Auditory Discrimination

Anxiety

Communication

    Disability is politics, especially now

    November 19, 2016
    Donald Trump mocking a disabled reporter, showing that in his view disabilities are to be mocked not helped

    Donald Trump mocking a disabled reporter, showing that in his view disabilities are to be mocked not helped

    Recently, The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism started sharing things related to Trump (specifically Struggling more with disability in the aftermath of the election, Kids With Autism Are Taking Trump’s Rhetoric Literally, Disability Rights Advocates Are Terrified Of A Donald Trump White House, and a link to ASAN asking for donations probably because of the situation ASAN described in Trump’s new appointee: “I’ve got a cure for mental health – spank your children more”).

    Some people were upset that they started mentioning politics on their page, as they have been usually neutral on politics, and now they are sharing things related to the President?

    Disregarding the fact that it’s their page and they can share whatever they want and none of it was actually saying that the Guide was against Trump, simply sharing things related to autism and him, a page about autism talking about politics shouldn’t be extremely surprising because disability is political, and (if the articles and the vile picture don’t somehow make it obvious) is now more than ever.

    The disabled community is the largest minority in the world. All races, nations, genders, religions, movements, etc. have disabled people in them. Autistics specifically are over 2% diagnosed (not including self-diagnosed people or those who are autistic but don’t have the diagnosis). Any issue that affects any other minority group has an effect on the disabled community, and it seems like we’re often much more aware of that intersectionality than the other minorities are, from the ton of articles calling out activist movements for having issues with including us. The effect of this is that any issue that affects any other minority affects us as well, though in our own unique ways (hence Real Social Skills creating an article specifically directed towards us, the first article that I linked).

    However, we haven’t been singled out, in fact disabled people, despite being the largest minority, are the most ignored one as well. News on issues against us is very hard to come by, and when it does come out it’s often itself ableist (like the Killing Words in every news report when a disabled child is killed by their caregiver). Even though the Americans with Disabilities Act exists it’s often not followed leaving many locations inaccessible despite the fact that there is a law that says they should be. Then there’s the Battle for Special Education that Tricia went through earlier this year. All of these are issues happening constantly, but the disabled community unfortunately is ignored.

    Well, until now…and the President-Elect has me wishing we still were.

    Trump is the first President in my lifetime to do…the picture (people are actually saying it was faked…no, just no, it was horrifically real). He also believes that autistics are vaccine-injured, a belief I addressed in We are not, and debunked by explaining the reasons for the increase of diagnoses in my rant against anti-vaxxers. All of a sudden, over one night, we’re afraid.

    The services which we rely on he’s threatening to cut. As an autistic activist I’m still trying to figure out what to do in the fight for acceptance when the President of the United States thinks I’m broken. If you’re on Facebook or Twitter there’s no way you could have missed the articles of the violence and hatred against other races but you may have missed the information about the disabled community and the LGBT+ community also being attacked (that community is also underreported). I saw a picture where an ASL speaker was called the r word, and the founder of the Guide posted on her profile about how there was a wave of Trump supporters expressing hatred on their share of the article about us being terrified of the Trump White House.

    I don’t know how to describe the feelings I got on the 8th and the days after it to today, other than just an ungodly amount of cycling through despair, rage, and fear. Another autistic in my Autistics Against Anti-Vaxxers (AAA-V) group expressed that he felt betrayed, and I do feel a rather large amount of that as well, frankly, and I’m sure it’s a feeling that all of the minorities who Trump built his campaign on hatred of share.

    Since then I have talked multiple autistic/neurodivergent friends down from hurting themselves or worse, and focused on trying to unite communities. I created a group called The Outcast Army for those who are angry or want to share tips for activism that are directly affected by the election (no allies). I’m being active, being political…why?

    Our lives are literally at risk, both from violence and if the cuts that are being mentioned happen. We don’t have a choice.

    If you aren’t affected and want to be an ally (read What is an Ally? for information on what that word actually means), please spread our voices, stand by our sides, provide support and validation for our hurt…but whatever you do, don’t tell us to stand down.

    Don’t tell us to give in and accept, to go quietly into the night.

    Don’t tell us to give him a chance when he’s already threatened to make cuts that will quite possibly kill many disabled people.

    Don’t tell us to tone it down.

    Don’t tell us to stop, because we’re just getting started. For our lives and livelihoods, we can do no less. We didn’t start this fight, we didn’t ask for this to happen, but we’re fighting back. Please stand by our side.

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

    September 4, 2016

    reynard

    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:https://www.rentjungle.com/average-rent-in-portland-or-ren…/), 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 poster.apple, 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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