Monday, November 12, 2012

Bishop Blog Catalog

Dr. Dorothy Bishop, out of England, studies our kids with labels.  Should I ever have a day free of distraction, I would love to go through these.  She thinks differently.  She doesn't blame anyone.  I'm really not sure she is a psychologist, she doesn't fit the usual profile. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

SKIN by A.P. Brooks

Sending this one off with a wing and a prayer...A.P. did research at the Archives where my husband works. When her book was released, we got an email. I had been meaning to read it for a long time. I had a friend coming round who I wanted to pass it on to, so I read it this morning. It was very good, to me. History that reported what went on without the benefit of rose-colored glasses. History from the peoples' perspective, from an archeological perspective, rather than that of the "victor". Some say History is written by the victors.  No's written from the heart of a woman wise enough to see the truth, and how it affects those who may survive and thrive despite man's inhumanity to man.  It also is a book of hope.

Snip from her facebook page, hope she'll forgive me

From Amazon:

Right after I got done reading it,  I sent my own "review" to the author, and I think it gives a good synopsis, a good idea of what you might find.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 

My husband, a historian, says history is written from the victors point of view, somewhat cynically.  That is not what Peggy Brooks has done.  She has written a historical, research based study from the point of view of an anthropologist, a gifted writer, a fact-checking reporter, a teacher, a preacher, and anything BUT that romanticized nationalist who gives us heroes to worship, rather than expose the misguided notions of one's own people.  She sets up a curious idea of how we have gotten to where we are without romanticizing. I've always had it in my mind that we Europeans (okay, my people were Normans) are only a few centuries removed from barbarians, where as African tradition is much, much older. I was able to read about power under the guise of religion, the near decimation of a people by a virus carried by fleas, about a rabid racist who under the guise of science was instrumental in bringing out the notion of only allowing the fit to survive. (Hitler took the thought a step farther, to deed.) She exposes the southern mentality among the privileged class that allowed them to deny their hypocrisy, while becoming the richest part of the new country absolutely dependent for their lifestyle on the free labor of slaves.  Most interestingly, she delves into the notion that the British people rose up like a Phoenix from barbarians to world conquerors in the space of four centuries and through 2 world wars, have bankrupted themselves back into relative obscurity in comparison.

The history of African Americans and other "conquered people" is covered extensively in the last part of the book, from selective capture of slaves based on their occupations in their homelands, to the help of slaves in turning the tide of the Civil War, to an ignorant man's  "science" of race, and to the ultimate expression of false superiority based on lies in the Holocaust.  After all that ugliness, it ends in the hope that we can leave behind our violent past, and truly evolve to a people who live up to the ideals we were founded upon, and that our faith will guide us to evolve.


God love her, and you all, but if you don't mind, you might read the book and post on it, too.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Odds and ends...dyslexia and autism  

Kyra tells a tale of growing and her Aspergers's son. My favorite line?

And an open heart is the wisest mind we have.

You GO Girl!!!

Next, Dr. Naomi (Nim) Folb, in the UK.  She planted the seed that dyslexics (somewhat like autistics) think in pictures. The lot of labelled kids may be no more than right-brained thinkers.  Simarly to the left-handed, sinister children of the last century, we are trying, by drugs and therapies, to tie their right minds behind their back so they can be normal, that ever elusive medical model of health.

She leads with wisdom, too.

Which all remind me of the words of Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry .  I remember reading The Little Prince up on the roof of our family home. (I was sun-tanning. Why I remember this, heavens knows.) These words just reverberated, so 30 years later when I was beginning my work as a teacher in a special needs classroom I used them on the blackboard to remind me:

"It’s only with the heart one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
It's amazing the difference it made in how I saw the kids.  I wish I could put into words their worthiness, while in the world's eyes they were seen as imperfect, money wasted on teaching them as they would never be "productive" citizens. Good God, they were the teachers!!!

Saturday, June 2, 2012


"Long after the "experts" are will still be your child's parent.   So, I'd follow expert advice ONLY if they plan on being there for your kid. Forever.  For my money, give me some good old fashioned common sense.  Oh, wait....that's free."

