tales by the unexpected

My story, my tales, my life

Categorie: autism (pagina 1 van 7)

Harry Potter Analogies: Love (Ned: Harry Potter Analogie: Liefde)

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Love is a big part in the Harry Potter universe. I have talked about love in a past blogpost here, but this was from personal experience and it might be easier for some to relate to the Harry Potter universe and see love in that way.

As I said earlier, Love is a big part in the Harry Potter universe. Love is the sole reason that he vanquishes Voldemort in the first book. The reason why he is “the boy who lived”. His mother used a very powerful form of magic intertwined with her love, something Voldemort never knew, so to protect her son.

The reason Snape, for me, is the most powerful character (also for me also the most relatable) is because of his love. He loved Lily. He loved Lily immensely. Most autistics will get this if I say that he has a weird way of showing his love. From what I get in the flashbacks of their meeting, he loves showing her his magic. What he can already do, and this showcases his brilliance and his mastery of magic at such a young age, it also shows something different. It shows that he is comfortable sharing his most inner feelings, his most inner side with Lily. Snape is a difficult character to love, but he is the most multi-layered person you will come accross in fiction today. Without a doubt we can say the he devoted his life to Lily.

He loved her very, very much. He never stood in the way of her relationship with James, his bully. But he suffered. When he first saw Harry, all these feelings came bubbling up again. He saw the face of his former bully, but as most in the series remark, he must have seen that he has his mother’s eyes, and this is what makes him melt, although not visibly. Snape would never admit such a thing. Snape vowed to look over the boy, all because of his undying love for Harry’s mother. He knows he screwed up the relationship. He knows that he will never have a chance anymore with her. He could just as easily let the boy die and have it over with, but he loves that woman so much, that he can’t. He just can’t. When Dumbledore asks him, “after so many years?”, his one word reply of “always” is the crux of the whole series. Afterwards in the epilogue, we see that Harry acknowledges this act of bravery and self-sacrifice in a man he has hated for so many years and gives him a place in his family by naming his kid with his name. In a way through his bravery, Snape has etched himself into the Potter family and redeemed his remarks that drove Lily and him apart.

You can also see how he changed from the young boy that loved her and could smile and share his feelings, to the cold distant man we see in the series. Something changed in him, after the death of Lily. So much even, that his patronus is hers.

Platonic love also has a place in Harry Potter. Ron, although they occassionaly have a fight, never would harm Harry. We even see this at the end of book 4 when it is revealed that although Harry and Ron didn’t speak through most of the book, Ron never stopped supporting his friend.

You also have family bonding. You have the weasly family as a whole. A tight knit wizard family that welcome every other wizard that welcomes them. They bare no grudges. You can see this in how Arthur Weasley greets Lucius Malfoy in the bookstore. Although the two aren’t friends whatsoever, he still greets him very warmly.

You also have the Weasley twins and their strong brotherly love. This is a theme in the Weasley clan as a whole. No Weasley will stop supporting another Weasley (best shown in the movies by the line by Molly Weasley in the fight against Bellatrix: “Not my daughter you, Bitch”, and she duals one of the most dangerous witches in the Potter universe).

Eventually, new couples find their true love in the Potter universe (even Malfoy finds his ideal match). Potter has Ginny, whom reveals her love for him quite early in the series by blushing and running away. Obviously Harry Potter is a celebrity and when he shows up at their table she is shy and runs away.

In a later book, there is a love potion that makes Ron fall in love with a girl and we see Hermoine get really jealous, the same goes for when she is dancing with Krum during the yule ball. We see a very jealous Ron, and this shows that even though they didn’t like eachother early  in the series, they eventually fall in love. Although it is more obvious in Ginny and Harry, it isn’t with Ron and Hermoine. Sometimes who loves you isn’t that noticable. Sometimes it takes years to build up the courage to confess your love for someone, but when you do you have only 2 options left. Either she loves you back or doesn’t.

Off course there is love shown for their daughters and sons, although sometimes harsh love. You see how Draco is treated by Lucius and you see a boy that has no other way than be mean to kids different from him, because he has no other way of showing things. Although, in later books is revealed that his mother, Narcissa, loves her boy unconditionally and doesn’t want any harm come to him, this is why she asks Snape to engage in the unbreakable pact that leads to him killing Dumbledore.

I already spoke about the Weasley clan and their unconditional love for eachother, even for Percy, although his alliance is somewhere else, he is never not loved by his parents.

You also just have unconditional love. How would you explain why Hagrid is kept as groundskeeper, even though he was thrown out of Hogwarts during the first Basilisk outbreak? Why does Dumbledore keep professor Trelawney, even going against the direct orders of the ministry on this one?

I love the fact that J.K Rowling doesn’t go out of her way to write a gay character into her series, although I would’ve loved more diversity. Also, one thing that I love is that she wrote McGonnagall as an asexual character after her first (and most intense love) fell apart. She stayed true to that one love. (although she retracts that statement about Dumbledore while writing and shooting the second fantastic beasts movie).

