I've been busy sorting out my new Pinterest account. I'm pinning a lot of Aspergers- and autism-related stuff, and have started a series of different boards to keep things organised. Here's what I have:
- Autism by Autistics: a group board specifically for pinners on the spectrum. Leave a note on any of my pins if you'd like an invite
- Aspie Life: anything and everything to do with day-to-day life on the spectrum
- Creative Aspies and Autistic Peeps: artists, writers, musicians, and other creatives of the spectrum
- Diagnosis: for stuff related to getting an autism diagnosis, particularly for adults
- Disability Issues: pins about disability rights and activism, not always specifically autism-related
- Executive Function: getting stuff done in spite of it
- Ladies of the Spectrum: pins about and relating to Autistic females
- Neurology News: not specifically autism-related, but general interesting neurology stuff
- On The Job: still pretty bare, but this will be about employment for people on the spectrum
- Relationships: social stuff, everything from making conversation to finding a partner
- Sensory Shenanigans: pins relating to sensory sensitivity and how to handle it
- Stimming: all flapping, all the time
Why do we remember every bad thing that's ever happened and every bad thing said to us, but the good stuff doesn't stick as well? It's called negativity bias, and it's because we learn more from bad experiences than from happy ones.
If executive function issues are getting between you and organisation, you might be interested in Angel the Alien's adventures in DIY filofax-style organisers. Actual filofaxes are expensive, but with a folder and some time spent doing up her own personalised page templates, she's made her own for a fraction of the cost. (Bonus points for lots of pretty colours, too!) Check it out here.
A lot of people in the autism community will tell you that 'functioning' labels are cobblers. Because we're people, we grow and change and have different strengths and weaknesses and react differently in different situations and have good days and bad days. We can be 'high functioning' in one specific way but 'low' in another. Or in different environments. Or on different days. Michael Forbes Wilcox has another reason why they're slippery: clinically, they're based on IQ, and IQ just isn't the gold standard of a person's ability and worth it's held up to be. There are a lot of different kinds of clever that just aren't measured by IQ tests, and sometimes they're the very kinds of clever you need to get on in life.
It's nice to get a reward when you do something well, and therapy for kids with developmental delays sometimes features rewards for successfully completing a task. And, from an obesity hysteria perspective, I suppose a small toy is better for a kid than a lolly. But what when the reward system gets out of control, and you end up knee-deep in useless plastic tchotchkes? It sounds ridiculous, but that's exactly what happened to the little brother of M Kelter from Invisible Strings.
Writing for the Huffington Post, John Franklin Stephens takes aim at people who insist they don't "mean anything" when they use the word "retard":
"Let's face it, nobody uses the word as a term of praise. At best, it is used as another way of saying "stupid" or "loser." At worst, it is aimed directly at me as a way to label me as an outcast -- a thing, not a person. I am not stupid. I am not a loser. I am not a thing. I am a person.
"It hurts me to think that people assume that I am less than a whole person. That is what is so awful about slurs. They are intended to make their target seem smaller, less of a person. People who live with an intellectual disability do not have an easy life. We have to fight to understand what the rest of you take for granted. We fight for education. We fight to live among the rest of you. We struggle to make friends. We often are ignored, even when we have something to say. We fight so hard to be seen as whole people. It hurts so much, after all that struggle, to hear you casually use a term that means that you assume we are less than whole."
Read the whole piece here.