About tagÂûght

I’m in my mid-thirties. I’ve lived in Canada all my life (Toronto and St. John’s), but I’ve travelled to Florida, Massachusetts, England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and Costa Rica. I love airplane travel (as long as there are no noisy kids around me!). I’m proud to be Canadian (though Harper might end up changing that!). I have ASD, aka Autism Spectrum Disorder. Strictly speaking, I’ve been diagnosed as having Aspergers, but (for Canada and the US, at least) that diagnosis is going to be melded with ASD as of May, with the publication of DSM V. Having ASD, and the job I do at the moment (see First Post), is why reading the blogs I mentioned above inspired me to start one of my own about my life in general. Back in October, I got my driver’s license (as opposed to driving permit for learners) – after twenty years of effort and trying. A lot of thanks is due to my instructor, who has dealt with people with ASD before, and so knew how to teach me for the test (I was able to drive before, just not pass the test, due to anxiety and problems with multi-tasking). I’m a fanatic writer of SF and Fantasy, both fanfiction and original, and I devour books as well. I love animals, in particular cats, and I have a fascination with wolves, wild cats (including the big cats), orcas, and the physiology of cephalopods. I love the wilderness – though I don’t really have the endurance (at the moment, at least) to go hiking or camping out. And, rather importantly, I’m not someone who thinks about political correctness when it comes to vocabulary. I use what seems right when it seems right. That will include calling myself a person with ASD, or an Autistic, or an Aspie. I’m me; I can call myself what I want. So, enough about me. Go read my posts – they’re more informative!

CBC Interview: Web Version

The online web version of the interview I had with the CBC St. John’s Morning Show is now up. 🙂

They used two of the pictures I sent them: the selfie I took on Monday (which shows some of my artwork on the wall behind me), and a picture of Imber and I from the year I was diagnosed. So happy they used that pic!

Diagnosed with autism at 35, woman calls it ‘a relief’.

‘Later, all!
🙂 tagÂûght

CBC Radio Interview: June 19, 2017 – Recording

So. The interview I mentioned on Thursday ran yesterday morning in two sections (the first was a teaser/intro), at 7:36 and at 7:43. I recorded it on my computer through the CBC Radio One streaming, and spent half of yesterday picking out the parts that were my interview (the recording was from 5:20 to 9:30 in the morning!), cutting them out, and putting them together to send to my friends and family.

There’s also going to be a web page version, and when I checked with them to ask when it would go up (answer is: Sometime over the next few days, they’ll try to remember to let me know, but I’ll keep checking the site anyway!), I also asked about whether I could post that recording to my blog (wasn’t sure about the legalities of it). The web guy said that there should be no problem, so here it is! The interview is about 10 minutes long or so, and I’ve included about 10 seconds of silence between the teaser and the conversation just to set them apart.

Note: Ms. Holmes accidentally calls me “Tracy” at the end of the teaser (2:11, according to my sister-in-law), but all other uses of my name are correct.

(And why is the default “not getting my name right” always Tracy? If someone’s going to get my name wrong, I’d expect them to call me “Judy”, but it’s always, always “Tracy”!)

So, here it is. Enjoy!

🙂 tagÂûght

Recommendation: Unstrange Mind – Neurodiversity: Creativity and Innovation Thrive When We Welcome Diverse Minds

I haven’t been reading many other blogs for the last little while, due to various reasons including my concentration on CAPP issues, overall fatigue (ended up with low iron anemia again this past April, and that’s taking a while to clear up), and trying to focus a bit more on my writing (which has mainly meant doing a lot more reading of fic).

However, I recently (like Thursday) noticed a tweet referring to an interesting-sounding post by Unstrange Mind, and thought that I might as well check it out. So I followed the link I had on this site, and discovered that he now has his own site (rather than one hosted by wordpress.com). So I’ve been reading his posts on that blog, in chronological order (which included updating the links to the DSM-5 Autism Spectrum Criteria Analysis), and in the midst of doing that, found the title post.

