Sunday, September 30, 2012

Scare Tactics: Divide and Conquer

A friend of mine wrote a post about her journey from cure to acceptance that TPGA posted a couple of weeks ago, one of the people who commented on her post, said she'd "recovered" her child who was now, 5 years later, indistinguishable from their peers and then said, "I chose to fight, you chose "acceptance". This is not an uncommon remark. I've heard it said in various ways and of course the implication is that those who "choose" acceptance have not fought hard enough or we too would have "recovered" children and that those who do "recover" their children have a stronger love than those who do not. This kind of language is not only confusing to new parents (and old) but it is hurtful on so many levels, not just to the parents, but their children who will carry that hurt well into adulthood. Parents turning on one another in this kind of adult version of Lord of the Flies makes MY teeth hurt! And we wonder why children bully (another topic!)

One other thing I just want to mention is that the way Autism is currently perceived, as a tragedy, as frightening etc, also encourages parents to entertain their worst fears for their children. This is something I grappled with for YEARS. I was led to believe (and I know I am not alone in this) that if I didn't try every treatment option out there, when I died my child would end up in an institution. This may sound ridiculous, overly dramatic, even hyperbolic to many reading this, but I can tell you honestly this thought, this horrifying fear plagued me for years. 

It isn't hyperbolic. The medical model history of treating parents to a giant dog-and-pony show about how horrible your child's life will be (and by extension, what an unspeakably evil person you are) if you don't give a good number of them a lot of money and stat! is relatively recent, but very potent, and very deliberate. Several lines of professional activity have been built on its foundation, and, believe it or not, I believe a great many of the mid- and lower echelon practitioners really believe they are helping your child by emotionally manipulating you: they have been taught that way themselves, and emotionally and intellectually manipulated along similar lines. I also believe there are some very unscrupulous happenings happening, and people who by the light of ordinary morality ought to have trouble being around themselves.  In other words, there are some people doing that manipulating who know they are doing it and are blame-worthy.  This is not a conspiracy theory, by the way; it is simply enculturation.

I saw the thread with the comment you're talking about, and it breaks my heart.  It's a clear example of some of the fallout that happens when society makes parenting into a zero-sum competition.  Also, it indicates to me that at some level people are aware they are being sold a bill of goods, or they would not feel the need to scream so loudly at others who are not buying.  There are certain things I like to do with my kids, but I don't feel like less of a person if I don't strong-arm you into doing the exact same things, and validating me while you are at it.  But this may also be because I am sort of a watcher on the sidelines of a dominant culture where this seems to be done with almost everything.  Do you have the right car? Clothes? Shoes? Children?

No? Then you're not good enough.  Now, give me some money and lots of it, and let me make you feel like more of a person for a second.  (Maybe I'm saying this because I made it up and I am an evil manipulator, or maybe more likely because I am a True Believer who drives that car and wears those shoes and now that I get calls from the creditors all the time I need to know I made the right choice...)  Well, it could be for some other reason.  But the reasons I have listed are frequently-occurring and interesting studies back them up, particularly the latter (cognitive dissonance and Concorde fallacy studies, for example).  However, the fact that the Normalcy of Your Child is part of What Makes You A Person and is decided by Medicine and Psychology is what I am really talking about and saying is relatively recent, historically.

Prior to the medical model of emotionally manipulating parents into bullying one another, it was basically left almost entirely up to religious organizations (I'll talk about the Western world here, for time/space/complexity/parallelism considerations) to manipulate parents into bullying one another by intoning that their disabled children were already some kind of punishment and that things would be somewhat forgiven if large donations were to be made to said religious organization and/or the other villagers did bad things to the family showing lack of allegiance... This model prevailed for hundreds of years and--I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw this for myself just the other day--still has a few conceptual adherents.  So, in the old days before Medicine decided who counts as a person and how, Religion decided who counts as a person and how.  Is this right?

