tales by the unexpected

My story, my tales, my life

Black mirror: a new blog-series

For those of you who haven’t seen black mirror yet, you should. This series on my blog will talk about the profound ideas in the series and talk about what are the implications of that kind of future and how we are going there, as some of the things in Black Mirror have become real. Some of the ideas have happened and had implications for that person.

I will talk abouthe philosophy from the series and what ideas influenced it. I will also add my personal opinion in these pieces, so they will be a combination of subjective and rational.

There will be spoilers in this blog serie, so beware if you haven’t watched the series yet, and if you haven’t yet, but are reading these blog articles I hope this blog inspires you enough so you will start to watch this anthalogy, as it is a great watch for those of us that like their entertainment with a bit of though-provocing.

Theory: Autistic learning

I have been working on a theory on how people learn for a while now. I have been fascinated by the process, ever since I read about it first. To me, the logic behind the standard IQ test is baffling as if we all live on a one line. This is why I love the spectrum idea of autism: All autistics are autistics, but we have all difficulties in other areas and some very similar to eachother. Essentially our brains work the same and yet so different.

Explaining learning fascinates me, because so many have tried, and nobody has completely succeeded so far. I have a book about it that I still need to finish, but up until then, will this be my thoughts on the matter.

There are the 4 stages of competence that are of interest. These stages have been attributed to Abraham Maslow although they don’t appear in any of his major works.

Unconcious Incompetence

This is the stage that you don’t know that you don’t know something. You can have accomplished a part of a certain task, but you don’t know that you don’t know that much about it. For example: you know the toilet, you use it everyday. Now explain it to me. How does it work. What happens when you push the button to flush. (I myself can’t do it, but this goes neatly over to the following phase).

Concious incompetence

I now made you aware that you know a toilet, but can’t explain it to me. This made you concious of the fact that you don’t know. Concious incompetence is exactly this. You have read about a subject, you have the gist of it, but you know now that there is a lot you don’t know yet. You still need to learn a lot more. For example: When you start to program. You have learned about the different programming languages and you know about a compiler and some other basic stuff, but you don’t know the syntax of the language yet. Back to the toilet: you know how it flushes, but you don’t know the forces at work or how it does things. You can also go so far as to want to learn the history of the toilet and become a master of the subject.

Concious competence

You can program now, but you still need to think and reason your way through. (this analogy is going to bite me in the ass, as all programmers need to reason to some degree). Let’s use a spoon as a reference then. We have all learned to eat with utensils at some point. So to go through the stages as a recap: Unconcious competence: You don’t know there is a spoon and slurp your soup (or try to eat it with your hands. Concious incompetence: You now know what a spoon is, but you are still learning to use it. You are being fed. You observe the people around you how they use their spoons and probably are fascinated by it. You follow their spoons with your eyes. Concious competence is what this toddler demonstrates. I like to teach by visual material, so this is the perfect video. He knows what a spoon is, he knows how to use it, but doing so requires great concentration. He is still slow at it.

Unconcious competence

To use the spoon example again: you can eat anything with a spoon without spilling (I still can’t. I think this is a family trait.) You have mastered eating with a spoon.

During my explanation of the stages of competence I have also explained another theory, not by skinner, but another. Skinner is the one where ABA is based of off. A very old theory, on which even modern ABA, thanks to Lovaas is still based.

I just learned that Albert Bandura’s theory of social learning is a direct result of a criticism offered by Noam Chomsky. His criticism is thatĀ  Skinner’s theory doesn’t explain how language is learned, which is not learned purely by stimulus-response.

The Skinner theory works like this: Stimulus and response. You prompt the subject with something and the subject will do something. You can see already why this is lacking. Bandura’s theory is different: There is input. There is a thought process (or mediational process) and there is a response or behaviour. According to Bandura there are 4 mediational processes: Attention, Retention, Reproduction and Motivation. You can read more here.

Skinner’s theory is purely based on behaviour. Bandura’s theory explains how humans learn better and if you take Wendy Lawson’s theory in consideration (explained in “the passionate mind: how autistics learn”) then this could explain why autistics learn slower.

