dedication

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This blog is dedicated to:

My beautiful, big-hearted baby sister and her valiant, generous hubby, and my most loyal and supportive friend YS – thank you for helping me eat better, look beyond my feet, reach out, live my dreams and keep on keeping on, knowing always that I am loved.

My canine angel, Lucy Like a Charm, who shares this wonderful journey.

documenting the maelstrom

 

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Documenting the maelstrom through comestibles.

Movement. Moving.

PhD submission deadline. Stretto-crescendo. Nearer and nearer.

Being (re)moved just 4 weeks before deadline.

Finding grace – saved from self-destruction by a Greyhound gaze… a kind offer, Lucy is safe, a cheap airticket, and a trip home.

Clement space. Familial grace. Old friends. Rally round for Bunny.

Work, work, work – at last! Phew!

More grace – a 3 week extension and a new deadline. Continue reading

free

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grace eats

It’s not a perfect situation. Not even near best or ideal. We are staying with a new friend, an elderly gentleman and his elderly dog. The smell of old decaying rubber from fifty-year-old threadbare carpet caked with dust bunnies and dog fur eats into the fragile fabric of my olfactory consciousness. The mess is indescribable. But there is kindness and acceptance. And I will help address the living chaos once this thesis is submitted.

Grace is free. Does not ride on fluffy clouds of feel-good sympathy. Just simple trust, especially that the tattered rug will not be pulled from under foot, with no alternatives left but to jump into the abyss

It’s not a luxurious lunch, the batter was soggy, but it was gentle and warm.

Four days more to go. Tally ho, Bunny and Lucy!

accommodations

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Accommodating grace, graciously accommodating.

This post is in response to yet another powerful piece of thinking by Judy Endow. Read it here: Autism, Accommodation and Differential Expectations.

Ah, accommodations… Sometimes, people make accommodations for me, announced with a warm fuzzy glow, and then suddenly withdraw them because it’s no longer comfortable for them to continue, and leave me to fend for myself without offering me any other alternatives. In the meantime, I am making accommodations for them all the time, being grateful, showing gratitude as best as I can, taking into account their own neurodiversity quirks, and, yes, even in the way I do not rant and scream when said promised accommodations are abruptly withdrawn. It is very very tiring, making accommodations for anyone, but the Endeavour of Empathy is important. We must not stop endeavouring, though let’s not forget that the endeavour is to Self as much as to Other. We autists struggling to survive this terrain need to remember that empathy is for Self too, because so often the demands of normative social constructs say we must do otherwise, and so we do. Continue reading

Autistic Woman Socializes With Friend

A terribly triggering morning, still shaking from the overload. This one had me chuckling. Some autist humour. This series by Dani Alexis is a must read!

Autistic Academic

A local autistic woman made a remarkable journey beyond even the most daunting of social barriers today when she appeared to socialize with a person unnamed sources have identified as a “friend.”

“At first I didn’t believe what I was seeing,” said a neighbor who was monitoring the situation with a pair of binoculars from several feet outside the autistic woman’s living room window.  “This woman, who was clearly autistic, also appeared to be having some kind of conversation.  With talking.”

“I don’t know what that was, but it looked almost like a real conversation,” the neighbor continued.  “It was truly inspiring.  Who knew that autistic people were capable of socializing – or of having friends?”

The friend was unavailable for comment, but sources believe she is also an autistic person.  Studies show this is the most likely outcome, as autistic people are just too weird to be friends with…

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Changing Your Mind – Thoughts on TMS

Another poignant piece by Alex, sonic worded resonance that I am right now unable to enunciate. My favourite: “I don’t want to change who I am: I’m comfortable with my identity as an autistic trans woman with all that entails. Changing my body doesn’t affect my personality, my thoughts: I remain me. Changing my mind makes me into somebody else. I would lose the essence of what makes me this particular unique individual, and the thought of that fills me with dread.

