The mascot of Prism*Song

Thursday, December 31, 2009

More thoughts on fiction and autism

I have received the forth volume of With the Light. I am waiting for the third to arrived. So I decided to discuss more on it and probably do another review on With the Light once I finish reading Vol-3&4.

Now for those who don't know, With the Light is a manga or Japanese comic about a woman that her son Hikaru is autistic. Unlike the universe that Tikaani is featured in. Hikaru is actually diagnosed and the manga acts like educational tool than a perky fun read. It's still fun to read and I totally recommend it to parents and siblings with autists.  There is even a 'trope' page for it too. 

The thing I liked the most about With the Light was the fact Keiki Tobe the author doesn't turn the man character Sachiko into "Please please pity me!" mom like the woman humping the Anti-Vax train. Her spirit reminds me of the moms here actually. If she was a real person I can see her commenting on Kim's Blog about her boy Hikaru and how she just wants him to be a "cheerful working adult." Which is the baseline of this manga. It's about Sachiko raising her son to be an independent and happy adult. Yes folks, happy. As he is. 

The second thing I like about With the Light is the posAUTive message through out the series. It works to educate people on autism not demonetize it. Which is such a breathe of fresh from the real life "warrior mom' shit. With the Light doesn't quite follow the suite of say Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time or Speed the Dark in which the main characters are the autists themselves and they either poorly executed like the former or wonderful but then turn disappointing the latter. Whilst With the Light, the main character is 'NT' so the author avoids writing from an autistic point of view and consequentially dodges "ministerial-ing" the autistic character. 

Hikaru is also characterize well, he is done in a manner that is realistic and not too stereotypical. However you still have stereotypes like Hikaru being fixated on trains (oh of course Keiko) but he's done in a manner that isn't over bearing and screams puppet. Keiko even says that Hikaru is modeled after real life autisic boys, 'Dada-kun and R-kun' (kun is an honorific) so that probably explains why I connected to Hikaru. Tikaani and Wilson are also modeled after real world boys and real world experiences. Tikaani main influence was from a boy named "Dave" who had very limited words and a few undiagnosed autists in my Hospitality class. Wilson was modeled from a boy I dated shortly. So with that being said it was obvious that I connected to Hikaru quickly. 

Now the things I disliked are few but still worth mentioning. The first is the altruism of Sachiko, she works with Hikaru and tried to fit things in his perspective, however she has this idea that if Hikaru is functioning enough to be independent that everything will be ok and Hikaru will have his place in the word. Sweet notion. But it just shows Keiko's ignorance. In reality nothing is that easy when your child is high-functioning and an adult. There are MORE challenges as an adult than their is as a kid. For Hikaru he won't have the supports and systems in place as he did as a child. Those will be gone once he hits the age of adulthood in Japan. I don't know what government checks are in Japan to help disabled Japanese, but for Hikaru, his place is going to be constantly questioned. Will Sachiko ever think about respite care or whatever Japanese have for that? Will she worry about Hikaru being aggressive once he hits puberty? Will she every see the look of confusion and anger in Hikaru's face as might loose his job to a neurotypical adult? These are questions come up a lot in families with mid-high functioning autistic adults. Parents worried that they might not be able to get the services that their children need. They worry that they might be taken advantage of. Will Hikaru face persecution as an adult? This is something that is never mentioned. It just assumed by Sachiko and her husband that once Hikaru is independent that things will have happy ending. This autistic adult who suffers the same challenges that Hikaru did as a child, says YEAH RIGHT D:<. Dream on Sachiko. 

Another thing that bugged me is that everything is in the POV of Sachiko I want to see a few pages or a chapter that is through Hikaru's POV. Now as I explained previously about Keiko avoiding 'ministerial-ing' Hikaru. I can see why she didn't. Still as an autist I want to see through his eyes. I want to to say "Yeah bro, I've been there man." 

Another thing which might be silly, is the fact that everyone is so NICE to Hikaru. He seems to make friends easy and he somewhat unaware of it. While he has a few problems with a few children. He doesn't suffer from the heavy bullying and harassment that every autist probably went through. Everyone is so nice and patient with him. The again Hikaru is a nice and polite autist so it's quiet easy how people flock to him. He doesn't have meltdowns in class which might constitute desk tipping, spitting, screaming, biting. And if he does have meltdowns his teachers are all well trained and handle his meltdowns with brevity and he doesn't actually cause a huge disturbance because, oh he doesn't understand what's going on we'll forgive and everything will ok. After all he has nice neat tantrums nothing like punching out teachers or peer on peer aggression. Wow special-ed class rooms in Japan must be so nice Keiko. I mean I've seen high-functioning autistic children run like antelopes and fly out the building in the middle of class and autists throwing huge screaming fits that reverberated around the school. And man, I work at a school that specialize with autistic children. While I totally appreciate the tolerance and forgiveness of Aoki-Sensei(Hikaru's teacher), especially when a parent tells Aoki sensei that her daughter bites. Aoki brushes it off with "Oh I know sometimes she does that when she is trying to communicate". Really? If I bite anyone at her age I got slapped. How lucky of a girl to have a teacher that is so forgiving. I mean even some of the most patient teachers won't be so easy around injurious behavior. However being this a manga I'll let go of people always being so nice to Hikaru and Hikaru having nice and neat meltdowns. 

