Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Language of Us and Them

A link I was looking for awhile ago but only found now.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Not Anti-Treatment

A lot of people seem to think that people opposed to curing autism are against any kind of medical treatment, including seizure medications and vaccinations. For anyone who believes that, look at this blog post:


Kassiane, a severely epileptic autistic woman, lost medical coverage (she lives in US, which has a really screwy health care system) and was running low on the seizure medications that help keep her alive (most seizures aren't life-threatening, but she has had tonic clonic status epilepticus, which is). I couldn't help her out myself, but many autistic activists sent her money to help her purchase her medications.
If we were really against treatment for medical problems, Kassiane would not have received that kind of help from us. We just draw a distinction between life-threatening illnesses and developmental disabilities, and think the two categories should be treated in different ways.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Starwalker Lyrics

I really like Buffy Sainte Marie's songs. What really annoyed me was that every online copy of the lyrics to her song Starwalker was incomplete. So, I'm posting a complete version.

Starwalker, he's a friend of mine
You've seen him looking fine
He's a straight talker, he's a starwalker
Don't drink no wine

Wolf Rider, she's a friend of yours
You've seen her opening doors
She's a history turner, she's a sweetgrass burner
And a - a dog soldier

Holy light, guard the night
Pray up your medicine song
Oh, straight dealer, you're a spirit-healer
Keep going on

Lightning woman, thunderchild,
Star soldiers one and all
Oh, sisters, brothers and all together
Aim straight, stand tall

Starwalker, he's a friend of mine
You've seen him looking fine
He's a - a straight talker, he's a - a starwalker
Don't drink no wine

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New Video on YouTube

I just posted a new video to YouTube.

Sorry about the poor quality. I'll see if I can edit it later on - try to increase text size and volume.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

And the Last One Got a Whack on the Tail

I remember as a very young child reading a book about a bunch of ducks. They were cared for by a human who let them swim in a pond. Every evening, they'd all hurry to enter the duck house on the pond. They hurried, because the last one in got a whack on the tail as xe went in.
This really bothered me as a child, because no matter what the ducks did, one would always get hit. There was always a loser. I wondered why the ducks would bother getting faster since one would always get hit regardless of how fast they were. Of course, the individual duck might benefit, but only at the expense of some other duck.
A capitalist economy is kind of like that. I hear people talking about 'make poverty history' but none of them seem to get that poverty is built into capitalism. In order to 'make poverty history', they'd have to fundamentally change our economy.
There is a name for the kind of change they'd have to make. It's a name that for many people has negative connotations - communism. Now, not all the parts of Karl Marx's idea need to be used, but if you're serious about making poverty history, one part of communism is essential. That part is 'to each according to their need, from each according to their ability'. That's the only way to 'make poverty history'.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Place Where I Belong

Later today, I will be attending a youth group for developmentally disabled teens. It's called Fusion Inclusion, it's an advocacy group run by SACL.
I've only been to one event of theirs - an end of year party. I attended it not sure what to expect and very afraid. I can get along well with severely disabled teens by putting on my 'child mode'. Not meaning any disrespect, the way I act towards children is much less condescending and superior than most people. I listen to them and am interested in what they think and feel, instead of acting as if kids can't teach me anything. With kids, the big focus is on what they're thinking, feeling and doing, whereas with adults I focus on myself and impress them with my knowledge. But with neurotypical teens, I either withdraw or extend a lot of effort to produce a very fake sort of interaction. I'm terrified of NT teens.
I was afraid these kids would be too NT for me to handle. The only teens I'd interacted with were NT or severely disabled, so I didn't know what to expect from mildly disabled teens. And I wasn't being a 'helper' or a bystander, as in every other interaction I'd had with other disabled people. I was one of the group instead of being set apart by status and role. I've never been one of the group - either I am set apart by status or by neurology. I assumed the other kids would be developmentally delayed non-autistic, too, so I thought I'd have little in common with them.
I arrived late, and they had left the meeting place, so we wandered around a bit before seeing a bunch of teens and young adults, some obviously disabled, walking together. I came up and asked if they were Fusion Inclusion, and they were. At first the only ones I spoke to were the leaders, who were adult and not obviously disabled. I was fairly quiet. But gradually I got drawn out by the others, enticed into interacting with them. And I didn't slip into my two most easy patterns of child-adult or adult-child interaction. Nor did I struggle, planning out each action before I did it. Instead, I acted naturally, more naturally than I act with either adults or kids (and that feels fairly natural).
And what really shocked me was that I belonged. Although not all of them were autistic, enough were that I didn't stand out. I didn't have to think about how I appeared, either to hide my autisticness or show it as a statement about myself. I just naturally acted myself - I stimmed, I acted clueless about some things and knowledgable about others, I peppered them with facts and listened to what they told me with interest. By the end, me and a guy with CP were running around putting ice cubes down people's shirts, especially the pregnant group leader who felt too hot. I even put ice cubes down his shirt. My parents came to pick me up and I asked if I could stay a bit longer, and my brother put ice cubes down people's shirts too. But I didn't need him as a social facilitator for me - I belonged there.
So two days ago one of the group leaders called me, telling me they're meeting again today. As soon as I hung up the phone, I squealed and flapped, grinning widely. I've done that periodically since, whenever I think about going to another Fusion Inclusion meeting. And I've been told it will be more regular now, it's properly starting for the year. Being with them is healing, it heals wounds that are so much a part of me now that I don't even notice how much they hurt until they hurt less for a bit.
[Note: this is my 100th blog post!]