Fortunately, both models have been widely ignored by groups of cool people. We have some evidence that in many places, villagers frequently overlooked such teachings and inclusively considered "simpletons" and other people with disabilities to be full fledged members of the community, particularly as they were able carry out some role figured out for them for the group as making sense, such as courier, or bouncer, or farm hand. (The language does not always seem to have carried the same aesthetic.) Today, many parents reject the ethos of the medical model and use medicine for what it is good for: ameliorating symptoms of illness, getting people well from actual diseases and things like that, instead of deciding to agree that entire ways of being "Other" should be branded as sicknesses that need to be cured out of existence.

It is currently considered gauche for adults to bully children (though some inexplicably do it anyway). This may be why they bully each other so readily. When a child with disabilities grows up, it is a good idea for him or her to be prepared to take on this bullying, denial of basic rights, dehumanization, etc. As a parent, it is a good idea to give your children self-advocacy skills with all your might, which includes modeling them yourself. Don't let yourself be bullied. If you need help from the Autistic Community, give us a shout-out, and we will have your back.

My favorite books about the above are Foucault's Birth of the Clinic and James Trent's Inventing the Feeble Mind.  Recommended reading!

I mention these and wrote this whole answer (then decided to add to it and repost for all, in case people don't see in-comment conversations) as another way of saying that these lies have been going on for ages; and I especially want to announce with vigor and gusto that parents have more power than they think, and I love it when they use it against wrongness in the establishment instead of against each other.

Parents and "Others," Unite!


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Parents and the IEP

I have a question regarding education. My son is 10 1/2 (he was born on the same day as Emma from emmashopebook) and he is attending 6 grade special school. He is still working on his literacy, and his IEP for this year has only 9 letters. I feel that he can do more, but his teacher assessed him as challenged in both expressive and receptive language, especially in receptive and also as cognitively impaired, so she things that he is not capable of handling more. My question here would be how much I can rely on the teacher's assessment? What are your experience while at school? Were the teachers able to assess you fairly and were your classes tailored as per your abilities? Should I be more assertive with my opinion, having in mind that I am not an expert, but again I should know him best? But do I really know him best since he does have limited vocabulary and it is true that one can not read much out of his facial expression and so.

As an educator whose primary responsibility is to prepare teachers, I want to let you know that one of the first things I, and many of my colleagues, make sure to do is give pre-service teachers the gift of being aware of one of the most important educational resources on the planet: parents.

Not all teachers learn that parents are resources, and some teachers are afraid of you.  I believe this is because in society the way it is now, at least in the US, and it would not surprise me if this also applies in Macedonia, things are set up so people are at odds, at opposite sides of the table, suspicious of each other, not really playing for the same team.

Some parents may believe that teachers are untouchable experts who know more than them, but some parents may also in turn believe that teachers are people who do not care about their children.  In this country, there is a large amount of media imagery to convince the onlooker that teachers in general do not care about children--imagery created primarily for economic rather than educational reasons--but I find the uncaring teacher (though we have seen some breathtaking true examples lately!) to be more the exception than the rule.  At any rate, either way of thinking about teachers will lead you, as a parent, not to speak up at the IEP meeting.  Anyone seeing these reasons can imagine why.

Some teachers may believe that all parents are of the opinion that teachers are uncaring and also stupid.  Some of them believe that if they listen to parents too much, it is a set-up for a lawsuit.  There are also some unfortunate teachers who seem to believe that parents do not know their own children, or that parents think their children are angels of perfection but they cannot really see them; but I also find that when they think it through, this too is rare.  These kinds of beliefs will lead teachers to avoid opportunities to ask parents for input when creating IEP goals.  Anyone seeing these reasons can imagine why.

Seeing the reasons people do not work well on teams for the children helps to understand why it is happening, but seeing what is really more likely to be true in real life, I hope, will help people work better together.  This essay is a simplified version but I am hoping that anyone who reads it will have an easier time in IEP meetings from now on.

In real life, parents know their children very well and are an excellent resource for teachers when it comes to understanding the kids as individual people, which is something we should all want to strive for doing to a T.  In countries such as the United States where teachers are becoming economically devalued, parents can also be a tremendous ally in other ways.  (Just a little something to think about if you are a teacher.)

