Auditory Discrimination



    Updates on previous post from Reynard: reward tiers and other things (please read)

    September 4, 2016


    EDIT: This is a new update that’s extremely urgent. Reynard’s roommate just changed the move out date to the 7th. At first we thought this must be illegal, but it’s not because he is way behind on rent already. At the moment the goal is getting enough money to find an apartment to stay in. Please donate whatever you can, we do now have reward tiers as well. We really need your help.

    These are updates on the Youcaring fundraiser that was the subject of my previous post, Keep Ian Walsh/Reynard Winters housed through his illness-please help from the friend it’s for. Thanks to the awesome support we have been able to change our goals, but help is still needed:

    “Tl;dr: Thank yous, raising goal, REWARD TIERS!

    Thank you to everyone who has donated. Our initial goal of $1000 was met in only a couple of days – I didn’t think we would get this much of a response. Thank you in particular to the autistic and skeptic communities. Special thanks to Garrett Winters Âû for setting this up when I lacked the confidence or mental energy to do so, and for convincing me to allow him to do so. Pride is dumb, but also a strong force. You are all amazing, and this is overwhelming. We are going to raise the goal – median rent in Portland is $1644/month (source:…/), and the course of treatment I need for my HCV lasts 12-24 weeks once it is initiated – which will hopefully be soon, however I don’t know exactly when. I am seeing the infectious disease doctor 14 Sept, so hopefully I will know more then. I am also being seen at Knight Cancer Center the same week to figure out what is going on with my blood, and will at that time have a more clear picture of my medical and financial needs and future. I don’t want to seem avaricious in any way, but do need to stay housed throughout the course of the antiviral therapy, so that they will initiate treatment to begin with. They will not treat someone who has no stable place to live, because if drug therapy is terminated prematurely, it can be unsuccessful, leading to drug resistance and a public health risk. You know, unlike having a deadly infectious disease, and allowing viral load to increase unchecked, which is not a public health risk at all . . . but I digress. I have been having issues with my health/vision/dental insurance, as well, so sometimes (and apparently totally unpredictably), I have to pay co-pay on my existing meds and treatments. This is very uncomfortable and difficult for me, and I am very, very grateful to all of my friends, comrades, and sympathizers. Thank you.


    OH! And even though there are no reward tiers for personal fundraisers, y’all are /so/ lucky to know me – because for this one, there are!

    $10 – custom icon/avatar by Heppa Hotep
    $20 – fabulous rant on the topic of your choice by Jon Noble
    $30 9×12″ watercolour commission, by Heppa Hotep
    $100 – a charming father/son folk duo by Jon Noble and his dad, guaranteed dorky, sweet, and mildly vicariously embarrassing!

    To claim your reward, screencap the confirmation screen with your name and donation amount visible, and send it to Jon Noble or myself.
    Thank you, I love you all!”


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  • This is our time: Thoughts on How People Respond to Disasters

    August 30, 2016

    Scene from the flooding

    “Neutrality means that you don’t really care

    Cause the struggle goes on even when you’re not there

    Blind and unaware.”

    Collapse (Post-Amerika), Rise Against

    One thing that I don’t mention much, as this is mainly an autism blog and I don’t like talking about myself much, is that I volunteer quite a bit. Most recently I volunteered in New Orleans, helping rebuild from Katrina…many people reading this may not remember the hurricane, may not have thought about it since the media moved on from it eleven years ago…and this pisses me off.

    Every time that a disaster happens, whether it’s Katrina or the Valley Fire that happened nearby in North California, I see the same cycle, something that has made me completely bitter about humanity. Once the media turns away because the flood waters have receded or the flames go out, it’s our time to show who we are. Natural disasters show the best and worst in humanity. Last year that I went, we raised $10,000, enough for SBP, the organization that we work through, to get someone back to their house. This guy came to our work site the first time thanking us for helping somebody in his community…he didn’t know that the money was for him, but he thanked us on behalf of who he thought was some total stranger.

    This year we heard someone talk about being an EMT and riding in a Blackhawk helicopter saving people.

    The best.

    …where are the worst?

    The government and its response, and…us not involved, content in the safety of our homes.

    Because right when people need us most, we turn away from them…elective amnesia, forgetting about what would trouble us.

    I’m writing this now, in the wake of the floods in Louisiana, hoping that people will prove me wrong.

    Please give money or volunteer with SBP, which is now helping with the rebuilding effort in Baton Rouge and the other places affected by the flood. They also have this resource for homeowners.

    Remember this time…please…

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  • Behavior As Communication

    June 22, 2016
    8634577 - the road home.surreal, branch, and the worm.

    In the language of Autism we talk a great deal about behavior as communication, and even more about “challenging” behavior and what it communicates.

