My favourite posts by #ActuallyAutistic bloggers in 2017

These are not in any order, as I find it impossible to ever assign “number one” slots etc. They are just blog posts that caught my eye, and my heart, this year. By autistic bloggers who have done the same.

This post is just brilliant, as is the other autscriptic blog post. Captures a lot of what I wish I could say to people who go on about “mild” autism. Mild autism

Ryan Boren wrote a really good gift-guide just before Christmas. What I really appreciated was his review of vaporizers and other things linked to medical marijuana as it’s one product often left out of such guides. Gift guide for chronically ill

As always, Kassiane’s sarcasm and dark humour shines through this almost unbelievable post. If my kid could do that…

Here Anna describes something that happens to me a lot and that often prevents me from writing this blog. Lost for words

I would recommend every single blog post written by autistics criticizing To Siri With Love. Hard to pick out just one but it really liked this post by Liz that touches on broader themes. To Siri With Love: The oppression of…

I cannot resist criticism of Simon Baron Cohen and Max has captured a lot of my feelings about a recent paper he wrote. Dr Simon Baron Cohen does not understand…

And finally, not a blog post as such but a great resource for finding autistic bloggers. An Autism Observer

To sum up, I really love all these bloggers and you should read their other posts too.

And I really must update my blogroll. Another job on my “improve my blog” to-do list for 2018!

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Our autistic Christmas

Lots of autistic folks are writing blog posts sharing tips on how to survive Christmas, which can be a very difficult time of year for us. I’m not going to do that, but rather just describe my plan for today. It’s a plan and routine that I have honed over the last few years and that suits me and my family.

Right now, I am in my freshly-tidied library room, chilling on the sofa and writing this.

As soon as they woke up, the kids came into my bedroom, woke us up, and chatted and cuddled for a while. And then we went downstairs and I made coffee and we opened the presents. My husband tidied away the wrapping paper as we unwrapped things, because he doesn’t like having it strewn all over the floor!

[image shows my sitting room. There is a yellow chair on the left and a tv on the right. In between is a Christmas tree with its lights on. Under the tree are presents of various shapes and sizes]

For brunch I will cook a full Irish breakfast, consisting of sausages, bacon, eggs, toast and freshly squeezed orange juice. After that we will spend many hours playing video games together as a family. MarioKart to start and plenty of breaks to recover. At some stage I will read the new book my husband got me, while he reads the one I got him. The kids will play with their new toys.

We will eat chocolates and snack on cheese and crisps and various other things. Then I will start preparing the dinner. Experience has taught us that it’s better if everyone stays out of my way as I do this. Once dinner is ready, the kids will come and eat in the kitchen with us. It’s the only time they ever agree to sit at the kitchen table, as the kitchen is usually uncomfortable for them. So, we get an annual concession.

The hamster and zebra finches will be given raw Brussels sprouts for their Christmas dinner. While the dog gets lots of leftover turkey. He also got a new squeaky toy and some dog treats. We may take him for an extra long walk if it ever stops raining. Other than that, we are not leaving the house.

We may play some more video games after dinner, or watch tv in front of the fire, or go back to reading our books. We may hang out in the same room, or each hang out in different rooms.

And that is it. No visiting, no visitors, no pressure. Just an incredibly chilled out day.

“But how will we find them?”

One of my more popular tweets advised NT parents that, no matter what problem or issue their autistic child is facing, there is an autistic adult who has faced the same thing and can advise them.

A line that often gets thrown in our faces when we try to advise parents on helping their autistic kids is “you are not like my child”. And yes, it is true that I may not have faced the exact same problems your child has. But I can guarantee that there is an autistic out there who has had a pretty damn close experience.

Non-verbal? There are many adult autistics who were non-verbal as children. Many still are. Some have learnt to type and are willing to describe their experience.

Epileptic? I know many autistics who have co-morbid epilepsy. They have helped me so much with my own questions on the subject.

Stomach issues? Many of us have those, for myriad reasons. We can point you in the right direction to get some relief for your child.

Self-harm and self-injurious behaviour? Yep, so many of us have been there, done that.

Problems with activities of daily living? Eg brushing teeth, haircuts, getting dressed. We can advise on tips and life hacks and ways of getting to the heart of the issue.

Food issues? School issues? Executive dysfunction? Finding and keeping a job? Burnout?

There is no issue your child is facing that an autistic adult hasn’t. Might not be to the exact same degree, but we can at least help you help them. Offer ideas and solutions if we can. Work with you and your child, to help them in the most positive way we can.

My tweet did get one reply that at the time I thought was a parent being lazy. It was “but how will we find them?”. It annoyed me because I thought the answer was self-evident. But I now realise that not everyone knows the right words to search for, the right hashtags etc.

At the time, I pointed to the #ActuallyAutistic hashtag as a way of finding adult autistics. But now, thanks to @NeuroRebel we have the brand new #AskingAutistics hashtag specifically for this purpose. It’s gaining popularity, both by NT people asking for advice but also by #ActuallyAutistic people too. It’s a way of asking “hey, anyone have experience with X?”

A lot of us are spending time looking at the questions linked to that hashtag. And if we can’t answer them ourselves, we pass them onto those who can, or ask around and share. It seems to be a wonderful resource developed from the ground up.

So, there you have it. Have a question about autism? #AskingAutistics is the way to go.

Or if you don’t use twitter, it may be used on Facebook too. I know @NeuroRebel uses Facebook, but I don’t so I’m less clear on that part. Or you can contact us via our blogs too!

To Judith With Love…or maybe not. #BoycottToSiri

Dear Judith,

I know you won’t mind me writing about you without asking you, or even telling you, beforehand. You’ve made it perfectly clear that that’s a fine thing to do. Maybe one of your supporters will tell you and you’ll get a nice surprise.

And I’m sorry I won’t be describing your looks. I can’t call you a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, because, quite frankly, you’re not. But even if your looks suggested you were “gamine”, I wouldn’t use such a sexist and infantilizing description. But if I did use a descriptor for you that you objected to, then ooops, I’m sorry if you’re offended. I was only trying to pay you a compliment without actually stopping to think about what the words actually mean. You should be grateful to me. I may even send some fans your way because you obviously can’t manage very well without me misrepresenting you.

And if you or anyone else objects, especially if they belong to a group of people that I’m writing about, a group that I’m not part of and know next to nothing about apart from my preconceptions, then I’ll simply block you all. Because I’m “very friendly”. And if you object to anything I write, then you’re simply a bully and a troll and lack Theory of Mind.

I’m sure you won’t mind if I write a book about how I want to sterilize you. Because I simply can’t fathom how someone like you could be a parent. Yes, I have decided you shouldn’t have children. And I’m going to tell the world of this fact. Pity I don’t also have your porn search history, as that would make a lovely addition to my book. Help to keep it real.

And I’m not going to ask your consent to write about you. Or ask you your thoughts. Do you even have thoughts? Are you capable of such things? I have no clue but I’m just going to make up a load of shit about people like you. Maybe throw in some out of date research to pretend my thoughts have some legitimacy. Maybe I’ll say that you are brain damaged. That’s always a good way to get pity from the public.

And if other people like me read my book, maybe they will get the genius idea to have annoying people like you sterilized too. And if they do, I will claim I’m horrified by the idea. That I was just talking about you and not anyone else and how could they think such a thing. I’m quite good at faking outrage as it happens. Anything to drive up book sales.

But you know, dear Judith, I’m not going to do any of those things. Because I actually care about peoples privacy. And don’t promote eugenics.