Bully off! #autism

Excellent thoughts and advice on bullying, from Sonia Boue.

The other side

IMG_8484I’ve recently been a target of an attempt at bullying. I didn’t think this could happen to me, so I’m writing because I want to help others feel safer and stronger. I found my experience shocking as it is many, many years since I felt such visceral fear, though with the right support I saw it for what it was – a vindictive sham. Momentarily,  it had taken me back to when I was 11 years old and cornered in an underpass outside my school, outnumbered by a gang of girls primed to beat me up. I feel the most constructive way to deal with this is to speak out and share my thoughts on effective autistic self protection. 

I’ve known social disdain of a subtle kind all my life, from those who think themselves more socially sophisticated and who remain aloof. I stopped caring a very longtime ago, and sought more genuine interactions.

I’ve also known open hostility – yes of…

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function

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I can do a whole lot of things, and superbly well too. But autistic executive dysfunction is a very real thing, and I need help with the simplest stuff, without which, I am unable to do all the marvellous things as marvellously as I can. Autistic persons need support, no matter ‘where on the spectrum’ we may seem to be. That is why functioning labels are harmful. Stop referring to us as ‘high’ or ‘low’ functioning, we are autistic, we are humans. Start trying to understand how you can support us to do the things we can do well, so that we can in turn help you do the things you cannot do well.

gaseous exudations

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Respectful social communication 101: In this day and age of technological advancement, there are multiple ways to communicate. If a person (with or without disability) tells you their preferred mode of social communication, please respect it, that is, if you wish to communicate with the person. Insisting on your own way and disregarding that person’s repeated requests is nothing but utter contempt and disrespect. Simple.

Communication is a complex effort. However, respect can be a really simple thing.

Sadly, there are people who just cannot connect in a straight-forward way, with mutual regard, across respectful space. I’ve come across many such folk along my more than half a century of traversing the hazardous human social-scape.  Continue reading

Sunday Tea Party

A sizzling hot Sunday afternoon. The family decided to head far South to Pasir Panjang for lunch at The Tea Party. This branch is now the only one that is dog-friendly, a real pity, as we’re running out of dog-friendly places in Singapore to take the fur-kids. Continue reading

coming home

Dear Lucy,

Mumma’s coming home.

I know you’ve missed me. I missed you terribly too.

I am so sorry, my dearest love.

I will work ever harder, I promise, to provide a better life for you and me.

Thank you for your unquestioning patience, quiet endurance, and silent forbearance. I am devastated at having caused you pain.

I am coming home. In just a few hours, I will be with you again.

All my love and gratitude,

Mum Continue reading

teamwork

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It isn’t true that autistic people do not know how to work in a team. We just need clear instructions about what is expected of us, and consistency in interactions. The autistic person is just as willing as any other to perform as a team, it’s just that the autistic mind functions somewhat differently, so better understanding all round is necessary.

Today, I was reminded again how amazing the people I work with really are. Continue reading

building clement space

Work in progress…

It’s been more than a week battling this cold and cough. My voice is all but gone. I sound like a constipated frog (do frogs really constipate?). Been through the dramatic works, the wailing, flailing, fainting and vomiting stuff etc, and now finally on the mend. Still coughing alarmingly – feels like the guts are all going to spurt out at some point or other – and noticing some pretty aghast looks being thrown my way, through the tears in my eyes while attempting to blow my nose. Too much multitasking, being sick is unpleasant for anyone, but being sick with hypersensitivity cranks up the ‘horrid’ volume manifold levels … and over and over. I am missing my Lucy. A lot. Clement Space was inspired by Lucy.

Nevertheless… I have been building clement space… in little ways, struggling valiantly, and in the more ‘official’ manifestation, of course, the exhibition. The show must go on, and so it shall! Continue reading

clement space in the city

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I spent the last few nights and days in this sofa, positioned right next to the loo. For safety, because I nearly fell down the winding stairs connecting to the loft bed. And for convenience, in case I had to throw up. A good thing I am short, but still, I have not laid down properly in a bed, stretched out, for this entire time. Continue reading

amplified senses

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What happens when an autistic person with hyper senses becomes unwell / sick? Do those hyper sensory antennae suddenly shrink to ‘normal’? Nope. They are amplified still, as ever, if not even more so. The pain is compounded, and searing terror all the more gripping.

Staring into my delicious bowl of hot potato and leek soup this morning at the Arthouse Kitchen, after an entire night spent retching into the loo, I felt a sense of relief – just simply because I was no longer trapped inside the swirling sphere of excruciating agony. Last night, it was as if time had snapped its back and was lying on the ground in a crumpled heap, sneering at me each time I convulsed, perspiring profusely like a tap at full blast. Not a pretty sight. Not one I’m happy to allow any to witness, so another episode came and went, with only the cosmos as voyeur, and my paltry words to record. I don’t want or need anyone to hold my hand during the ordeal, no thank you, it adds to the distress, really. Yet, being all alone in the cold, stark artist’s studio while teetering on the brink of physical and mental breakdown, was admittedly most frightening.

I couldn’t swallow more than 6 spoons of the goop, no matter how tasty. The throat is inflamed from all the coughing and sputtering. Sorry, Massimo. Please don’t take it as an insult to your culinary offering.

It was a comfort to sit in an old favourite and familiar space. Though with a sad twitching tingling feeling, because that was one of ‘our’ places to be – Lucy and me.

Takeaway: Autistic hyper senses = amplified horror and pain when unwell. Spare a thought for us, we’re not being dramatic. In fact, we prefer to hide inside our excruciating terror. But being nearby and knowing that you are somewhere does help a bit, if only to call an ambulance if needed.

Diagnosis Disruption: Debunking the Myths of Non-verbal Autism

I couldn’t have put this better! Thank you, Matthew.

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Autistic individuals are the true autism experts. Matthew Lager’s TASH Talk debunking the myths of non-verbal autism is a must read for anyone who has an autistic child or works with autistic individuals. Matthew uses a letterboard and keyboard to spell to communicate. He prepared this presentation for the 2016 TASH conference with his mother over a several weeks. Due to the 10 minute time limit of the TASH Talk, Matthew’s speech was read aloud for the presentation with spelling closing remarks live. Matthew’s goal is to challenge people to rethink autism and understand the capabilities of people who have been labeled as “low functioning”.  ~Elizabeth & Matthew  

Matthew

Thanks for letting me speak today. Thanks to TASH for including me and for your commitment to advocating for an easily dismissed segment of society.

I am going to share my experience of being erroneously mislabeled as low functioning and of…

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