Wendy’s theory is that autistics can only do one thing at a time. For example: from my own experience, I read. And I only read at that moment. I put on music, but don’t tell me what song I’m listening to, because I won’t know. This is why during reading, I mostly play electronic music that is very dull sounding and has no lyrics, because once I become concious of the lyrics, I can’t read anymore. (Classical music works perfectly for this too). To go further in our social learning theory. Retention is also an unconcious thing, but requires time. This is why mostly after reading, I have to do something that takes my mind of the reading. Mostly reflecting or doing something completely different (especially if I have been reading non-fiction. With fiction I can do things much faster). The fun thing with fiction is, depending on how it is written, I can make images and I can read more books through eachother and can pick up any of them, because I have these images of what happened before. This is why lord of the rings is so difficult for me to read, as it centers more on which language is used instead of creating images. A writer therefore is a painter with words.

If you now know that there are 4 mental stages required before you can output anything (verbally or by behaviour) you now know why autistics learn slower, and why using ABA on autistics is harmful and can damage their self-perception. I speak for myself at the moment and I notice that I can only do one thing. Like pay attention to this or listen to the music in the background, I can’t do both. Another example: I can watch a tv series and eat at the same time, but I will have to rewatch the episode again if I want to know what was being said, as I can’t do these things at the same time.

Another example: during my trainee period (and this is something I have learned now is what more autistics do) is when I got verbal instructions on how something worked, I wrote them down, in steps. So I had the instructions printed, so I could refer to them over and over again, and made notes where I forgot something (in another color) so the most times I had to ask something was 3 or 4, depending on where I forgot something. But after I know the process and it is written down properly, I can work in peace and don’t need any instructions anymore. The fun thing is, is that once I have memorized them, I can come back years after, and if you still work with the same processess, I can begon working in your company immediatly without any further instructions. I will still have them memorized.

Autistic learning is different in the sense that 1. We need more time to process between steps and 2. We can only do one thing at a time. So transitioning between things is difficult for us because we are still processing the thing. Maybe this is why we have such difficulty with change. Change means that we have to learn something completely again. Starting from scratch.

I hope this article has been informative, as this is just my opinion (based on science i’ve read, but this hasn’t been objectively tested. I would love to know opinions of professsionals on this though).

school as an autistic: kindergarten

It might seem strange to some, that I can remember a moment that happened almost 28 years ago so clearly. The last time I tried to write about my childhood, it came all rambling (pre-rilatin), so this is a new attempt at writing about my schooling.

I have two elder sisters and one of them went to the school in my town. I wanted to go with her. I was bored at home. I wanted to learn. I wanted to be with her. I already started to ask myself questions like the letter “U” and wondered what it was. I clearly remember me saying it over and over questioning what it was and how it could be used. I remember lying on my parents bed, next to my sleeping mom and making the sound over and over again in a questioning manner. I wanted to learn.

I once asked my mom, while she was on the toilet, if I could go with my sister to school. I really, really wanted to learn. My mom told me, that if I could go potty, I could go to school. I know that I had a blue bear potty.

Mine was light blue though. Same shape. I ran over to it, sat down and went potty, and after that day, only had a few more accidents. I was clean and could go to school.

I remember the smell and how it looked, although the school itself is completely changed and the kindergarten teachers I had have been retired since, I still remember my first 3 years.

I remember miss Mia, and the chocolate milk she gave me. The overwhelm of the lunch hall. The tupperware bowl (orange or cyan, depending on the day). I remember the bread with chocolate pasta between them, or jelly made from pears.

I remember the bullying. Most of the people I was with in that class, I was still with in elementary school (which stops here at 12). I remember the bullying. I remember being constantly sick. I couldn’t go swimming with the rest because I was constantly having troubles with my lungs (and my mom smoking like a chimney around me didn’t help me either).

Kindergarten was a mess, but I remember one girl. I remember her clearly, as I have seen her only a few more times, but she was my lightbeacon in kindergarten. I have never expressed this sentiment to her, and probably ever will.

I know that I had a good time with teachers and only a few moments really stand out to me. Only a few people I really remember, that I can conciously recall, most people, if I meet them in the streets, I will recognize them as being in kindergarten with me. I have a very good visual memory of it.

I remember that I was bullied a lot, even in kindergarten. My parents were poor and most of the kids in my school were middle-class or just plain rich.