    There are countless articles that define specific behaviors, that categorize “challenging” behaviors and that address specific behaviors that are common for autistic children and adults.  We are taught to look for clues in the environment and within recent events for things that might have contributed to the behavior. We are trained to be behavior sleuths. Guardians of structure and routine. Creators of various visual cues and keepers of the therapeutic appointment.

    However, in all of these examples there is a one line of communication that we sometimes forget to discuss:

    What is your behavior communicating? 

    Several years ago while sitting in a waiting room with my son awaiting a play therapy session I observed a mother and son arrive and check in at the reception. The child appeared a few years old than my boy and the two sat in the play area together briefly. I said hello to the mother. She was well dressed with pale blonde hair and very soft-spoken. After a few minutes the therapist came out and called her boy’s name. When he was directed away from playing he began to shout and stomp. This doesn’t phase me, I am no stranger to the difficulties of transition especially in a new environment, but  the mother seemed terribly embarrassed and apologized to me and the therapist several times. I assured her it was fine but was saddened by the depth of the child’s struggle, he was simply enraged, and the strange way the mother was approaching him, even as the therapist tried to guide her. Her cheeks were a deep shade of red, her body was tense, lips pursed, language very direct and pointed. Her anger was palpable even across the waiting room. After some time the mother and child left, canceling their appointment. Perhaps 20 minutes later, just as we were going back into the office, an uniformed officer approached the receptionist and said that there had been reports of a blonde woman hitting a child in a car in the parking lot and they were trying to gather information about who she might have been.

    Whenever we talk about behavior as communication, we must start that journey by looking in detail at our own behavior and our own level of understanding. Communication takes at least two people, and when both are confused about the message neither can move forward.  While we cannot change the stressors of the world or how our children respond in a moment, we can make a choice about how we react and what we teach in that moment. If we are angry, embarrassed, impatient and unwilling to apply compassion we are teaching anger, shame, guilt and inflexibility. Ultimately  what our children remember is not the stress of the moment but the love, or the lack of love, they receive from us.

    Children Learn What They Live
    By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.

    Copyright © 1972 by Dorothy Law Nolte

    Copyright © 1972 by Dorothy Law Nolte


    Click here For more on understanding Autism, Parenting and the Brain 

    HALT – A Behavior Checklist 

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  • H.A.L.T. A Behavior Checklist

    June 13, 2016

    When an infant cries it cannot tell us what the problem might be. It is second nature for parents and caregivers to begin moving our efforts through the checklist:
    Is the Baby:

    • Hungry
    • Wet
    • Tired
    • Gassy
    • too hot or too cold


    At some point though we abandon the infant checklist, relying on a child or person to tell us what they are experiencing. However, even the most self actualized of us may find that  we often miss the cues being given by own bodies. Being unable to step back and see the bigger picture can impair our ability to ask for what we need and instead lead to behavior that is uncharacteristic and confusing.

    However, there is a quick and easy checklist for older children and adults that works quiet well, and one that will be very helpful when trying to decipher behavior as communication. It is called H.A.L.T. Your first clue to stop and think before responding to a behavior.

    H. – Hungry : 

    Anxiety and mood changes can often be traced to changes in blood sugar levels. Everything that we eat is converted into simple sugars (like glucose), fats and amino acids  by your digestive system and then delivered to your tissues and organs to be used as energy. When the body is hungry the amount of glucose available drops. Your brain, unlike your other organs which can use a variety of nutrients to function, is critically dependant on glucose to do it’s job. When glucose levels run low the brain perceives it as a life threatening event.  If you have ever found it difficult to concentrate, made silly mistakes or inadvertently snapped at a friend or loved one because you were hungry, you know how real the effect of hunger can be.

    A. – Angry :

    Anger, while a completely normal emotional response, is also a powerful and difficult emotion. Anger can be physical or verbal, and often times the person who is experiencing it may not even know why they are struggling. They just feel mad, and overcome with all the complexities of their anger need to act out.  If you suspect a behavior is linked to anger, take time to connect and give an opportunity to relax before ever engaging the behavior. Then do so with compassion and concern.

    L. – Lonely :

    Sometimes a behavior is simply communicating the need to connect. While it is easy to dismiss this behavior as being bratty and demanding, remember that it takes considerable emotional maturity to recognize your own need for attention, and even more skill to know the right ways to ask for what you need. Pay attention to what happens just before a behavior and just after, often there are significant clues, then respond with care and compassion focusing on the need without reinforcing the behavior.

    T. – Tired : 

    Poor sleep is linked to a variety of difficulties including irritability, decreased self-evaluation, anger, fear and poor motivation.  Sometimes a nap or a good night’s rest is just good medicine.

    So, when faced with a challenging moment, HALT. before you react, then connect and redirect in ways that makes sense!



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