All these different kinds of love, in what is essentially a children/teen/young adult book series.

 

Nederlandse versie

Liefde is een groot deel in het Harry Potter universum. Ik heb in een eerdere blogpost al gepraat over hoe liefde voelt hier, maar dit is uit persoonlijke ervaring en het kan makkelijker zijn voor sommigen om liefde te relateren aan het Harry Potter universum, zodat het makkelijker begrijpbaar word.

Zoals ik al eerder zei, Liefde is een groot deel in het Harry Potter universum. Liefde is de enige reden dat hij Voldemort overwint in het eerste boek. DE reden waarom hij “De Jongen Die Bleef Leven” is. Zijn moeder gebruikte een krachtige vorm van magie gebundeld met haar liefde, iets wat Voldermort nooit heeft gekend, om haar zoon te beschermen.

De reden dat Snape, voor mij, het meeste krachtige karakter is (ook het meest herkenbaar) is omwille van zijn liefde. He hield van Lily. He hield immens veel van LIly. De meeste autisten zullen mij begrijpen wanneer ik zeg dat hij een rare manier had om het te laten zien. Van wat ik kan zien aan de flashbacks van hun samenkomsten, is dat hij er van houd om zijn magie aan haar te laten zien, wat hij al kan, en dit laat zijn brilliantheid en zijn meesterschap over magie zien, op zulk een jonge leeftijd. Het laat ook iets anders zien. Het laat zien dat hij zich comfortabel genoeg voelt bij haar zodat hij zijn meest innerlijke gevoelens kan laten zien, wat hij bij anderen niet kan. Sneep is een moeilijk karakter om van te houden, maar hij is het meest complexe personage dat je tegen zult komen in fictie tegenwoordig. Zonder te overdrijven kan ik zeggen dat hij zijn leven heeft toegewijd aan Lily.

Hij hield verschrikkelijk veel van haar. Hij stond nooit tussen haar en haar relatie met James, zijn pester. Maar hij leed. Wanneer hij Harry voor de eerste keer zag, kwamen al deze gevoelens terug naar boven. Hij zag het gezicht van zijn vroegere pester, maar zoals zo vaak terug komt in de reeks, zag hij ook de ogen van zijn moeder, en dat is wat hem doet smelten, maar niet zichtbaar. Sneep zou zoiets nooit toegeven. Sneep heeft gezworen om te waken over de jongen, allemaal door zijn onsterfelijke liefde voor Harry’s moeder. HIj weet dat hij hun relatie zelf verkloot heeft. Hij weet dat hij nooit nog een tweede kans zal hebben met haar. Hij kan net zo goed de jongen laten sterven, maar hij houd zoveel van die vrouw dat hij het niet kan. Hij kan het gewoon niet. Wanneer Perkamentus hem vraagt: “Na zoveel jaren?” is zijn één woord antwoord: “Altijd” de crux van de hele reeks, waar de hele reeks om draait. Na het hele verhaal in de epiloog, zien we dat Harry erkent hoe moedig Sneep is geweest en de onbaatzuchtigheid erkent van deze door hem zo gehate man, dat hij hem een plaats geeft in zijn familie, door één van zijn bloedeigen kinderen naar hem te vernoemen. Door zijn moed, heeft Sneep zichzelf verankerd in de Potter familie en zo zijn uitspraken die Lily en hem uit elkaar dreven, afgelost.

Je kan ook zien hoeveel haar dood voor hem betekende aan hoe hij veranderde van de jongen die aan mensen zijn meest innerlijke gevoelens kon laten zien, in een koude afstandelijke man, na de dood van Lily. Hij hield zoveel van haar, dat zijn patronus veranderde in die van haar.

Platonische liefde heeft ook een plaats in het Harry Potter universum. Ron, al hebben ze ook wel eens ruzie, zou Harry nooit iets aandoen. We zien dit op het einde van boek 4, wanneer hij onthuld dat al hadden ze ruzie en spraken ze niet tegen elkaar, Ron nooit is gestopt om zijn vriend te steunen.

Familiale banden spelen ook een grote rol. Je hebt de gehele Wemel familie, een hechte tovenaarsfamilie die elke tovenaar en heks verwelkomen die hen ook verwelkomt. Ze koesteren geen wraakgevoelens. Je kan dit zien in hoe Arthur Wemel Lucius Malfidus verwelkomt in de boekenhandel. Al zijn de twee geen vrienden, hij groet hem nog steeds hartelijk.

Je hebt ook de sterke broederlijke liefde van de Wemel-tweeling. Dit is een thema van de Wemel clan in zijn gehele. Geen wemel stopt met het steunen van een andere Wemel (beste vertoning hiervan in in de films door Molly Wemel in haar gevecht tegen Bellatrix)

Uiteindelijk, vinden nieuwe koppels hun ware liefde in het Harry Potter universum (zelfs Malfidus vindt zijn iedeale partner). Potter heeft Ginny, wiens liefde al heel vroeg in de reeks word getoond wanneer ze blozend van tafel wegloopt. Natuurlijk is Harry Potter een beroemdheid en wanneer hij aan hun tafel zit, wordt ze verlegen en loopt ze weg.