Neurodiversity: Creativity and Innovation Thrive When We Welcome Diverse Minds is the text of a talk Unstrange Mind gave at University of North Carolina’s Fourth Annual Disability is Diversity Week celebration, on Wednesday, November 9th, 2016 in Asheville, North Carolina. (CONTENT WARNING: Post contains mention of suicide and attempted suicide.)

Despite the aforementioned content warning, this is a hopeful post. Unstrange Mind explains the basics of neurodiversity – including the biological factual basis – and how that can apply to support creativity and innovation. He looks at the advantages that supporting and encouraging a neurodiverse environment can provide, and names examples. he also points out that accomodations… don’t really cost all that much.

So. Highly recommended post. And at least a few more to follow.

‘Later, all!

🙂 tagÂûght

CBC Interview: Diagnosis

So, last week I got an email from Tess Hemeon (the Public Relations/Communications person for the ASNL) asking if I was willing to be interviewed about being diagnosed as autistic as an adult. I said sure – I’m looking for new routes to go to help expand my advocacy. So Monday afternoon, I had an informal (aka not recorded) phone interview with an intern working at CBC Newfoundland and Labrador (here in St. John’s). One of the things I mentioned was that I wouldn’t mind doing a formal interview about the matter.

So, she contacted me Tuesday and asked if I was available to come in this morning for a recorded interview. My reaction was: “Yes!” ( 😉 )

Got up early this morning, and drove out to the CBC building for the taped interview.

The interview was with Krissy Holmes of the St. John’s Morning Show (which airs from 5:30 to 9:00 am, Newfoundland Time, on CBC Radio One), and it went really well. Read on for details!

Support Request: CAP – Followup

So, last week I put up the post about supporting CAP on Twitter. My mother proceeded to bring up a good point – what if you’re not on Twitter (and don’t want to be)? So here are some things that you can do off Twitter to help show your support.

  • They could write to their local MPs, asking for them to clarify their position on CAP.
  • If they have Facebook, they could share information about CAP there (the website, videos etc.)
  • Write an editorial about the need for a Canadian Autism Partnership to submit to their local newspaper. In fact, if any of you are interested in doing this, we (the CAP team) would be more than happy to help
  • Email their friends and family to share information about CAP.

Thank you again, for anything and everything you do to help us get CAP underway.

🙂 tagÂûght

Guest Post: Canadian Pharmacare Petition

To my Canadian readers – a guest post from my mother:

This is something that I feel quite strongly about and we are asking for your support. I was on the policy panel last year that came out with a paper to hand in to government and it has just sat on their desk since then. Please feel free to forward this to any and all the people that you know. Read on, please.

Support Request: Canadian Autism Partnership

For fellow Canadians among my readers, including those who have been following my CAPP journey:

I am reaching out to ask for your help in support of the Canadian Autism Partnership (CAP) which recently was denied funding in the 2017 federal budget.  Please take a few minutes to read this email, and 2 minutes to show your support.

CAP brought together top experts in the autism field who were advised by self-advocates, stakeholders and government representatives from 13 provinces and territories, to develop a business plan with a goal to address the complex issues related to autism in Canada.

CAP strives for timely, evidence based efficiencies in the following areas, which reflect the most pressing issues facing Canadians with ASD:

  • Early identification and early intervention
  • Employment
  • Interventions and services to optimize quality of life at all ages
  • Specialized medical care, including access to dental and mental health services
  • Education, including transitions to work, post-secondary education and independent life.

How you can show your support:

  1. Learn more about the CAP project please visit: http://www.capproject.ca/index.php/en/about-capproject/project-objectives
  2. Make your voice heard by signing up to Global Citizen https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/mp-standing-ovation-moving-speech-autism/
  3. Use this tweet to show your support of CAP through a clear and non-partisan message which will go directly to the Prime Minister and Health Minister: “.@JustinTrudeau @janephilpott Support CDNs living w/ #Autism Spectrum Disorder, pledge $19M toward the Canadian Autism Partnership. #cdnpoli

There is now a followup post for what you can do if you don’t use/have Twitter: Support Request: CAP – Followup.

Thank you,
🙂 tagÂûght

Music: Pressie, NSO Masterworks 4, and Concert Tips

It’s a semi-long post today. 🙂 Time to talk about music! I’ve got a heartwarming story of a present, a review of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra Masterworks 4 2016/17, and some handy tips for dealing with concerts for autistics and those around autistics.

