective group of people on the other hand, Autistic people for instance, likewise have brains that work in very similar ways to each other but very differently to an NT's. 


Autistic people are not murderers

First things first, let me just say, what happened in Las Vegas on October 1st was horrendous and genuinely my heart goes out to everyone affected by the shooting.

I'm not going to comment on the shooting, nor the ever on-going argument over gun control.

What I am going to comment on though, is articles such as this:

https://respvblica.com/2017/10/05/did-stephen-paddock-have-aspergers-disorder-does-that-explain-what-he-did/

I'll show you the headline and main photo:

Good Evening everybody...

Or good Morning, good Afternoon, good whatever-the-time-it-is-where-you-are!

Welcome to my den of musings, anecdotes, (hopefully) useful advice and general home of Autistic wonder... Or 'blog', as most people call it.

Here you will find me, raw and honest. At some points I’ll be pouring my heart out over my wife and children, at others I’ll be cathartically going through my life chucking out all the rubbish of unintentional abuse that was my childhood.  There will be explanations of terms from my point of view and I may give names to things that you knew existed, but didn’t know had a name. There might be the odd review; there’ll definitely be responses to current science and news articles. And there will be lots of ranting probably… I'm hoping there'll also be some useful information for other Autistics, Professionals, Parents, Allies and basically anyone who wants to read my words.

Before you go any further than this blog post I have a warning.


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