Archive for April, 2013

Everyone remember the bell-curve from high school and university?? Good. Just in case I have included one below.

bell_curve

Any spectrum is sort of like a bell curve where there is always someone who is better or worse than you are, however, when that spectrum is invisible there is questions of where do fit into it? I always thought I was on the higher end of the spectrum, however; the diagnosis of people being Autistic is much more frequent these days with one in 54 males having it. Therefore, many people who would have been on the border of not being autistic and would not have been considered in the past are now being diagnosed with it. Let’s not discuss whether that is a good thing or a bad thing, because, that is a different debate for a different time. What is relevant, however; is that many of these border cases will be more socially able/gifted than I am. They will have had a rich dating life and will eventually get married and no one would be able to tell the difference between their lives and anyone else’s. I have met several people with Autism but not nearly enough to back up these statistics, therefore, I don’t truly know where I stand anymore. Has the bell curve moved the other direction so that I would be on the lower end of the spectrum? The less independent end? Or has there simply been more people born on the lower end of the spectrum, therefore, my relative place would not have changed so much. I doubt if this latter is the case. I think, instead of the prevalence of most disabilities increasing the only thing that has changed is our ability to recognize and diagnose mild cases. There is also more reasons to come forward or diagnose someone as being on the spectrum since this means that they will receive more funding in the classroom and other areas of their life where they may need extra assistance. In addition, the stigma of being different or having a disability has decreased over the last 10 years than it was before. Do not get me wrong, it is not easy being different as society is not perfect. There are still many ways that life is harder for anyone who is different.

Advertisements

Yesterday, I was at a workshop, called Building a Rapport with the Public, which is a very important part of my job, really of any job. This course and courses like it go along way in trying to answer the age-old question “Can’t we all just get along?”
As part of the course we did several group activities as well as lots of introspection as we tried to figure out ways that we can get together with the general public. The people in the class came from a wide-range of city employment such as police services, paramedics as well as 311. The group was great and we had alot to share and learn from one-another and discussed things such as attentive listening. Which is when you not only listen with your ears but listen with your mind. We also discussed the qualities of an assertive person first as small groups and then with the whole group. During the large group segment, we were coming up with the qualities of an assertive person such as straight-forward, confident charismatic. Charismatic?? What?? When a person suggested this quality and when the instructor put it down I was like No, No, No. It made me so upset that I wanted to stop my feet, I wanted to take the marker out of the instructors hands and cross it out myself. Instead, I settled with raising my hand and pointing out that both aggressive and passive people can also be charismatic, because charismatic simply means likable, therefore, did not relate to the conversation. They may as well have said; that an assertive person is happy, tall and skinny.
What is interesting, however, is that I could not let the point go. I could not smile and simply go along but had to point out the mistake and argue with the instructor until she saw my point of view and finally put a question mark next to it, even though this was not enough in my head and I wanted it simply crossed out. This little point bugged me for the next 45 minutes until the workshop was over. It’s amazing the little things that set our minds off. The things that we can’t live with. I mean I have been insulted to my face and shrugged it off, I have been kept waiting a really long time and while this annoyed me it did not set me off nearly as much as the fact that this characteristic which was so wrong was staying on the list.

There has been alot of complaints lately by people in the food industry of bad patrons, I say get over it. There is no industry or business where the patrons are ever very good but only the food industry feels like they have the right to complain. I cannot personally complain about my customers, not because I have perfect patrons or because I choose to take the high road but because as a government employee I have an employer who actually cares what I publish. Nevertheless, do you think every teacher only has perfect saints for students or its great being a gas station employee when its minus 50 celsius? Now those are the people who should be getting our tips in society. Or what about the taxi driver who has to work 10-4am for one thing there is no restaurant that stays open that late, have a greater chance of being attacked and have to deal with lousy customers as well but I don’t see them starting a large twitter movement about it.

Furthermore, for the hours that you get one patron who does not leave a tip you will get twenty more who will so stop focusing on the negative. If you go long periods of time without getting a tip maybe you should check what kind of service you are providing. A bunch of waiters who I know clear 50 dollars on top of their salary. In addition, I have known people who have graduated from a program and have instead stuck with their waiting job or have quit their other job so they can focus on their waiting job. Therefore, one has to assume the money is pretty good. In addition, attractive females make even more money per hour. Not because they are a sexual object but because people respond better to an attractive person they have even done tests with babies proving this. Therefore, a female waitress who is attractive but provides poor service can walk away with 200 dollars. Even more reason to stop complaining.

Never mind, all of the flexibility of hours that this industry provides.

Conclusion service industry stop whining.