I don’t remember meltdown. I do remember going mute sometimes. I hardly spoke. I was much on my own. I loved the story time and still remember the story our teacher used to read to us. I still remember a classtrip involving flowers and candy and a story about gnomes. I can still see the visuals.

I remember that during a school-recital, I was dressed as a monkey and we all got a banana. We weren’t allowed to eat it, but I did. I remember that I didn’t want to give the monkey tail back. I really liked that tail. I really liked being a monkey. But I wasn’t allowed to keep it. Not all was bad during this time, but a lot was. My elementary school was worse though, but more on this in a later article.

 

Book review: The passionate mind: how people with autism learn by Wendy Lawson

A lot has been written about Theory of mind by great researchers. Theory of mind is that theory that autistics are unable to predict or have enough imagination to intuite what a person might be thinking or feeling. Most of this has been written by non-autistic researchers.

Here comes Wendy Lawson, whom is autistic herself and has written a wonderful, although rather unknown book about theory of mind and how the past theories all have flaws into them. In this book she proposes a new theory that might help understand autistics why they have difficulties with certain things and not with other things. It also takes into account sensory processing difficulties besides our difficulties of intuiting peoples thoughts and emotions.

I think this is a must read for everyone involved with autistics, as it might give a better understanding on how autistics think and feel and how we process information especially. It might help further the research in autism, as she says herself that her theory needs to be tested more to become a viable framework for autism.

My personal opinion is that this theory should be valued above all other theories because it is written by an actually autistic and takes into account everything about an autistic, which makes it a very plausible explanation for the way our mind works.

If you want to read the book for yourself, then you can click on the affiliate link here and buy yourself a copy.

review: Plantronics RIG 400 HX

To start the new year, we are going to start with posting hardware reviews as well, next to other tutorials that might be of use to you guys.

We got the opportunity to test for you guys the Plantronics RIG 400HX. This lightweight headset, especially designed for the Xbox one, is praised on the website of Plantronics as “Lightweight”, “Comfortable” and “Noise-Canceling”.

With it’s 203 grams, compared to other headsets of comparable quality, this feels lighter, but objectively it isn’t. It isn’t a heavyweight headset. Comfortable, this is the trademark of this headset. When you take it out of the box, you will notice that he is covered with cussions, at the ears, where there are normally cussions, but also on the headband, which makes this headset very comfortable to wear for longer gaming sessions. He covers your whole ear, which helps by not letting you lose any sounds, and makes that enviroment noise is cancelled. A plus is also that, thanks to the 3.5 mm jack, you can use it with other devices like an Ipad or Ipod if you would like. The mic also surpresses enviroment sound, whereby he only registers your voice.

Music through this headset sounds amazing and you get a complete soundexperience, even the bass. The sound from all games is very, very pure and you hear the slightest sound, whereby you notice faster from where the enemy is going to come in a shooter, which gives you a better experience of the game.

Because this headset supports Dolby Atmos, is it possible to play games (like Assassin’s Creed: Origins) with this extra experience, whereby you hear the full 360 range of sounds. The list of compatible games for Dolby Atmos, is still small, because it’s still a relatively new technology, but the list is expected to grow in the future. Here is a link if you want to see the list.

It is a member of the RIG family of plantronics, which means that it is highly customizable to your own taste. You can change the look and feel of your headset with componants of the headset. You can change the wiring and the plastic parts until you have a headset that is completely yours, which makes the gaming experience so much more unique and creative. For the price of approx. 50 euro, it has a very good buildquality and especially the sound is what makes it stand out against competitors. This makes a good choice for a first headset for budget gamers, as you will have years of pleasure out of this buy.

Conclusion

I recommend it highly. Qua comfort it is much better than others in the same price range. The earmuffs are comfortable and are good to keep the gaming sounds directed at your ear and the enviroment sounds out of it, so you can get completely immersed in your gaming. Sound is of a high quality with this headset. The only thing that I didn’t like about this headset is that the 3.5 mm jack is curved, so if you plug it into your controller, and it moves a little, it will start disturbing, but this is only a minor nusance of an otherwise awesome headset.

If you would like to buy one, you can click my affiliate link here.

How it feels: Love

This article is written because in a book was stated that a mother doubted that an autistic could actually love, or be able to fee love, or be able to be a father of a child (which is an act of love, for me).

