Monthly Archives: April 2013

Henry Frost: I celebrate 1000 Ausome Things #AutismPositivity2013

This post was originally published by Henry Frost (of I Stand With Henry) on Olliebean, at http://ollibean.com/2013/04/30/celebrate-1000-ausome-autismpositivity2013/, and is reprinted here with permission from the author.

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People are ausome.

Every kind of ausome.

just look.

you will see.

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Teaching Through Turbulence Celebrates 1000 Ausome Things #AutismPositivity2013

This post was originally published by Heather S. on Teaching Through Turbulence, at http://www.teachingthroughturbulence.com/2013/04/teaching-through-turbulence-celebrates.html, and is reprinted here with permission from the author.
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I am joining with other bloggers for the Autism Positivity Flash Blog 2013.  Over the years I have worked with many individuals with Autism and have enjoyed the uniqueness of each one.  I am amazed at the way the brain works in a visual way.  My cousin, Wayne, is a high-functioning Autistic with Asperber’s Syndrome and Sensory Integration Dysfunction.  He made a great video last year for Autism Awareness that explains life through his eyes so well.  I hope that you will watch and gain the admiration of their individuality as I have grown to over the years.  This video explains things in such a great way.  He has been so successful over the years.  I am so proud of him for everything that he has attempted and for his ability to share with us in such a great way.

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Appalachian Aspie celebrates 1000 Ausome Things: People with Autism rock!! #AutismPositivity2013

This post was originally published on Appalachian aspie, at http://wvaspie4christ.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/people-with-autism-rock/, and is reprinted here with permission from the author.

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Autistic people are

!. intelligent

2. independent

3. compassionate

4. focused

5. often gifted

6. honest

7. needed in this world

8. a source of encouragement for me

9. A great group of people

 

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Purple Aspie Celebrates 1000 Ausome Things #Autism Positivity 2013

This post was originally published on by Purple Aspie at http://purpleaspie.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/purple-aspie-celebrates-1000-ausome-things-autism-positivity-2013/, and is reprinted here with permission from the author.

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What is positive about autism? What is awesome (ausome) about autism?

I thought about this a lot last night when I was trying to work out what to write for the autism positivity flash blog. At first I thought I would write about myself, but I couldn’t think of anything about me that is awesome. I’ve had people tell me that I’m an awesome writer, editor, cat mom, and autism/Asperger advocate. But I could be any of those things without being autistic.

I could write about the positive things that I find come along with being autistic. I could write about how my being very auditory-oriented helps me to write dialogue when I write fiction. I could write about how being extremely detail-oriented makes me a good editor. I could write about how my auditory hypersensitivity makes me good at transcription.

I have decided, however, to write about what I find to be one of the most ausome things about autism, and that is the autism community and the ausome people in that community.

In the eight years since I was diagnosed autistic — and the eight years before that, when I was looking for a diagnosis — I have met many ausome people. In that time I’ve also worked to bring people together, to help autistic people meet and support and learn from each other through my Asperger Meetup Group and my participation in the ANCA Naturally Autistic organization. After I attended the Naturally Autistic Awards, Convention and Festival last year I made dozens of new friends from all over the world.

I belong to many online autism communities where people post questions and ask for help and information, and there are always autistic people and parents of autistic children who are willing to give help and advice to those who ask for it.

There are many people in the larger autistic community who work hard to change people’s attitudes about autism from negativity to positivity. There are self-advocacy organizations and parent organizations. There are probably more than a thousand ausome autistic people who are working to make the world a more positive place for us, and I am just one of them. I guess that makes me ausome too.

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Brain&Body: The Ausome Look of Love 1000 Ausome Things #AutismPositivity2013

One of my favorite things about autism is that – if you are willing to learn – loving someone with autism teaches one how to recognize love.

When I was young I constantly failed at romantic relationships, partly because I thought love had a ‘look’. For example: I mistakenly believed that love remembered your birthday, bought you things, held you when you cried and massaged your feet (my particular fetish). Once I began raising autism I discovered that love is THE ACTIVE EXPRESSION OF CARING IN THE MANNER POSSIBLE FOR THE ONE DOING THE CARING. Let me explain:

My son was echolalic and hypersensitive to sounds, sights and smells (among many other things). He was eight years old but still undersized. When he was seven I had been helping him in the public restroom. Once he was done his ‘business’, I stuck him on my hip and leaned in to flush the toilet. His head was angled down towards the bowl and the flush was so robust and loud it even scared me. Needless to say his depth perception sensory hypersensitivity kicked in and he melted down for hours. After that he had what the professionals called an irrational fear of toilets. (They called it that even though I repeatedly explained the total rationality of his naturally acquired fear.) Thus by the time he was eight we were used to this pee-pee panic.