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Saturday, November 10, 2007


I just voted for the first time of my life a couple days ago, in the Saskatchewan provincial election. I won't say who I voted for, though you might be able to guess.
Before voting, I wanted to research some stuff about the last election, but couldn't find the information I was looking for. I did find some information which helped me decide who to vote for.
I had a moment of panic the day before voting when I thought they might not have the party affiliations on the voting slip - I didn't know the names of the candidates in my riding. I don't pay attention to people's names - instead, I listen to what they say. My parents reassured me that they do state party affiliations.
I was also surprised to see four names instead of three on the voting slip. I hadn't realized there was a Green party candidate in my riding - CBC didn't mention them, despite talking incessantly about the only slightly more popular Liberal party. (Neither of those parties have won a single riding in quite awhile.) I considered voting Green, but decided not to because my chosen party had a much better chance of winning.
Afterwards, we checked our mail and found a statement of policy from the Green party candidate and a fake letter to 'Grandma' claiming the NPD are driving away young people, made by the Saskatchewan party. I decided to save those. Since the Sask party won, I'll be monitoring them to see if they keep their promise of reducing emmigration from Saskatchewan (from 2001 to 2006, the population of Saskatchewan fell 1.1% according to Sask Bureau of Statistics Report).


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

What is Relaxed?

The current blog carnival theme is 'how do you relax, unwind'. I kept putting off writing my entry, because I wasn't in the right mood to think about relaxation. But I just realized I could talk about why it's so hard for me to relax.
Firstly, I have PTSD, and by definition, PTSD impairs relaxation. Having had something terrible happen to you makes you on guard for anything else like that. So relaxing is difficult, because I just don't feel safe easily.
In addition, society is constantly bombarding me, as a target of discrimination. When I'm reading, listening to the radio, talking with someone, or basically anything that involves receiving communication from others, discrimination can come up and hit me out of nowhere. And it does feel out of nowhere. If someone means to hurt your feelings or be cruel, usually you can see it coming. You're having an argument, they're angry at you, whatever. But if they assume everyone agrees, and rather than being deliberately offensive they are stating the truth as they see it, or even trying to be nice, then it comes in a friendly context, when you're starting to feel safe around them. And they might not even know I'm autistic, in addition to not knowing they're discriminatory.
So relaxing isn't easy. The few times I've felt what I think is called relaxed, it sneaks up on me. I suddenly realize that I feel safe. I often feel safe home alone with only my cats for company, but even so my triggers lie there lurking, able to shatter that calm. Sometimes I feel safe with my parents, but if they say or do the wrong thing I get triggered. Occasionally, I feel safe with my brother, but if he pesters me a bit too much that suddenly disappears. Once, I felt safe with people I'd only just met - a youth group of developmentally disabled people, among whom I no longer felt different. Feeling safe creeps up on me slowly, yet disappears suddenly.
When I realize I'm getting too upset and need to relax (usually late in the build-up of my stress), I don't know how to relax. What do I do? What is relaxation anyway? I honestly don't know what relaxation means or how to achieve it when I'm upset. Instead, I continue quietly teetering on the edge of meltdown until either something sets me off or (less often) I accidentally calm down somehow. I can't keep going on this way, I need to learn how to relax so I'm not constantly having meltdowns anymore.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Physiotherapy assessment

I just had a physiotherapy assessment for chronic neck pain. I also discussed pain I have in my knees, ankles, toes, hips, back and fingers. The physiotherapist agreed with my theory that this was because I'm hyperflexible, and told me to improve my posture and crack my joints less (I do this to relieve pain and also as a habit). I'm glad someone finally listened - I went to a doctor awhile ago about my joint pain when my ankles hurt worse than usual, and he decided to do some useless blood tests for arthritis because he figured since I hadn't mentioned knee pain I couldn't be hyperflexible (even though I actually have knee pain, it just wasn't that bad back then).


Thursday, November 01, 2007

NT children 'becoming human', unlike autistics

I just sent the following e-mail to CBC, regarding a radio interview on the same topic as this article.

"I was shocked this morning to hear a man on the radio, in discussing early diagnosis of autism, say that parents should watch for their child 'developing into a human being'. Why is such prejudiced language acceptable. Firstly, it is prejudiced towards children. You cannot become what you already are, so your guest speaker was basically saying children aren't human - they must become human. Secondly, he was saying that not only are autistic children not human, they, unlike normal chidren, will never become human. When David Aheniquew (sp?) said the Nazis were doing a good thing by trying to get rid of Jews, everyone was shocked and appalled - if I recall, he may even have been charged with hate crimes. Why are children and autistic people not afforded similar respect? Since most people think being human means being worthy of respect, calling any human being non-human is not only biologically innaccurate but prejudiced. Yet your guest speaker said that autistics and children aren't human, and the interviewer didn't even comment.On the subject of early diagnosis, ideally I'd support it but with the state of our society right now, I say just leave them be. I'm glad my own autism wasn't diagnosed until I was 15 - by then, I was able to self-advocate and no one could force me to try to become someone I'm not (that's what autism treatment is - like aversion therapy for gays)."

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