Another thing is and this might purely be an artist deal is that we don't see Miyu or Hikaru the two autists in the manga stim. Now I have drawn Tikaani wiggling his wrist or waving his arms around. But it seems that Hikaru will repeat back words, toe walk but not stim-stim. Well that just might be how he is characterized. Not all autists have obvious stimming behaviors. I mean we see Hikaru flap his hands but Sachiko corrects (much to my irritation) him. However he doesn't chew, twist his head or have destructive stims. That something I added with my own autist. Tikaani will chew his hands, clothes and anything he can get his hands on. As well as tear up paper and cloth into tiny pieces. It seems like his tantrums, Hikaru has nice/neat behaviors. As far as I can tell from the first two.

As I wait for book three to come in and I'll probably get book five soon. I have to say that it's very well developed manga and most of my critique is all rather nit-picky. I totally think ND activists should read it and pro-cure people too. 

Bard out. 

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Heartbeat Lost Part 3 (final installment)

A Heartbeat Lost Part 3 

Shona and his brothers were already stationed outside of the East Gate that lead to the eastern expanse of glaciers and tundra. Amana and I were both on buffaloyak and carrying lanterns. Chulyin, Shona's elder brother had pair of polar bear dogs on leads sniffing the snow for any scent of my nephew. I had a grim feeling, this wasn't a simple search but a man-hunt. The group was split into teams of four. I, Amana and two of Shona's brothers, were heading northwest around the edge of the fortress to see if Tikaani was hiding around the border. The other four were going east to see if Tikaani got stuck in ice crack some place around the easterly glaciers. I gulped down a lot of air and followed Amana, while I prayed to some ancestor to please watch over Tikaani. 

The sun was starting to rise slowly, her pale face peaking along the edge of the horizon as we road away from it. Chulyin who was with our group shouted his name across the empty tundra. We had one of the dogs who was leading us more and more north. Itiaq was another of Shona numerous brothers who had a grim kind of expression on his face. He was often the prankster of the six but he was more serious today as the dawn revealed our search party. He was riding beside me and shook his head. "Maka. I know you're a very earth-bound kinda guy,  you're very real and straight forward. So. You'll understand that I don't have much hope that your nephew will be alive when we find him." I opened my mouth to say something but I quickly closed it as Amana shouted his name again swinging the light around. The dog kept rooting the snow hunting for any scent. I wanted to say No, Tikaani will be alive. He's a smart kid he will keep close to the fortress I know he will but that would be another pretty little lie.

Itaiq was right. Tikaani was more than likely dead. I didn't want to think about it  but it was true. He could be eaten or mauled by tigerwolf packs. Suffocated in a ice-hole.  Busted his head open on something or worse. It would be too altruistic of me to assume Tikaani would be alive and safe, and with that dark thought led unto another one. One of which we find Tikaani mangled and destroyed body out in the middle of tundra half-eaten. I couldn't stop that though I let it blossom inside my head. Nor did I stop the reaction of said thought. I stopped my buffaloyak and vomited off the side.

Pops, a lot of things go through  your head when  you find out your kid may be dead. I don't know what ran through my mind first, but I do know that little seed of fear and guilt grew into a massive forest of regret. I should have been more kind to when he first adopted him. I should have listen to Hanai more. I should have been more fair with him, I should have been a better teacher. 'Shouldhaves', were I heard, echoing inside. Nothing but 'what-ifs' and 'Should-haves.' I stopped calling Tikaani's name and started to prepare myself for the worst. It wasn't fair at all. Tikaani was young, and had...so much potential. Yes pops, Tikaani had potential. He had more problems than marrying a Fire Nation soldier, but he was smart, and sweet and curious. He had to touch everything. That's how he spoke.  I remembered wryly that if he wanted to wrestle he would smack my back and pull on my arm. I had a feeling I would never feel those tiny brown hands ever again.

I was ready to turn around and give up as the sun was rising high only to set quickly. Tikaani was dead. Was thing in my head at that moment. Amana promised me he would be alive but it was just...impossible it's been almost 24 hours. There was just no way. I was drowning in my own fear, guilt and self pity that I didn't hear Shona's shouts at first. It was when Amana water-whipped my shoulder than I lifted my head.
"Maka! You won't believe this! Shona found him! He's alive!!" 

He's...alive? My heart stopped again. I turned my mount around and slapped her flanks hard. I didn't waste another second. Tikaani...out of all things was live. It was a freaking miracle. That stubborn, whip-smart sonofabitch was alive. I couldn't be anymore joyous or relieved. Tikaani was alive. 

I followed Shona to where Akta and Arlukk and Kesuk were. They were by an ice cave. I stopped my mount and got off. Shona joined me and showed me to where Tikaani was hiding. "He got stuck in this cave. He must of gotten lost and wandered over here. I don't know how he got in but he can't get out. He's alive Maka but he's pretty damn cold and probably starved. He keeps backing himself deeper into that little hole he is in when we get close." Yeah that's Tikaani. Doesn't understand when people try to help him. I walked up to the ice cave which was really a hole in a glacier and knelt in front of him.