The thing about false hope is, it's better than no hope at all.  AND, sometimes those who label it false are wrong. They'll still be calling it false when the healed person is standing right before their eyes.  Doubting Thomas's, I'd say...or maybe blind.
Why do doctors get so pissed at snake oil salesmen, when they are taught in medical school that 90% of their patients could be cured by placebo?  Getting in on their take?
Why don 't neurologists admit they are in way, way, way over their own heads?
Many atheists worship Richard Dawkins.  He believes there is a possibility that we are here because we were "seeded" by aliens.  PROVE IT!  Jesus, ....I mean, oops, sorry.  At least get someone reasonable like Carl Sagan.  That guy was a Christ figure if I ever saw one.  His highest belief seemed to be love.  Dawkins is just a prick.  I mean, he's like the Ratzinger of Atheicism.

It's a gift to be simple.  I keep trying to tell myself that....

Well, now...y'all may or not know that I love to have at least one picture on each of my posts.  Ben is a visual learner.  I know a picture can tell a thousand words.  I feel too guilty, often, when I see something I really love not to give the artist credit.  I tried to be an artist for 10 years.  It taught me so many things about visual thinking, which  came in handy for Benno.  I googled  "simple gifts" and then hit the images button.  Yeah, yeah, whatever, nice, yeah...WOW, look at this!   This is a painting, not a picture, in case you are wondering.  I love windows as images.

So anyhow, I thought I'd ask the author of this image for permission to post it.  Bless his heart, Carroll Jones III (Click on name to see his website) gave permission.  He is an artist in New Jersey.  The original of this painting sold for a lot of moolah twenty years ago.  And here it is now, on my blog, with the artist's permission.  Life is good.

He said it was the first time he would look at a blog-post.  I feel real unworthy..

He also suggested Aaron Copeland's "Simple Gifts" from Appalachian Spring

Performed live by Sydney Camerata Chamber Orchestra at Paddington Uniting Church, Sydney.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The truth about autism

"I have the truth!" the scholar said,
"You see it's right here in my head.
Bright diamonds that a fool can't see
Give me my rationality"
Upon facets he hath schemed.

I have the truth, Autism Speaks
I'll press your wallet till it squeaks
Your sense of duty  I abuse
Lest you see behind the ruse
Of un-voiceless aut's we've cleaned

I have the truth, the young child's cry,
Without your love, I fear I'll die
While others guard what they propose
I give my trust your heart won't close
towards me, not one you dreamed

When did love become so complicated? (Or, why I am losing my mind...)

Instead of "observing" , why not find out what clicks, what works?  When you are so busy recording, how are you going to experiment with rewards, something that has meaning to the child? Will you miss the joy in their eyes? How are you going to reach their hearts?  Maybe it's just me.

There is a coldness to psychology, in inverse proportion to feeding the soul.  The colder they are, the less they feed the soul.  Children aren't animals.  Children rise to expectations.  What about their needs?

Aggressive behaviors,  I understand.  That is something to be figured out.  Tread gently enough not to trigger it needlessly. It can't be rewarded.  Your rights end where another's begin. Self-harm? Something to be studied ...why do feelings cause such intense reactions?  It's too hard, I guess. Desperate parents will go to any lengths to end these two. (The degree of intensity of self-harm/aggression is something seldom discussed among the noveau autistics.  I guess it isn't permitted in polite company. Forgive me, but I can see cases where electric shock would be preferable to pulling one's esophagus out, or cracking one's skull. But not for forgetting to bring a pencil or getting lost in one's own train of thought, with untrained, possibly criminal workers hired on the cheap.  Nice circus freak show interior designers, though, Dr. Israel.  Just adds to the surrealism of the abuse.)  There has got to be a better way.

 But Echolalia?? And Eye Contact? 