Our story begins with the NSO Masterworks 4, though. Click for the story!

CBC Radio Interview: Patricia and Steve Silberman!

As mentioned in my post of the Exploring the Spectrum Conference, on Thursday (March 2nd) afternoon, Patricia and Steve Silberman did an interview with CBC Radio’s Mainstreet NS show. It’s now up as a podcast on CBC at http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/892970051734. And trust me, it’s definitely worth taking 15 minutes to listen to it; Patricia and Steve both manage to cover a lot in that time with the interviewer.

Click to listen to the embedded version of the podcast.

ANS: Exploring the Spectrum Conference 2017 – Wow!

So, way back in December, my friend from CAPP, Patricia, told me that Autism Nova Scotia was having a conference March 2nd and 3rd, and she had managed to get Steve Silberman (the author of Neurotribes) as the keynote speaker (he was great, BTW). She also said that they were doing a panel of women autistics, and asked if I would like my name mentioned as a possible panelist. I said “Yes!”. 😉 (Who wouldn’t? Especially given I’m getting more into advocacy.)

Over the next two months various details got ironed out, and I was confirmed as a panelist, and very eager to go.

And I had a really great time.

(Note: Long – it covers a lot over the course of the two days! Also note there are pictures included.)

Read on to find out exactly why I had such a great time!

BBC Video Article: CEO Secrets “Why I Employ Autistic People”

Check this out! Excellent reasons for hiring autistics, and the CEO in question even comments that having autistics/neuro-diverse teams helps everyone in the team do better!

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-39052653

‘Later!
🙂 tagÂûght

#CAPP Films: #AutisticAdvocates Speak

So, I didn’t actually post anything about the CAPP meeting in Montreal at the end of October, mostly because it was a quick two days and I got unpleasantly flustered over issues with getting to the airport for my flight home. (I made it, but it wasn’t fun.)

One thing we did in Montreal during out meeting, however, is now public – each of us who were present were filmed doing a quick interview by Spectrum Productions, in order to create a short film about CAPP that could go public.

As of today, those films – the short film put together of all of us, and the individual interviews – are live, and available to the public.

The short film Hear From the Experts contains a selection of the interviews that each of us gave; the individual interviews contain more details and answers. Below is the short film and my interview.

Click here to see the video links and read more about the subject.

ASNL: Ask About Autism #1

This October, the Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador is celebrating Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month with the theme of “Ask About Autism”. The (genius) brainchild of the Advocacy and Communications Manager, Tess Hemeon, Ask About Autism involves activities all month long encouraging people to ask questions to professionals and autistics about autism. Something I can thoroughly get behind, because how can we teach people what they want to know if they don’t ask? (Yes, we can tell people things; but those may not be the things they feel they need to know.)

Click to read the plans and watch a video!

Toronto #CAPP Meeting

It’s been a while, I know. Between dealing with the effects of my heat allergy in July and August (yeah, summers in St. John’s are a lot cooler than, say, summers in Toronto, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t get warm), and then catching a nasty cold in the first week of September (I’m still coughing), I haven’t had a lot of energy to spare to be updating.

But the CAPP Advisory Group met in Toronto on Monday, and we had a great time. We were informed of the basic stats of the responses to the Community Round Tables, the surveys, and the written submissions – and I just want to say a large “Thank You!” to all those who responded. The numbers exceeded what our mandate called for, which is wonderful, and provides even more support for the need for a Canadian Autism Partnership.

Read on for more of what’s going on!

#AutisticArt Wanted: Pacific Autism Family Centre #Art4PAFC

All right, my fellow Canadian creative autistics, it’s time to get your artistry flowing!

The Pacific Autism Family Centre located in Richmond, BC are looking to celebrate the diversity and creativity of those with ASD by proudly displaying their artwork in their new building, the Goodlife Fitness Family Autism Hub.

Submissions are open to artists of all ages and abilities and the subject matter and medium are entirely up to the artist. To submit your art, you will need to complete the attached form, include an image of the artwork and email to:  jenna@pacificautismfamily.com.