He was wide eye and shivering. He was in that damn hole for nearly 24 hours. He was probably freezing and weak, but when he saw me he reached out his hand and gave out a tiny little whimper. I got down and tried to reasure him. I stuck my hand in and let him grab and pull on it. Just to show him that I was real and that everything was going to work out. I hope. 

Arlukk and Kesuk were also benders. They told me to get back so they can try to bend him out but Tikaani just pressed himself back into the hole. I stopped them for a moment. "Don't just up and bent him out without him knowing. He won't understand. Tell him what you're doing reassure him or he will just try to hide again." Arlukk and Kesuk looked at each other for a moment before Kesuk said calmly. 
"Tikaani. It's ok. We're here to get you out of the whole. Stay. Still. Ok? We're going to bend you you. Ok?" I looked at Tikaani and gave him the hand gesture for 'wait' in hopes he would stay still. He did and Arlukk and Kesuk open the hole wide and I reached in to pull him out. Around that time pops, Amana and the other came back, Shona told him to go back to the fortress and to tell Hanai that we found him. Amana face split into a grin as I was holding him, Tikaani's big blue eyes looked up at Amana for a second before they were hidden away in my parka. 

As soon as they left and I looked down at Tikaani and I just broke down, pops. I was exhausted and still nauseated from worry. I wasted all my energy thinking that would find a corpse not a child, that I didn't have the strength to be manly and strong. So I cried. I cried in relief that he was alive and at the fear of almost loosing something so precious. I didn't know how much I loved that kid until that morning after Solstice. I was sobbing as I held him. Tikaani didn't seem to be too fearful, just curious as he was shivering and looking around when we carried him back to the fortress. I couldn't help but wonder what was he thinking? Was he scared? How did he even survive? I didn't know but I looked up at the sky again and I thanked the spirits. The goddesses and gods of my people were watching him. 

Hanai shrieked as I carried him back inside the house. Rahmet out from the sleeping quarters his mouth running how he was the man of the house and how he kept everything together. I gave Tikaani to Hanai who had some healers with her. Now Tikaani need medicine, food and rest and probably in that order and I need to rest too, but as I headed to my own room Tikaani reached out from Hanai's arms. He made a little noise and wiggled weakly. Hanai jostled him a bit and headed for the opposite room, but he still reached out for me. Normally, Tikaani always wanted Hanai when he was sick or hurt, but. Today he wanted me too. I was included for once pops. You have no idea how rare that is. So I followed Hanai with the healers and was with him as the treated him. I even held his hand.

Three days I was at his side. I never left him. He was healthy and recovered from his ordeal in no time and was up to his old mischief again. But ever since that day pops. I realized something. I realize why it's scary when you loose a child. But even more scary when that child isn't like the others. Tikaani couldn't talk or understood consequences. He was in more danger because of his condition than the circumstance, I finally saw that. I now saw how much Tikaani enriched my life, he was truly important to me. Did Tikaani's disappearance changed me? Well I still shout at him when throws his fits, scream at him when he tries to climb onto the roof. Things haven't changed too much, but I have taken the time to realized how much of impact he made in my life. He had value and I didn't recognize it until he was gone. You don't know what until it's gone is very true when you have 'special needs' children and for some parents like Tigtuk. They never realize what they are missing. 

I won't forget pops.  

With Respect
Maka and Tikaani too. 

A Heatbeart Lost p2

Part 2 of A Heartbeat Lost. 

Tikaani was missing pops, and I swear I heard the gods laughing at me. I felt a weird sort of sickness, as panic was starting to sprout like tundra grass. Amana was at my side shouting for Tikaani he gave me a worried looked.

"Mak, do you know where he might be?" I tried to think rationally. Where does Tikaani go when he  is overwhelmed? I was thinking up a blizzard when Amana shouted. "I'll check the wharfs and bath-houses he's probably hiding in one." I nodded as Amana galloped off. I had to find Hanai and the children.

Hanai was out with Rahmet and Elang looking for birthday gifts. I found them near the toy stalls as Rahmet was looking for a new waterskin, being a waterbender and all. Hanai saw the fearful look on my face, her happy yet exasperated face melted into confusion.

"Maka what's wr-" She didn't finish her sentence when she figured it out. "Oh my gods! Tikaani is missing!" I nodded gravely as Rahmet turned his head and frowned. "Again! Momma we should just put a leash on him or something he's too stupid to stay put." Elang whapped him upside the head and grabbed his lantern. "He's probably hiding in a bath-house some place, or a sauna. He hates the noise he's probably in place away from the crowds. I'll help you look." Hanai grabbed Rahmet and started back to the house, I did her him shout with annoyance. "No fair! That brat ruins everything!" 

Elang check the West Canal bath-house, it was empty. Then we checked Central Terrace one. He wasn't their either, We could hear the shouts and ringing of bells from the square. Elang looked at me pleadingly. He wanted to go to the ritual and be with his sweetheart. Sighing I let him run off with him shouting. "It's ok dad, he's probably back in the square!" I rolled my eyes, Tikaani wouldn't go back to the noise that he running from. 

