Rainbow

I will not light it up blue.

I do not support Autism Speaks in any of its forms. I do support Color the World, since each one of us is unique and individual as the colors we see. I also tacitly support Light it up Gold and Light it up Red. Light it up Gold is for the hearts of gold many autistics display. Light it up Red is directly countering light it up blue as red is perceived as the primary opposite of blue.

 

This was written by my daughter. Please take the time to read and educate yourself before you buy into propaganda. You can find the original at

https://www.facebook.com/notes/thoughts-from-a-female-aspie/views-of-the-page-admin-on-autism-speaks/288620804633865

This is a basic list of things to look into with Autism Speaks:

Per DSM-V, I am autistic (even though I disagree with DSM-V). I do not support this organization at all. I do support educating individuals who believe that I should be cured, and about organizations that they choose to support.

 

Other links to look at (some repeats):

 

 

 

 

Divergent

I feel that Veronica Roth’s books are filled with allegory. I’m certain the social justice message is intended. But what if you frame the factions around the context of Autism?

Abnegation….others before self. How many Autistics let others dictate their needs? Where does self-care rank for a person who is desperately trying to fit in? For me, it used to be pretty far down the list. I’ve learned how to tell people no in recent years, although that can be very stressful too.

Erudite…knowledge seeking. Yep, I have a lot of knowledge. Mainly because I become absorbed in ideas and my mind takes off with the possibilities. I’ll track an idea down to its origins if it interests me enough.

Candor…the truth shall set you free. Unless you speak too loudly. People say they want the truth, but when you speak what you believe no one listens. Being candid can sometimes (most times) end badly.

Amity…kumbaya! Wouldn’t it be fabulous if we all got along and accepted each other? I know I’d be less stressed and more care free if I didn’t have to worry about what other people thought of me.

And Dauntless….the hero in us all. Willing to lay it all down and show what you can do. Protectors of society. Keepers of independence. My wild side.

Divergent. All five factions in one. Outcast. A threat to the norms. Must be cured, yet holds the key to the future. Hunted. Shamed. Cast-off.

Divergent. Maybe that’s a word people could understand to describe Autism. Forget the puzzle piece. Let’s be Divergent. Recognize that the uniqueness is worth fighting for. The Divergent are not less than. They are different. Imagine if the Divergent in the series had been killed off. While some turmoil would have been avoided, secrets would have remained locked away. Most of the turmoil was caused by factions that felt threatened. People were raised to believe the Divergent were inherently bad. Sound familiar?

I don’t believe I’m inherently bad. I’m different. I’m difficult to understand. I don’t fit in a tidy box. I speak too loudly sometimes and people get uncomfortable. I know “too much” which makes “experts”  very uncomfortable. I’m challenged every day to stand up for myself. People judge me based upon a label. I have to be strong enough to stand by what I believe.

Divergent has a nice ring to it.

On Your Time

Oh, the dilemma. I like to do social things. I like being included. I like receiving invitations.

But, those have dried up for a variety of reasons. My health is unpredictable. My “friends” tell me they don’t want to burden me with their requests. Some people have decided that Autism is a deal breaker. Others just faded away.

Then there’s the flip side. I ask, plan and then get turned down at the last-minute. Sometimes I have gone above and beyond. Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I try too hard.

Then I wonder what’s wrong with me. Why do people turn me down. What can I change. What am I doing wrong. I can’t get unstuck from “me” being the problem.

In reality, other people are making choices. We all get to choose who we hang out with, what activities we do and so on. I can’t make those choices for other people. I can make myself available, that’s  it.

Whether I’m traveling across my city or across the country, it’s their choice. I don’t like that people have led me on, making plans and then cancelling. Or choosing a “better” option. It hurts, a lot. Everyone has a reason and I guess my job is to accept and move on.

 

Plans

I have a hard time with plans. I like to know what I’m doing and when. I will spend hours working out schedules. Most people think I fly by the seat of my pants. I actually plan different scenarios and see which one pans out.

I guess I like knowing the possibilities. I gather information and stash it away for when it might be useful. I wouldn’t say I’m inflexible, at least to everyone else. But I need my plans.

So when my plans fall apart, I struggle. A lot. Because my plans usually involve other people, I try not to let anyone down. And become self-critical when others change their plans. What did I do wrong? Did I offend someone? Did I say something out of line? Yes, it’s always about me. I accept responsibility for things that are not even mine in the first place. It’s not an ego thing. It’s more of a security blanket type thing. If I know what’s coming, I can plan for it.

I guess this is my routine that is the strongest as far as Autism goes. I have many tools for coping with it, including writing this blog. I’ve tried shifting my thoughts to more of a “let it roll” philosophy, but I always come back to the land of plans.

So please, dear readers, know that changing plans is hard for many people. If you can’t or don’t want to do something, please speak up. Kindly, of course. My plans, and sometimes my sanity, are counting on you.

 

Dear Teacher

I know you mean well. really, I truly believe that you started your journey with that spark. But, maybe you’ve forgotten why you’re here, in this job. Twenty five or even thirty years is a long time to be in a career that has such high emotional demands. You are not only an educator. You are a nurse, a psychologist and perhaps a shoulder to cry on. You are a cheerleader and a disciplinarian. Sometimes you feel like an ATM, buying school supplies and lunches for kids you know won’t get anything unless you take care of it. That’s a lot of demand placed on one person who gets paid less than $30 per hour.