In een later boek, is er een liefdesdrankje die Ron verliefd laat worden op een ander meisje en zie je hoe jaloers Hermelien word, hetzelfde kan worden gezegd van Ron, wanneer zij gaat dansen met Kruml tijdens het yule bal. We zien de evolutie van hoe ze elkaar eigenlijk niet moeten, naar hoe ze verliefd worden op elkaar. Al is het duidelijker in Harry en Ginny. Soms is wie verliefd op je is niet altijd overduidelijk. Soms kan het jaren duren voor je de moed hebt om op te biechten dat je gevoelens hebt voor iemand, maar wanneer je het doet heb je nog maar 2 opties: of ze houd van je, of niet.

Natuurlijk is er ook liefde voor zonen en dochters, al is het soms een strenge liefde, zoals je kan zien hoe Draco wordt behandeld door zijn vader en zie je waarom hij geen andere manier heeft om met mensen om te gaan, omdat hij geen andere manier heeft geleerd thuis van zijn vader. Al, wordt later getoond in de boeken, dat Narcissa, zijn moeder, haar zoon onvoorwaardelijk graag ziet en niet wilt dat er hem iets over komt, daarom vraagt ze Sneep om een onbreekbaar pact, dat hem ertoe leid Perkamentus te doden.

Ik sprak al over de onvoorwaardelijke liefde van de Wemel clan, zelfs voor Percy, al ligt zijn trouw ergens anders, hij is nooit niet geliefd door zijn ouders.

We hebben al een paar voorbeelden laten zien van onvoorwaardelijke liefde. Hoe anders kan je verklaren waarom Hagrid op het terrein mag blijven als sleutelbewaarder, ook al was hij uit Zweinstein gegooid tijdens de basilisk episode? Waarom houd hij professor Zwamdrift aan, tegen de directe orders van het ministerie in?

Ik hou van het feit dat J.K. Rowling het niet schuwt om homosexuele karakters in haar reeks te schrijven (uit een interview in Carnegie Hall in  (al trekt ze die uitspraak later terug in tijdens het schrijven en filmen van de tweede Fantastic beasts film).

Ik had wel graag wat meer diversiteit gezien. Eén ding dat ik wel fantastisch vond, is dat ze Anderling geschreven heeft als een asexueel karakter, nadat haar eerste (en meeste intense liefde) afbrak. Ze bleef trouw aan haar ene grote liefde.

Al deze verschillende vormen van liefde, in wat is, in essentie, een reeks voor kinderen, tieners, jongvolwassenen.

Do we look autistic yet? (Ned: Zien we er al autistisch uit?)

 

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Maybe you can look at our genes, the way our brain works. Maybe you have better vision than most people or superman’s x-ray vision.

Maybe it’s the pigment of our skin, the wrinkles, the way our skin looks. it’s colour. It’s tone. It’s general feel. Skin sensative to touch or not sensative enough at all. Good against cold. Good against warmth. Sensative to certain fabrics or ointments.

Maybe it’s our nose. Maybe it’s the tip that betrays that we might be something you are not. Maybe it’s deceptively pointy or looks like a nose you haven’t seen before. A nose like no other. A nose for things you haven’t seen in your circle of friends. A nose full of curiousity for the world around it and the people and animals that inhabit it. A nose that picks up smells you don’t, picks up things you can only imagine.

A mouth like you haven’t seen before. Lips that feel. Lips that look different. Maybe it’s that. Lips that show a different complexion. Lips that kiss different of how lips usually kiss. Lips that might not kiss at all. Lips that tell the strangest facts and might not ever shut up at all, or lips that don’t talk and make sounds. Lips that nevertheless will love you.

Eyes. Eyes in every colour. Eyes that might look at you or don’t. Eyes that perceive. Eyes that perceive every detail and then make up a whole. Eyes that notice everything about you. What you wear. What colours. What fabric.

Hair that exists in all colour or just in the colours you know. hair in all shapes and sizes. Braided. Long. Short. Shaven.

I don’t know what you look for when you say “we look autistic”, but do we look autistic yet?

Nederlandse versie

Misschien kan je kijken naar onze genen, naar de manier onze hersenen werken. Misschien heb jij een beter zicht dan de meeste mensen of heb je Superman’s x-ray visie.

Misschien is het het pigment van onze huid, onze rimpels, de manier hoe onze huid eruit ziet. De kleur. Hoe ze voelt. Huid gevoelig aan aanraking of niet gevoelig genoeg. Goed tegen de koude. Goed tegen de warmte. Gevoelig voor bepaalde stoffen of zalfjes.

