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HOLIDAY SPECIAL: A Presentation on Autistic Artifacts from my project partner and I in “Disability and Embodiment” Class

TRIGGER Warning for everyone: We had used artifacts that were a part of the medical and charity models of disability towards the end of the presentation. This was only to show that they are artifacts too even though we all disagree with them.

I hope everyone enjoys the presentation my project partner from class did with me. We worked really hard as capturing the highlights of the many positive aspects of Autistic culture and the social model of disability!!!

Hopefully I can finally start Graduate School for next year :D It would only help me even more!!!!

Flapplauding always and Please ENJOY your HOLIDAY Present from me to you!!!!!

OUT, J

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A Reflection I wrote in the Fall on ‘The Importance of Inclusive Education’ and a few other things about Autism Acceptance

The article, “Islands of Loneliness:,” by Theoharis, et. al, the authors write about the importance of inclusive education for Autistic people like myself. I reflect how I agree with the authors. They interview several Self-Advocates on the autistic spectrum including Temple, Tito, Daniel Tammet, and others (there is also Carly Fleischmann as well). These people have different stories about what drives them for social interaction because if you met one Autistic person you’ve only met one Autistic person. Every one on the autistic spectrum is different. And as in beginning of the song by Freddie Jackson called “You are my Lady,” he sings “There’s something that I want to say, but words sometimes get in the way…” This song makes me think of how it is hard for Autistics many times to communicate the way so called ‘normal’ people speak.

Instead of reiterating what my Autistic peers have told you in this article which are valid too, I prefer to reflect on my own needs and wants for social interaction. As I discussed in my reflection on Mark Haddon’s book, I went to Autreat 2 years in a row. I am hoping to make it to another Autistic run event again futures to come. Although it is not called Autreat anymore and Jim Sinclair does not run the week long event anymore. One of the many retreats over the summer was created after Jim disbanded Autreat, called Association for Autistic Community conference or what some people call Autistic Con or as some friends will still try to call ‘Autreat’.

I say being Autistic is culture because there are many things that make up who we are. For example, stimming like flapping when we are happy, angry, sad, applauding, etc to express ourselves. Another part of Autistic culture is echolalia which means a person like myself repeats words or phrases without realizing it. It is very hard to be around Non-Autistic people especially those people without disabilities because they typically do not understand us. Sometimes I don’t get enough energy (or in Autistic culture we call enough spoons) to explain to Non-Autistic people what we are and how we like to interact. Though many people find because I have practiced passing as normal so many times, that there are Non-Disabled people who don’t really think of me being Autistic. However, I am and always will be!

Autistic people do socialize when we want to, we just need to be comfortable with the person we are about to socialize with. If someone is going to want to interact with us, then we need them to understand our own space so no one crosses into our boundaries either verbally or nonverbally. Everyone always talks about how Autistic people lack social skills, but there are many Non-Autistic people who lack social skills too. Social skills and boundaries should be taught in schools with everyone. The article talks about the importance of inclusive education among every student even those who are on the autistic spectrum and I truly believe that inclusive education helps. However, it’s not perfect since inclusive education needs to still ensure every one in the classroom including teachers respect one another.

I wanted to make sure I was mainstreamed by the time I reached Junior High School. Although since the education system wasn’t exactly accepting back when I was in secondary school, I was bullied not only by students, but by some teachers too. Society decided to create segregative schools and settings for Autistic people since we were different. They felt and still feel by segregating many of us, and teaching us to conform, we would learn to adapt to the current system. We were considered burdens to the current school system and to society, so they place many of my Autistic peers in segregative Residential school centers throughout the world today (like the Judge Rotenberg Center). This is not inclusive and does not provide us with the self-determined social interaction that many other Human cultures are given in school.

Educating people does not even mean placing students in private charter schools either where the students go home after a single school day. The current public primary and secondary school systems need to acknowledge the many ways a person interacts and communicates and learns with the world. Not being able to speak does not mean we don’t want interaction or communication, it just means we may use different ways to communicate our thoughts to others. For example, Henry Frost fought to be included in the public school system as a Non-verbal Autistic youth!

Loneliness is a problem in this world that society created, but we can solve it by understanding each other more. By understanding each other, we can read the many hundreds of blogs written by my Autistic peers telling our stories as more blogs are created too. The article stresses how many people on the autistic spectrum write about their autobiographical stories for others to read. Well, everyone needs to read them all whether published in books or personal blogs, and read each account as a way of understanding the differences so that society can understand and accept. Listen, read, learn, and understand Autistics who have their own way of just being and interacting.

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Additions after the reflection I wrote:

There are many Autistic people who are Non-Verbal. It can be hard for parents of Autistic children to know that not every child is going to be the same wanting and reaching for the same goals as what many parents want for their children. Many parents want their children especially those who are Autistic, to think like the status quo and make a lot of money, and I understand why. Not everyone can be a CEO, a Director, a social butterfly, or even a Celebrity, and parents need to understand this. It’s okay for any one to be their own unique success story. Many parents of Autistic children want their children to be success stories not needing any support. Support is a necessary part of being Human because everyone needs some kind of connection all throughout their lives to feel a part of someone else. That’s why we have our families, so people can be supported. Independence is important, but everyone needs to remember the importance of Interdependence in humanity.

