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Showing posts from 2017

Only the best?

Dearest readers, 
Liebe Grüße aus Hamburg! Currently on a short trip to visit a friend - while she is busy with her 'Masterarbeit' I thought I'd brush together a quick post. I do enjoy writing a good post and also it gives me space to write about something (well, two things which sort of intertwine for me) which I wanted to write about that came out of the conference I went to on Friday: Atwood on Autism, hence why I was in Winchester. Tony Attwood is such an amazing presenter; so lively and animated yet did not pathologise. His fresh approach to autism was also welcomed as we learn so much through journals and books (as the autism modules on my course are distance learning) that seeing someone face to face in a seminar effectively was not only a good change of scenery, but also fitted my learning style well. 
One thing that was mentioned in the conference but I have also read in books and journals I have been required to read is the idea of a mono tracked mind: almost li…

'Aren't you just shy?'

Dearest readers,
Greetings from Winchester - I am currently at a hotel in a different part of the country to usual for a conference. My mum and I booked tickets for 'Atwood on Autism' roughly 9 months ago after I saw it advertised, to be honest I can't remember where exactly but I thought it may be relevant to my MA (which it hopefully will be, I'll be slightly concerned if not) and also keep my brain going while I am taking things a bit slower so I don't burn myself out. It may also be another good chance to network if there is the opportunity, but certainly I will be going armed with my laptop and pen and paper ready to make notes! 
As part of reading 'for fun' I have been reading 'Neurotribes' by Steve Silberman. It's a great book which is really insightful in regards to history of autism and how autistic individuals have been perceived in the past. In the first chapter, I was very intrigued about the perception of Henry Cavendish - a Britis…

Autism: created in God's image

Dearest readers, 
Having now finished my exams (endlich!) I'm finally back to the world of blogging and feeling more human again. I have to admit I have no idea how well I have done at this stage but rather just glad they are over and ready to continue with my research project and case studies and other projects I am involved with.  It has come to my attention through groups I am in, discussions I have seen and people I have listened to that there is an interesting concourse in regards to autism, healing and it's origin in the church. I would like to put my tuppence in as this is a very sensitive dialogue that needs a autistic voices as well as non autistic voices. 
I believe that we are all made in God's image, and this includes autistic individuals. I firmly believe that I do not need healing, for I was created the way I am for a reason. The reasoning for this? There is not one group of people of individuals that are made more in God's image than another group. Not …

Reflections from the Roundtable: Why autistic individuals need to be leading the way

Dearest readers, 
The 'Attentiveness to Autism' project (or in English, Pru, my minister and I!) got invited up to the SEND Methodist Roundtable as part of the planning team for SEND and autism and increasing accessibility in the Methodist Church. I have to admit, this was a surprise being invited up as we only received our invitation early April just after our service. I had no idea what we would be discussing, and the outcome of the session is still under wraps until passed by connexion (central head office) so this post will not be reflecting on the outcome. Rather, this post will be picking out some of the key points that are crucial to a successful implementation of pushing boundaries and opening up the church. There are many who I have spoken to who keep their cards to their chest and just say 'it is difficult'. This is not inspiring or innovating and keeps them as the stakeholders of the change. This winds me up no end. We should be inspiring in the face of adv…

The fourth workshop: college CPD

Dearest readers, 
I hope this April is treating you well. This is probably one of the busiest Aprils I have ever had with multiple projects on the run as well as my upcoming exams, which have priority (I am also acutely aware I do not want to turn opportunities for my portfolio and CV down as having found it hard to gain work after my first degree, it would seem a waste not to take advantage of these opportunities but plan them in effectively). Universities seem to like you spending all of your time either on work for them, or telling you that you should be involved in every extra curricular and project going (or get this jist! What an annoying mixed message). I'm hoping I am striking the balance right for me this time, as I do not want to shunt any opportunities prematurely. 
On Thursday I completed my first workshop for a education trust in my local area, making this the fourth workshop I have run in total. I went to visit two dear friends of mine (casual shoutout) up in Grimsb…

The service and the radio interview

Dearest readers, 
I hope you had a good Sunday. As the final day of World Autism Week and World Autism Day (WAD) our 'autism friendly' church service, which is as far as we are aware is the first in England and certainly the first in the Methodist Church of GB. I also had a great surprise on Thursday that it had been negotiated for me to have a short 5-10 minute interview on our local BBC radio station on the breakfast show on WAD regarding our service and the 'Attentiveness to Autism' project. Until today, I had never been in any sort of media really at all and had never been on the radio, so had no idea what to expect. One of the panellists was not present, so I was invited at short notice to take a place on the current affairs panel, thus was on BBC local radio between 06:50 and 08:00 this morning! 
I have to say both were a roaring success. I really enjoyed speaking on the radio, especially about a topic that I feel very passionate about and that is so current. I …

Why we must keep an open dialogue on autism in the church

Dearest readers,  I wrote this article for my local methodist circuit magazine following on the work I have been involved in on the 'Attentiveness to Autism' project. This is a project I am very passionate about, I hope this can be gauged from this short article. Happy reading:
tc  -krysiawally
Autism: it’s a buzzword that we often hear in the news, in schools or maybe on social media. Maybe we know a little bit about it, or know someone on the autism spectrum. But as autism becomes more discussed in mainstream society, is it something that the church should be discussing?
The short answer is: yes! The current prevalence figures are set at 1% of the general population; this includes people from all ages, genders, ethnicities and social backgrounds. Autism isn’t fussy in that way. This means we are all bound to know someone or have a connection to autism somewhere down the line, including those of us that do not think we have a connection. This high connectivity is part of the…