In real life, teachers decided to become teachers instead of choosing other careers for a constellation of reasons, one of the chief ones more than likely being because they care about children.  Then, they embarked on an educational path which gave them specific pedagogical expertise.  Many teachers have chosen to get advanced degrees and are very passionate about keeping up with the literature and conferences allowing them to stay abreast of the most excellent ways to teach children and help them succeed.  Their work conditions are becoming steadily worse in many places for economic reasons and they frequently purchase school supplies out of pocket in order to keep up the necessary educational experiences for the students.  (If you are a parent, there may be a multitude of ways to help in the classroom in addition to being the one who knows your child best.)

In real life, a child is a little person.  In order to do the best job teaching him or her, ideally you want the best of everything.  You want the best of pedagogical knowledge and education skills that a teacher can bring, but is that enough?  Not quite.  You want to really know that kid, know what makes him or her tick.  Is that enough, by itself?  Not usually.  But when you put those two things together, magic can happen.  This is what happens when great teachers work with great parents: You have both things together.  And everyone learns a little something... and the child learns a lot.  And that is who we are there for.

You asked about my educational experiences.  There's a book coming out called Both Sides of The Table edited by Phil Smith in which I have written a chapter about my life in school, which says more.  But I'll give you a tiny relevant preview that fits here, about two people I can pinpoint making a huge difference, and when it happened, and what happened.

First let me say this: my parents absolutely helped out at school and got involved and told their truth.  So that is why my mother was there to notice up close when an absolutely magnificent teacher came to our school.  She was the school librarian, Mrs. Gladstone.  To make a long story very short, Mrs. Gladstone (Beau) is my mother's best friend, and I am here now writing an Educational Blog.

Maja, I think you should give the teachers the benefit of your wisdom, in a spirit of friendship, and see how things work out from there.  Meanwhile, I will be researching the second part of your question, about bilingualism (the literature I know has bilingualism being useful instead of confusing but I want to be optimally thorough and useful).  Tell me how everything goes!!

All the best,

Friday, September 28, 2012

Language Matters

I have a (negative) visceral reaction to the word "recovered" as in, "recovered from autism." But I have heard this word used by the same parents who do their utmost to help their autistic children (they are usually the ones who will also not say "autistic children" because they prefer "children with autism").

I prefer the expression "shed the diagnosis" because I view this as more accurate. But I am very, very confused as to the way I can "frame" my thinking around autism as a newly dx'ed parent.

Can you give me some pointers on how to frame my thinking, or is this all a matter of semantics and I'm letting this bother me more than necessary?

There might be two simultaneous related directions in which I could help you frame your thinking, for the purpose of helping you not be distracted by the fact that this bothers you, because these things have banged around in my ears and head for a long time. But I really hope it doesn't stop bothering you altogether, because you are actually right that "shed the diagnosis" is more accurate... for something.  When I was in my salad days, it was even a goal of mine.  Now I believe there are even better things than shedding diagnoses.  "Recovered" is a good word for what my best friend, who is an upholsterer, did to these chairs. (If you are in Seattle, do look around that site in case you ever need something done.  Jennifer is brilliant.)

I'm going to put a little bit more of the follow up information on your question in here so everyone is reading the same page:

My child went through an intensive intervention which helped his ability to verbally express himself. This same program exposed me to other parents of young children on the spectrum and the prevailing attitude (I don't think I exaggerate when I say predominantly "fix/cure.") When I casually mentioned that I didn't believe autism has a "cure" (because I don't subscribe to a disease model of autism), one parent said to me, "You're wrong! They can be cured!"

Maybe it is because this is still "early" on for me, that I'm dealing with what seems like basic premises. Yet such basic premises, and philosophical differences therein, drives a lot of my decision when looking at where I get my support and knowledge about autism from. So for me it's become a bigger deal than I anticipated.