I climbed the paths around the many terraces and bridges I looked for any discarded clothing, foot prints anything. But I saw no sign of my nephew. It was getting later, it's been over three hours and the sky was still empty and dark. I couldn't feel my heart as I stumbled around holding the oil lamp high. I called for him again my voice was so sore and didn't know if I would find him alive...or dead. At that though I stopped walking. He couldn't be dead. Not my little boy. Like I said earlier pops. The kid is sharp, but people are cruel. I looked up to the empty sky above me and I prayed to the Moon Spirit, that her gentle light would protect him and that...that he would still be alive. Cold, scared and probably hungry. But alive. 

I reached the house after looking for him for another two hours. Amana was there in amour and holding his waterskin. Hanai looked ill and Rahmet...well...he was sulking in the corner. I felt terrible for Rahmet, his birthday was ruined, and he was right it wasn't fair. I knelt beside him ruffled his curly hair. "I promise after we find Tikaani we can do something very special for your birthday ok?" He didn't look at me he just pouted and then sniffed. "Poppa? Tik..Tikaani is gonna be ok right? I heard Elang say it's been too long. Tikaani might...might be?" I sighed and wrapped my big heavy arms around him. We were both scared and unsure.  Oh I wish I could tell him a sweet lie. That Tikaani is fine and that his guilt for being so selfish would resolved. I wish I could dad, I really wished I could tell my son that lie.

Amana and turned to me tapped me on the should he had another lantern told me to get my waterskin. "Shona saw him run off near the tundra we need to leave now, it's almost dawn." I gritted my teeth and grabbed my skin and dagger. "Damnit! I swear if any tigerwolves go near him I will skin them alive!" Amana chuckled and headed out. 

"C'mon Shona and his brother are looking for him, he's alive Maka I know it!" 

Part 3 coming soon 

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

I want to give a special thank you this holiday season to the many friends out in blog land. I hope you Kim, Kathleen, Ange, Thema/Louise, Corina, and Stephanie all have a wonderful holiday. May the light of the world encompass you all.

Now for a fiction piece. This is told in the perspective of Maka, Hanai's husband. He is Tikaani's strong willed and stern uncle. I am sure parents of autistic children will understand this story very very well. I also have a question this is important. Do you think I am portraying Tikaani correctly? Do you think I am not portraying an autistic character correctly? I would like to know. Anyway here is the special fiction piece for the holidays

A Heartbeat Lost

(an Avatar the Last Airbender fanfic with Tikaani) 

Dear Father,

It's been years since I have written to you. I guess the last time we've talked is when Hanai was still pregnant with Rahmet. I don't know why I stopped writing, maybe since momma died I just didn't have the heart. Now that Rahmet is ten and I am raising another child, my nephew; I decided to actually spent the time to write you about him and the crazy event that happen during Solstice. 

My nephew is an odd one. Some say that the gods took his soul away. My wife just claims he was born different. I am more likely to believe the latter, though this kid is really an odd one. He's four years old and not toilet trained, though we're not to worried though since Rahmet wasn't trained until he was what? Almost five? However Tikaani, doesn't talk. He screams and bites and does occasionally act like a man possessed. I thought Tikaani was just empty-headed, but I was wrong. Kid is smart as an water-whip but stubborn like a buffaloyak. He loves puzzles, kid is four and can already solve some Rahmet's games. However he can't dress or feed himself, he freaks out when we're off schedule, he pulls his hair and bites his hands. Kid acts insane but he smarter than most people realize which is creepier than him being just plain dumb. 

Anyway, Hanai had been preparing Tikaani for the Winter Solstice which was also Rahmet's tenth birthday. We planned to partake of the ritual outside of the palace walls and then have small dinner with some gifts. Every Solstice, Tikaani has been at home with my brother in law Amana; but this year. We're going to take him with us. Hanai says we should expose him more to the sounds of a festival if he going go to more of them. However, Tikaani doesn't like crowds very much. He freaks out over loud noises and people and smells. He will either thrash about or cry. Hanai thinks he has hard time understanding the noise. Rahmet hated crowds too, but he grew out of it. Tikaani will too hopefully. Hanai figured preparing him by explaining the noise and taking him for walks around the square, will make him less ornery around the festival. 

The day of the festival arrived and Rahmet was announcing to everyone at five minute intervals that it was his birthday, much to our amusement and annoyance. We tried to keep to the routine that we do every morning since Tikaani was two, but I knew something was going to go wrong, you know that feeling don't you dad? That cold chill feeling. I got it that morning while eating breakfast. Hanai had Tikaani fed, changed and dressed. It was perpetually dark of course, but we were use to it. I got Tikaani bundled up and headed out for the ritual that coming afternoon. 

Hanai was with Rahmet and the other children and Amana and I had Tikaani, he was ok at first but as the crowds thicken near the canals to the center of the fortress. Tikaani started to sob. I tried to calm him, "Shhh shhh, Tik it's ok. It's just people. Remember. Big Party. Maka and Amana are here ok?" Tikaani didn't seem to hear my words though. He calmed down when we showed him the stalls of carved ivory and bone ornaments. We even let him pick one for himself. I turned my head for a second to barter for the price, Amana was looking a bone dagger, when someone let off some fire works. BLAM BLAM! The noise shocked us for a split moment. I nearly dropped my money, but everything was in order until Amana shouted. "MAKA! Tikaani's missing!" I spun around to find that Tikaani was indeed not at my side. I shouted for him. Until my voice was raw. I ran down the walk aways and canals, but I didn't see him. 

I swear dad, my heart just stopped. 

