Recommendation: Hamilton FeminAuts’ Resources

So, I’ve been poking around the Autism Canada forums, and one of the members there has a link to a group called Hamilton feminauts. To quote from the About Us portion of their website:

FeminAuts was founded as a safe, inclusive, and accessible meeting space for women and female identified individuals on the Autism spectrum to meet likeminded individuals and learn valuable skills such as self esteem building, sensory self regulation, and adaptive and social skills.

http://hamiltonfeminauts.weebly.com/about-us.html

I went there to poke around as well, and I would say that their resource page definitely warrants a recommendation! So: Resources – Hamilton feminauts. They’ve got a bunch of useful free phone apps, for both executive dysfunction and communication; links to various resource sites (including the ASAN welcome packet and the Geneva Centre); online diagnostics and test resources; inventories and social stories (including ones related to sexuality); and usual open source therapies and courses links.

Yep, high on the recommended resources list!

Note that I’ve also included a link in my links page.

🙂 tagÂûght

Recommendation: E is for Empathy by Unstrange Mind

Heh. Remember when I said in the last post not too expect too many recommendations this month, despite the posting volume on Autistic-oriented blogs? Well… there was another wonderful post put up today that really needs signal boosting.

Unstrange Mind is doing a series this April for the Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge (check the following post for the link if you’re curious), and she’s hitting things hard, the way they need. And today’s post (well, all these posts she’s writing, but today’s happened to strike me) is about something that is a huge problem in trying to gain acceptance for autistics. The Empathy Question.

Please, read through the post E is for Empathy – it highlights a number of problems with the idea that autistics have no empathy (talk to my mother, or my best friends; they’ll dismiss that idea immediately). It even mentions a new study that brings to light some problems with the “well-known” Sally-Ann Test, a study that I hadn’t heard about before.

Not to mention the ludicrous treatise she mentions that says something about since autistics have no empathy, we have no sense of community. *cough, cough* Um, what do you think my blogroll list is?

Anyway, she also provides links to another blog post about empathy, that in turn provides links to more. Please, take a look at them, and absorb the message we’re trying to send.

ASNL Library Fundraiser

The Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador is holding a fundraiser for their library at the Chapters on Kenmount Rd. (just up from the Avalon Mall) in St. John’s, from 7pm to 9pm tonight. A percentage of the prices of all books bought during that period will be donated to the Autism Society by means of a Chapters/Indigo gift card, in order to help expand the ASNL Library.

More details of it here….

Recommendation: Interrupting and Correcting

Okay, the post I’m recommending is not actually called “Interrupting and Correcting”; it’s a series of 3 posts about the AS (read that as Asperger’s Syndrome or Autism Spectrum) need to be Right. But… reading through it? My first thought was, Mom, this is why I have such a hard time controlling my urge to step in with a correction when I know you’ve made a mistake.

Because as my mother would (correctly) tell you – that’s a major problem I still have. I can get by in social situations, for the most part. I learned early on that politeness and “shyness” are a good combo – and I do seem to give off the general vibe of “asexual” when meeting new people. (Or, at least, if people do flirt with me, I don’t notice, and don’t respond – I tend to draw in on myself when meeting new people as well….) But say something that I know is incorrect… and I have to almost bite down on my tongue (literally) to keep myself from making a correction. And still, about half the time, I don’t manage to stop it.

Now, I didn’t get the same type of bullying that the author of this post got – I was more inclined to be bullied because I was smart, and because I was a very tall, clumsy girl, in elementary school, and in high school, I was with people as smart as I was, so there wasn’t that kind of “that person has the answers” dynamic going on. But… being smart got me the respect of the teachers. And therefore their approval. And that mattered, because one thing I was shown in elementary school is that there are good adults out there who will do their best to protect you from bullies. And adults are more likely to believe you when you don’t feel well or can’t do something if they respect you. (Not always, but enough so that my analytical side could come to that conclusion.)

So, from Snakedancing’s blog, I give you:

Please note that the topic above is really the main topic of only the first post. The other two go into strategies to help deal with the need to be right.

🙂 tagAught

(P.S. My planned post following up on Modes of Thought will be out – either tomorrow or later today, depending on whether you subscribe to the “day changes over at midnight” theory or the “day changes over after you fall asleep” theory. If the latter, it will be out tomorrow – this is what I say; if the former, it will be out later today – which is what the website says.)