MIsschien is het onze neus. MIsschien is het het puntje dat verraad dat we iets zijn wat jij niet bent. MIsschien is het verraderlijk puntig of een neus zoals jij er nog geen hebt gezien. Een neus zoals geen ander. Een neus voor dingen die jij nog niet hebt gezien in je vriendenkring. Een neus vol nieuwsgierigheid voor de wereld rondom en voor de mensen en dieren die het bewonen. Een neus die de geringste geuren op pikt, die jij niet waarneemt, dingen waar jij enkel kunt van dromen.

Een mond zoals jij er nog geen hebt gezien. Lippen die voelen. Lippen die er anders uit zien. Misschien is het dat. Lippen die een andere complexie laten zien. LIppen die anders kussen dan anders. Lippen die misschien helemaal niet kussen. Lippen waarlangs de raarste feiten passeren in een almaar blijvende stroom. Een stroom die voor jou onophoudelijk lijkt, maar voor ons maar een seconde betreft in de database vol feiten. Of lippen die niet praten maar geluiden maken. Lippen die onherroepelijk zeggen dat ze van je houden.

Ogen. Ogen in elke kleur. Ogen die je aankijken of niet. Ogen die waarnemen. Ogen die elk detail waarnemen en dan een geheel vormen. Ogen die alles waarnemen aan jou. Wat je draagt. Welke kleuren. Welke stof.

Haar dat bestaat in elke kleur of gewoon in de kleuren die je kent. Haar in alle vormen en lengtes. Gevlecht. Lang. Kort. Geschoren.

Ik weet niet waar je naar kijkt wanneer je zegt “dat we er autistisch uit zien”, maar zien we er al autistisch uit?

 

How it feels: Depression

Although Depression is a comorbid of autism (it happens so freakishly many that it could almost be a criteria of autism), that I want to talk about it.

I only noticed that I was depressed as of january 2015, when I first tried to commit suicide. Thanks to Alexithymia I never noticed my depression, although I exhibited all the symptoms. My mom never told me about them, although she has them herself, and I never bothered to look, because I didn’t feel them.

It has crushed one relationship I know of, and one ended while I was suicidal and it drove me of a clif, hence my suicide attempt a few years ago.

Did I become less suicidal since then? Nope. It goes in remission and strikes with a vengeance. Although I don’t attempt anymore, thoughts about it frequent my brain more than I dare to admit.

This is when I know that I should do something about it.

Yes, I am one of those that takes anti-depressants. I am one of those. I am one of those statistics. Although I do everything in my power to not be one of them, I can’t help it. It happens. My brain is wired to be depressed, thanks to a society that doesn’t value it’s autistic community.

Although, I must admit that I have an awesome supportnetwork build around me, it is not enough. I still am suicidal, which is a far side of my depression.

I have days that I don’t exhibit any symptoms and you could say I almost look happy, and I have those days that I can’t get out of bed, but I must, out of necessity (I live together with my girlfriend and she wants to at least see my face every once in a while).

When I know I am depressed there is no sense in my body, I have a very heavy feeling, I don’t feel like eating and I have nothing I want to do. Absolutely nothing. I can be fairly active in the beginning of the day, and it comes in the afternoon that I feel heavy and don’t feel like doing anything.

I think it is triggered by an unconcious thought that triggered something and made me feel that way, I don’t know.

I write this article because as of now, I feel more and more depressed, suicidal even. It is not a great feeling, but apart from that, I try to write my articles for this blog.

Some days I have great inspiration for this blog, but I think you ought to know that on some days, I will be depressed (maybe even suicidal). So there is no shame in feeling this way and if you need help, in any shape or form, there is no shame. Although society thinks there is, you are not the whole of society, as am i. You don’t need to wear a mask for me, as I won’t wear a mask for you (hence this openhearted blogpost).

If you need help, look for help. Not all people will be enthousiastic, but seek out help anyway, talk about it with people, it will help.

10 autism myths and causes of autism

This article is based upon this article by Autistica.

Autism myths are annoying for everyone. First for autistics themselves. We have to write the same things over, and over and over. Ad infinitum. It get boring pretty quickly to type the same information each and every time the topic of autism flashes before my eyes.

Autism awareness is a beautiful thing. More people know that we exist. Most information out there are misinformed pieces written by neurotypical parents about their kids and so, we are in dire need of some good information about autism. So here comes some autism mythbusting.

Myth number 1: Autism is caused by vaccines.

This is a myth that affects not only us daily, but also those that can’t be vaccinated because of conditions. Diseases that were practically eradicated have flared up again and are now a global epidemic once again because of one doctor and his tampering of research. I hate the folks that still believe vaccines cause autism and call us vaccine-injured (yes, I had this happen to me. it’s difficult to keep your cool in that discussion).

Here is a good article that dispels that myth in great detail. (https://thelogicofscience.com/2016/04/28/vaccines-and-autism-a-thorough-review-of-the-evidence/)

Myth number 2: Autism is a childhood condition

Most information you read and hear about is about children. This is because most autism warrior parents dominate the stage and talk about how grave their life is with an autistic in their midst. And still… Here we are. I personally know autistics that are 40-50 years old. Some even older. I was diagnosed at 29, a few months before my 30th birthday. This to proof that autism is a lifelong something. Most diagnoses happen in adults, after a long search for their identity.

