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#Autism Positivity2015: Acceptance, Love, and Self-care

By Autistic Vegan

I’m a day late.  I guess that’s the point though, of self care.  I’m learning to not live my life according to other people’s standards.  Thankfully, the Autistic community, my community, accepts that, celebrates it even, so it’s ok to be a day late, and won’t be met with exasperation.  To me, acceptance is about doing things on my timeline, (which is generally slower than the norm).  It’s about doing things in my way.  Love.  Loving my unique perspective.  I often find my perspective varies from the crowd, is considered radical, and I’m getting better at expressing that varied opinion.  I’m recognizing that I’m not wrong just because my opinion is the minority.  I know she didn’t write the quote, by I first read this quote on Neurodivergent K’s blog, and I fell in love with it:

When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world

“No, you move.”
 
So I’m learning to be more outspoken.  Self care.  Learning to take care of myself, my needs, my convictions.  That’s my autism positivity.  The gift the Autistic community has given me of recognizing and standing by your convictions regardless of the opinions of the majority, because the majority is often wrong.

Original Post:http://autisticvegan.blogspot.com/2015/05/autism-positivity-acceptance-love-and.html?m=1

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Come Stim With Me (#AutismPositivity2015 Flashblog)

By Michael Scott Monje Jr

 #AutismPositivity2015I’ve been doing a lot of work lately, to keep everything flowing the way it needs to be and to ensure Autonomous Press launches with impeccable timing. Given that this year’s positivity flashblog is self-care themed, I figured no one would mind if I didn’t have a lot of words to be contributing.

So let’s do this with minimal speaking. Self-care means I’d like to invite you to come stim with me. Soak in the things I find to be calming. (But beware that the game these videos comes from has a photosensitivity warning.)
After working all week, this is what I have left for me:


Next, from my personal soundtrack for writing–this one is under “Mirror Project–Holly’s Theme”


From that same file, same book, “Lynn’s First Awakening”


Lynn waking up in an internet-accessible machine:


And Chapter 1’s real meaning:

Moving away from writing into pure being,


And you know I can’t do anything creative without referencing…



But before she dropped the money bag on the floor and died, she said “If you really love me, I’ll come back alive…”


So now that we’ve found a foundation…


And so the new folk movement brings us to this fusion:


And it wouldn’t be a moment inside my creativity without invoking something to remind us of the persistence of memory:


Take care of yourselves, and have a good evening. – Michael

Original Post: http://www.mmonjejr.com/2015/05/come-stim-with-me-autismpositivity2015.html

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Laughter is the all the things: Acceptance, Love and Self-care #AutismPositivity2015

By Bernice M. Olivas

Laughter is the all the things.

“There are perks to autism.”
My lunch companion is skeptical.
“Autism gives me time.”
They don’t understand and that’s okay because I’m happy to explain it.
“My sons are eight ten and they still hold my hand when I walk them to class. They don’t care what their friends think.”

Every parent I know laments the passage of time. They grow so fast, change so fast. They move out, move on. They go away at the tender ages of eleven or twelve; fourteen or fifteen if a parent is lucky. They go away—to their friends, their peers, their sports, their worlds where the parents are observers at best, interlopers at worst. They come back, eventually, and it’s beautiful. But they do leave us and we miss them. Autism brings with it the gift of time. They still grow, and change, go away, and come back but it all happens at softer, kinder pace. It’s languid, each step drawn out, every stage rich and full. My sons are eight and ten years olds and they still hold my hand.

They still play with me and play with my children, flappy, spinning, joyful laughter play, is self-love, self-care, and a gift.

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The Only Things I’m Positive About #AutismPositivity2015

By Kerima Çevik

#AutismPositivity2015My husband and I took a moment to watch our son asleep this morning. He was wrapped in a tangle of sheets, unwilling to release his firm grip on a tiny piece of plastic that looked to be a lego piece. His handsome face was peacefully inhaling and exhaling deeply and not quite snoring. His arm was up in a position that made it clear he did not so much drift off to sleep; rather, his body won the battle to rest and recuperate against his iron will to keep moving. Ever darkening peach fuzz above his lip does not detract from the innocence of our son’s face in sleep. These are the moments when I catch my breath and wonder how I was part of producing such a lovely human being. I have a difficult time understanding how people fail to see him as we do.