Camp NaNoWriMo: April 9th, 2014

NaNoWriMo (and over the last couple of years, Camp NaNoWriMo) is a big thing for me. But this year, things got off to a slowish start, mostly because my conscious awareness of the whole “Camp NaNoWriMo’s First Session = April” was entirely absent until this morning.

*shrugs* Happens sometimes.

So, there I am, forgetting completely about it, and reading blogs about Autism Awareness Month and all that… and what should pop into my inbox but a note about Saturday’s Marathon Writing Session.

*tagAught blinks at email, and goes, “Huh. It’s Camp NaNo already?” pauses “Gah! April’s already one week gone! Write! Need to write! What to write?!”*

Going on….

World Autism Day 2014

So… it’s April 2nd. World Autism Awareness Day. Everyone’s posting about it. Everyone has their own opinions on the differences between “Awareness” and “Acceptance”, and what that means for those of us on the spectrum and our allies.

Read details of what today means for me

Motor Coordination and Autism

I recently re-read a post by Musings of an Aspie: Is there a Link Between ASD Motor Skill Deficits and Social Communication Difficulties? which she posted a year ago. She started out intending to look at ASD and dyspraxia – which is a developmental disorder that seems to involve problems with motor coordination… and sensory issues, and executive order functions. In fact, apparently autism and dyspraxia have so much of an overlap that people can be frequently misdiagnosed with one when they really have the other, or they tend to often end up as co-morbid (co-occuring) diagnoses.

Why is this interesting for me?

Info: Disability Tax Credit Talk

For any fellow Newfoundlanders, there is a talk on the Disability Tax Credit on Saturday, March 8, 2014, at 10:30 hrs., at the Holiday Inn on Portugal Cove Rd. This applies to all disabilities, including autism, depression, physical and other mental and social disabilities. It should be useful, because there’s also the fact that if you qualify for the Disability Tax Credit, you are automatically qualified for the Registered Disability Savings Plan – which can be a huge help.

See the poster below!

Disability Tax Credit Poster

😉 tagAught

ASNL: Connections Panel

Well, the Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador had their Adult Autism Group panel tonight. Unlike what I originally thought it was going to be, it wasn’t each of us (3) making a presentation on a topic; it was five of us having a discussion panel with three questions – one about the stresses of passing for normal, one about the school system, and one about creativity / imagination – as topics, and then open question time for the audience.

It went very well, I think. (So do my parents.) It was surprisingly enjoyable, and we talked about a number of things, including sensory issues, social issues, energy drain (spoons), teachers, special ed, writing, movies, music, visual art, Asperger’s and the DSM-5, disclosure, questions about what we feel when someone goes, “Oh, now I understand” after an explanation of autism, and so on.

I also had – for exhibits of my creativity – the memorial poems for my grandmothers, the 50th birthday poem for my father, two novels-in-progress (It Came From the Library being one of them), and my Earth: Final Conflict series Dreams, Memories and Truths.

I also got to meet one of the better-known autism advocates here in NL (he was the one who asked the question about disclosure), and that was a pleasure.

Had a great time!

🙂 tagAught

Recommendations: DSM-5 ASD Criteria Analysis

Update Jun. 15/17: Updated all links to Unstrange Mind’s new website.

And we’re back again with Unstrange Mind, who is doing all of us the favour of going through the DSM-5 Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnostic criteria, and analysing it in terms of what it means both for those who are already diagnosed (even though we’re grandfathered in), and those who will be looking for a diagnosis. (Note: Frankly, based on her analysis and just what the criteria says, I fit even better in the ASD diagnosis than I did in Asperger’s! I may have said that before, but it bears repeating.)

Her analysis is not yet finished, but (as mentioned in the top note), I will continue to update as it progresses. However, I thought it was important enough that I want to start getting it out now.

Here we go:

More to follow as they are posted. This is a highly recommended set of posts, and I encourage everyone who has any interest in ASD and what the criteria is to read them.

Stimming Survey

Aside

AutistiCook has a stimming survey set up; it’s now got enough responses that it can serve as a resource for people, but it can always use more. The more responses and details, the better! I encourage people to fill it out; especially as it’s not “just” for autistic stims, but for any kind of stims.

Stimming Survey

The original stimming survey post….

The stimlist needs your help….