Myth number 3: Autistic people have a special talent

This is one of the first things they ask: “what can you do?” like I am some kind of super hero. Some autistics develop savant skills. One thing I am good at is magic and mentalism. I am not an expert, but I can watch a magician and reverse engineer his effect with the obsessive knowledge I accumulated over more than a decade. I can’t draw in perfect detail. I can’t play music (except a few notes of Satisfaction by the rolling stones on electric guitar). Most Aspie Supremacists will give you an extensive list of things they see as their skill that they have thanks to autism and also the highlight on autistic savants keeps this myth alive, but actually it is what it is. A myth. We are only human.

Myth number 4: Autistic people have learning difficulties

I went to a normal school and scored average points (although in some things I was better than my colleagues.) During my autism testing I was told that I could have studied in a higher level than I was in during my schooling, if only they had told me sooner. This is anecdotal evidence, but I know enough autistics that have no learning disability whatsoever. They all went to a normal school, had normal results, finished their schooling together with their peers. Yes, there are autistics with comorbid diagnoses, but these are what they are. Comorbids. They shouldn’t be seen together as if it was caused by autism, because it wasn’t their autism that gave them the intellectual disability, otherwise all autistics would have them, which is not true. Not being able to use their mouth to communicate is not a sign of no intelligence. Look at Niko Boskovic for an example of a young man whom doesn’t use his mouth parts to communicate, whom is very, very intelligent.

Myth number 5: Autistics are anti-social

I talked about this with my counselor. It’s not that we, autistics, don’t go out often, that we are anti-social. It’s not because we don’t actively go out looking for social contact, that we are anti-social or are lonely. We just don’t feel the need to socialize that often as neurotypicals, but whenever someone comes over to visit, I will sit with them and talk with them. I don’t retreat in my room or ignore them the whole time. I just don’t have the need to go out and meet people everyday, because that would quickly become overwhelming. I think most autistics feel this way. Wanting to be alone is not the same as loniless. The same is true for not wanting to go out and meet people all the time as being the same as being anti-social.

Myth number 6: Autism can be cured

I have removed someone whom told me that autism could be cured. He asked me to stop spamming his IM on facebook with articles that were of better research that proved him wrong. I could refute every claim he made, and eventually had to remove him. Autism can’t be cured. I want to meet someone face to face whom tells me this and what cure they suggest. It’s been a while since I’ve been in a physical confrontation. Chellation is one suggested cure, which is basically diluted bleach inserted through the anus, which is said to cure autism, but slowly tortures autistics and destroys their bowels. Another suggested cure or therapie is ABA. ABA is invented by Lovaas (although ABA practitioners will wrongly attribute it to Skinner). ABA uses techniques that are used to train dogs with a surplus. They use electricity often (as by Lovaas’ cattleprod) and often will hit the autistic or take away items of their interest to get them to comply. It will make them comply, but it won’t cure their autism. It destroys the child to make it more manageable for the parents. Most autism warrior parents are in favor of ABA (No surprise there).

Myth Number 7: Only boys are autistic

I will counter this one easily: on my twitter feed I see more posts by female autistics than by males. Case Closed. (except that most autistic females are misdiagnosed with other conditions before being rightly diagnosed as autistic. Their search and diagnose of their true identity is a long and tedious struggle. Most “experts” of autism that are gatekeepers to a diagnose, use outdated criteria and often oversee females in this diagnose as most outdated criteria are entirely male-centered).

Myth number 8: Autism is caused by bad parenting

This is a myth sent into the world by Kanner and Bettenheim that the mother is to blame for making their kids autistics in the “refrigerator mother” theory, which still haunts women today. They still blame themselves for their kids autism thanks to more myths that circulate (but I can’t list them all, because that would be to much work), there are theories that stress during pregnancy causes autism, or the women’s age during conception.

I think this shame is the cause for autism warrior parents, because moms blame themselves for their kids autism and want to eradicate it, so they want to undo their mistake and make their child normal, which brings us to the next myth.

Myth number 9: autistic people have no empathy

This is a myth that is overdue as well. If we have no empathy, how do you explain the fact that we care for animals and other human beings? Some of us have a comorbid (if you can call it that) which is Alexythimia (I have it), which makes emotions difficult to understand and recognize in ourselves and others. I think this is the basis for this myth. Yes, I will have difficulty understanding your emotional state, but if I see a negative emotion that I do understand, I will do everything I can to make you feel better. Most autistics have to much empathy and will shutdown or have a meltdown when they can’t handle it anymore. Some of us are depressed because of the state the world is in now and how humanity is doing. We are helpless but we want to help and get depressed because we can’t.