What a hellish year its been so far. So much we are trying to shield him from, so much hate, harm and pain. Surrounded by all the danger and uncertainty I was so sure our nation would outgrow, I can say the only things I feel positive about are that we love him, that autism is not an anthropomorphic demon “with” him, dogging his steps, waiting to trip him up, and that this will of iron he has had since infancy is actually becoming steel, forged in the  fire of these horrific adversities life keeps throwing in our paths. I’m positive I belong beside him, guarding his flank against the racist, ableist, ignorant, hateful and well intentioned enemies that stand between him and his rightful place in this world. I am positive he is not a burden. I am positive of his right to be part of any community he lives in.

Mustafa Bey

One of my favorite pictures of him reminds me he is growing up. People say he looks much older than 12. My giant younger brother was about this size at 12. Mu holds a resemblance to his paternal grandfather, a man who was tall and commanding, a maritime engineer. All those things about him
that intimidate the uneducated have never bothered me. I’m not sure why that is. I call him my Pan-Turkish American Pehlivan. I sing songs to him about John Henry and Kiziroğlu Mustafa Bey and tell him that those who were like him never gave up; they commanded respect and he should do the same. My concern continues to be that he should be allowed to participate in life as anyone would. Autism shouldn’t be something he’s “with”, like a vaudeville ventriloquist’s dummy in a suitcase that is carried with him, attached to an arm. Our son’s neurology is  a descriptor of who he is like any other adjective we use to try and define him.

He is American/Nonspeaking/Turkish/Hispanic/Black/Indigenous/Autistic/Obstinate/Charming. He is all that and yet more than the sum of all. He defies description.  He reflects and refracts each aspect of himself. That is who his is. Sometimes I see him pounding down the stairs they said he’d never climb without support or laughing, jumping wildly in the sunlight and laugh with the sheer joy he taught me to express fully.  I pity those who don’t see him as I do. Perhaps it is the same as gazing too long at the sun. Maybe they should learn to not look directly at him just as he, in deference to not seeing their souls’ secrets bared, does not look into their eyes. Realities can be overwhelming.

The hardest thing about being Mustafa’s mother is people around me projecting their own ableism on me and telling me how I should feel about him. I shouldn’t be happy because they wouldn’t be. I must accept that he is an unacceptably divergent son, because they cannot accept him. I must be near some breaking point because were they in my position they would be. They have no idea. They just assume they do. Their forcibly imposed conclusions are the most difficult thing to fight each day. The time consumed countering all that insistent negativity about nonspeaking autism could be better used just getting to know my budding teenaged son.

When a word or short sentence bubbles its way to his lips it is a sweet jewel because verbal speech is nearly impossible for him. I know. I’ve seen the scans of his brain. His voice, a deeper richer combination of a voice I inherited from my mother and her ancestors, the voice our daughter has in a slightly higher pitch, is heartbreakingly beautiful. If Mustafa ever sings it will be something to hear. But that doesn’t matter to me now. I just want him to be given the respect he deserves. He has inherited something I did not wish to give my children; I don’t mean an autism gene. I mean a legacy of being a marginalized human being in a negative world. Acceptance? Acceptance is not enough.

I am opening the eyes of my heart and telling the world, here is my beautiful neurodivergent son, my most precious gift to you.  You cannot simply accept him. Respect him. Allow him to be an equal member of society. Cease killing his peers and silencing them. As for loving him?

We have all love he needs.

Original Post: http://theautismwars.blogspot.ca/2015/05/the-only-things-im-positive-about.html

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“her S” Diary of a Mom: #AutismPositivity2015

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{Image is a photo of Brooke in our friend’s pool on Monday afternoon, just moments before the following conversation took place.} 

“When I was a baby, did you make me austistic?”

“No, sweetheart, God did that.”

“Why did God make me austistic?”

“I don’t know, love. He just did. I guess He knew that autism was part of the recipe of what would make you so awesome.”

“I’m glad I’m austistic.”

“Me too. Because I’m glad you’re you.”

~

The extra S is not a typo. This is how she says it. It is her identity. Her word. Her S.

This is an ongoing and currently oft-repeated conversation. There are slight variations to the script as she works her way through it bit by bit. Thankfully, there’s no hurry.

She often asks others if they are austistic too. I’m overwhelmingly grateful to have a life filled with people who say, or about whom we say, yes.

When she asked that question of our friend, J, our host at this gorgeous pool, she answered, “You know, Brooke, I’m not, but sometimes I wish I was so that I could remember things like you do.”