Stimming Survey results

😉 tagAught

ASNL Celebrates Autism Awareness Month 2013

The Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador is celebrating October as Autism Awareness Month. To do this, one of the things they’re arranging is a series of talks, incorporating subjects such as naturopathy, nutrition, etc. There’s only really one I’m interested in, however.

On Wednesday Oct. 30th, the Connections (Adult Aspies) Group is going to be having an “open house” (so to speak) panel; the topics are planned to include such things as sensory issues, anxiety, social issues, and available resources. At the moment, the plan is for 3-4 people to speak, and then have an “open floor” where questions can be asked.

The reason I’m particularly interested in this meeting is that I’m going to be one of the panelists speaking; my focus is going to be on sensory issues (with perhaps a bit of info re creativity and assuming competence thrown in). I essentially figure that if I want to be a self-advocate, I’ve got to start somewhere, and why not with something like this?

I have a basic plan of what I intend to say: intro to the fact that humans actually have seven senses, rather than just the five obvious ones; an explanation of proprioception and vestibular senses (to explain the sixth and seventh); and then an explanation of some of the issues that ASDers tend to run into when it comes to sensory issues – quick and succinct, but hopefully providing enough info that the parents (it’s likely to be parents, mostly, who attend) will understand a bit better what their children are going through. I intend to touch on hyper-sensitivity, hypo-sensitivity, the fact that one can have opposite reactions to different things in the same sense (I know someone on my blog circle, can’t remember who, loves spicy stuff but can’t tolerate the taste of mint), and hopefully mention a few potential coping strategies (including the fact that stimming is often a method of trying to cope with the overwhelming sensory influx that we live with). If there’s time (I’ll likely have maybe 15 minutes to talk), I also intend to mention the theories about how it’s possible that our impaired understanding of emotional and body language cues might actually be because of our sensory issues, rather than them being separate things that just happen to fall under the common umbrella of ASD symptoms, and also about the possibility that “emotional sense” is also a sensory input that we can end up overwhelmed by.

The thing is, I’d also like to provide some further sources for people to look into. I intend to have sheets to pass around with blog URLs, but if anyone has any blog posts specifically about sensory issues that they think might help educate people, and wouldn’t mind if I put those direct links on the sheet, could you please let me know? Also, if there’s anything that you think I should consider mentioning about sensory issues (whether I’ve listed it above or not), I would welcome your thoughts. There’s no guarantee that I’ll be able to include all of the suggestions (considering potential time constraints), but even just knowing what others think is important to mention could help.

Thanks!

😉 tagAught

Behaviour is Communication; Violence is Behaviour

There have been a lot of discussions around my blog “circle” about Kelli and Issy, and what violence from autistics actually means, and what are some ways to deal with it (both from the autistic and the parent point-of-view). In fact, as I believe I mentioned in yesterday’s post, there are some specific posts on other blogs about the subject I want to recommend. I also want to talk about my own experience (minor) with violence in myself, as requested by Ariane in her post in Emma’s Hope Book on Tuesday (see below, it’s one of the ones I’m recommending you read).

Continue on to see more of what I’m talking about with the title.

Let’s Talk About: Hyper-Focus vs Lack of Focus

Okay. First of all, this was not originally the next post I was going to write. I have an unfinished post about driving as stimming (which I’ve been meaning to finish and post for about three to four months now – mea culpa), and there are some other issues that I want to explore as well. But I went out for coffee with my local friend tonight, and we got to talking about some of the things we experience. One of them was the element of focus, and it ended up being (pun not intended) the focus of our conversation. And I thought it might be interesting to open up the dialogue to others as well.

I have two different “focus” modes: What I call hyper-focus, or concentrating so hard on one thing that everything else (including calls to come and eat dinner) gets blocked out; and lack of focus, where I’m lost and can’t decide what needs doing or what has priority. And a lot of things I’ve read about other autistics say the same thing. Especially if it involves one of our special interests (definitely hyper-focus), or if it’s something we’re not at all interested in (lack of focus).

The lack of focus element definitely seems to be linked to problems with executive function, and it’s quite possible that the hyper-focus is as well.

Read on to find out what I think and how I deal!