Myth number 10: “You don’t look autistic”

Because of a lack to put it in a better sentence, I put this last myth like this. How does an autistic look? This is something we get very, very often. The same as: “you don’t look like… (an autistic they know)”. Which means that we might have in their eyes, a better way of functioning. They don’t see our day to day struggles. They only see a snapshot of how we behave, or are on our best days online. If they really would live beside us, they would see that we are not that difficult or that we really are autistic (as if our diagnose isn’t prove enough). The fact that most laypeople have no notion of autistic culture or how diverse autism is, they don’t know what autism can be and don’t know that what I am for example, is also autistic. This is also in line with “everybody is a little bit autistic”. No, certain traits can be seen as being similar to autism, it isn’t autism. The same as having diarrhea (sorry for the graphics) a few times and exclaiming to a person with a bowel disease that you had what they have (I had this happen to me… just No!). You wouldn’t say that everyone has a little bit of cancer in them (to a person diagnosed with cancer), or everyone’s eyesight gets worse over time (to a blind person), the same is true for autism.

 

 

Harry Potter and autism: opening the chamber of secrets

I wrote part 1 in this series (sadly with a less creative title here)

(the first was more like a stream of ideas that popped into my head and that I had to get out. This is going to be more structured. The way I want it to be written).

If we look at parenting in the wizarding world, you see 3 different kinds. You have Hermoine’s parents, The dursleys and the weasleys. The three stand for: neurotypical parents with an autistic child, the autism warrior parents and the autistic parents. You also have the aspie supremacists (the malfoys)

In the books, when Hermoine gets her letter from Hogwarts her parents are very supportive, as they get her all the things she needs and she already has read everything when she enters the train. In later books (and movies) you see that her parents are very supportive of her and really enjoy her being a witch. They want to see her developed the best she can into this new state of being, and this really empowers her. They never restrict her in going this path and meeting up with friends that are also neurodiverse. They support her studies and encourage her to do so. Never is there anything bad written about her parents. You see that she develops throughout the series as a strong independent woman, which can only be accomplished if she is also supported by her parents, as well as her friends.

Ron grows up in a bit typical autism family. Poor (as most autistics are), almost out of tune with the neurotypical world, but enough so we can manage. In later movies and books you see Mr. Dursley (by far one of my favourite characters), go through a train station trying to mask. Harry has to help him get through the gates, but he manages. He isnt’ noticed as being autistic, although in the first encounter with harry, you notice that he isn’t a typical parent. He loves how his boys experiment and in this way you see the power of autistics parenting other autistics. We all have our idiosyncrasies, but they are respected in that household.

Another all autistic household is the Malfoys. The Malfoys don’t like other autistics and see themselves being better. They don’t like to mingle with wizards (autistics) they see less than them. They also don’t want to mingle with neurotypicals, with muggles. They want to be their own elite group. I don’t know if this is completely accurate with a lot of aspie supremacists, but this is how I imagine them. I tend to steer clear of them as they can be quite toxic and deprive you of spoons for the following year.

Last ones are the dursleys. They adopted Harry and told him a different story of how his parents died than how they really died. They never told him his parents were wizards (or autistic) in this way denying that he is what he is: a wizard (autistic). This is the way a lot of autism warrior parents are with their autistic child. They deny that he (or she) is what he (or she) is. The dursleys force his hair to be cut, only to have grown it back the next day. Autistics, when they don’t like a certain thing, can be very, very stubborn, but also, because we have our sensitivities.

The first signs of harry potter being a wizard (making the glass plate dissapear) can be seen as his autism starting to shine through, like not making eye-contact. This is the time that the dursleys can’t deny anymore that Harry isn’t neurotypical and they start to treat him even worse. They look him up in the cupboard under the stairs and deny him even food. Denying him contact with his friends in book 2 is also something that isn’t done. This is also denying that Harry is a wizard (autistic) and wanting to shelter him away and try to make him neurotypical in a way aba would do. They never in the whole series see him as a human being, like in the secon book. When Mr. Dursley tries to get the big contract. Everybody has their role, and Harry’s role is to pretend that he isn’t there. That he doesn’t even exist. This is how ashamed a lot of autism warrior parents are of their autistic child, that they will deny that this child exists, wanting it dead or denying that it is autistic and making it as neurotypical as possible by therapies, drugs, remedies, chellation and other vile things.

This article chronicles different parenting styles according to Harry Potter. A next article will probably show up.

The power of naming things

This could be a continuation of my harry potter analogy. Also as a talk about labels.

In Harry Potter, everybody seems to shun Voldemorts name. Nobody wants to talk about them. Even the Dursleys don’t like to talk about wizards and seem to shun their naming.

The same happens with autistics. We are called person with autism and rarely autistic person, as most of us like to be called.

Autism parents are still a thing though, as if they have a patent on being called autism, because their child is “affected” by autism.  As if a terrifying thing can be named, but an identity is something to be shunned. A black person is a person of color. How would be call a colour if we werent allowed to call it that way? What if we discover that blue likes to be called magenta?