It is interesting, that the best blogs that I have found so far on the topic of Aspergers, have all been written by a mother of someone with Aspergers. For some reason, they have much a clearer perspective about what is going on with us and the challenges we face and are much more eloquent when talking about them than most of us could do ourselves. Is it because our mothers love us more than we could ever love ourselves and they see our strengths and weaknesses much more clearly, while, we only focus on our temporary setbacks and can’t see the trees for the forest?
Or is there another factor at play? There is the fact, that they are, by definition much older. In addition, they have experienced their own childhood so they have something to compare ours too. They see what seems to be serious challenges because they are different from those in, their own childhood which often enough does not include Aspergers. Do not get me wrong, there are many mothers who have blogs which are well-written and also have Aspergers; but, the ones I follow the closest such as the brilliant blog written by Alice Hendley do not. Therefore, they know what it is like to go on dates and how most of the outside world thinks and are able to compare that to their children’s experiences with Aspergers.
The answer could be the result of a countless number of other factors such as to name a few one, most of the blogs by parents are by mothers and maybe women are simply better writers. I reject, this hypotheses out of hand but there could be truth to it. To name another reason, it could be that people with Aspergers don’t want to let our disability define us as much as it truly does. Therefore, I may choose to associate myself as a comedian with Aspergers. Being a parent of a child with Aspergers is much more of a choice if you are liberal and are on the left with your politics. Parents have choices such as abortion or adoption, therefore, they have more choice over their identity than someone simply born one way or another.

Happy World Autism day. I bet some of you are just coming back from the big parade that happened downtown in your city. Filled with sugar from a little too much drinking of soda from all the celebrations. What is that? No parade? Yeah me neither. How come certain causes get their own parade and festival well others do not? Are the organizers afraid that no one would show-up if they did arrange a parade? That’s just silly, because apparently 1 in 88 people are on the Autistic spectrum. That means that there is plenty of people who should either be on it themselves or have close family or friends on it. There is no reason why there are not just the pure numbers to have a big celebration that rival that of the G/L/B/T parade every year.
Both communities have alot in common, for example both of them have been/are considered a form of illness for a long time. I mean, people actually think that a pill can take away all that I am and instead replace my social awkwardness with a brain that works like an NT’s. Sort of like the transformation that happened in Family Matters when Erkal becomes the sexy Stefan who is a complete babe magnet. Hey, if it’s possible why not. My lack of lacking a sex life would be a nice change for a couple of months/ years.
I get it Autism lacks the sexiness of homosexuality. There just is not the same marketability of it. There will never be the same desire for movies with two autistic people. You will never hear a conversation like this in the bar.

Stefanie: Hey, instead of making out on the bar like we do every week, to look sexy for guys let’s do something really different?
Trish: Like what Bitch?
Stef: You’re the Bitch, Bitch. Let’s act really Autistic won’t that be so sexy.
Trish: You’re so naughty. I love it. Let’s totally do it tonight.

There are certain stereotypes people have of people with Autism such as we have poor fine motor skills. It’s true, there is nothing that will ruin a date faster than having the person you are trying to woo have to tie your laces for you. Except, maybe asking them to buy you a hot chocolate at the end and calling them mom. Worst practice date ever, am I right?
(seriously, never happened but I did have to have my dad or mom come into the locker room growing up and was like 13 to tie my laces because I could not tie them tight enough. It was extremely emberassing. Once this was no longer acceptable, for awhile a teammate would do it or my coach. One of my former teammates always brings it up whenever he is trying to embarass me in a social setting because he knows I am not proud of it and he thinks that everyone will get a laugh at my expense. Fortunately, I don’t hangout with this guy often, who would if they were me?)

According to some sources the prevelance of Aspergers is 1 in 250 people, while others argue that it is less common and others argue that it is more common. Therefore, what I am going to discuss next may not be as relevant to every case as I am sure this does not affect everyone in the community and many have not come forward or do not even think about it. The diagnosis, however, means that it should relate to everyone, however, depending on where they fit on the spectrum.
In the previous post, I discussed who has the power in society and resolved that it was unclear and that there was actually shared power in different areas of life. The point of discussing who has it better is often to try and get at the matter of who has it easier in society. I am now going to try and look at that issue in the Asperger community.

Men with Aspergers (AS) have a much harder time in the social area not only than NT but also women with Aspergers. As a result of biology discussed above we will be less in demand than women not only among our own community but also among NTs. In addition, women tend to form stronger social skills than males as a result of how they interact at a young age choosing talking over playing sports. Therefore, they will have better and more friendships than the males. Men with AS, therefore, are more likely going to be more obvious and therefore, receive more assistance and have less stigma attached. Nevertheless, many will not have as many romantic partners and this is very stigmatising by the rest of society. They will also, probably have fewer friends as a result of the weaker social skills. This is very hard.
In comparison, some women with AS may not know until much later and may not understand what is causing problems in their lives which is extremely fustrating. In addition, not knowing why things happen in your life also leaves you more vulnerable to be a victim. They may, however, have a much more interesting romantic life and therefore, feel less sidelined.