We – my family of eight kids, one hippie sound man and me – were traveling North America performing in prisons (okay, okay– we were an unusual brood). Anyway, were were all sandwiched into a two double bed hotel room and needing the bathroom. My son was sprawled like a cat with all fours spread across the door, nails in the wood and creating a barrier while screeching MEOW!!!!! or as in his case NEEEEOOOOOO!!!!! We needed to pee (especially the four teenage girls) and had very little patience for his warnings of imminent death. His language was adorable, and since he mostly copied everything we said it was hard to understand exactly what he was trying to say but one thing was certain: He was trying to keep his family safe.

Of course his sisters weren’t about to pee in a pan to avoid the dastardly toilet (his idea) so I had to remove him from the room, repeatedly, on scheduled interludes, to allow for the families needs and ablutions. While this was all very challenging and problematic, fortunately I love to problem solve. Also, my heart was bursting with the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing your child loves you, loves his siblings, cares about others. In his world we were in danger and he was begging, pleading, screaming and fighting to keep us safe.

My son loved us, and he showed us by melting down. My son loved us and he taught me that love can have a ‘look’. And that look depends on the perspective of the one doing the loving. So if I wanted to feel it, I would have to be open enough to see their point of reference.

This has changed my heart and life forever.

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Editor’s note: The author requests a link to the following post: http://www.brainbody.net/BrainBody/Blog/Entries/2012/3/1_Prison_Tour_Teaching.html

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MindRetrofit Celebrates: 1000 Ausome Things #AutismPositivity2013

This was originally posted by Angel on MindRetrofit at http://www.mindretrofit.com/2013/04/30/mindretrofit-celebrates-1000-ausome-things-autismpositivity2013/, and is reprinted here with permission from the author.

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Last year I contributed to the flash blog  To “I Wish I Didn’t Have Asperger’s” #AutismPositivity2012 Flash Blog.

I remember feeling struck with heartbreak when I discovered that someone had put those words into a search engine. In my post, I shared some of the awesome things about Autism. I was excited to see what would happen this year’s flash blog. I was delighted to see that this year we were focusing on “1000 Ausome Things!” (Yes, I am using too many exclamation marks in this post because I am over-the-top excited, especially after reading so many of the positives that are rushing the internet.

However, my mind is in a spin and I am having a difficult time trying to articulate what I want to.

Because I enjoy words so much and one of my gifts is using them on multiple levels I am going to take the “Ausome” word for a moment and share with you what I am in “Awe” of in regards to Autism. I use the word in the terms “of an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration.” The first part that I share is about my son who is Autistic. There have been so many moments that Daniel has made me awestruck. He filled my mind with wonderment and excitement by his actions and/or questions. The way that his heart feels and how he sees joy in the most simple of things, such as a screwdriver. Who knew that a screwdriver could be such an entertaining toy! It does everything, from spinning to opening up clock radios. It can be used to write words in putty and for some great magnet experiments.

Daniel asks questions that stump me and I love that. 

Only yesterday, without any indication that he has been thinking of this he looked at me and asked, “How can God hear us and we hear him if he is not here?” Good question. I did not want to get into a theological discussion with my eight year-old because he can dismantle my logic in seconds. However, I had to try. I could tell that he really needed some sort of resolution to the question. In my feeble attempt, I told him that God is like a spirit that lives within our hearts and that many times God does not speak to us directly, but through people, situations, or actions. He sat there staring, processing for several minutes. Then asked, “How can God fit into our hearts?”

Good point. 

I tried my best to explain that he does not live in our heart like a little person, but that he is like air, in nature, in every part of being. That led to him asking, “Do we breathe God?” I had no good words other than, “I guess that would be a way to think of it.” I was in no mind frame to have the discussion. :-)  However, it made me think of all the times that Daniel has asked such questions. How do things work? Why do they work like that? Can we take it apart? Can we look at it on the internet? He wants to know every single detail and looks at the small things to connect the big things. His thoughts intrigue and amaze me. His kind spirit and deep emotions move me.

His laughter fills me with joy to the point that even now I have a little bit of tears filling my eyes. 