This post was inspired by a non-autistic person hating to be referred to as an allistic person, as if labeling things is a bad thing. Labeling things and giving them a name is a very powerful act. The fact that most autistics like to be called autistic is because autism is nothing to be scared off. It is part of our identity and of who we are, so off course, we are not scared of it, but a lot of non-autistics are scared of it and how to react to it, so they prefer to put person first, because they have to see the person first otherwise they are scared of the thing called autism.

There is a great power in naming things, as featured in the later books of Harry Potter. Dumbledore advises Harry to name his adversary by his name, because shunning his name, implies that you are afraid of the thing. Implies that you have to hide it.

I like the fact that in Ursula K. Le Guin’s books the power of the magic used is in knowing the EXACT name of something before you can wield the power of it. I love this.

This is why naming a non-autistic Allistic or Neurotypical is a good thing. It distinguishes between autistics and non-autistics and keeps us seperated because no, we are not all a little bit autistic. You are or are not autistic. The same goes with blue. Blue is not Red.

The fact that we label you as allistic is not unrespectful, but out of respect that you are not autistic, but still you are named in our discussions. You are a part of our discussions. A lot of talk amongst autistics is how can we communicate with allistics. We have no problem talking amongst our peers, because we are accepted either way, and we are learned the jargon along the way. Yes, autistics have specific jargon we like to use, like allistic is one of these terms.

Naming things is not bad. It’s a way to wield power. A way to identify. A way to talk so your peers know what you are talking about, and about our terms for the non-autistic community, no allistic has any say in it. These are our terms. The way we talk about you. We are the minority here.

Another example: The most powerful thing you have is your name. If you are lucky, only one person exists with your name. But it is something you will always respond to. When you are in a group or in a setting that is loud and you pick up your name (mostly your first name) in another conversation, you interest is piqued instantaniously and if you are like me, you would want to know what they are saying about you. This is the power of your name and of naming things in general.

Hello boy. (a letter to my future child)

 

Hello,

I know you had a hard day. School is hard. Trying to fit in is hard. I know how you feel.

Getting up on time. Remembering to dress properly. Don’t forget your lunch, your backpack. Have you made your homework? Could you do your homework? Did we help you? Did you need help?

I know it’s hard. I know how you feel.

Recess. The loud noises. Everybody running around doing things. You might be sitting alone. Or walking around alone. Thinking about things. Ruminating. You have tried making friends. But it is hard. Fitting in is hard. I know how you feel.

You grow up. Other school. Different teachers every hour. You have more pressure to fit in. Puberty. The loud noises of before are still there. Maybe a few friends. Maybe not. Mocked for who you are, your clothes, the things that make you different. Your cellphone is out of date. Anything can make them not like you. Trying to fit in is hard. I know how you feel.

I know that you feel insecure. I know that you doubt anything about you. Even your diagnose. Is having it even a good idea? Why does society hate you? Why do they hate people that are different?

Put this between your ears and keep it there. What if you were dancing naked. Naked. And having fun. For no apparant reason. What would people say? What reason would they make up? Why do you do it? Only one person will know for sure. You. The sooner you learn that only your opinion matters on anything about you, the better.

The sooner you learn that everything: which cellphone, the way you dress, the way you do your hair. Anything about your appearance is only for you to criticise and judge, the better. The sooner you learn that the way you look is ok. The way you behave is ok. The way you are is ok. The better.

I would let you read psychology, so you understand the people around you better. Why they do things. Tested in lab enviroments. Thanks to hours of observation. It might give you an idea how they operate.

I would also strenghten your analytical powers. I would teach you about philosophy. Stoicism. How to survive in a world not build for you.

And only you matter. What people think about you, is their opinion. You are what matters. You are you. No two alike. I would teach you that people are obsessed with perfection and don’t see the long term concequences of their actions. They think perfect is ok, but they don’t see that it is an imaginary construct, put their to keep them distracted. There is no perfect. If you try to define perfect then it falls apart like a Fata Morgana when you go close up to it. Forever out of your reach.

You are good as you are. The most valuable thing you can give yourself is knowledge. Knowledge about the world. About the things around you. The only thing you need to develop and nourish, is curiousity. Never let them take that away from you. Be curious about anything. It will lead you far. It will make the journey more interesting.

The gospel of Judith Newman

 

I didn’t realize until today, that I actually must thank Judith Newman. It seems weird. This woman has written the most ableist book of the last year, has actively helped suppress autistic voices in regards of her review. Has spread false claims that have further suppressed our voice, has actively set up a boycott of autistic voices on Amazon (with the help of an Amazon employee) and thanks to her, no media attention has been given to this.

So why, oh why, must I thank her? And why have I baptised this article “her gospel”. This is the gospel of a white woman (although jewish, but not the suppressed jewish kind). This is the gospel that show that anybody with the right connections will use it to suppress minorities, claim false things to further their message and will actively keep doing what they do.

