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Category Archives: Autistic Adults

Media and Advertisements…

So sadly this is my final blog for this class, but don’t worry I’ll still be posting things about autism and all the new stuff I learn because remember there is a little boy in my life by the name of DeAndre and I want to learn all I can and stay aware.

So here it is everyone:

So, here’s the deal: I’d like you to find a visual artifact (e.g., a newspaper photo, an advertisement, a youtube video, a book cover) that deals with autism in some way and analyze it using one or more of the frameworks we’ve discussed this quarter. So you might, for example, discuss this artifact in the context of neurodiversity, or allyhood, or adult/child issues, or medical models of disability.

Consider the following in your analysis: What’s going on in this artifact? How would you have responded to itbefore this class? How would you respond to it now? What are the broader implications of this artifact? What does it say about autism and autistic people?

Well it’s obvious what’s going on in this picture: children using a computer for learning. Before taking this class I would have just seen this image at surface value because I didn’t know anything about autism. However now after having taken the class on autism, I can respond differently. For one I think this image does what it says and really that’s a great thing. Technology helps so many neurotypical people do so many things whether for important things or for entertainment. The only thing that I now look for with autism but I may never really see especially with Autism Speaks advertisements (not to say they’re aren’t any but I have yet to see one) are adults. Ever since that lesson in class and learning remembering that children grow up, I will always look for adults with autism because the disorder doesn’t just go away and children don’t become less important when they grow up. Yes there is the statement “for those with autism” but it would have been nice to see an array of people with autism and not just children. I really think this sends, overall, a good message about the progression in autism and learning. Like I said technology is a great thing and a powerful device in learning especially in this day and age. I can’t really complain and had not I been in this class this advertisement would have gotten an “A+” grade but since I did take this class, I’ll give it an “A.” 🙂

Thank you for reading and staying with me for all of my learning endeavors. Muah!

*This image was emailed to me from Autism Speaks (since I’m a subscriber) I have no personal or professional affiliation with them at all. All credit to Autism Speaks for this image.

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Autism

retrieved from saypeople.com via google (no association at all)

 

 

Letter of Reflection

Dear Students of University of Michigan,

My name is Alexandria Spicer-McQueen and I am a fellow student here at the university. During Fall 2011 semester I enrolled in English 416: topics in disability cultures autism, culture, & representation, and in this class I learned so much about Autism Spectrum Disorder to say the least. We learned many different things from terministic screens to “curing” autism. Through this class I learned more about how everyone in this world is different, whether white or black “normal” or not “normal,” whether you are able-bodied or not, whatever the case is people are different and that shouldn’t be an excuse to ridicule, dislike someone or even treat them different.

The different things I learned about this disorder were fascinating. A lot of people are misinformed about autism and this class opened my eyes and see that I was one of those people that knew nothing about autism besides that it was a disorder that affected the brains of children and prevented them from learning and communicating. Boy was I wrong. I’ve learned that even if a child has autism doesn’t mean they’re mute to the world, and it doesn’t mean that they will never learn or communicate. I didn’t know this at all. Another thing I learned to pay attention to during this class was that children grow up. I never thought about adults with autism and now I do because my friend’s little brother has PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder—Not Otherwise Specified), and I’ve always been curious about his disorder and how it will affect him when he grows older. The questions I have no answer to many people don’t as well and this class made me want to know more because I don’t think a lot of people like the unknown.

The final project for this class was to make a PSA and I chose to focus my PSA towards the student body because as college students there is so much that we do everyday we don’t really get to do anything outside of class work in the context of learning about new things own our own leisure. So I made up a student group named after my business and WordPress blog Black Circus, and made some events up to inform and educate students on Autism Spectrum Disorder. My goals for this sort of PSA is to get students to become involved in the cause and be aware of the things in this world because no one knows if their future child or children will have autism, so this is a way to become prepared to face that chance.

The one thing I learned about autism while doing my PSA was how easy it is to put together something like this and share it. All one has to do is put it out there and be committed and with my PSA I bring different options of learning about autism that I feel is very affective. I bring forth two informationals and movie nights and an interactive learning trip with a school for autistic students. All these events bring forth something different so my audience can participate and stay active and smile the whole way through these events.

Thank you for listening to what I had to say and I encourage you to come to these events and become aware of autism.