This is a tremendously big deal and you are not being unnecessarily picky or anything like that.  It seems to me like your thinking is quite good and you are standing in a hurricane of conflicting talk and conceptualization, and while it may seem basic to you in the "early" sense, I think you also sense that it is basic in the fundamental sense that people are forging new identities and potential inadvertent barriers for themselves and their families around these choices, which they unfortunately do not often experience as chosen choices.

That you see yourself able to choose at this early stage is a remarkable gift.  Society is not geared for that.  I salute you.

There is no cure for autism.  If there were, most autistic people would not choose to be cured of something so intrinsic to them as their neurological makeup and all that follows from that, such as views of the world, ways of thinking, and so on.  There is an Autistic Culture, and Autistic Community.

I no longer want to shed the diagnosis, because then I would not be a member of the culture where people understand why I like to type instead of talking on the phone and so forth, for one thing, and are more likely to get my sense of humor, and straight up answer when I say, "What do you mean?" instead of saying something like, "You're kidding, right?"

Sometimes when people hear this sort of thing, they show signs of imagining that whoever is saying it is only able to say it because of being what they call "high functioning," which I take to mean something like, 'currently fluent in verbal expression'.  I used to take it to mean employed full-time, but what with the economy lately....  However, I know many people in the Autistic Community who type all the total time and verbally or orally speak never, or super minimally, and have expressed the exact same kind of sentiments I am typing right now.  Also, you know I am a professor, because it is in my profile, so you know I talk.  But if you did not know that, you would only have evidence that I type.   This is the case online: you may not know who is not so much of a talker.  So when people imagine that only certain kinds of Autistics have lives worth living, lives they like living just as their own selves, it is a misunderstanding, and incorrect.

In the old days I wanted to shed the diagnosis because I did not know there was a community.  This was before the internet and I was the only person I knew who was so much like myself.  Other people I knew who were Autistic had grown up in the Institution that was closing.  We got along great and enjoyed a related sense of humor, but they had institutional culture, and I felt like I needed to husband and leverage the small amount of social power I had available to me because the stigma was so amazingly strong in those days.  People with disabilities were treated like children.  Everyone was shocked at the idea of including them in safer sex/AIDS prevention education, for example, because obviously nobody with intellectual or developmental disabilities would ever have a libido or etc.  (See how I said "them" there?  That's what it was like, then.)

There are two cultural or community situations which are to various degrees analogous to this one (Autistic) that have been around longer and may help to think about.  The primary analogy is that one gets a ticket to the culture because of the way one is, but one's parents often are not that way, and also there is a history of stigma and misunderstanding wherein groups of outsiders, some hateful and some actually shockingly well-meaning, believe you would be better off dead or not-you.  I am speaking of the Deaf Community and the Gay Community.  Another part of the analogy is that not all people who have a ticket to the community in any of these communities choose to participate.  There are some "Aspergians" of a particular bent who do not want to associate themselves with other Autistics at all; there are people who choose cochlear implants and lip reading and do not use ASL at all; there are very private people or people in the closet or people not in the closet but who say "we are not political at all" and things like that.

In all of these situations, the communities are unique in that one's parents are not automatically members along with one.  Some parents, even of young kids, are aware of the Autistic Community and Autism Culture, and they have their counterparts in a group called PFLAG in relation to the Gay Community, I think.  I think this is a very good position to find yourself in.  That feeling a parent has of "oh no, what will happen when I'm gone" is not so bad if you can clearly picture things about your kid's life a bit.  (I only recently know what some of these feelings are like first hand instead of just in my imagination.)  Also, if you are a friend and ally in the Community and aware of the Culture, then your child will be able to have access to mentors and role models for life much sooner.

Being cured sounds like a terrible, nightmarish, nihilistic goal for me.

Shedding the diagnosis sounds like an uncomfortable, dishonest, masochistic goal for me.

Having a good life sounds best.

Now that I have hopefully talked you into being even more like you already were, enhancing and magnifying the original problem, here's the part where I try to help you reframe your thinking when you hear stuff that gets your goat so it doesn't drive you up the wall. 

If you have just made the leap from "shedding the diagnosis" to "having a good life" you had to be ready to do so.  If you have not, you were not ready.  If you are thinking, I will never be ready, because I do not agree with that, then that is a valid position.