She stopped calling herself “autistic very friendly” on her twitter header, and this is rightly so. In the last few months we have seen her true face. We have seen a woman so powerhungry that she will reach out to friends in places that help her fight (yes, fight!) against minorities, a minority she addresses in her book, a minority she gave a home in her own home and which she treats so badly it is almost a wonder that she still bears the title of mother.

This episode in my life with that book, showed me that there is still a lot of work to do for autistics, to be accepted, to be seen as truly human, to be seen as credible, to be accepted, just everything.

This episode also showed me that no review on Amazon can be trusted anymore, because it can be manipulated on the inside. I will still read. I will probably still buy Kindle e-books (because of convenience and cheapness (yes, I am money concious). But I will never trust Amazon fully anymore.

What it has also showed me is that there are a lot of autistics that will stick together to further their cause. I have met a lot of great autistics, and for this, I can’t thank Judith Newman enough. We have become more closely knitt together.

Something has come out of this that can never be broken down anymore. We are becoming stronger together, and this can’t be undone by one book. Ever.

This book has setup a movement that won’t stop until autistics everywhere are treated with dignity and respect. That won’t stop until we are seen as fully human and respected by everybody for what we are capable off.

I can only thank Judith for this, because she has shown me, thanks to her book, how naive I had been in the past. I am not so anymore.

How it feels: Stimming

There are 2 kinds of stimming. Physical stimming and verbal stimming. Both are best explained by Amythest Schaber from the “ask an autistic”- series.

Verbal stimming:

Physical stimming:

Both are awesome videos that explain a lot of stims and that helped me realize that I did it too. My stims are even masked, which is why I myself didn’t even notice them at first.

I have the tapping leg stim, which I had most of my life. I can’t sit still! (it’s fun to be ADHD!), I also have vocal stims, especially when I’m gaming. I do voices, I try to beatbox (I try. I can’t, but I try.) I can do the sound-effects from old Kung Fu movies, which I often do (especially when I am playing a fighting game).

The stim I didn’t notice at first, is mine with a deck of cards. I am a magician, so me having a deck of cards in my hands, is not unusual. I noticed this when I was in the psychiatric ward for my suicide attempt. I noticed on days that I had a relapse of suicidal thoughts, I needed my deck in my hands. I couldn’t walk around without that deck (I mostly do one-handed-cuts, do some repetitive sleights or shuffle it in different manners, some even one-handed).

it brought me a kind of focus. The same with fidget spinners. Mine broke (I dropped it to much), but it gave me something to focus on. It helps me to feel focused.

When I had my 2 days of bowel attacks in 2008, I had anxiety attacks when I left the house (still do… some days are worse than others. I have a form of agoraphobia). I couldn’t leave the house and had to relearn to take the bus without having anxiety attacks. I developed my own system, which I am going to write down here, because it might help other people.

First trips, I put in an ipod and took a book (so I couldn’t see or hear where I was) I developed a habit of stopping to read and looking around, so I could guestimate where I was, so I could calculate in my head how look it would take. The ipod and book gave me enough distraction so I couldn’t hear where I was and could only focus on staying in that moment. The music was more a distraction than really for listening. The book was to keep my mind occupied (I have adhd so this is a big task). I still have a habit of taking my phone or tablet with me, with my complete Kindle library.

Later trips, when I felt more confident, I only used the book. On even later trips, I could put the book down and “enjoy” the trip on the bus. I also noticed, that when I had a bowel attack on the bus (which does happen) I could calculate (because I have a visual memory and can visualize the whole trip), that if I can hold it for long enough that I will always find a stop where I can go to the toilet. These points became my focus points and my deliberate points where I would stay longer in case of doubt.

Usually when I went out, it was all or nothing. When I doubted at the first stop, I wouldn’t go any further. But in later trips I decided to take the bus and if my anxiety level rose up to a point that I couldn’t take it anymore, I would get off at a point that I felt more comfortable.

I don’t stim on the bus, but I use books as a way to calm me and keep my mind occupied. Music helps too, if I don’t know anybody on the bus. Sometimes (although rare) I will take with fellow passengers that seem interesting, or have an interesting feature that I can comment on and in this way strike up a conversation. This has helped me to get to know a lot of interesting single serving friends (term from fight club that is appropriate here).

Stimming is mostly something I do at home. I do rock when I am in the supermarket, but this is when I reach my level of comfort on the brink of becoming uncomfortable. This is also a time when my speech becomes less sophisticated and I might begin to grunt instead of using words.

I have explained the stims. The feeling it gives me, is one of focus. I mostly stim to help my thoughts. I usually also, when I am really, really overwhelmed, on nightly walks (less people and can speak to myself on those (out loud)). This helps me to straighten my thoughts out and I will become more clearheaded. Baths help with this too (but we have a shower). Stimming is not something I do deliberately. It happens. It’s not something that I conciously control. Sometimes I notice after I have started stimming that I am stimming.

To be honest, I have masked for so long, that I am now discovering stimming and the ways that are great for stimming. I might make a post in the future of new stims I have discovered in the mean time, but now you know why and how I stim, at this moment.

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 that  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).

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