 

Sincerely,

Alexandria

 

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Switching Roles: Mother to Daughter

This was an assignment we were asked to do:

Begin crafting your own fictional narrative about parenting. You can compose this narrative in whatever form seems most fitting — an intro paragraph, a short scene, or dialogue. Then, in the remainder of your blog post, please reflect on this process (approx. 100-200 words). What about this was challenging? Easy? What ethical principles guided your representation? If you had more time or space to develop your character, what would you do or say? How did our class readings (especially Sinclair, Murphy, and Sicile-Kira) influence your character?

Switching Roles: Mother to Daughter

16 hours, 6 minutes and 6 seconds… that’s how long it took for my daughter Madison Savannah Lewis to arrive in this world. It took forever for her to come, but when she did I knew that she was going to be everything to me for the rest of my life. Madison was a bright child. She was always laughing and smiling. She didn’t cry a lot and I was thankful for that especially. My partner and I knew that this little life we brought into the world was going to be special and go many places.

When Madison turned two years old, we noticed she wasn’t doing a certain things babies her age were suppose to be doing. At first we thought we were just new to parenting and really you can’t predict when your child will do something. However, when Madison turned four we knew something was wrong. She hadn’t started walking a lot instead she would stay seated and wave her hands in the air for us to pick her up. And what I thought was her being just a quiet child, she was just not talking at all. There was no way she was ready for kindergarten.

We found out that Madison was autistic. She has PDD-NOS. We were shocked. We didn’t know much about the autism spectrum, and I fell immediately into a deep depression. How could this happen to us? After all the things my partner and I went through just for being gay, now we have an autistic child who will get judged as soon as anyone sees him. I didn’t want that for Madison. I didn’t want that at all.

What about this was challenging? Easy? What ethical principles guided your representation? If you had more time or space to develop your character, what would you do or say? How did our class readings (especially Sinclair, Murphy, and Sicile-Kira) influence your character?

The thing most challenging about writing this introduction was creating a scenario where I would have to make the parent think that autism was a tragedy. Studying autism has opened my eyes and I never thought of it as a tragedy or horrible thing. So writing as a parent and her first reaction to her autistic child was a little hard. If I had more time I would continue to the end of the first chapter in this story where we learn more of the mom’s first thoughts and how life changed for them all. The reading “Don’t Mourn For Us,” by Jim Sinclair influenced me a lot because if I continued the story all the way through Madison’s mom would go through the struggle of not having a normal child to accepting and realizing that her child is normal but different.

 

Blog Carnival: Adults Gone Missing?

Theme: Adults on the Autism Spectrum: Where Art Thou? Are They Not As Important?

Blog 1:  

The autistic community tends to forget the adult aspect of the issue.  With so many advancements in technology, people tend to forget that they can help adults as well as children.  Yes, children are the focal point of today’s autism argument, but adults are in need and could benefit from this technology.

 

Blog #2:

Resources and knowledge is lacking when it comes to autistic adults.  Often times there are not many options when it comes to this often forgotten group.  It’s hard to help and properly care for these people when people don’t know how to.

 

Blog #3: 

Adults with autism often have a limited voice in today’s media.  This is due to the lack of knowledge and ignorance on how to approach the issue.  Often “experts” try to take the helm, but fall short since they more than likely don’t have the first hand experience.  If autistic adults are ever to be helped, then it is up to everyone to allow them to participate in discussions concerning them.

 

Blog #4:

Adults with disabilities remind those without disability. It reminds people that life is unpredictable and that anything can happen to anyone anytime at any place. Life can be cruel and this can tie into the fact that adults with autism are getting the end of the stick when it comes tom services and funding. Thankfully some parents think of the long term plan for their children and plan accordingly and supporting foundations that remember the adult diagnosed on the ASD.

Blog #5: 

The population of autistic adults is steadily growing.  It is up to the community at large to come up with proactive ways to help everyone cope with the various issues associated with this population. Committees and family involvement are two primary methods of helping. Whether it’s having meetings with everyone in the area, or tackling the issue head on, raising awareness is key to the success of individuals being able to accept and potentially remedy these issues

Blog #6:

 Guest post on Aspie Teacher’s blog by Michael Drejer talks about being employed and having Asperger’s syndrome. He explains how it is possible to get a job, and the pro’s and con’s that comes with it for the one with Asperger’s and for the companies that hire these disabled persons. He reminds people with autism that just because you may be disabled does not mean that you cannot have a job. Take advantaged of it and do what you can to live a great and successful life.