(See the continuing tomorrow)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Mathmatical thinking.

We're creatures of structure us autists. We like routine and we try to keep to our routine. Every morning at Nine o clock I get up and get on the computer. I check Dominic-Deegan first then e-mail and then Livejournal in that order. Then I get dressed, eat something or drink a cup of coffee brush hair and teeth, pack up and prepare to leave promptly at 10:15 or 10:17. I catch the ten-thirty bus. If the bus is late I get angry and I pace.

Even someone that can go with the flow has a set pattern. Even on the bus I sit on the same seat every day unless someone else is in it then I sit close by. Being anal about punctuality has a bonus though, I am almost never late to work. and I call in sick when I am under the weather.

Why are us autist so ridged when NTs are so pelt-melt? I can't tell you why I have to do the things I do. I'm not inflexible, I do other things within my morning routine like get a cup of coffee on the way to work, or cast runes or do tarot before I leave. In the afternoon I am back on the computer and I don't get off until I go get something to eat. Occasionally I go out with a friend on the weekends. But generally I keep to a pattern.

It's believe that we do this because we can't be abstract and have very black and white perspective. I don't think this is all the way true. We can be abstract but we're not black and white. I believe we're mathmatical thinkers. We follow a basic logic. A+B=C NT's don't. They are more, "A+B=whatever" They think logicily yes, but not mathematically. A mathematical thinker doesn't just put whatever answer the feels fits and then changes it when ever he likes. A+B=C that's it. For some autists, formals don't just change and when they do it doesn't make sense and we get confuse and panic. Because if "A+B=C.2 then what about the other formals and equations we follow? Does F-D+U=A now? We get angry when we're thrown off routine not because we're stubborn and we have to do things just so, but because now I don't know what to do or what the right response is and we end up panicking.

Whilst I am very flexible and I do enjoy spontaneity when I am not working and I love adventuring and exploring the new and the unknown (right brained here) Work is different. I have to follow a set of rules and routines. Getting me off these rules is not a good idea. Here is an example of this.

On Wendsday, the parents threw a big lunch for the teachers in an act of thanks. I had no idea about this. So when I walked into the Teacher's Lounge to clean the microwaves imagine my shock at all the food and teachers. Of course they welcomed me and said "Have some lunch Noranne" I was so confused and awkward (I mentioned that I was awkward and they all laughed), A+B now equals D. The math suddenly changed and I was scrambling to figure out why. I ate lunch an I appear to be totally fine but inside I was scared of getting yelled at by my supervisor. After lunch we talked before I left to go clean. She said ordinarily I wouldn't be allowed to eat in the lounge but today was ok. I nodded and was fine with it and I went back to work with some cookies and a clementine for later nomming. I was upset and confused but I went with it.

Changing routine is not something that parents do all the time unless they have to. Many know the consequences of breaking the equation to throwing a "whatever" into it. However many autists do learn to be "flexible" or rather in my case. Keep our frustrations and anger internal because gods forbid we ever get confuse when NT's do something that fucks up everything.

We also like routine I believe because we like to have a little control. One of the reasons I am so flexible at home than at work is because at home I can make my own decisions and not get punished. I don't have that power at work. So I want to know that after first period set up I start on heating second period's lunch. Because I have that power that knowledge. It's the only security I have and finally for some, it's the only comfort we have.

We like the comfort of A+B=C.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Siblings and Autism

I had a bunch of posts lined up but I can't seem to get all my thoughts organized. Hmmm. Lets see if I can remedy that. 

At first I hated Tikaani. I was only seven when first met him. He bit me and he drooled a lot. Momma had to nurse him all the time because he would spend hours crying. He was clingy and destructive. I hated him...but I was also jealous too. 

Rahmet opens this topic tonight. He was Tikaani's cousin and Hanai's youngest son. He was also a waterbender which if you are not familar with the Avatar the Last Airbender universe, is talent in which members of the Water Tribe are able to manipulate the element of water by doing martial art stances. Tai Chi was uses as a base for Waterbending. Anyway I am getting off topic. 

He was the only member of his family beside his father Maka and his uncle Amana that can bend. So he was pretty special in his family and he did get a lot of attention and praise from his parents and uncle, and all of that was torn away when Tikaani arrived. He was no longer the center of the house. So you can imagine how bitter Rahmet was when not only did someone took away your place in the sun, but this someone: 

-Breaks your toys, screams in the middle of the night, pees in the middle of the house, steals your prized possessions, bites you and makes outings and special events almost non-existent and on top of it, all your friends now desert you. 

It was no wonder Rahmet was pretty irritated with Tikaani and bullied him often. 

It was the same for me and Katie, only I was the eldest. However because of my constant habit of causing trouble and the fact I had hard time comprehending anything, I was the butt-monkey of the family and Katie's favorite chew toy. 

This doesn't apply to me or my fictional characters. Many kids with autistic siblings feel "outsourced." They often have "Normal Kid" syndrome. In which the NT or abled child feels shadowed by their special needs sibling/s and react with jealousy or contempt. This isn't uncommon, my sisters hated me. I was the family enabler and shit-stirrer I was the one that got sent to the principle's office regularly, I embarrassed them often.  

But what about Tikaani. How did he feel about his cousins? 