There is a similar leap from "being cured" to "shedding the diagnosis" and some people are not ready to make it, and some will never be ready.  Some people fly over to "having a good life" in a single bound, which is what I think Ariane Zurcher did... when she was ready.

The main thing that I do that makes me give myself issues is where I take responsibility inside my head for making sure that everybody agrees with the things that I tell them, and if they don't, I didn't phrase it well enough, or work hard enough, or do well enough, or whatever, and I betrayed the cause or something, and a whole bunch of little kids will be called the wrong thing and have gross breakfasts even or whatever ALL BECAUSE I SUCKED.  This is very stressful.  

When I want to stay mellow, I do my best to make the case for something I think is important and then I let go...if they want to believe the things, they will do it when they get ready.  This happened at a meeting today, which to my joy went well--but had it gone pear-shaped, I would have been able to cope, because I was ready.  A good side effect is that people can say more stuff in front of me without my teeth getting all hurty, because I am thinking, OK, that's where they are at right now, but I am not with that.  We are separate.  Long live space.

And then I decide if I want to talk to them about what I am with, if I want to engage in more dialogue, or not.  Because other people's stuff isn't really my job to worry about, once I have done my best.

This is not so easy when I am working out where I stand, myself.  So, I do get that.  That's a tough place.  So if that's where I am, maybe my best is disengaged for now, not letting people yakkety-yak in my space.  My friend has a sweatshirt that looks just like a university seal, with the university initial part being taken up with STFU.  Heh. 

So, to make it easier on yourself, be sure to note that you stand with me.  You know, so I don't suck and have to flip out about it.  ;)


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Reading Comprehension Assessment and Anxiety

My ten year old daughter, Emma is reading at a second grade level, (or so) but when she is given reading comprehension questions on her homework she gets very frustrated, bites her hand the minute she sees the homework. I only mention this to indicate her level of anxiety. Do you have any tips for me in working with her on reading comprehension? Are there ways I can make this less stressful? 

This is a complex question, because there are several points in the process during which the anxiety could be addressed, and I want to talk about assessment a little bit, and also what happens with "reading comprehension" when certain things are not taken into account.  I will start as a person who teaches assessment courses and has colleagues who are reading specialists with whom I converse frequently, and when I get to the examples and start talking about anxiety, you may notice a bit of Autistic awesomeness coming into play.  ;)  I'll talk about what you can ask for at school and what you can do as a mother at home if the homework stays exactly the same.  Meanwhile, I'll make giant assumptions about the homework since I haven't seen it, but I have seen a lot of reading comprehension homework in general.

It is notoriously difficult to assess reading comprehension, especially using the kinds of assessment that are currently considered the most valuable because they are able to be standardized easily and take the least amount of time to administer, etc.  Another thing to take into account is that special educators and reading teachers are often taught to teach reading in very different ways.  That is to scaffold the discussion.

As I said, I have not seen the homework, but usually it will consist of a list of some specific questions which, if the child "did and understood the reading," he or she would presumably have been able to answer correctly from the text, given the right amount of the complex set of skills we call "reading comprehension."

This may be wrong, but I'll construct one of the very most common types for the sake of answering. If the homework is so different as to render this part of the answer toothless, let me know and I'll go back and see what's what.  OK so.  


Jack and Jill/Went up the hill/To fetch a pail of water;/Jack fell down,/Broke his crown/And Jill came tumbling after.

Comprehension Questions: (Slightly exaggerated for emphasis, but man, I'm telling you, only slightly.)