Blog #7:

Like the previous blog this blog talks about working and having autism. Tracey Daigneau, M.Ed., Director of Day Services at New England Village talks about how New England Village has created True Meaning Jewelry which promotes autism awareness as well as employs autistic individuals as well. This line of work gives these special individuals pride in what they do as well as who they are.

Blog #8: 

With taking care of autistic adult come a lot of hard times and well as easy times. Here a woman takes us through a day of her changing world when taking care of her 23 year son who is autistic.

Blog #9: 

 Another aspect that can be covered with respect to the issue of autistic adults is the factor of gender.  There is a tendency to pay closer attention to the needs of males over those of females.  Females with AS are atypical in their interactions than “normal” females especially in regards to the ages and genders that they typically interact with.  Seeing articles with an accurate portrayal of female autistic people are rare.

 

Blog #10: 

Jason Ross creator of Drive Mom Crazy writes about how he first coped with being diagnosed with autism and how he had to get into the community with a encouraging push from his mom. He talks about his life with autism and the many things he was able and still is achieving being diagnosed with Asperger’s.

Every last word used is IMPORTANT!

 

They Grow Up: Where are the Adults?

“Under the deficit model, autistic people are portrayed as broken humans who are ill and require fixing to enable them to function normally in society. In contrast, non-autistic people are viewed as neurologically healthy and psychologically well.”– Scott Michael Robertson

As much as we talk about autism and see autism in our lives whether all the time or not, I’ve never actually thought about how I only thought about kids having autism. I guess when I seen a child with autism, I forgot that one day they will grow up and be adults one day. It’s actually kind of bizarre how I never think of this when encountering someone with autism. Indirectly, I was infantilizing autism (Jennifer L. Stevenson).

I can’t believe I actually forgot that kids grow up with autism. I guess I’m so blinded by my sympathy that I just forget the fact that some of the autistic kids may grow up and actually go to college one day. Since I’m new to autism, I’m just learning about low functioning autism (LFA) and high functioning autism (HFA).

Take a look at this video:

What are your first reactions and thoughts to this video? Did you notice how no one heard the woman answering their questions until the end? I noticed the lady wasn’t being heard. I started thinking about how she was answering the questions from experience. I also noticed that the people didn’t want to hear her. It reflects the position of autistic adults in the autism spectrum. They go unheard and people put them on the back burner. In my opinion, that has got to STOP!

Ok so take a look at this, though you may have seen it before, I got it from a reading my professor gave our class called, Neurodiversity, Quality Of Life, And Autistic Adults: Shifting Research And Professional Focuses Onto Real-Life Challenges:

“Autistic people are viewed under the neurodiversity model as individuals who possess a blend of cognitive strengths and weaknesses in the following core domains:

  • Language, Communication, and Social Interaction
  • Sensory Processing (environmental input)
  • Motor Skill Execution (environmental output)

Goal-oriented and Reflexive Thinking, Planning, and Self-Regulation.” (Robertson)

Whereas “the deficit model portrays autistic people as ill, broken, and in need of fixing” (Robertson). In class we were talking about sympathy and pity and how sympathy goes with the first model and pity goes with the second model. We talked about how these “poster kids” stand as the face of autism because organizations like Autism Speaks, Autism Society of America, etc. targets a specific audience for example parents because it invokes a sense of parenting and sympathy from not only parents but other like myself. Also, we talked about how with children, we think about innocence and sympathy comes into play ad with adults we think that there’s something wrong with them and they’re weird. This contrast was very interesting to me because we are so quick to judge adults but children we give the benefit of the doubt.

So with all this being said and recognized, why aren’t autistic adults incorporated more into the publicity, for lack of a better word right now? I believe it would give people more a different view and perspective on autism if they seen, I’m sure, the many adults that live on their own, going to college, have jobs, LFA or HFA, etc. Think of the impact it could have if people remember the adults…

Wow!

I think that is all I want to say, but if not.. I’ll be back!

How’d I forget he will grow up?

I love this little guy!