Rahmet was frustrating. He always wanted to see me cry. He yelled at me for no reasons or reasons I didn't understand. He always called me names. I hated it when he pulled my hair or ruffled it and it confused him when I reacted to it with pain. I didn't know how to relate to him. I was jealous he could bend make the water dance. He gloated all the time how 'easy' it was to bend. Maybe he would like me better if I could bend. I wanted him to like me. 

Autists often feel aloof around their NT siblings. We can't relate to them and we have hard time figuring out what they want from us. My sister confessed to me one day on the way to thanksgiving that the reason she was so sarcastic and mean to me was she wanted a reaction out me since I could never react typically. I just wanted to know if she loved me. When we got older we grew up a little bit but in the end we still fight and butt heads. Yet I matured greatly and Katie gained some understanding.s

I understand why NT siblings often feel angry and sometimes can be the biggest pro-cure nut balls out there. I think deep down they are still resentful of their siblings. I think subconsciously if they were 'cured' they would be easier to understand than easy to dislike. In the same concept I can understand why autists feel so frustrated and apathetic to their NT sibs. They seem to  no understand the principle of being disabled. Or the frustration of being "Llama" among other sheep. They can't empathize with use and we in return can seem get them to understand.

It's vicious cycle of bitterness and disconnect and it affects siblings of all ages. While the media paints a sweet picture of siblings wanting to help their siblings and love them. They miss the fighting and arguing, tantrum and bulling that goes behind scenes. I wouldn't be surprised that some siblings when the find out that their autistic brother and sister goes missing, subconsciously wish that they never come back. It's common. Not pretty and sweet but it's honest. 

So what can we do to connect the NT and and the autistic siblings. The first thing is to admit that not everything is going to be perfect. The second is forgiveness. I forgave Katie, Katie forgave me. We're a lot better together now that we're not living under the same roof. Which will probably help thing with other siblings. Not competing for the same affection and affirmations makes life a lot less stressful. Eventually with time, we can learn from our past mistakes and walk forward. Heck I even forgave Katie for admitting if she had an autistic child she would put it up for adoption, brave of her to state, but not something you would mention to your autistic sister, really. That was classy Katie <.< 

So what about Tikaani and Rahmet? 

Now? I am Tikaani's greatest advocate. I grew up. I spent most of my time with Shaman Jaki when I was thirteen. I studied all the time and I found strength with my faith in the ocean spirit Tui. With that I was able to shed my disdain and finally see the beauty inside my cousin. I started to appreciate his laughter, the way he rocked and wiggled his hands. As I and he grew I wanted nothing more than to be his strength. I still get frustrated with him and I feel like some days I should just jump in a canal. Yet I despite those days I wake up and start the day knowing that Tui made him for a reason and perhaps it's to teach me imperfect beauty. 

Something to think about. 

Friday, December 11, 2009

How to write genuine autistic characters

Now to change gears and returning to a topic I mentioned here I want to talk about writing genuine autistic characters and do it in a manner that is respectful and about disability in fiction and role play.

First thing you need to be aware off is how educated you are. If you know little about autism then you should do your homework before you create an autistic character. It's probably good for you to volunteer and work or spend time with autists to gain some experience before you start constructing one.  If you are autistic yourself, try playing around with different levels within the spectrum or co-morbids. Like if you are Asperger, try playing an Aspie that has seizures, or a character that is PDD-NOS with a savant talent. Broaden your horizons.

Now as autistic fiction writer, we have obligation to provided a few tropes to RPers and readers that are non autistic. Yes these people expect stereotypes and key-words to identify the autistic person. Now as an autist myself I do get irritated when people see the autist and then pull the Goldilocks Rebuttal. Either he is "wrong" and I am playing the character "wrong" or he too "autistic" to be any use in the fic/game or not autistic enough and they can't tell. The latter shows up with my HFAs once in a while. Cori and Wilson are on the high end of the spectrum both are 'superheroes' (Wilson has clairaudiance and the ability to communicate to Angelics and Demonics, Cori can cause hyper-growth with plants and can control them, Ollie is the only non-verbal and is a powerful psychic) so the superpowers act as balancers in sense allowing them to participate in big events (villians and shit) but still be disabled and yes their autism does interfere with them saving the world. Tikaani is my only autist OC without a huge balancer.

Now what is a balancer? A balancer is positive trait that compliments the negative traits. In other words it balances them. If you have autistic character that lacks a balancer, sure you can write him but he would be hard for NTs to relate to or like and for some autists might be grating for a character to have too many faults and feel like he is something to pity. 

However there are some tropes to be aware of when doing a fictional autistic character. While balancers are great to even out the flaws and strengths of your character the "Rainman" trope is common tool for autistic characters even Tikaani borderlines this with his perfect rhythm and his ability to repeat conversations verbatim. Ollie has this by default as he is telekinetic but he is also non-verbal and no he doesn't communicate by telepathy (he uses an augmented communication device). Don't over use it to the point that the disability because irrelevant and useless and it's ghosting this trope. Tikaani also rides this trope a few times, while that trope can be a balancer it can be done poorly to the point the character becomes something of an insult. 