The submission deadline is August 31, 2016.

— From Autism Canada

PAFC Art Submission Form

[Edit re clarification] One of the main reasons for the “restriction” to Canadians is the (I quote the email) “cross border taxes and shipping costs”, which would be the responsibility of any American/International artists. It’s also a foreign donations issue. So it’s easier all around if it’s only Canadians who participate.

[2nd Edit] However, I have also just been told that if I know of an exceptional artist from outside Canada, they are willing to consider them as well. So take that and the caution regarding the responsibility of paying for shipping and customs, and if you feel you’re good, go ahead! 🙂

🙂 tagÂûght

Experience Invalidation: Telepathy and ToM

*shocked gasp* I never knew there were telepaths living among us!

How many times have you heard someone say a variation of, “Oh, c’mon, it’s not that” [or “It’s not at all”] “loud/bright/smelly/painful/bad-tasting/etc!”?

This is a classic case of experience invalidation: Someone saying that because they don’t experience stimuli and perceive the world the same way you do, your way does not actually exist in reality.

So, what does telepathy have to do with it?

#ActuallyAutistic #Canadian #CAPP Written Submission

So, I’ve already put up the link to the CAPP survey (reminder: closes July 15th); we also have a written submission form for adult autistics (referred to as “self-advocates” in the documentation). The details are as follows:


We are interested in learning about your views on the importance of a national partnership model in addressing the critical issues facing individuals with autism, their families and those working in the field. We envision CAP bringing together researchers, service providers, and decision-makers in collaboration with people with autism and their families to address the complex issues the autism community faces today.

Specifically, we are looking for your input to the following questions:

  • As a person on the spectrum, what are the big issues that you believe need to be solved?
  • As we design the CAP model, what suggestions do you have for creating a strong national partnership?
  • How do you think CAP could make a difference to you, your family and your community?
  • If you are aware of other collaborative models you think we should explore, please tell us about them.

Once you have composed your responses to these questions, please visit http://www.capproject.ca/index.php/en/written-submission-self-advocates to submit your answers in a fillable PDF.

All information is confidential. The information we collect will provide us with an understanding of the current autism landscape in Canada and what is required to have a successful national partnership model in this country.

If you have additional comments, questions, or information that you would like to share with us, please send them to casdacapproject@gmail.com.

The deadline for fillable PDF submissions is Saturday, July 30th.


Please, please, if you’re an autistic Canadian, please fill this out. We’ve got a large number of responses to the survey so far, but only approximately 4% of them are from actual autistics. The more information we get from autistics, the better our idea of what the situations around Canada are.

Thank you!

🙂 tagÂûght

Canadian Autism Partnership Project Survey

So, today was the St. John’s Round Table meeting for the Canadian Autism Partnership Project (see: Leaving, on a Jet Plane, Nova Scotia, How I Love Thee for starting details). It went quite well, and there was a broad spectrum of people there – social workers, SLPs, clinicians, I think there was at least one OT, ASNL board members, self advocates, parents (and a number who were more than one of those). The discussions went quite well, and just like the first ASD Avisory Group meeting, we actually managed to finish early! 🙂 (Which was a good thing, because the ASNL board had a meeting right after.)

But the important takeaway (aside from the info shared for the Working Group) is the matter of the online survey. For any Canadian involved in the autism community (whether autistic, family member, friend, researcher, specialist, doctor, clinician, member of a society, etc.), we need as many of you as possible to take the survey. The more data we have, the clearer the partnership’s objectives will be – and the more people we can tell the federal government that this will affect. The more people it will affect, the more likely the federal government is to provide the funds to actually create the partnership.

Visit the Canadian Autism Partnership Project to take the survey. It will close July 15th, so the sooner you can visit, the better.

Thank you,

🙂 tagÂûght

Autism is a Delay, Not a Stop

So, the ASNL this semester (spring) has arranged for a yoga for autistics… practice? workshop? whatever…. Four weeks, Sunday mornings. There are a total of five of us there, and like in Social Club, I’m the oldest (although with yoga, our instructor is older than I am). And during this morning’s session (our third), I noticed something interesting.