1. Where did Jack and Jill go?
2. Jack and Jill fetched (circle one): a. lemonade b. water c. alligator shoes d. none of the above
3. If you were Jack, how might you feel in the fifth line?
4. Circle the event that happened first: a. they fell down the hill b. they got water

Now, as healthy Autistic-American ;), I have answered the first fine, but am derailed on number 2.  It doesn't say in the story they actually fetched the water; it only says they intended to do so.  Also, why would you go up the hill for this?  Since they are using a pail, they may be going to a pump or a well, and in either case, placing the thing uphill would cause the diggers to have to work harder to get to the water table. Argh, skip to the next question.  3. ARGH! He might feel all sorts of different ways breaking his crown.  We do see he is the kind of royal who tries to fetch his own water, so maybe he is glad not to be saddled with marks of his class-guilt all over his head.  Maybe his father is the one who made the workers put the well on the hill and work twice as hard.  Is this an allegory? I don't have any evidence either way!!!!!!! Skip to 4 for now... 4b I TOLD YOU THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THEY ACTUALLY GOT THE WATER!  MY STOMACH HURTS!  What is wrong with my eyes?  I need to get out of here. AAAAAAAAUUUUUUGHHHHH!!!!!

The teacher is able to see that I am only able to read the first two lines of Jack and Jill.  My family is able to see that reading comprehension homework makes me sick and anxious.  The more of it I do, the sooner I get anxious.  Soon, I don't even bother looking at it to see if it is logical this time.  This probably takes like three iterations.

If this assessment had been taken without me freaking out, the teacher would have gotten the useful information that I believe the crown mentioned in line 5 is a masculine tiara rather than a body part, as well as that I have a potentially useful aptitude for critical thinking and searching for evidence. Not only that, but I am more interested in social studies than some of my peers, which might cause me to want to socialize.  You never know.

How could the assessment have been done to gather that information instead of freaking me out?

Authentic and portfolio assessment styles exist for this purpose, and my favorites involve retelling customized to the kid's strengths. If I am good at drawing, I am asked to draw a picture about the story after I read it.  Later, looking at the picture, I'm asked to tell you the story.  The picture will remind me the elements of the story that were salient to me.  I will tell you that Jack and Jill went up the hill to get water, which why would they do that, because the water table would be harder to reach from there, and then Jack broke his crown.  Did he break it because he made people dig twice as hard for no reason? Because that was unfair.  You can ask me to clarify what on earth I am talking about.  I can tell you that if a king or a queen makes people work too hard that might make his crown fall off, like in that song.  You can ask me to sing you the song.  Now you know I do not know the body part "crown."  You know music might reach me and etc.  Writer kids often rewrite the story, or kids can act it out or make up songs about it.  It is a fun style to experiment with, and you learn a lot more about what the kids really think the story says than you can ever learn from a list of questions.  The teachers may let you do the homework like that if you ask them.  They may say that this is what they do in school but they wouldn't want to put that on people's families.  You may say, that is awesome.  This is the best case scenario.  Let me know how it goes.

Now, more normal scenario, the homework stays how it is and you really just need an answer to the part about the anxiety.  And you read along about the reading stuff and kind of laughed and things but you were like, dang, is she going to be able to answer questions after all?  Yes.  I will.

Are there ways you can make the exact thing less stressful?

Yes, and I do it to myself a lot.  It is called "desensitization" and comes from a field of study whose other inventions I am not normally as much in love with, but this one is good, has been good for me in my life.  The basic idea is to always pair the stressful thing with something enormously and fabulously the opposite of stressful.  For Emma, let's say the homework sheet of reading comprehension homework never shows up without the most amazing, bass-booming dance track.  And you are dancing.  And you wave that thing over your head with two hands woot woot Chelsea style.  What you do in the long run is get it closer and closer to the stressor event but by then the ick has worn off.  It can take a while... don't rush it... The first time you dance with it, I mean, you don't even try to do it.  The next time, mayyybe you sing a question.  Don't worry about getting an answer.  Get closerrrrrr as it gets less worrisome.  Sing a question and cock your head.... Closerrr..... Over a few sessions.... This is how I became able to drive a car, incidentally.  This is how I have done many things.  So then in Emma's life, Homework Is Stress gives way to Homework Is An Experimental Dance Genre.  When she is a singer on the stage, you will see some choreography about it sweep the nation....