Occassionally you might have autistic character with the Handicapped Badass trope. Now this is very hard to execute in fiction. Because you don't want to over do it and thusly wind up with this, and like Crouching Moron; Hidden Badass, have a character that is joke. Chiko rides the former trope occasionally, he's an amputee so airbending with one arm is kinda badass.  Best way I know for executing this is to have the autist stand up for himself. Finally put his foot down. \

Now also you need to keep aware not to over do with the fact Character B is autistic you can mention it upon introduction but let actions speak. Also don't jam said autistic character with over done NT stereotypes on how autistics act. While you can have a few because to be very frank, NTs are clueless when it comes to autistic characters even with those with siblings on the spectrum. But don't over jam them to the point your hitting the Sympathetic Sue trope and or the character become again a joke. Not every autistic character has to hate being touched. Tikaani communicates mostly with touch only Cori and Ollie don't like being touched or hugged. Not every autist is good with math or science. Wilson is obsessed with mushrooms and botany, but he the only "science orientated" autist I have. Tikaani might be hyperlexic, and Ollie is also hyperlexic but Cori took forever to learn to read. You can make your character autistic but don't worry about making them too subtle. Just understand that every autist is unique. 

Finally don't shove your disability politics into your character so he won't be come a mouthpiece. Tikaani might be anti-cure if he was in our time period. He also very much a self-advocate, yet is also very very quite about his opinions and probably won't be an activist or might think neurodiverse activists as obnoxious zelots. Ollie was a bio-med child and is something close to pro-cure. Yet he is worried if being cured mean he will lose his powers. Wilson is very apathetic to cure and probably sees himself as cured. Cori is probably the only one that would actively embrace neurodiversity but would probably advocate cure for low-functioning autists. As you can see none of my character share the same politics I do. 

Finally, I am still working hard making a believable autistic character I will definitely accept critique as long as it's constructive. 

Bard out


Thursday, December 10, 2009


Just something that was bugging me lately. 

Dear Supervisor.

Telling your disabled co-worker that "if I was normal I would have been let-off a month ago" is very disrespectful and inappropriate. You don't tell your black co-workers "if you were white and making the same mistakes you are doing now we would have fired you" Why would you say that to me? 

I don't know if I am over reading it. But using my disability as the only reason for keeping me around is a bit insulting. It's like you are pitying me. What kind of message do you want to send to the kids? That you play your cards right, you might get stuck in a jantorial position kissing ass and being used as a mascot.

Look at the adorable retard awww.

I get that you want to see me succed and was it was great when you were working with me instead of for me. But why can't you treat me as an equal?" 

Too damn old for this


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The kitsune illusion and thoughts on priviledge

Foxes were thought to live lives much like people, and in art they often interact with each other in a partially anthropomorphic form, standing on two legs and wearing clothes. But to enter the world of humans they had to look completely like them, as foxes caught trying to trick people with disguises would be severely punished, and often wound up in soup. A fox wishing to transform itself had many special techniques at its disposal, such as placing a human skull on top of its head and praying to the Big Dipper. A careless fox might still leave elements of its anatomy unchanged beneath its clothes, usually a tail but sometimes fur and paws as well, and sometimes it was thus discovered.

From Kitsune entry on Obakemono

Pretending to be normal is hard work. It's constant struggle to keep the illusion that you are human and not a 'fox'. My ears appear sometimes and my tail and I will always be a fox. But I have to disguise myself as a human to live happily. 

The illusion of normalcy is a guise that HFA wear often. We have too. It's not a choice that some may want, but it's a choice we preform on a regular basis in order to survive. For some it's tasking and over whelming. For others, it's gets wary after a long while many are tired of being "human". Misanthropy is a common side-effect. 

I used the allegory of the "kitsune" to demonstrate a point that being what you are not is not easy and not simple either. Normalcy is what many want to achieve, and those autists are blind-sided by the idea that 'normal makes everything better' or better than being autistic. Some that live highly complex and impaired lives and understandably, having that impairment lessen would be tremendous. I know this well as someone that deals with depression and mania as well as anxiety. Having those qualities  removed would be tremendous. However I feel that many are naive to assume that us "ninja autists" live easy and impairment-free lives. That is not the case. I am not living an easy life because I can handle sensory information better or being verbal. Even Ari probably has disability in his life too. But he works hard in keeping it in check all the time while public. He even states in articles that it's exhausting. Why do people have this delusion that Aspies don't struggle like LFAs do? Whilst we lack many difficulties, our problems are on the same page. We struggle to process information, we have cognitive functioning issues, we have sensory issues and we have a hard time communicating. Our problems are different but not any less valid. While I believe no one is disagreeing that. I feel that people don't understand how hard it is some times to be "human" when you're a "fox". 

Of course this is "old meme" and every parent has heard it before but I just thought I should give my two pennies about it.

Now on a different matter but on the same hand. What the hell is with all this privilege? I was reading this post on Kim's blog and it brought up a thought that I talk a lot about and even mentioned on my old "Fucking Ethics" essay. 