Today I watched you with your students. I heard you yell in a way that made me cringe. I heard you call a kid stupid. I watched your body language, with your arms folded tightly against your chest. I saw you interact with other teachers, cutting them off mid sentence so you could say your two cents worth. The looks from your peers should have been a clue, but you were too caught up in yourself to notice.

The message you are sending is that you don’t care as deeply as you once did. The jaded tone in your voice tells me you are just treading water until you retire. Your peers see it. Your students see it. And yet, you seem oblivious. You have all the answers. You play all the games. No one could possible be as “good” as you.

But your actions are speaking very loudly. When you lose the ability to truly listen, it’s time to stop and think about things. When you resort to name calling, it’s time to examine your reasons for remaining in the career field. When you rely on passive-aggressive relationships to maintain your “position” in the hierarchy, you’ve lost what made you an excellent teacher. When you no longer care what message you are broadcasting, it’s time to let go.

You’re not the first teacher I’ve met with this attitude. You probably won’t be the last. It’s sad that in this career field there aren’t many opportunities for sabbatical or even true job changes. You will work your entire career doing pretty much the same thing. And while this job is vitally important, you will become jaded because of expectations, curriculum swerves, student behaviors and lack of support. I just wish you could see yourself and realize what you are really saying.

What you are telling students…they don’t matter. You have more important things to think about. “I” am not important. Why should “I” try when “You” aren’t?

So, dear Teacher, I encourage you to rethink why you are here. What is the purpose of you showing up every day? How can you change so your students change? What can you do to improve the school so everyone can learn? Because it’s not about you.

Sincerely,

Your Future

 

Why fakers ruin my life, Part 2

I went to an emergency room 2 weeks ago. Keep in mind I have known chronic illnesses and spend several hours each week with doctors. The ER doctor (and I use the term loosely) gave me a “15 minute diagnosis” and denied me appropriate medical treatment.

Why? I’m a middle-aged white woman with abdominal pain. Apparently that’s a profile for drug seekers. The ER policy is to not give narcotics to drug seekers. So, thanks. I’m sure that’s not the only profile they have. Back pain is another one they watch out for. In doing the CYA move, legitimate problems are being left untreated.

I just spent 10 hours this week with my established care team. We went over those ER notes and thoroughly discussed my illnesses. Nope, I’m not a seeker. Sometimes my body is just too beat up and overwhelmed to do anything but scream in pain. That’s not going to change. In fact, it’s probably only going to get worse.

Your challenge: Use your resources wisely. If you don’t have an emergency, wait to see your primary care. Keep in mind that drugs can’t solve everything and in many cases rest, ice and/or heat are better treatments. Stop asking for drugs. If you really feel you need them, then only ask for what you need. Be a smart consumer.

Why fakers ruin my life

So here’s the thing. I’ve been fairly liberal by most standards about service dogs.  I don’t judge other people’s choices and how they handle their SD. On Tuesday, my SD Blizzard was attacked by another dog in an office building. Nothing serious, but it threw both of us off our rhythm. I seriously doubt that the other dog was a service dog, since we were sitting down when this dog lunged at us and there was no provocation.

I went to work on Wednesday, only to find not one, but two pets were in the building. One pet the principal knew about, the other he did not. The principal did tell the “unknown” pet’s owner to remove the dog. What happened next should set many people’s hackles up.

I was told I had to check in with the other teacher to confirm I would be working that day. Then she would know when she could bring in her pet. The pet that, on my second day of work, the owner told me would probably attack Blizzard because the dog was territorial. Honestly, I lost it right there in the principal’s office.

It’s a slap in the face. I had to provide proof of insurance, doctor’s note and current vet exam/vaccination record for my SD in order to even get the job. This teacher gets to bring her pet to school with no accountability. Second…WTH! It’s pretty common knowledge that SDs have right of way over pets and even therapy dogs.

Back to the slap in the face. I’m sure you’ve seen something about “fake” SDs in the news. if not, just Google it. Here are two very personal examples of why “fake” service dogs are a problem. My SD was bitten by a dog wearing a $30 vest. I’m supposed to forgo my dog so someone can have their known aggressive pet in the workplace. My SD has undergone hundreds of hours of training to do her job. She has saved my life 6 times so far. We’re not just talking about making me feel good. We’re talking about call an ambulance and pray I don’t die on the way situations. Yes, “fake” SDs are a slap in the face too.

I get it. You love Fido or Fluffy. I love my pet Dane too. But, you are endangering my life by assuming your pet will be “fine” in public. You are risking my life because you are being selfish. Period.

Yes, selfish. Are you really disabled? I can’t tell by looking at you. Does your dog mitigate a disability? Again, I can’t tell by looking at you. But if you are honest with yourself, you know the answers to these questions. SDs are not robots and they do mess up. But you won’t find one barking hysterically unless the handler is down. You won’t find one lunging and biting other dogs. You won’t find one hidden away in a purse.

So, there you have it. Many of my social media friends don’t understand why this situation is so upsetting to me. What’s the big deal? Well, I can’t do my job. My SD can’t do her job. We’re constantly watching for another dog attack now. Asking me to go out of my way for a non-disabled person is discrimination in the workplace. No, I won’t “work it out.”  I shouldn’t have to and you never should have asked.