This leads me to suppose that for somebody to even contemplate such a thing they must not like who they are. Internalized self-hatred, blaming their neurology for what they see as their failings. It’s like body dysmorphia projected onto the ego, the sense of self. The antithesis of neurodiversity’s principles; an inability or refusal to accept one’s differences.

I see this as a result of thinking colored by the medical model of autism that sees it in terms of pathological deficits, as opposed to the social model which instead looks to society’s failures to provide suitable accommodations and acceptance as the causes of disability.”

Married, With Aspergers

Over the past year, and especially since the publication of Switched On by John Elder Robison, there has been a lot of attention around a therapy called TMS (or rTMS–Repetitive Transcranial Stimulation).

It’s something I have deep reservations about but others have written passionately and eloquently on the subject. What I want to consider is why somebody would choose to undergo such a therapy that literally changes their mind.

I’m no stranger to the negative feelings that arise when considering the gap between how I perceive myself and what I see when I look in the mirror: that’s a big factor in my gender dysphoria.

I also know first-hand how it feels to be teased and ridiculed for hand flapping, physical clumsiness, social awkwardness, unusual speech patterns and eclectic interests. I’ve had life-long difficulty making and maintaining interpersonal relationships, and I have times where I feel keenly the lack of people with…

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A Shot in the Dark. Autism and TMS.

Sonia once again enunciates so clearly the thoughts in my mind that I cannot right now find words to convey.

“As an autistic I’m duty bound to respect John’s self-advocacy, and also his right to undertake whatever brain experiment he choses for himself. The problem occurs, as I suggest above, because in spite of his disclaimers, his blogs and now this publication will function as promulgation of a cure for autism. My note in the margin on reading about his immediate blogging right after the TMS began – which created an influx of volunteers for the protocol – reads, “unethical to blog so early”. I believe that on this count he has been sincere in his enthusiasm but hopelessly naive about the response to his findings.” – Sonia Boue

The other side

images“Sometimes I allowed my thoughts, unchecked by reason, to ramble in the fields of Paradise, and dared to fancy amiable and lovely creatures sympathizing with my feelings and cheering my gloom; their angelic countenances breathed smiles of consolation. But it was all a dream; no Eve soothed my sorrows nor shared my thoughts; I was alone.”

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

“During a TMS procedure, a magnetic field generator, or “coil”, is placed near the head of the person receiving the treatment.[1]:3 The coil produces small electric currents in the region of the brain just under the coil via electromagnetic induction. The coil is connected to a pulse generator, or stimulator, that delivers electric current to the coil.”

Wikipedia

There is a certain easy parallel to be drawn between John Elder Robison’s Switched On, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  Application of electricity near the region of the brain via TMS…

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Embracing Autism

My contribution to Embracing Autism Month – enough (misdirected) ‘awareness’ and moving beyond mere ‘acceptance’… how about we begin to embrace autism?

Thank you, Martin Guinness of Guinness Entertainment, for making this video!

Rough Transcript (by me):

My name is Dawn-joy. I am autistic. I was diagnosed in my early forties – I am fifty now. Living and coping with life in general has been the hugest challenge for me. Being autistic is not in itself a huge challenge, but being autistic and coping with living in a social system, a spatially designed system, that is not innate and often not kind towards innate autistic function, has been the greatest challenge in my life. Continue reading

Switched Off? (Autism and TMS).

This is important. But I have no words. Sonia says it brilliantly. Here.

The other side

STU_1954DPP_001.jpgPhotograph by Stu Allsopp at our switched on PV for Autism Family Support Oxfordshire’s Brain Dancing exhibition. 

This post is about my personal reflections on and responses to John Elder Robison’s piece on TMS in The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism.

Last night I read the interview with John Elder Robison on The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism’s Facebook page about his experimental treatment with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and its possible implications for autistics. I found it an exceptionally sad and frankly worrying piece.

John opens with the following statement:

“There is no ethical problem with an adult like me going into TMS therapy eyes wide open.”

Perhaps not, but I’m not sure writing a book publicising TMS  – at this early point – is the way to go for autism.

I have to say that John appears sincere in this interview. However, I believe that airing our differences…

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