Tag Archives: actually autistic

My Wish

I’ve been rolling these thoughts around in my head for months.

 

Inclusive Autistic Traits by Autisticality

I’m hitting the “Reblog Button” for the first time ever. This list is amazing. It is extremely comprehensive without being pathological or overly negative. It also does not dismiss or overlook difficulties. PLEASE read the entire list on the original poster’s page.

autisticality

Problems

Autism is big and messy and confusing, and no-one really understands it. It’s difficult to make a good summary and description of autistic traits, because generally no-one can agree on what autism actually is. But even taking that into account, I’ve never read a satisfactory article or leaflet summarising and describing autistic traits.  Every description I’ve ever read suffered from at least one of these problems:

  • Wrongly weighted. So many descriptions of autism written by neurotypical people focus completely on social traits. Often autism is described as an entirely social thing, and any other differences are considered incidental if they’re mentioned at all.
  • Vague. The “triad of impairments” is the worst offender here. It divides social traits arbitrarily into “interaction”, “communication”, and “imagination”, but there is absolutely no clear distinction between those categories. They’re meaningless and useless divisions that don’t remotely simplify the description, and so they serve no useful purpose…

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A Neurodivergent View of Netflix’s Atypical

I did it! On a long car ride across Texas, David at the wheel, I managed to sit through the entire first, 38-minute episode, of Atypical, titled Antartica.

Let me start by saying that Atypical is a show about autism. It is not made to be a show for autistic people, despite autism being the main theme of the TV show.

Netflix’s new show Atypical has been creating quite a stir in the online autism community. The story is supposed to be told from an autistic person’s perspective, but many people are upset with the show’s apparent lack of neurodiverse representation both on and off screen.

Autistic advocates were most frustrated over the autistic main character, Sam. Many expressed wishes for autistic characters to be portrayed by autistic actors. As expected, Sam’s character is basically just a DSM checklist of every possible autistic stereotype imaginable.

In the first episode, I am already put off by the complaining from the mother character. Hopefully, she’ll take responsibility for her own actions, stop holding her son back, and quit complaining about how much of a burden autistic people are in future episodes.

We’ll skip past all of the completely unrealistic, WTF moments, such as the “brain donation question”, the “sex with a random older female stranger”, and the illogical “bedroom assault”. (Nothing about that first “sex scene” is even believable.)

Atypical is a painfully typical coming of age comedy. It has a very basic family teenage drama dynamic, complete with predictable plot lines focused on teen sex and surviving high school.

Every show needs comic relief and the writers of Atypical have managed to do a great job placing autism front and center as the butt in most of its jokes, because it’s fun to laugh at other people’s difficulties.

Between the poor representation and the bad acting, the first episode of Atypical was one of the most cringeworthy things I’ve come across in a very long time. One was enough. I’ve got no plans to watch another episode any time soon.

Sorry Netflix, that is a big “NO!” from me.

What do you think? Did you like Atypical? Should autistic characters in film and TV be played by autistic actors?

Check out the tag #actuallyAtypical on Twitter for more autistic opinions on the show.

Habit-forming – The Art of Creating Good Habits

I am a creature of habit. I love my little rituals and routines. I am very aware of this and take advantage of my ability to form habits.

 

NeuroRebel – Float Away Mind – Fiction Based on Reality

The Texas heat is especially unforgiving in August. A dark-haired woman sits in her car, flipping a key chain between her fingers, as she eagerly waits for the next green light. She sits, lost in the sensation of the smooth jingling keys, momentarily unaware of the world around her.

In an instant, the woman is jolted back to reality by an unsettling, noise.

A small child is running at full speed up the sidewalk towards the elementary school. Heart racing, it takes Kat a moment to pair the sound, a loud high pitched screech, with the noise maker.

Finally, the light turns green and Kat manages inch up two whole car lengths. She reaches up and adjusts here rear-view mirror. “That happy kid”, she laughs to herself “I was never that happy when I went to that school.”

Suddenly Kat found herself reliving a memory. First person video of a familiar classroom began to roll in her head. Vivid and colorful memories, with infinite looping playback.

Kat found herself toe to toe with an old nemesis, her first-grade teacher.

This new teacher was a force to be reckoned with. Mrs. B. demanded blind obedience from her students. She was a “my way or the highway” kind of teacher. Students who questioned her were quickly placed on her “shit list”.

The traffic light turned green.

HONK! HONK!

Kat quickly re-entered reality, pressing into the accelerator with enough force to make up for the distance she lost while daydreaming at the light.

“Mind on the road!” Kat tells herself, as she hits play on the touch screen car stereo. “No thinking. No distractions!”

Twenty perfect piano notes dance, tickle the car speakers as Mad World by Gary Jules takes over the car.

Once again Kat’s mind had floated away.  Gone someplace else, lost in a music video created by her mind. “Teacher tell me what’s my lesson? Looked right through me. . . . looked right through me.”

“Shit!” Red light. Kat slams on the breaks, managing to stop the beat up Nissan Sentra just in time. “Fuck!”

“Mindfulness. Right now. Right now. Right now” she muttered under her breath, as she spun the stereo dial until it clicked into the mute position.

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Talk About the Fidget Spinner Craze

This week I check out my first fidget spinner, in an attempt to figure out what all the fuss is about.

Some of us were fidgeting long before the revolving metal discs came whirling into the picture. All of the sudden fidget toys and spinners are everywhere.

As I pick up the small black tool and twirl it between my pointer finger and thumb, I have mixed feelings. The heavy cold metal zings and vibrates, resonating into my fingertips.

On one hand, the whoosh of the quivering metal is soothing. The fan-like rotation is also quite enjoyable, reminiscent of the shimmering pinwheels I adored in childhood.

Spinners are everywhere. They have invaded playgrounds, classrooms, and memes all over the world. Kids collect them like Pogs, do tricks with them like yo-yos, and flinging them across classrooms.

Somehow spinners have caught on, becoming the new “cool toy” and everybody wants one. Completely out of control, the fidget fad is booming, leaving many people who were “fidgeting before it was cool” with mixed feelings.

I hope this will give way to more teachers allowing movement in class.

When I was in school hands had to be still. You were not allowed to play with pencils or strum your fingers, even if you did so quietly.

One teacher, a stern old fashioned woman who seemed to have it out for me, made me sit on my hands to keep them still. I remember the hard wooden chair painfully pressing into my boney knuckles.

At first, when I stopped my hands my legs would jump, bouncing up and down, under the desk. “Do you have to go to the bathroom?” the teacher asked in front of everyone, “You look like you are doing a pee dance. Go to the bathroom or knock it off!”

Keeping my hands under control was hard work.  Eventually, I learned that my hands could be moving under the desk or table, as long as the teacher didn’t notice.

Little has changed. I think best when actively relaxed, allowing my body to move naturally. As an adult you find more acceptable things go play with, rings, necklaces, pens, and cell phones. Holding something in my hand keeps me grounded, helping me to stay present and mindful. Often I will pop and rub my fingers quietly if I find myself empty handed.

When I was young there were no fidget spinners, being the squirmy kids who couldn’t sit still was not cool or trendy either. Funny to see how things have changed.

Is this a door to widening acceptance or simply a gross misuse of a well intended too?