Question of space

Dearest readers, 
As World Autism Awareness Week is coming, I thought I would celebrate with a few extra blog posts during this time. For me, the point of a designated week can feel quite cheesy and odd and the word 'awareness' just alludes to knowing of presence, rather than learning and growing. However given the high profile of the week it is worth being a part of the growing movement, education and events that are going on. 
This post will concern something that has been of hot debate currently in my university among students on the spectrum: quiet residences. This alludes to a small number of corridors or houses set aside for students who wish to live in a quiet residence; that includes lower sensory input like loud noises, music, bright or flashing lights coming from outside reflecting in to the room and complete quiet after a certain time. However it is not only behaviour that needs to be considered, the location of such halls or rooms needs to be such that those who w…

I have vs. I am: what's the difference?

Dearest readers,
I'll open this post with a question: what is the difference between I have and I am? I guess one could start from looking at a grammatical perspective where one indicates possession (and uses the accusative case or direct object) whereas the other is a state of being; there is no sense of supplementary or additional nature to what is already present, rather denoting a sense of completeness in what is present. Both cases can have differences for a before and an after. Linking back to possessions, 'I am' is not generally used with objects (although I am sure that special situations exist); for example 'I have a chair' is generally heard of more than 'I am a chair' (however I am chair-shaped may be used if you have been sat on a train or at a desk in the library too long, hinting that you're a bit stiff). 
What relevance does pondering grammar have to do with autism?  It actually has quite a bit. 
Firstly there is the use of identity firs…

'Why didn't you tell me?'

Dearest readers,

This question popped into my head whilst cooking pasta for my lunch today. I guess I had ben thinking about making pasta from scratch, then associated that I had made it once with two friends whilst in sixth form. My memory often works by association, a bit like the game where you think of a word, for example: cosy socks - the next thing I think of won't necessarily be cosy socks or cosy socks related, but I just might have worn cosy socks that day. Anyway through some associations, the above question came to my mind: why didn't you tell me? Obviously in an autism/Asperger's sense, why didn't you tell me you needed help? Why didn't you tell me you were suffering in that situation? Why didn't you tell me about your diagnosis? I could go on. Knowing that most people are caring and want to 'improve' situations and not purposefully go around hurting people, these questions may have crossed some individual's minds potentially when readin…

Alienated: a stranger on my own planet

Dearest readers,

This topic is one that is quite on point for those of us who have lived experience of autism. The title came to me (like many things do on the spur of the moment, I'm not very good with my studies having ideas in planned blocks timetabled in my diary or phone) and it felt appropriate to be able to discuss this. As with any very personal adjective, we will be looking at something quite subjectively so was I may say obviously isn't necessarily going to be exactly the same as someone else's experience as in places, people and timings, although there is likely to be echoes of themes and potentially feelings. Also this is merely descriptive, this does not seek to be punitive or with an essence of blame. This piece seeks to share life through someone else's eyes in their purest and most valid form, to open up a dialogue where we are not shoving this underneath the carpet but listening to others through the medium of written text. (I also was told when I was …

Workshop number 3

Dearest readers,

Today I did my second 'churches and autism' workshop, the third that I have ran since August and when I embarked on various autism projects. This workshop was almost a merger of some content from the first and second workshops I have done - combining the best of the church and theological based material and other parts I added into the second workshop for foster carers including a simple explanation of SPELL and a visual text demonstration suggested by now of my Autism Studies colleagues when she attended the first workshop. There has currently been little I've found on SPELL in churches. It was really good to have the theological basing back in the presentation, as I did feel my heart strings being tugged at when I removed them for the second workshop (as it would not have been appropriate in that instance to have these references).

The discussion was lively and propelled by various previous experiences of autism in families, friends and shared contacts i…

Triggered; a stress response

Dearest readers,

After a few experiences this week I thought I would share something really cheerful (not): stress. I am sure it is something we all experience either constantly or in swaths. It is something that even the most experienced person at dealing with it will get (even if they do know how to manage it) and seems to be part of human nature. Don't get me wrong, we need stress to make us perform at our best, to push us out of our comfort zone; without stress we would not be human, it is part of our human condition.  However what we do know about stress is that we only know our experience. We know things that 'trigger' us (causes of stress, either direct or indirect) but as this is not the same for everyone, we can never truly walk in someone else's shoes.. and it annoys me when people just think that I am being a drama queen about this.

Here I will give a brief snapshot of stress for me, as a means of communicating (as I royally am unable to do this when stresse…

'Why can't you just....?'

Dearest readers,  I hope January is treating you well. This post came to me a few nights ago. While reflecting on the past, all of a sudden the phrase 'why can't you just...?' came to mind, and it seemed poignant. I then proceeded to make a list of the various 'why can't you just' times that I have experienced throughout my life. Some stem from misunderstandings, some stem from frustration, some stem from assumptions and some, only a small amount thankfully, stem from malice. Many were non intentional. After having this list, some seemed to group together and fit around certain times or themes. I thought I'd share a few here...:
'Can't you just talk?'; 'why are you so shy?'; 'haven't you got anything to say?!' Starting with probably the most obvious and frequent in my case. I've had this through school, when I've been in larger groups, in new situations when trying to process everything going on around me. It's alm…