Please Read Lydia Brown’s “Privilege and the Myth of Independence” on her blog, Autistic Hoya!

Please also read Alyssa’s post on “Ableism is to Blame”

Please also read Kassiane’s post here ‘On Role Models’ from her blog from 2012.

There is also another retreat called Ocate Cliffs as well, run by Star Ford who runs Divergent Labs!

Here is a video I like to show people about what not to say to Autistic people.

Here is a video by Drew Morton Goldsmith a Non-verbal Autistic person who talks about the importance of Autistic Rights!

and, here is a video series called Ask an Autistic, Amythyst has a series of videos on ‘Ask an Autistic’ who vlogs different topics each week on her You Tube account, she also has a blog which she states on the videos. This is the first episode:

Any one who wants to see Citizen Autistic on Hulu can see it tomorrow and talk about it on a Twitter feed on Monday!

There is so many things every one needs to learn about that people generally don’t know or think about when people think about autism in general.

Causton-Theoharis, J., Ashby, C., & Cosier, M. (2009). Islands of loneliness: Exploring social interaction through the autobiographies of individuals with autism. Journal Information, 47(2).

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Have a great week!!

OUT, J

My Reflection from class in the Fall on ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime’ by Mark Haddon

SPOILER alert: For anyone who has not read this book yet!

In Mark Haddon’s book “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time,” it made me think of the visual thinking I have. The character in the book, Christopher, has much anxiety, panic attacks, sensory issues, and visualizing his plans to be able to function in a society which does not accommodate Autistic people like him that much. It showed how very intelligent, but concrete Christopher was too, even with math and science. It was pretty accurate portrayal of what goes on in my mind with a few differences.

I find that there were similar traits to how I feel in society. The similar traits between Christopher and myself are that we try to adapt to a society with many multi-sensory experiences in the world. For example, when Christopher was traveling to London to be reunited with his mother, he was trying to compensate by trying many different relaxation techniques. One of which was counting to 50 breaths so he could stay calm. He also was vocalizing a lot on the subways in London which I do a lot when I am on the subways in New York City. Some people actually are staring at me, but then I turn to say hello to not be known as a freak to them.

Christopher was very compassionate for animals and much feeling for the dog that his father killed which is why his father bought him a dog at the end of the story. Although his parents split up, his parents had their own way of living with their Autistic son, Christopher. In order for both of his parents to accept him for he is, the mother split a part from his father by finding another man which eventually she broke up with. The father hid letters the mother sent grieving for Christopher’s forgiveness in the way she used to treat him. When Christopher lived with his father solely, the father didn’t embrace and accept his son for he is, and always tried to construct his son to pass as normal as much as possible. His father eventually celebrated him too.

It was only until after Christopher found out his father killed the dog, Wellington, and Christopher sought out to find his mother, that both parents accepted their son. Acceptance is a process and everyone has the chance to work out their issues with themselves to celebrate who they are and other people. When a child has a disability like autism, many parents don’t want to accept their child is Autistic, instead find a way to ‘fix’ them or make them ‘pass’, and not honoring the person their child is. Many parents look to organizations like Autism Speaks and Autism Science Foundation to fix their child to be like everyone else in order to ‘normalize’ their child. But, what is normal, anyway?

All throughout my childhood, I was always Autistic, but was never diagnosed until I was an adult. I was always very anxious to be around society, I didn’t like people touching me in a certain way, and still don’t. I also had many other sensory issues like not wanting to be around abrupt noises and I do stim either with my hands or my whole body.

Autistic people need routines, a sense of knowing what is going to happen, and repetitive thinking in our way of doing things. Sometimes being Autistic can be frustratingly stressful causing a panic attack when we are not knowing what to expect from a new situation or person. New situations and people can be anxiety provoking for Autistic people like Christopher or myself. However, autism is a developmental delay which means we can learn to be comfortable with things in time at different times of our life. It is what makes an Autistic person a human being too.

When I meet other Autistic people I feel happier than when meeting a person who is not Autistic because I am able to communicate in the language of autism with anyone on the spectrum. I believe Christopher from Haddon’s book would feel the same way. It does not mean I don’t like meeting Non-Autistic people too, but there is a different feeling when meeting other Autistic people. Everyone has their unique properties of being Human, but most importantly everyone has people they are most comfortable with.

When I attended Autreat the last 2 years that Jim Sinclair ran it, I really loved being able to Flapplaud with our hands instead of clapping. The first year I attended Autreat, I loved being able to use interaction badges to know when we wanted to communicate with each other. I also enjoyed working with the Autistic children at Autreat in 2013 where I ran the children’s program there because my friend who ran it became ill during Autreat.

