Monday, 25 November 2013

Monday Muster

Happy Monday, dear ones, and happy anniversary:

Doctor Who 50th Celebration - Matt Smith's sonic screwdriver
Photo by Paul Hudson

(I'm writing this on Saturday night, a few hours before The Day of the Doctor is broadcast, so consider yourself lucky that you'll miss my inevitable fangirling and dissection.)

Apologies before we begin for the length of this week's muster.  I've finally cleared out the folder marked "stuff", so there's quite a bit of stuff in this edition!

Are you of an artistic persuasion?  Here are 12 marketing tips for artists, from The Art of Autism.  They've been written specifically for artists on the spectrum, and could be particularly handy since promoting our work and 'selling ourselves' is a challenge for many of us.

Our man in the Philippines, Gerard Joseph Atienza of Autistic BigBro, attended the Philippine National Autism Conference late last month.  It sounds like a really interesting event, with everything on the table from research to social inclusion to how the media portrays people on the spectrum.  Gerard and a crew of other autistic adults also held a panel to discuss their own lives and journeys:

"It was such an exhilarating experience to be part of this conference, and together with fellow autistic guys, whom I shall call Team Awesomeness, there is hope for autism. And it doesn’t stop at the conference. Hope begins here, and hope begins now."

I don't know why the concept of the selfie seems to be all over the media at the moment, but here's one that's actually worth talking about.  Elsa S. Henry from Feminist Sonar is blind, and posted a selfie recently which shows the eye that's caused her shame and bullying in the past.  The act of posting it was a statement to show that she refuses to be shamed or bullied any more:

"...My selfie is not a cry for help.  My selfie is a fucking battle cry.  My selfie says that I am no longer ashamed."

I haven't blogged about the recent controversy surrounding Autism Speaks, but if you move in autism circles you may already be familiar with it.  The US charity put out a statement which used such negative language to describe autistic people - as burdens, as missing, as destroyers of our families and as not really alive - that all hell broke loose.  Autistic people from all edges of the spectrum commented on the AS site and on their own blogs, the This Is Autism flash blog was organised, AS's only autistic board member resigned, and a physical protest took place at the event the original statement was released to launch.  I missed most of this thanks to the chest infection which took me out for most of last week, but there's a good round up of links that will explain everything here.  Just Functioning also has a lovely post explaining why many autistic people were offended by the original statement.

Remember James, the young British man mentioned in a recent muster, who's been getting an endless stream of letters demanding he prove he's not able to work, despite him being blind and having autism, epilepsy, and learning and cognitive disabilities?  The government's conceded at last that he can't, and he'll get financial assistance indefinitely.  It's just a pity he and his father had to literally turn up on the Prime Minister's doorstep before that happened.

There are some museums and art galleries in the US doing interesting things to make their collections accessible to patrons with disabilities.  New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art has sign language tours for the Deaf and hands-on sessions for people with vision impairment, while the Smithsonian lets people with autism and cognitive disabilities come through before the usual opening hours, when things are quiet. You can find out more in the New York Times.

How do you handle procrastination?  I have major trouble with it - usually because the thing I'm putting off involves social contact that I just don't feel up to, or because I'm so scared of failure that just not finishing the thing looks like a good alternative.  Writer and designer Kelly Exeter's found an approach that works for her: whatever the thing is you dread, get it done first thing, and then it's over with and you don't have to spend the rest of the day dreading it.  It's based on some advice from Mark Twain:

"If the first thing you do each morning is eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worse things that is going to happen to you all day long."

Autisticook has been looking at procrastination and executive functioning lately too, and has had a breakthrough.  Congratulations!

Being introverted in a world where that's seen as a character flaw can suck.  It's not something that just affects people on the spectrum; plenty of neurotypical people just happen to be introverted and not fond of massive, loud, chaotic gatherings.  It's something Regina Lord of Creative Kismet encounters every few years:

"It happens every couple of years. Someone, a new or close friend or regular acquaintance  decides that there is something wrong with me, I need to change or that it is their job to fix me, all because I would much rather stay home....

"...The feeling that your friends don’t get you at all, or refuse to get you, is a really crummy feeling."

Unrelated to anything, but I just rediscovered Geoguessr and am a bit addicted.  My best score so far was about 14,000 - I got lucky there, the set had two Aussie locations which I could pin down to within a few kilometres.