He sees the world in music; he lives in this world in constant curiosity. (Much like his mother.) He stims in drumbeats and claps. He hums any tune he hears in an instant. He delights and squeals when he gets his favorite food. His enthusiasm is contagious on some days. Yes, those are some grand marvelous (Awe) “Ausome” things that I get to enjoy. I am ever challenged, but the type of parent that I am I think that is Ausome! Those are a few great things about my little boy. This second half, I am not really sure where I am going.

Let us see …

The first thing that comes to mind is that October 2012 I was “officially” diagnosed as an Aspergers adult. I had a lot to process – I still do. I found that finally having answers and a community that I could actually relate to made my soul feel a little more whole. What I have I found is many people who are caring, kind, open, honest, and understanding. These are many of my Autistic peers. They are some of the most talented and articulate people I have encountered. They share their lives openly (as much as you can on the web. :-) ) I cherish all that they give and the many ways that they have helped me to understand my mom (an Aspergers adult), my son, and myself.

I have found parents who are just as compassionate and caring as well.

They work hard at being advocates and I am amazed at all their efforts. They shine of positivity. There are some days when I feel a bit down and unsure about many things, but I have been able to bounce back much sooner because of all the “Ausome” words that our community pours into the internet waves. I have a better self-image because of all the positives that my peers and our advocates share. Being able to find answers, relate to other’s stories, and share my own stories knowing that others will understand has boosted my self-esteem. I am able to see positives about myself that I could not see before. The voices that are out there sharing and focusing on the good have helped spring board me in many ways to much soul searching and healing.

To me that is HUGE “Autism Ausomeness!”

I believe that the foundation is being laid for my son. (And for my other two children.) My kids will see their “quirks and oddities” their “stims and unique ways of thinking and processing” as Ausome! They will see a mom who (finally) sees and accepts her own talents and gifts. As well as someone who does not think of being Autistic as a negative, but who embraces it and seeks to help others to see the positives too. I admit it can be a challenge, but that is why we need more people to build us up and focus on our positives. We thrive when people acknowledge, accept, and point out the good things about us.

Ending with a short list.

  1. We see the world in unique and interesting ways.
  2. We have great abilities to seek out and dissect details.
  3. We are artists in whatever talents we have whether through poetry, painting, creating images, or in how we can write and share our ideas about math, science, animals or computers. (Obviously, a very limited list I shared here.)
  4. We can keep our childlikeness that can be a very good for stressful situations.
  5. We have some pretty entertaining (ingenious) thoughts and perspectives.
  6. We can be some of the most loyal and best friends you could ever ask for.

I will stop at six, it is a good number. (And some of us may see numbers dance and leap about in wonderful colors!) 

Oh, and words here are some of my dancing colorful words leaping about through poetry! Happy Ausome Day!

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Barb Rentenbach 1000 Ausome Things: The Cure #AutismPositivity2013

This post was originally published by Barb Rentenbach on http://muleandmuseproductions.com/, at http://muleandmuseproductions.com/the-cure-by-barb-rentenbach-celebrates-1000-ausome-things-autism-positivity-2013/, and is reprinted here with permission from the author.

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The Cure

by Barb Rentenbach 

Being heard.

Being heard may as close to helping to cure all that ails ya as one prescription gets.  Ariane Zurcher, Autism Advocate rated #1 on the Internet by Dr. Oz, and eloquent voice of me in the audio-book version of “I Might Be You: An Exploration of  Autism and Connection”, heard me.  Then she loaned me her voice.  That selfless gift started a healing snowball.

This weekend I was heard again by thousands of listeners on David Alpern’s nationally syndicated radio show, “For You Ears Only”.  8 min Radio Segment Before some poor clerk from the DMV (Department of Miracle Validation) at the Vatican calls my number, please know I am still mute.   So my smiling shrink, SS, dutifully presented my words.    The experienced producers knowing that mutes are reliably bad for ratings authorized this Milli Vanilli esque substitution.

Like a drooly labrador bounding back pitch after pitch from lake Loudon , SS kept care of the words I threw in her smiling mouth and dropped them when and where she knew I wanted.

Hearing my words be heard in the audio book and the radio show, healed something in me.  It was more that scratching an itch.  It was surgical immediate healing like setting a bone or removing a tumor.  It is a lasting cure. This snowball has momentum now and knows to roll towards the wet snow and long hills.

Like me, like you, like “THEM”, poetry is best heard.  Two of my favorite lines from Derrick Brown’s poetry are, “Dumb as a bomb on a boomerang” and  “kiss like u couldn’t beat caner”.   Being heard is best.  Give that to someone.

We are all each other’s cure.  God cares about us all through us all.