Interventions...seem so fear-based, like a screaming beacon:  not normal, not normal. The idealized child is the goal, not the child before you.  We have gained enough knowledge from the Noveau Autistics that we can't deny awareness of their differences that need to be respected.  They are the cold to the more disabled autistic's pneumonia. They open a door we would be wise to look into. While some are busy trying to "cure" autism, they are busy trying to help us understand it.

There is not wisdom, only polarization.  The children are the losers.  A billion dollars down the drain ( do not look at the man behind the curtain, busily spinning tales.)  Who has been helped? We all know whose quality of life increases....

I am ashamed to admit my faith.  To many, it makes me ignorant.  Oy, whatever.  Open the eyes of my heart, the eyes of my heart.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Giant virtual rose

For Kassianne, who didn't deserve to be treated that way. No child deserves that. For Hyper-Aspie, who is undergoing a tragic episode in her young life, and who needs healing love sent her way.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Talking Coffee Server

Ben tends to anthropomorphize table accoutrements. That's why we shouldn't go out to eat together. Daddy says, "Look around you, no one is acting like you two do."

Party pooper...

Friday, February 17, 2012

"Nobody needs me!" A child's greatest fear...

I cry now just to think of it.  I cried yesterday after Ben reminded me of what he had said 11 years earlier.  He remembered that day...I didn't. I know he came home from school and started sobbing.  I never had really seen him cry since he was a baby.  I just thought he was tough. But he was sobbing, his little body heaving on the sofa, trying to capture his breath.

"What's the matter, honey?" I said, my heart beginning to break from the intensity of it.

It was very difficult to get Ben to talk.  He seldom used words that weren't echolalic, and if he didn't have a script, he was unable to find words.  It would be 3 more years before words would come to him naturally, unscripted, on a daily basis.

"Nobody needs me!" he said, and the sobs came around again.

I just thought, my God...we've just piled demand upon demand on this kid, punishing him for not having typical regard for stupid  activities...not understanding he was doing the best he could.

The greatest gift we can give to our children is to need them, just the way they are.  Don't forget that.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Why I love art and Hugh Macleod

My message:

On Jan 31, 2012, at 10:55 AM, Rose wrote:

> What would you charge a simple woman to put a one of your works on her blog?
> I really, really like the "if in doubt, love"-- for my son and kids like him
who are brilliant square pegs trying to be fitted into round holes. I used to
think love was not enough and he needed all this dumb-ass therapy...but I was a
fool. I just want to remember that.
> I can only afford about $10, but your karma would increase by unfathomable
amounts. Try it and see :)
> Rose
> aka

Response email message:

Dear Rose

You may use it on your blog as long as you credit Hugh and link to & the piece on - I am attaching a small GIF
here for you to use (rather than using a blurry screen grab).

Thanks for asking.

Here is what Hugh said about this particular piece:

Love is the easiest thing in the world to do, until it isn't. Until we get overwhelmed by "Stuff". The black lines in the cartoon represent overwhelming "Stuff". The red lines represent "Love", fighting like hell to keep alive, in spite of overwhelming odds. We've all been there....

Now ain't that nice?  What I love about Hugh's work is it makes me think.   His work is the epitome of  "to thine own self be true".  He just puts himself out there, and people like it, think he's cool.  Ben and I first came across his work ten years ago when Ben was about 8 years old.  He had a business card  sized cartoon that said, "We need to talk...then you need to shut up!"  with his classic  stylized figures and forms.  Gave Ben and I the snorts and we loved it!  Just recently, somebody tweeted something he did and I was all like, "BEN, IT'S THAT GUY!"  So distinctive.  Must be cool to find a hook that makes you unforgettable, and to give people such joy. The guy is brilliant, not in his complexity, but his simplicity. Lots of people chillin' cause of his example.

I get his work sent to me by email daily.  I really look forward to it because he has such heart.  You can subscribe by going here    see the subscribe button (purple) on the bottom of the page.and get your own daily cartoon.  Like class for poor folk.  Still...if I save up...I could have me one of these babies on my wall...