One of the others there, who is less than half my age… is a lot like I was when I was her age. A lot like I was, at least in social elements (well, from what I’ve been able to tell during the three hours I’ve spent with her so far). Things get blurted out when she thinks of them, no matter how “inappropriate” it may be at the time. She shares details with near strangers that you might think more appropriate to just share with friends. (I mentioned those two items to Mom, and she was nodding and going, “Oh, yes, I remember you being like that”….)

And there is no better way that I can think of to know that I have changed, than to realize that there’s someone else who is like I was, and am not (at least partly) anymore. (I have more restraint about blurting things out, and a bit more restraint about sharing things… although not as much of the latter, witness the very existence of this blog!)

It’s also proof, in living colour, of the “Autism is a Delay, Not a Stop” matter. I’ve changed. I have more awareness now of social appropriateness. I have more impulse control. But I used to be just like her.

We grow, and learn, and change. We just do it at a different rate than allistics/neurotypicals.

Please, parents, specialists, everyone… remember that. Simply being autistic does not mean that we will always behave/act/react the same way as we do now.

‘Later,

🙂 tagÂûght

Let’s Talk About: Modes of Thought: “Blind” Mind

Way back when, I wrote two posts on imagination and modes of thought. Well, my Dad tends to read the BBC, and when he sees an interesting article on there, he tends to share it with the family. Early this morning he found one that has a very definite link to what I was talking about in those two posts. It’s about the fact that there are some people who are unable to visualize anything; it’s called “aphantasia”.

This man had no idea his mind is ‘blind’ until last week

Read on for my thoughts

Signal Boosting: Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism, But That’s Not the Point

I just read this post on Caffeinated Autistic‘s blog, about an article in The Scientific Parent called “Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism, But That’s Not the Point“. It was a very moving post, and led me to read the article. Like Caffeinated Autistic, I’m going to quote some of the article here, because I really do think that this deserves to be signal boosted.

Read on for details, and my comments

Response: DoaM’s “Inspiration Porn Goes to the Prom”

I apologize – this was meant to be out yesterday (Friday) but it was a busy day, and I got distracted with other things. So it’s out today.

First things first – please go and read Inspiration Porn goes to the Prom on A Diary of a Mom. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

There’s a very important question that Jess asks in there. (Thanks, Jess.)

“What if you are that person?”

Continue to read the response.

#AutismAcceptance Day

April 2nd. WAAD. Officially World Autism Awareness Day, though I can’t think of an autistic I know who doesn’t feel it should be World Autism Acceptance Day.

This was going to be a very short post, because today I did most of my “getting my point across” on Twitter. But then I decided to look at this a different way – what have I done over the past year to contribute to Autism Acceptance?

Because for once, I can answer that I’ve done more than maintain my blog.

Last year, I wrote a letter to the ASNL about Light It Up Blue (which the ASNL continued this year, unfortunately) – it’s also been passed out to Autism Canada’s leadership.

Since then, I have also joined both Autism Canada’s ASD Advisory Board, and the Canadian Autism Partnership Project ASD Advisory Board. I have been part of discussions about creating conferences specifically for autistics in Canada, and about building a Canadian Autism Partnership. I’ve made friends with more autistics throughout Canada by this – really good friends at that. And those have helped me gain the confidence both in myself and my views of being autistic to speak out even more.

I have also started work on the project that my Social Club group is calling Spectrum Storybooks. It’s going to be a long-term project, but will be so useful. Something like that is needed, and we’re going to help fulfill that need.

So I don’t know about the world as a whole – there’s still a lot of things wrong with the public view of autism – but I’ve done things this past year that I can be proud of. And that? That’s something worth celebrating.

Deep Pressure Needed!

So, it’s around midnight here, and for the last half hour I’ve had both my weighted lap pillow and my laptop on my lap. My legs feel like they’re going to jump out of my skin – not sure what the best comparison is, maybe like little jolts of electricity running down the nerves in my legs, only constant rather than intermittent? – because I desperately need deep pressure.

(I’m debating showing up at my parents’ house tomorrow with my lap pillow and grabbing Mew – who is the biggest and heaviest of the cats we have between us – and forcing him to stay on my lap for more than twenty minutes at a time.)