Please say this out loud as I am borrowing your voice to be heard and God is watching if you deny an autistic mute such a simple request, “I will not be as dumb as a boomerang.  I will listen like I couldn’t beat cancer.”

My unique design gives me receptive language, but expressive is primarily nonsensical. I say “primarily” because, like a broken watch being accurate twice a day, sometimes my inexorable stock phrases, like “You are not going,”“It’s raining,”“You can’t go to the pool,” “Just a minute,” “It’s a mail truck,”  “No, Maam!”,“Nice,” “It’s a fire” and my personal favorite, “It’s mine, it’s mine,” are relevant.

One of my lovely smart-ass fiends (non-paid, I might add) emailed me this photo with no note.

itsafire

 

Funny… cruel to make fun of my echolalia, but funny.

It is nice to be heard.  It is even nicer not to be pitied.   Folk don’t make fun of people they pity.

May you also be heard.   Thanks for hearing B

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Why Autism is Awesome: Just Another #AutismPositivity2013 Flashblog!

This post was originally published on That Autistic That Newtown Forgot at http://thatautisticthatnewtownforgot.blogspot.com/2013/04/why-autism-is-awesome-just-another.html, and is reprinted here with permission from the author.

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This post is for the autism positivity flashblog scheduled for today, the last day of April or the month known as Autistic Acceptance month by many Autistic activists.
The theme for today is “autism is awesome”.
Why is autism awesome?
A.    Autistic people think differently. We are not driven to conform because we are unhooked from the nonverbal cues that regulate social performance and behavior. Instead we listen to our hearts, our dreams, our creativity and imagination. While some of us buckle under social pressure, our hearts, our interests and our dreams remain connected to the special interests that make the world awesome to us.
B.     Autistic people generally operate in less continuity with the regulatory social norms surrounding sexuality and gender. We are a queer group and one must recognize that the liberation of autistics must be part of the liberation of queers of every kind, because our people are less likely to be obedient toward those sets of rules and regulations.
C.     Autistic people are creative in both a scholarly and artistic sense. Many of us have special interests which drive us toward creative enterprise, causing us to immerse ourselves in certain types of research and to sometimes utilize said research in artistic projects. This blog itself is evidence of autistic creativity. Many of us need to draw or doodle just to stay comfortable in certain situations.
D.    Autistic people have an awesome, loving warm community, for those searching for such a community. While many of us feel alienated occasionally, since my recent involvement in autistic activism, I have joined in a network of activist-scholar autistics and queers throughout the country. When I am feeling lonely, isolated or erased, it is great to be able to unite with my autistic friends via our online community. I think this means something. None of us need to feel alone ever again. We can know that there are other people who have many of the same experiences as we do, often just a click away.
E.     We are all different! I want to point something out, while a lot of non-autistic people frame non-speaking autistics as burdensome or annoying, as an autistic myself, I am glad that our community comprises so many different perspectives and modes of feeling and expression.
F.      Autistic people find ways of being happy that NTs can often not even imagine. We have a tendency to immerse ourselves in topics or ideas that excite us. Sometimes this excitement causes us to stay up all day and night. This can be bad for us, but the passion is something that brings a light to our lives that many lack.
G.    Autistic individuals are detail-oriented. For those of us who have not been so brutally oppressed that we are forced to stop caring, we are all about the details. We read everything closely, often literally, but in that close reading we are able to see through many of the word games and fictions that are everywhere in NT society.
H.    Autistic people are winning. This flash blog and others proves that the autistic activist movement is growing! We are influencing a whole generation and those working with us will soon be as many as there are stars in the sky! Additionally, we are doing crucial intersectional work, like flashblogging against Ag Gag legislation this Friday!

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Laura/Light It Up BOO celebrates 1000 Ausome Things: Finding the Positive in My Neurology #AutismPositivity2013

Until four years ago, I felt like there was nobody else who thought like I did. I didn’t know there was such a thing as disability rights or disability pride. I felt like a burden, and neurologically inferior.

That all changed in January 2009. That’s when I discovered the book Born on a Blue Day. The author’s thoughts echoed my own very strongly. It was as though that book was written to tell me a message. That I am not inferior to anyone. That there are other people whose inner mental workings are a lot like mine. That I don’t have to be ashamed of my neurology.

The author of this book, Daniel Tammet, has been a fascination of mine since then. It’s a real gift to find a story where the author seems to be reading your mind.