Why are NT's so gung ho in throw their privilege around? Why do parents always seem to assume what they want is what their child wants? As I stated in several blogs. I am pro-choice. I am neither anti or pro cure. Why? Because cure is such a loaded word and it has several meanings for some people. For some it means to speak for others it means not to be loaded with sensory information to the point of chronic overload. It's personal. Therefore it should be the choice of the autist. Problem is that we either have hierarchy or NT Privilege making statements and judgments that reek of ableism or disconnect. The thing that I see a lot of are parents (namely NT) that never confer or talk to their older autistic child about treatment or cure or the parents of younger ones who have this Holy Grail kind of goal and don't try to break it down. They need to realize eventually your son or daughter is going to have opinions of their own? What will you do when your child says: 'I don't want this program/diet/medicine anymore?' Or inverted. What will you do when your child asked to be cured? How will you go about that anti-cure parents? 

On the other side. Aspies need to STFU up when they say, "oh no cure for us HFA but them LFA need it." No. Not your choice either. I should be the person choice of individual not the heard. Especially when you do say that your basically taking a huge dump on the rights and awareness of of other 'Purple' autists and furthering the massive disconnect between they spectrum ends. Stop it. Also, while I shouldn't bitch at this. LFA's that want cure shouldn't be frowning at the LFA that use aug communication or have been institutionalized and don't want to be cured and are happy as is. Really when I say it's personal it's personal. In some context if an Aspie wants a cure then I hope he finds it. It's not going stop me from shaking my head in pity though. But I will wish him the best.

I think cure is too personal to be decided by a group or an observer. 

Also. I will get a picture of Tikaani up for everyone to say thanks for the donations <3

I am so damn floored right now

I am beyond impressed today. Just beyond impressed. 

You. You guys are amazing just simply amazing. Thank you so much the generosity I gained and all of you that posted my chip-in on your blogs. 

Thank you again. 

Right now I sent the money to the bank I will show up around Fri or Sat. Hopefully by then I can go out and get the seroquel and get back on the meds I need to keep stable. 

Thank you  for showing me that not everyone are selfish douchemonkeys thank you. 

I'll draw something later tonight in thanks. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Expenses and Pin-holing


I had the wrong address on my chip in thing. HUUUUUR it's correct now. 

As of late things have been really tough and I would like to talk about my job but I am having a communication block with it so I don't know if I would be literate enough and it didn't just come down to WHARGLGARBLE!

You probably also notice the little donation button on the top of my page. That is the Seroquel Fund. I am raising $90 dollars so I can have the money I need to buy my pills. These are not life or death, but the money generated get me my meds needed to dissolve the paranoia and anxiety I have. Pills are $30 for thirty pills, Thats a buck a pill. HELLLL NOOOOO. I will be looking into generics to replace the seroquel monkey on my back. But in the mean time

Help a sistah out.

It was simple work. Load boxes into carriage, take them out. Tikaani had no problem with doing the task. But was boring. He could have been learning how to follow people undetected or re-reading old texts on rituals in the South Pole for calling upon spirits. Instead the was stuck with getting boxes from the docks and carrying back. He might as well be an ostrich-horse.

This opening fiction starts off our topic on dumbing down and pin-holing disabled folks in menial jobs.

I've seen a lot of intelligent autistic men and women get stuck in these dead-end or very laborious jobs with no real reason besides. "Well this all I can do." It's something I experienced going through the job wheel and getting jammed into simple jobs that I had no interest in. Also, these were jobs that I wasn't good at either but I had no choice.

Many autists are getting very little training and BVR is a joke. What's worse is that our splinter skills are hard to place. It's a recipe for disaster. Poor social services and very complex and individual autists equals: Crap jobs that isn't enough to pay for services needed.

Not all of use end up as professors, nor IT. Kim's post explains it more.

It also goes into the whole stereotype that labor based jobs are the only jobs that DD folks can preform with limited cognitive skills, it also seems that to be the case for high fuctioning autists but not for the same reasons. 

It's a hot mess. 

Monday, December 7, 2009

All talk no walk

God I am so angry.

Just a quick rant before going to bed, but even though I support neurodiversity and self-advocasy. What they hell is ASAN doing to help us autists that are actually starving or homeless or relying on the Government? As Ari gone without food, unsure about his future? I don't hate who I am. I hate the frustration. That neither side is helping autists out.

We're dying here and were too busy bickering. ASAN needs to stop dick-dodging and get to work. Pro-cure or whatever needs to get their heads out of the fucking sand and help us. Because this is what your kids will become.

I want to do more than just rant. I want to stop blogging and get money into a vocational center for autists, get us jobs and housing. Gets us health benefits. I want to be independent but I am on my own but it's like walking on broken legs.

Somedays I hate myself, somedays I celebrate.

Both groups are doing nothing but talk. They need to shut up and get to work. Both sides. Both sides need to shut the hell up. Because the next tragedy on the news could be your friend, your child. Are you going to let another autist die in a insinuation or on the streets? Go without food?

What are you doing to help us adults out ASAN? Autspks? NAS? Huh?

What are you doing to solve this problem?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I'm just gonna say it

I am not special. I am not a unique or precious. I am autistic, but having a fraking disorder doesn't make me 'special' or 'wonderful' I have days where I wish to be cured. I really do. I don't say that often because of individuals who are too busy worshiping themselves and saying stuff like that isn't kosher.

But seriously. I hate being autistic somedays. I wish I wasn't, and I am sick to death of people glorifying it.

I work hard for disability rights, so people like us can find the things we need to survive. Not for the little shits to sit upon and preen themselves and go on about how awesome we are.

Fuck you.