Best. Answer. Ever.

Her identity.

Her word.

Her S.

Original Post: https://adiaryofamom.wordpress.com/2014/08/13/her-s/

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Autistic Love: A contribution to this year’s Autism Positivity Flashblog #AutismPositivity2015

By Stims Stammers and Winks

The theme for this year’s Autism Positivity Flashblog is “Acceptance, Love and Self-Care”.

I would like to write an extended meditation on what the meaning of Autistic “Love” might be.

In the traditional set of meanings, love is something established by two people in mimicry of the love of the creator. Within the heteronormative couple form, love is about consistent reaction, attunement to the being of the other, locking eyes and arms in a supreme bond, love is supposed to be a dual connectivity, about sharing a feeling and a shared devotion.

The historical positioning of the Autistic as an idiot-savant countervails the supposed bicameral nature of the love chamber. Autism was originally defined as “morbid self-absorbtion” but it was defined as such during a time in which European thinkers had only recently hastily philosophically *created* the notion of independence and individuality, a concept that had not existed previously due to the overwhelming power of the family and the nation.

The suggestion of a self separate from the world is a very risky one. The self always incorporates representations of groups identified with, objects, details, pieces of imagery and devoted notions or ideas. “The self” if it is a thing, is perpetually porous, like a cell whose borders actively expand and contract, like the real borders of nations that cannot let everything in but also cannot let nothing in or out. The self operates by osmosis and by spilling out.

Autistic people are often defined by their interests. Indeed, the category of Autism has become popular because as a concept it allows people whose diagnosis implied (in our ableist society) that they could not have interests or enthusiasms, to have legitimated interests and enthusiasms. The savant model provided a basis for integration of psychiatrically and developmentally disabled people into society because of its claim that sometimes these “useless eaters” might have an interest or a desire, that could be useful to society. In short, twice-exceptionality and idiot-savantism as a sub-concepts within Autism integrated many mentally disabled people rediagnosed with Autism into able-society through suggesting that they could be “able” through their obsessions.

Autistic Love is two-staged: it is osmosis within the concept of the self and then it is doting concentration on the new self- limb.

Autistic love terrifies because it is a kind of monosexuality: it is looking into the loved as a section of the “I”. This is also why Autistic Love is fatal within a heteronormative ableist society: when another is incorporated into the self and becomes the subject of concentration for the various spasming fluids that make up that self, what is not happening is a connection to the greater socius that re-affirms that socius. Autistic love is regressive: it curdles the loved into the Autistic.

But Autistic love is also disruptive: the way we love, we offer all of ourselves to the other and therefore put ourselves at risk: we say everything and anything, we open our mouths and chatter until the truth comes out and we make our being with the other about expanding ourselves.

Autistic love is, in many ways, more about opening until nothing else can be opened.

Autistic love is a trusting love: it is an open love, when we can love you, we can tell you everything, often to our mutual detriment.

Autistic love is multi-hour obsession, it is from 9am until 3am, in repetition without stopping.

Sometimes, Autistic love is hard to read, other times it is overt: it is direct and it is not complicated.

Autistic love does not have to be through talking or nonverbal communication, it can be subtle.

Autistic love sometimes is between the self and a toy not a person, Autistic love does too much work and not enough listening.

Autistic love makes a habit out of the loved and refuses the capitalist flexibility demanded that would make love a small subsection, instead Autistic love takes on the form of the loved.

Original Post: http://stimstammersandwinks.blogspot.ca/2015/05/autistic-love-contribution-to-this.html

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Holding Space as Acceptance, Love, and Self-care: #AutismPositivity2015

By Leah Kelley

#AutismPositivity2015I think about self-care rather often it seems… though I’ll admit that if I were to define self-care as I thing I do, I don’t actually engage in it quite as regularly as I contemplate it…

I think though, in my typical-atypical-fashion, I might like to twist this topic a bit and try to think about it and explore self-care from another angle.

Perhaps self-care is not just about a thing we do – but it is also very much about the thing(s) we do not do – or do later – or do with support – or do differently… and the ability to do this (or to not) is intrinsically connected with love and acceptance.

Perhaps it is also connected to holding space… for ourselves and for others.

I love the metaphor of holding space. To be honest, I am somewhat mesmerized by what I see in the richness of possibility that exists in the multiple interpretations of this concept.

