Hi Guys! Go on over to http://www.elizabethhaddon.com for my new blog location. I love you all!
I know I already put this on my facebook page but really, this is worth blogging about over and over! Take a look at the site and please reply with any thoughts. As it turns out, I just spoke with one of the guys who are working on this project and was so impressed with the care and precision going into the creation of Milo.
Don’t you just love when wonderful attention is given to a group of people who are some of the most vulnerable folks in our community?
Hey, hey, hey! I know Milo in Milo – Autistic Warrior is living on the hero cusp but here is an actual superhero who uses his autistic powers to right wrongs and help people. Man, you know I’m buying every single comic in the series! Take a look and let me know what you think.
I can’t seem to get the video to pop up by itself but the link will get you to it. Just breathe through the BP commercial…
I’m in Seattle, a far cry from Flagler Beach, Florida. Here’s the thing about Seattle in the summertime: it’s beautiful. I lived here for 30 years so I’m not seduced by the weather. But anyone thinking of visiting the northwest is crazy to not come here in August and September. The city has a vibe of creativity, of ideas, of action. Add the mountains and the water and you’ve got a taste of heaven. Tomorrow I start promoting my book, Milo-Autistic Warrior, at book stores (they are everywhere!) and talking to people who might be interested in inviting me to speak at various events.
Now, I have to say that Flagler Beach, Florida is a bit of heaven itself. It is fast becoming a haven for artistic types of every bent. It’s odd to think of commuting between Seattle and Flagler but there you have it, energetic locations supporting human expression. I couldn’t be happier. It must be the geometry…
It took me a while to get my head quiet enough to blog again but I think now I’m back in business.
At this moment, I’m visiting my daughter and son in law and their four amazing sons. What is excruciating clear is that the sentiment in this quote is not always the first sentiment to fill the mind of a hurt child under the age of ten. No, these young creatures turn instantly into barracudas with full-on fangs and claws. The older kids have learned to restrain the urge to annihilate and even seem bored with the energy drain of pay-back. How do we adults handle the whole, ‘I’m offended now what am I going to do about it?’
This kid is one of my super heroes!
I wrote about swarms and biomimicry in Milo – Autistic Warrior but this is one of the strangest swarms I’ve seen. But wait! The reason for it is explained at the end which also put this behavior in the category of biomimicry. This is such a clear example of swarm and how nature solves problems. But what is going on with the stopping and thinking? Man, I love this video!
The Rashomon effect is rampant throughout human consciousness. Frankly, it seems pretty evident in canine consciousness as well. Come to think about it, I’ve noticed its presence in studies on non-human primates. Plus, it’s a terrific word. Rashomon.
Rashomon refers to the variety of ways two or more people view the same event or point in time. The other day I was looking for a hotel in Miami. I’m attending (and reading at) the Miami Book Fair International in November and thought I’d book a room near the fair. Just when I thought I found a reasonably priced room, I read the reviews. They spanned from a ‘clean, helpful staff’ kind of comment to ‘this place is filthy – we got bed bugs’. While I have no desire to have a close personal relationship with bed bugs, I am rather drawn to a clean room with helpful staff. Which is true? Apparently, both statements are true if we ask the reviewers. But, you say, the rooms either have bed bugs or they don’t have bed bugs. Which is it? Once again, both.
Which brings us full circle to the question of what is ‘normal’. Is normal what we expect? What we fear? What someone else told us? What we wish were true? Yes.
When an autistic adult avoids eye contact, a boss might interpret that avoidance as an indication of some kind of trust issue and immediately become suspicious. After all, making and sustaining eye contact is normal during conversation. If his employee doesn’t behave normally, red flags go up.
Meanwhile, our autistic adult’s brain is wired differently than his boss’s and interprets his boss’s eye contact as inappropriate staring. His response to being stared at is to feel overwhelmed, horribly uncomfortable, threatened in some way, and consumed with a desire to run out the nearest exit. Which he does. And loses another job because he’s unreliable and socially inept. In other words, abnormal.
All because his brain doesn’t like making eye contact because it is too stimulating. Our autistic adult finds safety in no eye contact. His boss finds safety in sustained eye contact. Somebody ends up seeming ‘shifty’ while the other ends up overbearing.
That’s why I write about autism. Brains perceive the world differently. Rashomon. What’s safe for you is scary for me. But that’s the richness of social interaction. It seems if we can hold off judging each other according to the gospel of normal, we might have a chance at a whole new way of seeing and doing things.
Akira Kurosawa made the movie, and, like most of his movies, it is well worth checking out. Or rather, in my opinion, it is well worth checking out.
Like many of you, I was stunned when I learned of Robin William’s suicide. Tonight’s NBC broadcast of his death included the statistic that every 13 minutes, someone takes their own life. Every 13 minutes. By the time I publish this blog, another person will have killed themselves.
In a 2013 article published in Psychology Today, researchers at Penn State found autistics were 28 times more likely to feel suicidal or attempt suicide than non-depressed neurotypicals. Why? For children through age 16, suicidal thoughts escalate because of the effects of bullying in school, social isolation, and feeling hopeless life will ever improve. More about bullying in future posts except to say it makes sense to define the effects of bullying, in all its forms, as life threatening to the child or teenager being bullied.
For autistic adults, ASD and depression do a dangerous dance in our psyche – often hiding behind each other. What might be identified as a clear indication of a serious depression in a non-autistic (Everything I do is wrong) could easily go unnoticed in the swirl of frustration, anxiety and anger in an autistic. Depression killed Robin Williams even when he and those around him knew he was depressed. That’s how mighty and vicious it is. Autistic children and adults need their caregivers and community to be knowledgeable and on the look-out for depressive thinking and take appropriate action to get immediate help. We all know Robin Williams was a force of nature. Apparently, so is depression, except a little more so.
I found a great site focused on ASD and Depression – http://theinvisiblestrings.com/aspergers-depression-masking-effect/#disqus_thread – well worth checking out.
The Psychology Today artical can be found here: xhttp://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/aspergers-diary/201303/new-research-autism-and-suicide
Remember – go from strength to strength