#SensoryIssues: Interoception & Psychosomatism

Musings posted on her blog on July 3rd a post about “interoception”, which she defined as:

describes our sensitivity to sensations that originate in our bodies

Her post concentrates on the issues surrounding the muting of interoceptive signals that is quite often a “Thing” for autistics, and the problems that can result from that (such as a serious infection, in her case, which could have been caught weeks ago if she had been aware of the sensation); and on the issues of alexithymia, which often mean confusing emotional states with interoceptive information.

In my response to one of the comments on that post, I linked the concept of interoception to the concept of psychosomatic symptoms; and this post is to explore that concept further.

Continue reading

#SensoryIssues: Pain

[Note: This post and the next one (#SensoryIssues: Interoception & Psychosomatism) are linked in theme, so they will be posted closely together.  Same day, at least.]

I don’t complain a lot about pain.

I’m sure some people (*cough* my family *cough*) will disagree, but… I don’t. Not when compared to what I actually feel, at least. I tend to feel a fair bit more pain than I talk about to people, partly because I don’t know how to say things, and partly because… well, see my hypochondria posts (links are below) for the details on how I feel about that.

Oh, if I have a nasty headache, or bad cramps, or I get a sensory “spike” (like when cutlery clashes together, or a child squeals in excitement, etc.)… then I complain. Or at least mention it.

Sometimes very obviously (aka covering my ears with my hands, holding my stomach), because I’m never sure how to convey the information and words don’t seem to be enough. I’m not always listened to (especially by my siblings; my parents are a lot more understanding, particularly lately, as we learn new stuff about the sensory sensitivities of autistics), so broad, sometimes exaggerated gestures have become my main effort to get across to people that I’m hurting. (Of course, this then results in people – *cough* my brother *cough* – telling me that there’s no need to do that, it’s not like it’s an issue. [Said after I covered my ears to try to deal with my niece’s excited squealing. I wasn’t trying to make her feel bad or anything; I just could not tolerate the pitch of her voice, and no one was listening to my requests to please be a bit quieter. </rant over>])

Continue on to read more re Pain Issues

#SensoryIssues: Taste vs Texture – Food Dislikes

So, I was having tomato sandwiches for lunch today (been a long time since I’ve had those, and I remembered how much I enjoy them) when it suddenly came to me that I didn’t really like tomato sandwiches on brown bread, that they tasted better with white bread. Now, this didn’t really make that much sense, because I find that I prefer the taste of brown bread to white bread; it’s more interesting.

So I was trying to puzzle this out, and after a minute or two, I realized that it wasn’t really the taste of brown bread tomato sandwiches I was objecting to; it was the texture! Revelation!

Read on for details

Let’s Talk About: Bullying

This next post was originally going to be my long-delayed one about Stims. But this morning, Dad and I went out to brunch (Mom’s down in Halifax with my sister’s family, helping out with the new baby, for several weeks), and on our way back, the CBC Radio Sunday Edition had a section on bullying. Specifically, about how one should respond to bullying, and whether at times violence in response is warranted. It made me think. A lot. And I thought it was definitely worth a “Let’s Talk About” post.

For more on my thoughts:

Autism Upsides Continues: May 2013

We’re not going to let the end of April stop us. Let’s keep on with the Autism Upsides! Here’s the Storify for May 2013, everyone; read and enjoy the positive things that are a good part of autism.

Continue on to the May 2013 Storify!

tagAught Celebrates 1000 Ausome Things #AutismPositivity2013

Today is Autism Positivity Day 2013, and the theme for this year is “1,000 Ausome Things”. We get enough of hearing about the bad things about autism; let’s hear about the good things! For my contribution, see the list below…. (Note: I’m taking a few of them from my contributions to the #AutismUpside campaign.)

Autism Positivity 2013 Flash Blog Image

Autism Positivity 2013!

Continue reading

Autism Upsides Week 4: AWN’s April Campaign

And now, as we approach the end of April 2013, we’ve got Week 4 of the Autism Women’s Network April Autism Upsides campaign. And we’ve got the Autism Positivity 2013 Flash Blog coming up as well, which the contents of this campaign can help with! So, enjoy the last two days of April (May will be a new Storify) with the Autism Upsides campaign!

Continue on for the Storify (now complete)!

Autism Positivity Day 2013 Is Coming

Hey, everyone! This is just a short post to remind people that Autism Positivity Day 2013 is coming up on Tuesday (April 30)! The theme this year is “ausome” things about ASD – the flash blog is trying to come up with at least a thousand of them. As the intro post says, we all know a lot of the bad, unpleasant or difficult things that accompany autism; we live with them every day. But there are good things too! So let’s get those lists started!

