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Showing posts from January, 2013

Autism neurodiversity: Who speaks for the severely autistic?

I suggest reading this, even if you disagree. Especially if you disagree. Autism neurodiversity: Does facilitated communication work, and who speaks for the severely autistic? - Slate Magazine For those unfamiliar with this blog, I do not consider myself a "neurodiverity" champion. I am not going to claim that "autism" is one thing or that all autistics have similar needs — any more than any group of people can be generalized. I find there are fewer commonalities among autistics than other groups of individuals with physical or neurological challenges. I understand and appreciate the motives of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, the Autism Network International, and other groups organized by and for autistic individuals. I also understand that parents with children dealing with serious physical and cognitive challenges feel limited connection to the "high-functioning" stories of success. My wife and mother both know my physical and neurological li

Autism Society of Pittsburgh, ASA Conference

Having moved from Minnesota to Pennsylvania in 2011, I have not been directly involved in autism advocacy and education for the last 18 months. I was busy enough moving and navigating my new workplace that I decided I was busy enough without volunteering to help others. Now that we are settling comfortably in Western PA and the job is now focused entirely on research (no teaching this semester), I want to do more. On January 16, I had a nice lunch with Dan Torisky and Heidi Hess of the Autism Society of Pittsburgh ( ). Mr. Torisky is the president of the Autism Society chapter (or "affiliate") and Ms. Hess is the coordinator of community outreach. I look forward to working with the local chapter, because I respect the Autism Society of America ( ) and the work it supports. The ASA annual conference is going to be hosted by Pittsburgh this summer, July 10-13, 2013. I look forward to helping the local chapter h

Follow-up Post: Any To-Do List Progress?

In an earlier post, I listed some of the goals for my weekend. Now, I offer the reality check. My goals for this weekend included: Finish unpacking our music collection. (No) Verify technical books are in my database. (Yes) Compose three to five blog posts. (Yes) Edit a client project. (Slow progress, incomplete) Update at least one Web page. (Some progress) Work on my two research projects. (Very little progress) The music collection wasn't a priority. I didn't manage to put any discs onto the shelves. It is a task I need to get done, since we need the CDs off the floor, but for now it will be a task I do when I need a break from the computer screens. Verifying my inventory of tech books was important because I'm starting to program again. I can't always remember which books I own, especially since there are new editions of tech books almost annually. Actually, we have so many books on so many topics, I am updating my database to include most of the boo

Needing to Do More

I'm trying to get some projects completed, and parts of others. As readers know, the endless to-do list is something both my wife and I maintain. I'm certain I don't add everything I wish to accomplish to the list(s) we maintain — I'd end up spending the day adding to lists, not working on them. My goals for this weekend include: Finish unpacking our music collection. Verify technical books are in my database. Compose three to five blog posts. Edit a client project. Update at least one Web page. Work on my two research projects. The full list is much longer, but I am trying to be somewhat realistic. I might accomplish some of my goals, but most likely I will complete portions of some of them. There will be some CDs still in piles, some books unverified, and I doubt the blog posts will be backlogged to my satisfaction. Despite my best efforts, I doubt I will complete this editing pass through the client project, too. Is it a lack of focus or a lack of ti

The Fiction I Enjoy

We celebrated the start of our four-day holiday weekend by watching three adaptations of Jane Austen novels. These were the "good" versions, written by Andrew Davies and produced by BBC with the "old" A&E that cared about Art as much as Entertainment. Pride and Prejudice remains my favorite Austen work, and the Davies script is a reasonably loyal adaptation. I have to state that I like the dialogue of Persuasion , and Emma is a masterpiece — so self-aware that it can border on being something of an Austen parody of Austen. (I do not like Mansfield Park and cannot recall Northanger Abbey , I admit to some shame.) A few days ago someone mentioned that I must love science fiction. No. I don't love science fiction. I like it, but I do not own many works of science fiction and my entertainment choices are more likely to be cartoons and romantic comedies. I enjoyed the first Star Wars movies, but I'm not an obsessed fan; we don't even own cop

Cold. Intimidating. Angry. Scary. Autistic.

In the last two weeks, I had to deal with the consequences of misperceptions and assumptions about me — and autism. My last major "public interaction" of 2012 also included a mention of my perceived personality, and that mention still annoys me several days later. I am reminded of this excellent blog post on Musings of an Aspie : You Scare Me October 10, 2010   Last summer, my husband and I had some new friends over for lunch. They brought along their two young boys. Toward the end of the meal, the 5-year-old, who was sitting next to me, looked at me and said, "You scare me." I have been told, far too many times, that I make people uncomfortable. I have been told I am cold, intimidating, angry, and scary. Coworkers, I have been informed, are afraid of me. Afraid of me, despite my palsy, my limp, and my occasional use of a cane. Please, read the full post on Musings of an Aspie  and try to understand w