Today was yet another brain melt day, I have been having a great deal of these lately – triggered no doubt by the combined crush of lack of intellectual and creative stimulation, too much stress from trying too hard at everything apart from engaging in real creative work (which includes research, not just art, which I love), overload of weariness from advocacy (often this means preaching to the un-convertible), and the ironic lack of empathic understanding from even the most well-meaning non-autistic ‘autism experts’, who, despite their book knowledge and claims of having worked with autistic people for x number of years, still have little to no idea how to actually communicate with Autistic people according to our intrinsic styles. It is always us Autistics who have to bend, bow, wriggle, wrangle and perform grand calisthenics in order to reach out to the normative. It’s no walk in the park, trying to make ourselves understood – ironically, the ‘autism experts’ seem sometimes the least capable of comprehending us (not always, I am glad for the wonderful allies I have met and with whom I work). Blame it on the rigid (oops, aren’t we Auties the ones who are supposed to be inflexible?) stubborn adherence to the Medical Model, perhaps?

Anyway… Mental exhaustion, emotional depletion, and sensory-physical devastation can have crushing effects on a hyper sensory Autistic Bunny. Too debilitated to even cook for myself and too out of linguistic spoons to instruct our helper to cook for me, I decided to order in my lunch via FoodPanda delivery. As with almost all Asian (especially Chinese) food, it tasted better than it looked. (With the exception of Japanese cuisine, which looks every bit as delicious as it tastes!)

Then, while going through some work-related emails (as the food gurgled it mushy way down my digestive tract), I was reminded to look again at Damian Milton’s video on “Double Empathy”.

I love Damian’s work, he has done a great deal of work in the area of empathy, and I also like his dry, deadpan humour. I won’t add further to this excellent talk, but just to insert in here that somehow, my brain zipped and zapped a connection with this other thing, seemingly unrelated but yet it is, because Damian did mention music as a communication… Here we are…

Why “Take Five” by Dave Brubeck? I seriously do not have a ready explanation, although I am sure there is one if I dug deep enough. For now, my brain isn’t working in the conventional way, so I’ll just say that’s just the way my brain works. Seemingly bizarre connectivities. But sometimes exquisite!

No prizes for guessing what rhythmic time signature my brain worm is gyrating to now.

just sayin’


Agedashi Tofu and Speaking Through the Body by Lucy Like-a-Charm

This morning’s rambling spinning thought processing (involuntary) brain exercise is about words. Ironically, I have to use more words to express my despair of wordedness.

As an Autistic person, as well as a researcher and practitioner in the field, and inevitable advocate, certain words people use to refer to Autism affect me greatly.

Autistic. Not Person-with-Autism. Our neurology is not a handbag we carry with us, or a handy gadget to wield as and when our fancies strike. The vast majority of autistic persons now prefer to use identity-first language, and it is the choice of official Autistic advocacy, yet, the neuronormative world is steadfastly refusing to respect this. Why? Because they think they know better. Words are little missiles containing perception and attitudes. When a person insists on delivering words that hurt, even when repeatedly told to refrain or

Using Autism as a derogatory slur is becoming more and more rampant too, for example, “That’s so autistic!”. And lately, celebrities who have been caught for heinous deeds have been wielding the deficits-focused pathological descriptions of Autism to excuse their vile behaviours.

Meandering onwards from the above mental rumblings, onto more about Words. Words. Words everywhere. Continue reading

a little clement space

Yesterday. Before the whipping storm arrived, there was a tiny moment where Lucy and I enjoyed a little clement space. Just the two of us, without interjection or intrusion. A bit of lunch – I cooked a nostalgic pot of ‘muichoy’ (a kind of salted preserved Chinese vegetable) soy sauce pork belly with tofu. A spot of tea – ginger and lemongrass. A chunk of fruitcake – Coles brand $3.50, not particularly lofty but good enough for the situation. There was some sunshine for awhile, but then the sun disappeared into the rolling heavy clouds. The air was still and thick, and my legs were aching from the humidity, but the moment in space and time was ours to savour, and we did just that. Continue reading


your aura is ringing in my ear

soft rotting vegetables

painting nausea in the corner

a room full of sweat beads

dancing merrily


on fine tentacles

wordless interlocution

hairs embedded

crackly long nails

scratching screeching

ouch! it is painful!

though it’s your skin

not mine

yet my ear



enforced trespassing


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Sunshine and dry, crisp air spell clemency! A beautiful non-verbal day. Well, apart from the mandatory superficial and brief salutations as we navigated human traffic and populated space. Lucy and I went to do a bit of work at my art studio today. We returned every smiling greeting with the same amount of cheer – why not? We love our cosy little bubble here, where everyone who matters is friendly, and where Lucy is accepted as part of the ‘family’. This kind of interaction does not bother me, even on a ‘non-verbal’ day where I want and/or need to disengage from words and social parlance, since nobody ventures to invade my personal mental space, nor makes grating demands upon my verbal consciousness.

Does non-verbality mean absence of language? No, not at all. Continue reading

intervention and resolution


Fragmented modality today. Language will follow suit too. Brain unable to extend enough for proper grammatical prose. I should apologise, in neurotypical manner, but I shall not. Neurotypicals do not often maintain neurotypical manners (etiquette) anyway. Why should I? Not now, when I am in autistic modality. I am too trained, though. I am still performing neurotypicality. We shall have to meet halfway. I know. Verbal language is necessary. How else to communicate with this much convenience? Continue reading


Lunch consisted of leftovers from yesterday, check out the visual variation and see if you can spot the theme and subtle difference? For dessert, I had tea and orange jelly (made from, what else, gelatin, tea and orange juice!), with a few slivers of homemade candied orange peel. At dinner, I felt like a lighter meal, so I made cucumber salad – Thai fish sauce, lime juice, seaweed and sesame seed sprinkles – and a steamed egg. I actually steamed two, one for me and the other for Lucy. She loves egg, but I don’t like to give her too much, for fear of runny tummy. As usual, she lay nearby, in that majestic, elegant sphinx position, watching my every move. Her head would turn this way and that, as I chatted with her, sometimes in words, other times just making little noises, and her eyes carried a knowing that echoes beyond what any human eyes could convey to me. Continue reading