First to make this work, we have to find a definition of love to work with. I will take a look at philosophical concepts for this.

In Philosophy, they distinguish love as 3 concepts: Eros, Philia and Agape.

Eros is the desire. This is were the english work erotic comes from. It means a passionate, intense desire for something. When seeing the word Eros and that erotic is derived from it, most will make the natural leap that it is most often used for sexual desire. The desire to just be with someone and to miss them when they are gone, to me, also falls under Eros. Eros, the god, is where cupid is derived from. When Eros shot his arrow, you felt an intense desire for the person you, and you fell completely in love. You couldn’t be away from that person. This intense desire is Eros.

Next is Philia. With Philia, you will make the natural leap to all words ending with philia. Most of them have a negative connotation, but philia in itself isn’t negative. Philia means a fondness and appreciation for the other. This is the phase of a loving relationship where you like to be in eachothers presence, where you just like eachother. Where you like to be in eachothers company. Philia is a friendship. Friendship can be something short, like a business friendship that only lasts as long as the deal is on, or something that takes up your whole life.

Agape is the concept of loving all equally. A sort of universal love, likeĀ  a love for humanity and that you would never harm another human.

I think with these 3 concept we can begin to see if autistics can love. Autistics can feel passionate and desire for something, be it a subject or a person. I will use myself as an example. When I am in a relationship I don’t think about myself. I always try to take the other person into account. For example: when I buy something for myself, I will always try to buy something for my partner as well, even when it’s with coupons that I got for a special occassion, like a birthday. I will always take my partner into account.

I also show love in small things, like doing to dishes or bringing her coffee. Just telling her I love you, or putting extra effort into cooking and dressing up the dinner table, with candle lights. Forgiving when a person has made a mistake is also an act of love. My partner and I are both humans that make mistakes, some graver than others, but if you are a good couple and you truly love eachother than you forgive (up to a certain extent).

I like being with my partner, otherwise I wouldn’t be in a relationship. I couldn’t be in the same room or be in the same village with a person I don’t like or love. I have a period of at least a year when a relationship ends to put the memories and the emotions at the back of my mind and still then. When my partner told me that my ex was pregnant, that threw me into a shutdown. Although she has been abusive towards me, something inside me still loved her. It is weird to admit this, but yes, I feel something for my exes still, not for the abusive one, but for the other two, yes. I am not afraid to admit this. Loving a person and wishing them well doesn’t end because one person doesn’t want to be anymore. I would still do a lot for my exes if they asked, but as another kind of love. More like friendship.

I will try to treat all humans kind and in the same manner. I will not harm them, unless they have harmed me, but I am not flawless. I will make mistakes.

But as you can see, if you take all these things into consideration, autistics can love. Maybe even more so than neurotypicals, as I have still to meet the first neurotypical that couldn’t get a new relationship in a year because he was still not over his last relationship.

Autism parent warrior cult

You have an autistic kid. You never heard of autism before, and wouldn’t know what to do. So fear strikes you. Fear is a good motivator to make bad decisions. You start to Google. Google gives you lot’s of answers. You start reading other parents blogs about autistics. You start to read about ABA, chellation. You see the videos by Autism Speaks and dread having an autistic kid.

He looks so alien. He doesn’t behave like other kids. He doesn’t point to things he wants. He doesn’t talk. Is he even thinking? You start to wonder many things. Maybe it’s your fault. You feel guilty. You want to help your kid. Give it all the chances it can have. You start to google more.

You join facebook groups. You talk with other parents whom also have a damaged kid like yours. You become hooked. You post pictures of your kid because he has done something dumb. He has done something atypical. You start trying therapies. Maybe speech therapie will help. Maybe putting him on a certain diet or trying certain supplements might help.

You read more into chellation and hear that that might help little Timmy get rid of autism. You start to doubt the vaccines they gave Little Timmy. What was in them. You start to research vaccines and look more into those. You discover that maybe certain vaccines your “doctor” injected into Little Timmy were harmful. So you start to distrust your “doctor”.

More and more you become a member of the anti-autistic-cult. More and more you go down, you see autism as the devil’s work, as something to be beaten, as something to be conquered. Your autistic isn’t your kid anymore, more and more he becomes a projects. A project to be cured.