When Bennie was little, he used to make the coolest cartoons.  We've saved some, but the best got lost in moving, cleaning, etc.  They were cool vignettes of life, a picture telling a thousand words...I loved them.  When I see people who use this gift, it just makes me so happy that we aren't all the same, aren't cookie cutter factory workers.

Thanks, Hugh.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Some autistics crave deep pressure--and tangents....Proprioception

Hug machine:  when Temple created this, her psychiatrist suggested she was sexually maladjusted, and suggested her father had sexually abused her, creating this sick need. They still don't have a clue, and ignore, for the most part, this most glaring of needs of autistics. Hyper or hyposensitive proprioceptive awareness may be a larger reason for alienation.  If one has no clear sense of proprioceptive boundaries, is there an ability to form "psychological" boundaries?

Deep pressure allows input to proprioceptive centers. A sense of position in space, in relation to others is encouraged. Is proprioceptive input necessary for a sense of self?   craving deep pressure, proprioceptive input??  Calming Effects of Deep Touch Pressure in Patients with Autistic Disorder, College Students, and Animals  writing tremor and writers cramp   Ataxia, Wilson's disease, fragile x  The cerebellum is largely responsible for coordinating the unconscious aspects of proprioception  Proprioception is permanently impaired in patients that suffer from joint hypermobility or Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (a genetic condition that results in weak connective tissue throughout the body). It can also be permanently impaired from viral infections as reported by Sacks. The catastrophic effect of major proprioceptive loss is reviewed by Robles-De-La-Torre (2006).[27]  A deep receptor is an element of the nervous system that is devoted to the reception of "deep" sensibility (as opposed to tactile sensibility). A deep receptor furnishes information of what is happening in muscle, tendons and joints. They thus participate in proprioception.    self-recognition in a mirror...Ben did not recognize himself at age 3.  Proprioception delayed a cause? proprioceptive  sense of self leads to sense of other.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Mothers Prayer: for Ben

When you grow up, may God give you children just like you.


My sainted mother said it to my sister Sandy!

Is Carly real?? Skeptics are all agog....

I don't know anything about this page, or the JREF forum, but it appears to be for skeptics.  This note  by Schrodinger's Cat, who I do not know of either, shows they appear to have done her/his homework before shooting from the hip.

Here's some statements by her mom on carly's background. She states she did not suddenly
learn to do this, her family has been working with her since she was a small child to get her to this point. I think that is where the confusion lies. The news program I think wanted to make it seem more "miraculous" to make it more exciting, so they presented the story in such a way where it seems like one day this girl just sat down at a laptop out of the blue and could do this. But the way the parents tell it...yes it was only recently that she was able to communicate to this degree, which surprised them, but they have spent the last 9 years trying to teach her how to do so.

“Hello everyone --this is Tammy, Carly's mom …. What Carly is doing is not, and has never been FC or facilitate communication. What she has learned to do has been the result of years and years of effort, starting with a Dynavox machine, moving to a Springboard and then a lightwriter. She just prefers the laptop because it makes her look like everyone else who has a laptop. Even before the Dynavox, we had binders and binders of laminated sheets with Mayer Johnson picture symbols on them and the words below. We have always gone under the assumption that she was understanding and since she was so good at navigating her communication binders, we knew she was heading in the right direction from early on --we just never knew it would lead to such a sophisticated level of output. For the record, we may be sitting beside her when she types, or she sometimes kicks us out of the room when she wants to be alone, but we NEVER guide her hand over the letters --what would be the point of that? FC was debunked years ago. Independence for Carly has always been the goal in everything she does, from getting dressed to feeding herself to communicating to us. I hope that clears up any confusion.”