Autistic people need to have the community we live in, to adapt to our needs and wants too. Police officers and other authority figures are becoming increasingly aware of what it’s like for an Autistic person in the community. For each culture in Humanity, we learn different things from different people. It does not matter what culture we belong in, whether it’s Autistic culture or Deaf Culture or any other culture in Humanity, we need to find a way to communicate and accept each other.

Haddon, M. (2007). The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. National Geographic Books.

Happy New Year 2015, A Wondrous, Amazing, Unknown, Winning Adventure in our Hands!

2014 was a continuation of transition with many different accomplishments I made. I started to finally begin becoming my own person whether anyone realizes it and accepts that or not…

A vision revealed before birth,
a triumph to work on,
a way of becoming,
you,
I,
myself,
34 years later,
I began to become,
to do,
to act,
and to be
my own person.
I may be strange to most,
I may be weird to a lot,
I may want things the majority
does not understand and
want at the moment,
However,
I am here to
change everything,
to bring justice to the world,
to make society understand,
to create a world
where everyone no matter who
or what
others will know what life is
and is supposed to be.
People may not understand,
people may think I’m crazy,
people may want me to shut up,
but I know what I am here for,
and I know what I need to do,
life will get easier
as long as the majority
understand the minority cultures
in the world which include
not only what you know already,
but disability cultures including
autistic culture too.
It’s 2015 now and
the time has come,
the time has approached us,
as we are almost in paradise,
or not even close.
We still have to remember
that we are here,
that we all matter,
and that being human means
to care,
to love,
to look at and be at a distance
where we see everything
about a person,
without being too close
without being too overprotective
and overbearing on others.
Many times the majority
only sees what they
want to see and
most of the time
see limited views
from being too close
to a person or place
or themselves.
That’s why people
need vision,
need sight,
need to listen,
need to speak every word
with passion.
Remember
each year we live,
we live it for a reason,
to reach our purpose,
to get closer to
finishing our mission,
to live is to die stronger,
happier, wiser, and
knowing we made the difference
we were meant to be doing.
Many times the majority
does not understand,
until it’s too late.
Listen,
breathe,
feel,
smell,
and reach out
to touch both
figuratively and
literally the many
awesome opportunities
the minority people
in the world,
have to build
a world the way it
ought to be,
the way it needs to be,
and the way others need
to see it.
We can learn from each other,
we can heal from each other,
we can love one another,
if only we respect
one another the
way we need to
everyday.
It’s a long journey ahead,
it’s an adventure
toward paradise in the distance.
Sometimes the people closest to us,
are really too close with little vision
of us.
Sometimes it takes a step back
to see, to hear, to feel,
to touch, and to reach,
so people can know
they have seen everything,
they have touched the spirits,
so they have felt the pains,
the joys, and the sadnesses.
so they know they have felt
society needing to change.
so they know to reach out
and give a hand no matter what.
the majority can be cruel,
but they do not have to be.
We are here to live
with convictions we have to
fulfill missions of hope,
of love, and of becoming
the person who will
eventually go back
and say “I’ve done it
and I have won, and I have
contributed to change a world
from the negativities the world
had to a more positive well being
of humanity.”
There will always be battles,
there will always be some kind of war,
but we need to remember why we
are here, and how to get back
to the finish line
in maze of gigantic proportions.
Sometimes we don’t start
the maze out right,
but sometimes we eventually
get on target zooming away
without looking back.
For every obstacle
we experience,
only makes our soul
better from when we started…

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!! 2015 will be AWESOME if we all realize what we can do to make it AWESOME :)

OUT, J

FOCUS On The Present & How to Focus on Your Life

The 8 ways to Focus on the Present and How to Focus on your Life:::

1) How do you relate to people

2) How do you function in the world

3) How do you do your work

4) How do you interact and react to other people

5) Nothing about us, without us!!!

6) How I look physically

7) How Hygiene helps

8) How to focus on safety and security

These 8 practices are for everyone to remember and practice. Please always remind yourself of this and help others to know this too if they are struggling!

Find the connections you need to live your life the way YOU want to!!!

OUT, J

A poem called, “ME”

ME,

By theamazinJ

A darkness cracks the light open,
I hear,
I see,
I feel the light through,
I get closer,
and nearer,
and push through the darkness
to reach the light.
I expire
and then inspire into
the light without
even realizing it,
then suddenly
I FALL
I begin FLYING
and I SHINE,
why?
Because I am the LIGHT,
I am the STAR,
and I am ME.
I expire and inspire,
back and forth,
side to side,
up and down,
diagonal to diagonal,
all over the arc,
all through the colors,
when I come out,
I feel wonderful,
I feel great,
but most evidently,
I feel the colors on me.
The colors instantly influence me,
but I suddenly
purify myself from the colors
to be clear,
to enjoy and be mellow,
I clear my head,
I clear my soul
of all colors,
just to be clear
that I am fluid,
that I am one,
that I am a solid golden
clear energy surrounding me.
I am ME,
I am ME because
I have my vision,
I have my goal,
and I have my mission
to complete…
I am simply a CRYSTAL