Tree down Art up

The decorations came down today. They went up early due to a visit from the grandchildren very early in December. Kind of sad to take them down but some normalcy is needed. The loom is now back in its normal spot rather than hiding behind the sofa.

So the art work is back on the wall where it lives happily until the Christmas tree 🎄comes out again.

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This is graphite and white acrylic on paper. Drawn/painted by me c. 2011. It was a complete break from what I had been doing and came about through working through angst that had started as anxiety because of what I had drawn underneath it.

Ok, so I guess you want to know more now I wrote that!

I had drawn a tree, a Moreton Bay Fig. This particular tree is growing in the Auckland Domain. It’s been there since I was a child. Move on a few years to when I was a young mum to my daughter, then five, and my son, aged two. Friends had collected us and taken us to the Domain. I had just left my first husband and was living in a women’s refuge with my children. My friends kept asking me questions and I ended up having a very public, very loud meltdown. It was horrendous. It was school holidays or a weekend because there were many families there sitting having picnics on the grass. I remember the stares. I was extremely distraught.

And my children witnessed it.

I love trees, especially Moreton Bay Figs so I started to draw one but I was overtaken by anxiety due to aforementioned reason. I threw paint at it, drew into it and became happy with my creation. Happy enough that I can live with it on my wall and don’t think about its past until, like now, I started to write the bit under the image above. (The trees in the image above are no particular species.)

I had no plans to tell you that. It just suddenly came up.

I use to feel embarrassed, humiliated, shameful… etc but I don’t now. I now know I’m autistic and I was pushed much too far at a very stressful and vulnerable point in my life.

Anyway, I’m fine now 🌹🌻🌼❤

Reblog of ‘On how power silences marginalized groups’

On how power silences marginalised groups

Great power brings the need for great responsibility.

Online, I and so many other autistic people have been watching a rich, powerful, well-connected, well publicised author trying to silence autistic voices of dissent.

The author has written a book which outlines her son’s autistic behaviours.  She describes him in ways many autistic people find humiliating, dehumanising, horrific.  I don’t use such words lightly.  It describes how the mum in question intends to seek a vasectomy for her son, currently aged 15, to stop him having children in future.  He is at school, talks, reads, has friends.  The author had described another autistic person in terms that the person found distressing.  When they complained about this, they were referred to as a brat.   It was a moment of revelation as to the author’s view of autistic adults.

When autistic people took to finding copies of the book (for a while available as a pdf online, since removed)  – or reading copies in the library… or borrowing copies from one another – they started reviewing it online.  The author didn’t like this, it seems.

The author contacted a friend of theirs on a large bookselling site and it seems asked them to censor the comments.    Then apparently asked her largely-rich, powerful group of online friends to target the autistic commentators by getting the review sites to remove their comments.

Let’s think about this for a moment.
Autistic people are amongst the more impoverished on the planet.  So many have no jobs, no spare income.  Not so much as a spare £1. Society prevents most of us from working, such is the level of misunderstanding and hate out there.

In order to comment on whether we have a right to reproduce, and whether an author has the right to name and shame their own child in that debate and publish it…we have to now be able to afford to buy a book each, it seems.  From a specific bookshop where the cheapest price seems to be £8.  And review it in ways that please the author, or her mate will remove their review.  £8….  That’s possibly two days of food, for an autistic person.  Maybe it’s a whole weeks-worth of food.

This, my friends, is power.
The power to decide who is rich enough to review you

Please read on; the full article can be read here at Ann’s Autism Blog .
Accessed Friday 29th December 2017 from http://annsautism.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/on-how-power-silences-marginalised.html

And a Meltdown in a Pear Tree

Lol, certainly made me smile…

Stim the Line

Merry Christmas Everyone! Or for anyone that doesn’t celebrate Christmas, Happy Belated Hanukah,  late Solstice, early Kwanza, and a Very Happy December 25th!

I think no matter what you celebrate, The 12 Days of Christmas carol is probably something that you’ve heard. The math has been done, and to purchase all 12 days of gifts would cost you almost $35,000!

I’ve replace the drummers, pipers, lords and ladies, the maids, the swans, and the geese, the gold rings, the calling birds, French hens, turtle doves, and the partridge with things that are a little more relatable!