In this series, I will dive into the mindset that these autism warrior parents might have (as I will never know for certain), but if they may talk about autistics as if they know what is in our head, then we may do it too. I have read books about con-men and how victims of those become more and more ensnared into their world, and eventually fall victim and lose a lot of money.

A lot of psychology is into play with these cons, and only money and maybe your reputation is lost. In this case, the case is much greater, and I hope that I do the autistic community a service by delving into their psychology, so more and more is known and maybe even researched. Also, this will give parents a way to communicate to other parents why their logic is bad, or at fault.

I will try to post them in the most logical order, as they should be presented to someone. so they will see how their thinking has been influenced. How they have been duped. They might reject what I have written here, but it will undoubtly plant a seed and maybe lead to a revelation later.

We are facing a crisis

(Dated racial slurs will be used (not in a racist manner, but to prove a point.)

We will dive into this with a little bit of history. Remember the first intelligence test? Phrenology, it was called. Thanks to the measuring of the skull certain characteristics could be told about the owner of said skull. Negroes were said to be dumber, because of how their skull grew the way it did. White was supreme.

The IQ test came out. Alfred Binet developed it to measure who was better to serve as leaders in the army, and who was made into cannon-fodder. The test was taken in big rooms, and think again who was thought of as being better than the others? Not because they were better, but because they had better seating and the test was written in their primary language.

This IQ test is also used to divide us more, as of today as well. This is one of the reasons I am more into the multiple intelligence theory of Howard Gardner, as he doesn’t try to divide us. This is the reason why I hate functioning labels, as it divides us more.

I tell you about the IQ test because intelligence and perfection in general is something our society is obesses with. Everything has to be perfect, and everything that goes away from this norm is freakish. When you score high on an IQ test, you are seen as a genius and a freak. When you score low, you are feeble-minded and not fit to live on your own. Doesn’t matter if you perfectly cope or are happy with yourself. You are not fit for this society we live in.

The same with people that have it in their genes to develop more round figures than other people. They are shamed because they don’t fit this new model for society that tells us that every women and man has to be fit and perfect. This leads to an obession with fitness, sports and healthy food. Every year new diet fads turn up to feed our obession with perfection.

This has also worked in hand the beauty industry. Make-up, clothing, everything to make a body more perfect. Ever thought of what high heels do to your body and what it is used for? The same with red lips. What if you have a nose or ears that are bigger than the standard size? You can get them fixed. For a price of course.

This brings me to my point. The point I wanted to make since the beginning of this article. What if your imperfection is your different color of skin? They will still shun you and try to criminalize you and act racist towards you, just because you are different. What if you have a physical dissability? They will generally not accomodate you, but some places will at least try.

What about Blindness? What about Deafness? What about Down?

How do people generally act when they hear during prenatal screening that their child might develop the syndrome of Down? 90 to 95 percent will abort it. Down is being eugenicized. No matter how wonderful the person can be, or what he might achieve in his life. His life seizes to exist after a few weeks time, because a test said that it could’ve been someone with Down syndrome.

Now the same test is in production for autism and other “birth defects” as they call them. So the future fate of autism, thanks to the fear mongering of Autism speaks and other organisations, will stop the birth of many future autistics. Maybe the future inventor of AI or the future inventor of a cure for cancer will seize to exist after a few weeks in the womb because of the fear mongering of Autism Speaks. Autistics and researchers think this idea is ludicrous, but they are not listened to. The prenatal test is in development. The patent has been granted.

Already complete countries are Downs free thanks to the prenatal test. The same will happen with autism. The whole spectrum will die in the future.

I know I am an agender in a male body, so I can’t give birth. I will never feel that. I will never feel the joy of having a living being develop inside me. My opinion is that both partners should discuss the future of their child (as I don’t think the mother should be into this alone, as it is part of them too, although she carries it, it still is part of them two. Both should be able to discuss what happens with the future. The same as I think both should care equally for the child.)

I am an agender with a male body, but I will guide you through my opinion on abortion, as this is what the article deals about. Abortion and our sick perversion with perfection.

I think a woman should be able to abort. I will give you a few examples:

1. A 15 year old had sex with her boyfriend and now she is pregnant
2. A test was done and the child will be born autistic or with Down syndrome.
3. A woman was raped and now she is pregnant with the child of her rapist.