Read on for more about deep pressure with respect to me, and a bit in general

Recommendation: Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew

Ellen Notbohm, the mother of two children, one of whom is on the spectrum, has a number of books out about children on the spectrum, acting as the voice for her son. One of them, Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew, is now in the ASNL Barbara Hopkins Library. As I was early to Social Club today, I noticed it and decided to read it to see whether I agreed with what was in the book.

My personal answer? It’s excellent. There are some minor things that I disagree with (noted below), but the vast majority of it (and every one of the “Ten Things”) involves points that I am in full agreement with. It’s also both well-written and quite respectful of autistics. (Including the fact that although she uses “child with autism” throughout, she both explains why she prefers not to use the term “autistic”, and also that a number of children, when they grow up, prefer to be referred to as “autistic” rather than “adult with autism”.)

Click for my specific thoughts

Handy Tips Menu

Aside

So I got to thinking about my post on doctor’s appointments (in part because I have two today I have to leave for in about 15 minutes!), and thought to myself, Yeah, that’s a handy tip to know.

Then I thought about the post I did about suggestions for dealing with faceblindness when confronted with bullying.

And I figured that it might be worth it to gather any of these handy tips I came up with or found out and posted about into one group, to make for easy reference. So, I introduce to you: the Handy Tips menu! Click on this (it’s up in the menu bar next to the Links Page), and it will take you to those posts I have designated as Handy Tips.

Doctor’s Appointments

I went to the doctor’s (general practitioner/GP) to get some referrals this afternoon, and while I was there, I was texting with a friend I made during the CAPP meeting. One of the things we discussed was doctor’s appointments, and something my dad came up with to ensure that he dealt with everything he needed to when he went to the doctor. It’s worked for me too, since he told me about it, and based on our discussion, I thought I’d share it here. It’s simple, but sometimes it’s the simple things one never thinks about.

For an explanation, read on….

BBC Video Article: Cat Helps 6 Year Old Autistic

Link

My dad follows the BBC for the quality of their reporting, and sometimes finds interesting tidbits on there. This was one of them. Very positive message here. You go, Iris and Thula!

How a cat enabled an autistic six-year-old to communicate

Turns out there’s also an article on CNN about Iris and Thula, which goes into greater detail about Iris’s accomplishments as an artist.

Portrait of a 6-year-old artist with autism and her therapy cat

Thanks to Autism Canada for that link!

🙂 tagÂûght

Let’s Talk About: Storybooks – Face-blindness vs. Bullies

And now that I’m back in St. John’s, I’m resuming the talk about storybooks! Specifically, this post is to look at the issue of face-blindness and bullying.

While I was in the CAPP meeting a week and a half ago, I brought this topic up over lunch, and got some great suggestions for how people who are face-blind can deal with “recognizing/identifying” bullies. I’m going to list them here. If anyone has other possibilities, ideas, suggestions, solutions, please let me know – I’d really like these Spectrum Storybooks to be as comprehensive as possible.

Continue reading

I’ll Be Back Again

I’m currently sitting at my gate in Halifax Robert Stanfield International Airport. It’s been a really, really good trip; great and Âû-some all at once.

Remember I mentioned that friend of my sister’s who has an autistic son? We went over to their place for dinner, before I was dropped off at the airport. And I got so many wonderful hugs – everyone was staring! He was hugely affectionate to me. It was great! (I’m told that usually he’s either willing to engage or goes and shuts himself in his room – something that I always used to do, or want to do – and that he was even more engaged with me than my sister has ever seen him. It was au-some!)

It’s really been a wonderful trip. I got to see my niece and nephews, got to spend time with them, with them and my sister, and with my sister alone. But I’m happy to be heading back home as well. I miss my puddy tat, and my parents. (Yes, Mom and Dad, you’re up there in what I miss. It’s not all the cats. 😉 )

Meeting everyone, spending time with people, and the work we’re doing with CAPP – this trip is definitely going in my favourite memories.

About an hour before the flight’s due to leave. Next post will be from St. John’s, as usual.

‘Later, all!

🙂 tagÂûght