Vaccines and autism: The link that doesn’t exist

Mental Health @ Home

teddy bear with a syringe and vial

Chances are, you’ve heard the idea that vaccines can cause autism.  This notion is championed by various organizations and individuals, one of the most prominent being actress Jenny McCarthy, whose son was diagnosed with autism at age 2.  She has an autism-related organization called Generation Rescue, and on its website is a guide to vaccine safety.  I was a bit surprised by how relatively toned down it was, but I got  more along the lines of what I expected with one of the places it directed people to go to for more information, the National Vaccine Information Center.  It includes a “cry for vaccine freedom wall” and a “vaccine victim memorial”.  They have a MedAlerts database of people’s reported adverse reactions to vaccines, and a search for autism spectrum disorder yields 391 case reports.  One thing that struck me as interesting was the seemingly random grab bag of multiple…

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The Dark Side of the Stim: Self-injury and Destructive Habits

This is really helpful to me

The Artism Spectrum

selfharmFULLIn my previous article, Stimming 101, I wrote about autistic stimming as a normal and healthy aspect of autistic identity. While this is most often the case, I want to follow up with a slightly different article, because not all stims are created equal.

Sometimes stimming is unhealthy or even dangerous.

Parents, caregivers, and autistic people all need tools to deal with these types of stims. We in the autistic advocacy community often paint all stimming as wonderful and healthy, leaving high and dry those who need help. So, let’s talk about the dark side of the stim.


The Dark Side

One of the most frequent questions I get from readers is what to do about unhealthy stimming. These requests come from both non-autistic caregivers and autistic people. A few typical examples include children who bang their heads against walls, teenagers who bite their fingers and nails until they…

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Monday update of crafty meanderings

This is some of what I’ve been creating this week…

I found a mandala that had been started quite sometime ago and was about a quarter towards completion, so I finished it. I made the pattern up as I went along…

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As I enjoyed it so much I thought I needed to expand my skills so I purchased this…

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It’s published by Interweave Press so I knew it would be good.  As soon as it arrived I hooked up this one…

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I started and finished a pair of socks. Go me!…

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Eleonora continues to beaver away over at Coastal Crochet blog designing new rows for us each week. Here’s my blankets with their latest rows added…

There’s a couple of other items that I haven’t managed to work on this week. I have been spinning and I’m about halfway through a 350 gram bag mix of merino and silk from John Arbon Textiles. I can’t get the colour right but here it is thus far…

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I’m struggling at the moment and I’m not sure how to put it into words. It’s a lot of things and most of it underpinned by lack of self worth. I’m also affected by a lack of understanding by a person this week of the limitations of my sensory processing disorder. The person does not read my blog.

I’m letting you know as I sense myself withdrawing into myself even more than usual. I think it might help me to acknowledge this.

So that’s it for now. Thanks so much for dropping by ❤

‘Just keep away from them’ – Saying ‘NO’ to victim-blaming

YennPurkis

I give a lot of presentations about autism and resilience. Right after the slide about what resilience is, I always add one about what resilience is NOT. There is a reason for this. One of the first presentations I gave about autism and resilience was at a large conference in Queensland a few years ago. Many of the attendees were parents of autistic kids. My resilience talk was in the big theatre and I was on quite a high stage. The whole way through my talk I noticed a woman in the second row on my right. I could tell she wanted to ask a question. I expected her to interject – she clearly had something important to say. As soon as I finished speaking and it was time for questions her hand went straight up. I gestured to her to speak and told me she had enjoyed my presentation…

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Why autism doesn’t fit into a tick box…

The Autism Diaries

I’ve been involved in a lot of discussion lately around the “high” and “low” functioning labels that surround an autism diagnosis. Although I do see the use of labels in generalised diagnoses such as autism, adhd and sensory processing disorder (see blog on why labels absolutely do matter), I have really never understood the whole high and low functioning side of things.

In the beginning I was led to believe by articles and professionals that higher functioning individuals were able to survive mainstream school (“survive” being the word there), communicate socially (but viewed as “awkward”) and have a higher than average intelligence. Lower functioning individuals were seen as those who were non verbal, had additional learning difficulties and were destined to spend their future lives in a care home. So the divide was pretty clear.

Over the last year I have learned just how dangerous these labels can be. Yet…

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Modern lighting is rubbish.

The Misadventures of Mama Pineapple

Nothing makes me a more committed proponent of the Social Model of Disability than modern lighting.

I am far more disabled, as an autistic person, than I once was. I’m far less tolerant of sensory triggers than I once was. Noise and bright lights are the things that get me more than anything, and more than they ever used to.

And yes, some of this is down to tiredness, lack of downtime or time and space to myself, and the fact that I have a lot more going on in my life than I did in my childhood, teens and 20s. But the truth is, I’m also better able to cope with a shit-tonne more stuff these days than I was able to in my childhood, teens and 20s. I’ve learned strategies. Approaches. Methods. I exercise. I eat healthily (most of the time). I do activities that nourish and fulfil…

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Let’s have some fun! #Autism and #Menopause :)

Autistic peri-menopause and menopause needs to be addressed. We need to share experience to help autistic women reaching this stage in their lives. I would have loved some support. My biggest struggle has been with my mental health.

I CAN Be Autistic

women walking along a lake in front of a sand dune balancing pots on their headsWomen walking along a lake in front of a sand dune balancing pots on their heads

Okay, I’m pretty sure I know what you’re thinking: Autism and Menopause! Where’s the fun in that?!

But bear with me… If you’re a geeky-nerdy type like me, learning all about the inner workings of one of the most misunderstood situations on the planet and figuring out how to work effectively with it to make your life that much better is an appealing prospect.

The thing is, you’re not alone.

Every seven seconds, one of America’s 76 million baby boomers turns 50.

Every day, about 5,000 American women enter menopause.

Until 2020, approximately 2 million women will reach menopause each year. Half of all post-menopausal women will be in Asia.

That’s a lot of us — and since I’m a woman, and I’ve gone through menopause myself (10 years “ahead of schedule”, thank heavens!)…

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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 🌹🌻🌼❤