This association of a stressor with something relaxing and awesome works better the more super awesome the person considers the excellent thing.  Try it with yourself.  You can even do it in your head.  For example, the next time I see someone I am likely to frown at, I can mentally put the person on a John Deere tractor, because, you know, high awesome factor.  Then I will probably smile instead of frown.  This is adding method-acting to the desensitization, because the techniques are related.  But I wanted to clarify it because I only did one example.

Another kid might super love the Mets, and whenever the homework comes out, you are suddenly dressed as if the Mets had a special designer line.  You might keep the stuff in a special edition Mets folder, etc.  The key is baby steps and pairing the irritant with the thing that is relaxing and beloved so the halo effect rubs off on it.

Over and out for now!

Ways of Knowing, and What to Look Forward To Here

This is a quick introduction to talk more about the "epistemological hat trick" thing I said in the text intro.  A hat trick in some sports is where you can do three things in a row, like scoring three goals.  It's a good thing.

I think I should name the three main kinds of knowledge warrants I'll be using now in case later, if I'm afraid I'm not being transparent, I can rapidly point out whether I am claiming to know that from 1. subjective experience as a person from a particular Neurotribe (let me call that nous), or 2. practical know-how I started acquiring in 1987 (technê), or 3. the sort of knowledge researchers and professors and well-read people have because they know a lot about the thing (epistêmê).  Here is a short pdf file in which I explain the latter two Attic Greek words for knowledge a little bit, and what they are good for.  I chose nous for the first one after a lot of thought because although it could be controversial, the most important aspect is that it is my own mind and the way it perceives and processes things (and the potential similarity, we imagine, between your mind or the mind of the person you're asking about) that provides the knowledge warrant making my Autism relevant.

Sometimes people will ask questions and I will not know the answer from any of those knowledge standpoints.  When that happens, I will say I don't know and I will also probably tell you that I know someone who likely knows and I will ask this person and get back to it.  If I don't have any friends or friends of friends who know, I am liable to become obsessed and run a research study.  This will take the longest amount of time but on the bright side, your question contributed to the knowledge base in that event!

Speaking of the knowledge base, I will also be collecting resources and, once I figure out more about how the blog physically works, adding a repository of topical articles and websites and things friends and I have found.  If you know of things that belong here, please feel free to send 'em in (once you notice there is a place for them...).

In other news, nous is a slang term meaning common sense in some places such as the UK, and as a person who has never been accused of having much of that, it is fun for me to use linguistic tricks to seem to attribute it to myself in writing.  Heh.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hello, this is Ib, which is short for Elizabeth Grace.  I need to get this show on the road, but it took me forever to figure out how to really make a blog, with a blogroll and things like that so as to make it live.  Not all my friends are on the list yet but within the week it should be a fuller rendition.  The blogroll is a great place to browse for other Autistic points of view on a wide variety of topics.

Ariane Zurcher of Emma's Hope Book wrote a great piece here: which I read after another few people had told me similar things.  Some of them were preservice teachers, and I thank you (you will recognize yourselves).  :)

The purpose of this blog is specifically so people can ask me things that may not come up on other blogs, which I completely recommend reading.  But let's say you have a burning desire for the answer to a question that nobody blogs about that week?  Come here and ask it in the comments.  You can do that right now.  I might answer myself, and I might also remember that my friend told me about it a couple months ago, so I could answer from multiple viewpoints in conversation.  Also, I may be able to give you a study about it that isn't insulting and eugenic and horrible.

Meanwhile, since I am sharing information without being asked anything yet, I think you should know that intermodal shipping is pretty excellent.  They take those containers on barges, and in port cities there are cranes that take them off the barges and put them on trains.  You may not know that those cranes in Oakland by the Bay Bridge are the inspiration behind AT-ATs in Star Wars. Different frame cranes with really giant tires take those same containers from trains to truck beds attached to semis here in Chicago.  This is on my mind because I drive my convertible among many of them to work, and think about all the places they have been.  Ahhhh, intermodality.  It is a fabulous thing not just in transportation, but in life.

Goodnight for now.  I am going to tell Facebook that this is here and see what happens.  If it is of use to you, then I will talk about things other than transportation!  :)

All the best,
Ib Grace