ASDay Articles 2012

Here are the two articles I most enjoyed from Autistics Speaking Day 2012:

Independence through reliance on others, by Catsidhe. While the author can work around some of his difficulties (eg asking people to email information to him, or have one person speaking at a time), certain other tasks like choosing doctors and mechanics, making appointments with them, and successfully travelling on public transportation cause significant stress. He describes how smoothly the problems of the week were managed by his wife, and gives a contrasting explanation of how they may have unfolded without her help.

Communication Partners, by Nightengale of Samarkand on LiveJournal. Communication can take many forms, but never occurs in a vacuum- however many autistic people lack communication partners. They are often excluded from conversations about autism. Autistic people are speaking- are non-autistic people listening?

Adult social care

The author of this article was diagnosed with ASD in her 40’s, and while appreciating it as a more positive label than those she’d previously received, she also struggled greatly with the subsequent non-existent support.

The assumption that we must have worked it out by now if we’re still walking, talking and have a pulse can hide a grim reality of difficult, isolated and unfulfilled lives. Sometimes someone just giving me a reality check of the “have you eaten today?” kind would be useful.

Left to my own devices, I turned to the internet, where I discovered there were others out there trying to make sense of it all too – an online tribe for the tribeless, a diaspora of aliens in a neurotypical universe.

In the long-term, diagnosis has allowed me more self-forgiveness and self-understanding and I’m much happier because of it.

But some support in reaching that place would have been useful. So would occasionally being asked: “Do you need any help?”

Brisbane subsidised shared cabs

Brisbane City Council organises shared taxis at scheduled times for residents who find it difficult to get to their local shops.  To be eligible for this service, you must be over 60, mobility impaired, or a Pensioner/Senior Card holder- and you may be accompanied by a carer or a child under your care.  Costs $1-$3 each way, and covers many suburbs and shopping centres.  Looks like a very helpful scheme- may be worth asking if similar opportunities are available in other cities.

Children’s books about tough stuff

So many parents turn to books to help explain some of the more difficult aspects of life to their children, so I’m always on the lookout for lists of books that tackle the tough subjects.  This list contains books about divorce, potty training (this one has a lot of good reviews on Amazon), anxieties, death, being different (several books), bullying, bad behaviour, moving, cancer, etc.

Kids with disabilities need to learn…

Adult with disabilities shares what kids with disabilities need to learn, by Andrew Pulrang.

What skills do children with disabilities need to become independent adults? There are plenty of transition planning guides and parenting tips to help answer this question. I would like to offer some ideas to consider, as an adult who was once a child with disabilities.

At times it may seem like independence is determined by the type and level of disability a person has, but it isn’t. People with all kinds of disabilities live independently. What they have in common is a set of key skills and habits… (very sensible and practical list!)

Judith Heumann, one of the leaders of the disability rights movement, helped define Independent Living, when she said, “Independence is not about doing things for yourself. It is about having control over how things are done.” You can be independent and in control, even if you literally can’t lift a finger or speak an audible word. You just need the right tools and supports.