March 24, 2006

International WordPress

Posted in Blogging at 6:13 am by caelesti

Huh. Didn’t realize how international WordPress was. I clicked the “Next Blog” button a few times to see what I’d get, and went thru an Asian blog (not sure what language- in Roman characters though) German, and another in one of the Scandinavian languages.

I think search engines have language settings or something- because most hits I get are in English- though that may be more because of a general English bias on the web. I like checking out foreign sites sometimes though. The BBC is a good source of news, and I’ve found a bunch of interesting Canadian sites as well. I’m interested in seeing more Spanish sites, since I speak Spanish- I can understand much of Portuguese too since they’re so closely related- and quite a bit of Italian and some French. Sometime I may study another Romance language…

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More than Just Quirks?

Posted in Disability at 6:01 am by caelesti

Today I met with some friends to discuss problems that have been going on in a student group I’m involved with. Daria*, an older woman who acts as an advisor to the group, was expressing concerns over the actions and behavior of our president. At one point she asked me “Do you think Kelly might have a social disorder? You’re pretty good friends with her, and known her for quite some time- have you ever noticed- something odd about how she relates to other people, her body language, the way she talks? Has she ever been tested for any kind of disorder?” (Well, that’s roughly what she said- I can’t remember exactly what traits she ticked off) I’ve made some amateur disagnostic speculations in my time- (haven’t we all?) but this is one person I’d never considered.

Well, she does have some unusual mannerisms- but I just thought they were her individual quirks. (They’re more than just quirks, insisted Daria) Her brother has ADD- so it’s possible should could have some of that as well, or something similar. It’s pretty common after all. Yeah, she does seem kinda ADD, come to think of it- rather fidgety. Well, everyone’s a little ADD anyways- it’s only when it causes them problems that it’s worth dealing with. So I wasn’t going to bring this up with Kelly on the basis of vaguely defined quirks that don’t seem to be causing any problems in the rest of her life.

(*- Names changed to protect anonymity)

I think it’s good to examine the reasons _why_ we do our amateur diagnoses. Are we doing it out of concern for the person, as a way to excuse their behavior- or our behavior toward them. Sometimes people are irresponsible, behave badly, have bad habits- just because- or because there’s something going on beneath the surface- some unique neurology that hasn’t been identified.

March 16, 2006

Subject of this blog

Posted in Blogging at 6:08 am by caelesti

I’m debating how general the subject of this blog should be. I started it to have a more public space for thoughts- and decided to make my livejournal more devoted to personal stuff.
I originally thought it would be for politics, religion, sexuality and disability issues, which are the topics I tend to write about. So I specifically looked for a blog site that had categories you could make for posts. But now I’m thinking, the idea of a blog as opposed to a journal is supposed to be more specific. If I want to have a more “professional” blog, and engage in dialogue with a particular community- then I should focus on that topic- and exchange links with other bloggers in that area, do an RSS feed, etc. So I was thinking of creating another blog- on blogger about religion.

But I’m afraid that if I create too many blogs, each of them won’t get written in much, because I’ll be spread too thin. So, I don’t know. I think I’ll just post on whatever for a while, and if I get any interested readers I can see what they think.

Applied Behavior Analysis

Posted in Autism/Asperger's at 3:31 am by caelesti

I thought I would make a series of posts on terms used in the context of autism, my thoughts/experiences on them, and links to resources if possible.

In my last post, I mentioned ABA, and Dad asked me what it was. ABA stands for Applied Behavior Analysis which “is the design, implementation, and evaluation of systematic environmental modifications for the purpose of producing socially significant improvements in and understanding of human behavior based on the principles of behavior identified through the experimental analysis of behavior. It includes the identification of functional relationships between behavior and environments”

From Wikipedia
It is a therapy that is commonly used for children with autism. It’s rather intensive, and can cost a lot of money, because it takes a lot of one-on-one therapy with an specially trained ABA professional, from what I’ve heard. Though it’s possible some parents do it themselves. Not sure. A lot of people in the autistic rights movement/autistic community are very critical of it, honestly I don’t know enough about it to really have an educated opinion.

But here’s a critique of it that’s been circulating the online scene and creating a buzz:

The Misbehaviour of Behaviourists

Also, read about the whole “No Autistics Allowed” controversy as well- basically Autism Society of Canada is not allowing autistics to have a say in the organization, and Michelle Dawson is arguing against it.

March 14, 2006

Social Skills vs. Social Conformity

Posted in Autism/Asperger's at 3:04 am by caelesti

Lately I’ve been reading autism blogs- and one thought that has struck me is how professionals & parents of autistic kids confuse the issue of social skills with conformity. Case in point-Kit Weintraub
“Ms. Weintraub’s son, Nicholas, has benefited greatly from A.B.A., she said, and she is unapologetic about wanting to remove his remaining quirks, like his stilted manner of speaking and his wanting to be Mickey Mouse for Halloween when other 8-year-olds want to be Frodo from “The Lord of the Rings.”

Now I can understand, and support helping autistic folks get help in learning better social skills. We all need them to get along with others and survive in the world. But you can have good or passable social skills and still be “different” or eccentric. People might make fun of you, but that’s their problem not yours. My parents, while helping me improve social skills as a kid, appreciated my uniqueness. But then they are both rather eccentric as well- as are many parents of autistics- it has to come from somewhere doesn’t it? Unfortunately, other autistics are stuck with parents who want not just a kid that can function in a neurotypical society- but one who totally conforms to it.
The Autism Society really needs to discourage this- hmm- we need a national “It’s Ok to be Eccentric” campaign.
Ref: How About Not Curing Us

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Posted in Uncategorized at 2:36 am by caelesti

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