And to prompt you, feel free to read the Autism Upside Storifies of the past few weeks (each word is a link to the different storify posts)! (Now including Week 4!) We’ve got you started, let’s keep up the good work!

😉 tagAught

Fiat Lux!

“Let there be light!” (Or, in literal translation, the order, “Make light!”)

So, yes, this post is about sensory stuff. Specifically, visual sensory stuff, and living with people who aren’t as sensitive to light as I am.

Everyone needs light. We’re a diurnal species, meaning that we’re active in the daylight. There are very good reasons for that, involving the anatomical makeup of our eyes – namely, we (as a species) aren’t very good at seeing in the dark, and vision is our species’ primary sense.

More than that, we need a certain amount of sunlight to stay healthy. It helps our bodies produce Vitamin D, which helps with the absorption of calcium, and assists in preventing depression (or helping to mitigate it), to name just two benefits of sunlight.

Continue on for the sensory stuff….

Autism Upsides Week 3: AWN’s April Campaign

And… onto Week #3 of the #AutismUpside campaign on Twitter! We’ve got more coming in, so pop in and take a look!

On to the Storify (Now Complete)!

Services = IQ ≤ 70

*sighs*

My Mom is still working on making connections with Eastern Health, trying to get services for me so that I can live independently. I’m working (somewhat – I seriously need help with motivation, depression has me in its grasp) on getting Income Support and Employment Insurance. I’ve filled out the forms and stuff, now it’s mostly waiting.

But for Mom… she keeps running into the same old problem. “If she has an IQ of higher than 70, we can’t help her.”

Click for further venting and expressions of dissatisfaction

Autism Upsides Week 2: AWN’s April Campaign

The Autism Upsides campaign on Twitter has been going wonderfully, to the extent that the storify I set up last week has become extremely long. There have been so many tweets coming in; definitely something for all of us to be proud of. In order to ensure that people who have already read most of it don’t have to go through clicking “Read More” a ridiculous number of times, I’ve decided to split the Storify of the Autism Upsides campaign up into weeks, rather than just have one for the entire month.

So, here is Week 2 (Monday April 15th to Sunday April 24th, 2013) of the Autism Women’s Network #autismupside campaign on Twitter.

Continue on to read the Storify (Now Complete)!

Recommendation: Wiring the Brain- The Genetics of Emergent Phenotypes

I mentioned this blog post in my post on “Autism Speaks: I Want to Say”, but I think it deserves its own post recommending it.

The Genetics of Emergent Phenotypes, on Wiring the Brain.

Continue for details, or just click the link above!

Recommendation: Musing’s Survey #1

Okay, Musing of an Aspie‘s “Take a Test Tuesday” has now changed over to “Take a Survey Tuesday”, at least for a month. I highly recommend them; the questions are asked by ASDers for other ASDers. The first one, now up, is about relationships – friendships, family, romantic.

So, what are you doing still over here? Pop over to her post and either fill out the survey on Survey Monkey, or answer in the comments!

😉 tagAught

“Autistic People Are”…

Today is the flash blog day for Autistic People Are, a follow-up to last week’s Autistic People Should flash blog. I’m not going to write a terribly long post today, because what I have to say is fairly short.

Autistic people are fellow human beings.

Yes, “fellow human beings” is emphasized. Because that’s how we should be treated.

Please, think about that before you start trolling or hating.

[Edit: Mar. 03/13] Check out Unstrange Mind’s post about Autistic People Are; it gives details about what these two flash blogs are all about, and what’s been done so far. [/End Edit]

Thank you.

😐 tagAught

Asperger’s Diagnosis, Official and Non-

So, here it is, the post where I talk about how I felt concerning my Aspie diagnosis.

Official diagnosis? Relief.

Now, at least some of this was because, well, I’d actually sought that diagnosis. I’d made a point of going to the people who helped a friend of mine get his diagnosis, looking for one. It gave me the ability to access information and resources (including the Disability Tax Credit and the Registered Disability Savings Plan: Gov’t of Canada initiatives to help Canadians with disabilities that result in “severe and prolonged impairment of physical or mental functions” – which, quite frankly, ASD does).

Unfortunately, I’m still looking for some of those necessary supports…. Read further on my chatty opinions and thoughts….