So I present to you-

The Twelve Days of Autism 

On the First day of Christmas, Autism gave to me, A meltdown in a pear tree

On the Second day of Christmas, Autism gave to me, two info-dumps, and a meltdown in a pear tree

On the Third day of Christmas, Autism gave to…

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Standing outside

It was the village carol service tonight. I find this event very difficult to deal with each year as I cannot tolerate the lights and noise in the church anymore. So I went over and peered through the windows hoping I wouldn’t be seen. It was rather strange behaviour!

So I feel sad.

I took some photos with my phone as the church looks very beautiful. The image quality is poor but I think it gives something worth sharing.

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A confession, a book and a doll

I have a thing about dolls. I still have many of the dolls from my sixties childhood. They are hidden away. I’ve kind of felt ashamed about my doll love affair. It’s childish. I thought people would think me childish. Yes I am childish in many ways, after all, being child-like is an autistic trait. But. The new, no, …the real me… is gradually appearing and taking over and conquering the fears of the person I thought I was.

So, I’m coming out. And, my dolls should come out of the closet too.

I need to find a glass fronted antique style cabinet to display them. This is important as our home has two fires and sooty dust is a fact of life.

A year ago, before my shoulder became fully frozen I was completing a lot of jigsaw puzzles and this was one of them…

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This jigsaw helped me re-identify with my authentic doll loving self. As a child my mum encouraged me to play with my dolls. I didn’t know how. But i did love to look at them. I liked collecting them. (During my teenage years I found all my dolls under the house and in the refuse bin. They were rescued and hidden away!)

Wind forward a year later too late November 2017 when I bought this book…

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And inside I found the pattern for this doll that I completed last week…

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I made her with my handspun yarn and she’s stuffed with fleece, yarn ends and a bit of poly fill.

My dolls are still in the closet. It’s time to get them out.

Sensory Anxiety: Not your ordinary anxiety

Thank you to The Sensitive Giraffe for pointing her followers to this blog post. For some time I’ve thought a lot of my anxiety is different but couldn’t pin point how; this post goes a long way in explaining it and I feel it is pivotal in helping me understand myself. It’s brilliant!

The Sensitive Giraffe

I’m reblogging this from Eating Off Plastic.

I never considered my anxiety being different because of Sensory Processing Disorder. But after reading this, it makes a lot of sense. I think this also helps explain why repeatedly trying to face situations doesn’t always make it easier or less stressful. In many instances, the physical symptoms keep showing up with the same intensity.

This is probably a good explanation for why I’m jolted awake by my neighbor and experience the rapid heart beat. I mean, this has been going on for months. My body still isn’t adjusting to it. It still reacts as if this is the first time.

For those who don’t experience anxiety in this way, perhaps this post will offer some insight for why saying “just keep trying” doesn’t always help.

Before you dive in, a quick note. This article was written for the STAR Institute for…

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The Importance of Autism in the Human Population

An Intense World

It is not uncommon to think that everyone is, essentially, the same. Certainly there don’t seem to be any significant genetic differences among different groups, particularly those genes involving the brain. But what if there are differences not among different racial/ethnic/cultural groups but, rather, within the human species as a whole?

About 84% of the genes are expressed in the brain. Given that humans have 20,000 genes, that means about 16,800 genes are expressed in the brain.

We should not be surprised, then, if we were to find more than a bit of variation among human brains.

We should expect to see variation in degrees of creativity vs. copying, on liberalism vs. conservatism, on selfish behavior vs. altruism, introversion vs. extroversion, leadership vs. following, variations in thinking styles, degrees of mental energy, I.Q. and flexibility of I.Q., and of course any of a variety of learning…

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GABA Receptor and Synaptic Pruning

This is fascinating!

An Intense World

Recent research suggests a role for GABA receptor in synaptic pruning. Autism (and schizophrenia) are often associated with a lack of synaptic pruning, meaning neurons are more active, with positive feedback dominating.

GABA is associated with negative feedback, meaning the brain slows down to a steady-state. Glutamine is similarly associated with negative feedback. Glutamate is associated with positive feedback. All of these are neurotransmitters. More, they are closely related to each other, and can be biochemically derived from each other.

This suggests a few potential pathways to autism. If there is a problem with the GABA receptor, you would not get enough pruning. But if there is not enough GABA being produced, you would have the same effect. A mutation on either the GABA receptor protein or on one of the enzymes associated with GABA production could have pretty much the same result.

Neurons with unpruned dendritic spines get…

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