In June 2009, I got on Facebook. Facebook has been a haven for me and other autistic people. It’s where I met some of my very favorite people, like my boyfriend Zach and someone whom I call Penguin. Penguin and Zach are also autistic. I don’t use Facebook the way I think non-autistic people do. The way I use it is to connect with other autistic people and our allies. It removes communication barriers that we often struggle with offline, like body language. It’s easier to read an emoticon than a facial expression.

In June 2010, I started going to Autreat. Autreat is an autism-positive conference designed for and by autistic people. I got to meet autistics who had made a name for themselves, like Jim Sinclair and Ari Ne’eman. I also participated in the young adult ceremony which I feel solidified my role as a member of the community.

Since then, I have been able to delve into other obsessions, namely the Apollo moon missions forty-some years ago. This is my favorite part of being autistic. We may not be able to describe how studying our obsessions feels, but it is so euphoric, in my experience, that I’d never want it taken away from me. That’s a unique kind of joy limited to the world of autistics. Where you fall in love with a topic. At Autreat, Monday night is special interest night, where we can share our obsessions with each other. Visiting neurotypicals (“normal” people) can often hear the excitement in our voices.

Diversity makes the world go round. Neurodiversity too. Curing us would rid the world of its most interesting citizens. I want to cure ignorance and closed-mindedness about the neurodiverse. My obsessions are for sharing, not for eliminating. Not for preventing. You can’t take away autism without erasing people like me and my friends.

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FairyTale Forgotten Celebrates 1000 Ausome Things about Autism #AutismPositivity2013

This post was originally published on FairyTale Forgotten, at http://fairytaleforgotten.blogspot.com/2013/04/fairytale-forgotten-celebrates-1000.html, and is reprinted here with permission from the author.

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So, here in the FairyTale Forgotten household we are full of Ausomeness. You see, we’re a family with four people who all fall somewhere on the spectrum and my boyfriend who is still learning about all this ausomeness but is doing a fabulous job of enjoying the journey.

I could easily list a thousand things that are wonderful about my family but I’ll narrow it down to a smaller list of 10 because I know you’ve got a lot of posts to read about all the Ausome Things today!

1. Group flapping. When we’re happy, we’re all happy together and we flap til our heart’s content.

2. Unenforced eye contact. No one makes anyone look anyone else in the eye at my house because we know we listen with our ears and not our eyes.

3. Movie scripts. We can do an entire movie back and forth between us without it even being turned on, laugh at all the good parts, and still eat dinner.

4. Music. We really get into some music at my house. There is dancing, rocking, humming, singing at the top of our lungs (because I think we’re all tone deaf but we still love to sing), and we all know the words. It. Is. Ausome.

5. Fidgets. My house is full of fidgets and every single one of us uses them. We spend all day with something in our hands that soothes us and we all have different tastes.

6. Noise-cancelling headphones. No one bats an eye at those things at my house. Ours are fairly new to us but, OH BOY, do we love them.

7. We “get” each other. If one of us doesn’t know what’s up with the other, someone else in the family will know. And the boyfriend, he’s getting pretty darn good at figuring out what we each need at different times to get us all back to our happy, flappy selves.

8. Stims. We flap. We spin. We rock. We bounce. We hum. We tap. We mimic sounds. We script. We play with each other’s hair. We rub our cheeks on soft stuff. We carry around matching toys because…well, matching. We bounce off of each other when we need some impact therapy (the twins wrestle hard, yo). We are one stimmy household and we LOVE it.

9. Perspective. If you’re looking for someone who will see things differently, you will find them here. You give us a thing that you’ve been fiddling with for a while and we’ll turn it into a thing you didn’t even think about. We aren’t afraid to crawl in the grass to watch a bug, climb a tree to get a bird’s eye view, lay in the dirt to take a picture that you didn’t notice at eye level, or smell things that most people would run from. We’ll take that thought that you had and come at it from OUR angle (which is unique to each of us). We march to the beat of our own full percussion section (because who wants just one drummer, right?).

10. Love. We love deeply, truly, honestly, and with as much loyalty as anyone you’ll ever meet. We’re never bashful about it either. If we love you, you know it because we aren’t good with a poker face. We wear our hearts on our sleeves and we weep with the world when it hurts. You’ve never seen hearts so pure as you’ll find in my family.

These are only 10 of the Ausome Things about my Autistic family (and our adopted NT who is as wonderful as you could ask a person to be!). Remember you’re never alone. There are those of us out here who will welcome you with open arms. Autism is Ausome. It is amazing and brilliant and spectacular and awe-inspiring and so many other words that I could spend all day typing. You get the idea. Have an Ausome Day and remember that Acceptance lies in you!

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