"When she was 2, we starting with PECS --did picture exchanges for every imaginable item under the sun. Many of the games I bought her had to do with reasoning and logic and were highly visualy in nature - memory games, sequencing, matching -- these were with pictures, words, numbers, etc. We had visual schedules (with the words underneath) for everything she had to do --gettng dressed, using the bathroom, tidying up, meals, going outside, etc. The whole house was also labelled -- my son went crazy with the label maker. Every item was stickered. We then moved to communication binders --we started that by category --food, acitivities, clothes, weather, feelings, etc. She never got to do what she wanted until she used the communication binders to show us. These were laminated sheets we made up with the mayer johnson picture symbols in them as well. We kept that going for a long time and all this time her ABA programs were also teaching her how to spell and read. We created stories for her using the mayer johnson software and didn't just read them to her --she was looking at the pages as well.We kept the binders for ease of use and portability but we were also learning about augmentative communication devices since it was clear her apraxia was so severe. We also taught her some sign language but realized that while we understood the signs, most of the world did not and so that was not going be to a functional option for her. The first machine was a Dynavox, the second was a Springboard and the third was a lightwriter which we used in conjunction with her laptop. We thought she would like the lightwriter better but she preferred the laptop even though it is more cumbersome --but it is what other kids have and that is a concern to …. Hope that helps.”

Hearing it explained this way I think makes it seem much more probable.

 Here is the video that caused the firestorm.

I find most skeptics amusing. They are lazy thinkers. Nobody listened when the father said it took thousands of hours of ABA and therapy.  They just looked at the pretty pictures, and didn't actually see her type, so they didn't actually believe.

As a teacher once of a young man with Neurofibromatosis and concommitant autism with no speech who began talking at the age of 12....that stuff happens, and it is real.  And kids are not passive observers of their environment.  They may be bored as hell, but they are paying attention.

OH,God, I just thought....did anyone think to ask her if she had a theory of mind??


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Nature versus Nurture

Developmental Psychology classes in college in the last millennium brought about my understanding of Nature versus Nurture: The Great Debate.  At the time, I'm thinking 50-50.  I knew we had " good genes", as evidenced by a lack of handicap in any manner among any living relatives, French Canadian inbreeding notwithstanding.  Well, except for crossed eyes.  And that ain't bad.  And I knew my parents were great...we were a high achieving family, raised in Roman Catholic Tradition with a shot of bartender's kids realism.  Life at home was fun, and my mother had a saintly patience.  We had it good and we knew it.

When it came time to raise my own child, I expected no less.  Well, once I got the hang of it and quit obsessing over psycho-babble crap, I became a pretty good mom.  Somewhat like my mother with my Dad's orneriness. I loved my son unconditionally, and life was good.

However, at the age of 18 I had promised my son he could meet his birth mother if she allowed it.  A year of planning and treading softly and last December it happened.  At her home, we sat on the couch across from each other....Mother Nature and Mother Nurture.

"He has his father's eyes."

I think it was the first thing she said, beyond social niceties.  I know it shocked me some.

He does have really beautiful eyes, and I've always told him so.  To me, he didn't look that much like his half brothers and sister, but she may have seen it differently. 

Her children seemed to have impeccable manners, while Benny, raised somewhat democratically, tended to let his opinions fly left and right with ease, but not overly so, he is kind hearted by nature. Or nurture, I'm not sure.  Probably both, from the looks of it.

They did seem to feel an immediate ease with each other.  He had brought his photographs he had taken with black and white film with a WWII era camera.

"You should be a photographer." she told him.

Why hadn't I ever said that to him? I felt bad. I guess because he always wanted to be an inventor and I knew it.  I bet most inventors have photography in their background.  I know a famous scientist I went to school with who used to take black and white photos of eggs.  What more proof does one need?

Dad and I left Ben alone with his birth Mom for a bit so they could cover areas they might not with us there.  Later he  told me what she said.

He said she told him, "You can tell a Swede, but you can't tell him much!"

Perfect.  So that part came from nature!!  He is a little stubborn, and with me and my stubbornness, we butt heads quite often.  I wonder, do the Swedes and the French get along on the world stage?  Maybe it's a cultural thing.

Not one second of time was wasted on jealousy, and only a bit of neuroticism on my part, being ingrained in my nature.  Overall, it was very interesting.

Still, Nature versus Nurture: The Great Debate.  Having witnessed them both in the flesh, I still think it's 50-50.

In the end, it only matters to be loved for who you are.