Only in one occassion, in my logical mind, would I allow abortion. And that is in the third case. The woman has been punished enough. She shouldn’t see the fruit of a crime commited against her for the rest of her life. Although there are women that still keep the child with the logic that the child shouldn’t be the victim of the crime and should live a happy life. It is their right to make the choice.

In the other 2 cases I don’t see a reason why a healthy baby should be aborted.

The first deals with concequences. 2 people had sex with consent. They CHOSE to do it without condom. They should bear the concequences of their choice. If you are adult enough to be having sex, you are adult enough to care for the child.

I don’t think I need to explain my standpoint on number 2. I think you get my standpoint. I know gene-modification is being researched too. I am also against that. We have evolved this way to be here. Nature has deemed us important enough to deliver a contribution to the human race. The same with Down syndrome. It wouldn’t have evolved this way and still be around, if it didn’t have a purpose.

The need for perfection is destroying the human race. Gene-modification will only make it worse. The rich will be able to afford this and will make kids that are smarter, adhere more to the beauty standard, are better at sports and will dominate life on earth. All the rest will be shunned. All the rest will be a pariah. We are going more and more to a society as described in Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, which next to 1984 (a society like that we live in now) is not a manual but a cautionary tale. Don’t emulate it. Learn from it.

Autism and Down’s have a reason to exist. We are people too.

Posting pictures

I love looking at pictures. Cats, dogs, computers, landscapes, anything, except pictures of people.

This is not because I am autistic, it’s because I care deeply about consent. I commented recently on an autism mom facebook page (of which I will inevidably be kicked if I keep raising up issues that irc me as an autistic person), just a sincere question if they asked consent of their kids.

One mom replied that she didn’t have to because he was 3. To be fair, I would never post pictures of my kids online, here’s why:

You never know what happens with them. I have read articles about some people that use pictures of others people’s kids and use them to roleplay as if these were there own. I think this is insanely creepy.

Or (to be blunt, trigger warning for seriously bad stuff ahead): What if you post a picture of your kid in a bathing suit and some pedophile decides to jerk off on it?

I think this is really saddening, but a fact of the internet.

I don’t want my kids to have this. Or in the future (everything you post on the internet stays on the internet): you post a picture, with their name and all, and in 18 years your kids future boss decides to google him and sees all these embarrassing things you did as a toddler? Or as a teenager?

I have the luck that I grew up in an age where internet wasn’t a thing. I only got on the internet when I was 12 (I wasted the first 12 years of my life). But in high school they warned us about this: to not post anything only without thinking about it, so I would like to pass this on as well.

Don’t post anything about your kid online, autistic or not, without their permission, and really think about the future of the picture you post. Where is it going to end up after you post it. You are literally not in control what will happen with that picture, so watch out what you post.

How Autism Feels: gift giving

I used to not like gifts, as in suprises. I still don’t. I don’t know how to react if I get a suprise gift that I wasn’t expecting. I just don’t like surprises.

This is in any aspect of my life. I really hate surprises. Bus 5 minutes late, my bowels will start acting up and I will start calculating in case I have a bowel attack, or I will visualize the whole track to see where I can go to the toilet.

Back to gifts. I have had suprise gifts in the past and only recently started using a simple thing: I write a list of things I want. Plain and simple. I don’t think this is rude at all, as the gift-giver knows that he/she will know that I will get something which is useful to me and which I will be happy with. In this way they will know that I will truly be happy, and it saves me from having to react in a certain way, when I actually know that I have a different feeling. I can’t act in those situations.

There is still room for surprise, for example, when I ask for a dvd of a series (I will probably ask for season one) and if they have more seasons, you can buy me more.

I will most probably also write down the store where I saw it on my list, so I make it easier for you to pick it up, because I’m certain they have it. And if I ask for say: a soldering iron, you can still get me extra things, although you don’t have to, as I only put on my list the soldering iron alone, so there is still a little bit of suprise, but just enough that I can handle it.

I think it’s sad that so many unwanted presents end up on ebay. I would never sell them, as I don’t think it’s respectful towards the gift giver, but I will give it to someone whom can use it, when I find that person.

I love it that at my girlfriends parents house (where I now celebrate christmas every year) this is already tradition of writing lists of things you really want.

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