I am so powerfully drawn to the liminality that I can get quite lost in existential meanderings when I contemplate the idea(s) of holding space…

I suppose… H and I have been indirectly talking about holding space for others as we are processing the loss of my father, who died in early March. The past few months have been a time of intense loss filled with powerful emotions – but as our family is moving forward, I have been considering how we might honour this space that was filled by my father.

I have two other posts on my blog that are about my father (aka Papa). Interestingly, one is about acceptance and love, and the other is about limit setting, so I suppose it is natural for me to be considering him when I am writing of Acceptance, Love, and Self-care.

I think I miss my father so much in part because I miss being wrapped in that feeling of acceptance.  I feel badly for my children that the strength of his acceptance and love is now missing for them… and… I feel badly for myself.

But I am finding my way… and I am seeing how connected acceptance and love are to self-care… and how Papa shared that as such a gift for others in the way he also held space for others.

Holding space is a way of demonstrating acceptance and love – and it is crucial to building a positive sense of self, and self-understanding that is partnered with feeling deserving of self-care.

When we demonstrate that we value other people, they can more fully appreciate, understand, and value who they are… and then they are supported in extending care to themselves and beyond.

Perhaps this is the opposite of shame…

Harrison and Papa Smooch- B+W

I think perhaps for me one of the most profound things has come to me in my efforts to support H. When we knew things weren’t going well for my father, H was in tears and said, “You know I am really going to miss Papa. You know there’s going to be a hole in my life – there’s going to be an empty space…”

And it was one of those moments when I paused… thinking please let the words come to me.

And I paused another beat…

And then I responded, “You know, H, you’re right – there is going to be a space there – a space where Papa was and now he wont be there – and that is going to leave an empty place in our lives and in our hearts.

But there is something about that space that is important. We have an opportunity to consider that spot – that place he held… and now it’s empty…

We get to decide what to put there.
And part of that is choosing something that will be honouring of Papa.
And when we put our energy into that place I think in that way he lives on.

If we do something that would make him proud or that would make the world a better place, then we use that energy that would have been there – and we make it into something that is good.

I think that is what a legacy is…”

When I think about my father, I am reminded of so many things, but I am perhaps most moved by the way he was deeply, deeply accepting of people… and welcomed us all to the table, or the comfy chair in his study – to just sit quietly, or to bounce around ideas or possibilities, or to argue the finer points of philosophy or politics or the education system… or to get a kick in the butt …or to just get some much-needed words of gentle guidance and encouragement.

He was someone who was completely willing to entertain lofty goals and outrageous dreams… and then help lay down a plan to make the almost impossible a reality.

I choose my steps and move forward in a way that I hope is honouring of my father… now the tables have turned and we are holding space for him.

Bedtime Chat and Cuddles with my Father

Recently I have been talking to H about holding space in another way…

We were meeting with friends and I asked ahead about how we might best support their son, who is also Autistic and is the same age as H. I wanted to support H and this other young man by understanding what we might need to know about how he communicates and how best to connect.

The response of this family was that they appreciated being asked and suggested that people always do better when they are met with an approach of holding space.

This modeling and these opportunities for H to be aware of and honour the support needs of others, also has embedded within it the powerful message that his own needs are valid. It is empowering to for H to understand ways that we respectfully honour limits and pay attention to self-care for ourselves and for our friends and loved ones.

We are honouring space… place… pace… with this message:

You matter and we acknowledge you and make space for you – we hold it – we make sure others see you there – we give you room to be involved at whatever level is working for you in the moment – and whatever that may be – we accept and encourage it…

And if it changes… if it is different later – if you need less – or if you find you are seeking more – we don’t hold what you needed before against you… and we don’t use it as a measure of what you might or might not need in the future.

The message is: I accept you in this moment exactly as you are…

You are welcomed…

I see you… you are whole…

You are enough…

I hold space for you…

I watched my son with this other young man. I witnessed his capacity for acceptance  – and for holding space in a way that seemed so like his Papa.

I think perhaps this is a bit of his legacy. My father, H’s Papa, would be proud.

Acceptance, Love, and Self-Care 6

Though his absence is deeply felt, my father’s default to love and acceptance helps me to now hold space for myself and H and others. Papa’s legacy is found in the way H and I move through life now, and holding space for him is a way of caring for others and for ourselves…

And I am grateful…

Original Post: https://30daysofautism.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/holding-space-as-acceptance-love-and-self-care-autismpositivity2015/

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