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 Raggette.blogspot.com

Response email message:

Dear Rose

You may use it on your blog as long as you credit Hugh and link to
gapingvoid.com & the piece on gapingvoidart.com - 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 http://www.gapingvoidart.com/about-gapingvoid/    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?

http://biohug.com/2011/09/alex-plank-interviews-biohug-vest-inventor-at-imfar/   craving deep pressure, proprioceptive input??

http://www.grandin.com/inc/squeeze.html  Calming Effects of Deep Touch Pressure in Patients with Autistic Disorder, College Students, and Animals

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2981757/?tool=pmcentrez  writing tremor and writers cramp

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ataxia   Ataxia, Wilson's disease, fragile x

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proprioception  The cerebellum is largely responsible for coordinating the unconscious aspects of proprioception

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proprioception#Impairment  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]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_receptor  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.

http://ilabs.washington.edu/meltzoff/pdf/96Gallagher_Meltzof_Self.pdf    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.