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A semi-facetious Single-Sentence Saturday October 11, 2008

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…I can’t be held responsible for what happens to the next person who tells me how “awful” it is that I “have to” ride the bus, especially if they insinuate that I’m “too good” to ride with “those people.”

It’s listmaking season. October 7, 2008

Posted by speakingaut in outside looking in.
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Things that, according to people who taught me to do them, I don’t do correctly:

  • Walk
  • Hold a pencil
  • Vacuum the floor
  • Take out the trash
  • Change diapers
  • Crochet
  • Type

But:

  • I get around unassisted, and I can keep up with people a foot and a half taller than I am
  • My handwriting is perfectly legible as long as I’m paying attention
  • My floor is clean
  • My trash cans are empty
  • The diapers get on the babies a lot more easily than they would if I did it the “right” way
  • I have a number of completed projects that look exactly like “normal” crochet
  • …Well, I’m not copying and pasting each word into this entry, am I? No signs of repetitive stress injuries either.

So the question is, what exactly am I doing wrong?

(In all fairness, the “walking wrong” thing was a choreographer. Oh, and various and sundry security guards with nothing better to do.)

Single-Sentence Saturday’s glasses got slobbered on today. October 4, 2008

Posted by speakingaut in interaction, language, single sentence saturday.
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It’s no wonder I like little kids: everybody else calls me “antisocial” when I don’t talk and wishes I would shut up when I do talk.

Single-Sentence Saturday, the “my feet hurt” edition. September 27, 2008

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Playing to my strengths evidently isn’t one of my strengths.

Oh, NOW I get it. September 26, 2008

Posted by speakingaut in childhood, language, media.
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So, I’ve been on a bit of a nostalgia kick lately, and I just realized one of the reasons I love re-immersing myself in the things I loved as a little kid.

Not only is it great to have on as background while I’m crocheting — since I know what happens, I can look at my work — but on re-watching it, I can go “Oh, that’s what that means” whenever one of the characters uses an idiomatic expression that I didn’t understand when I was little.

Case in point: when the villain has the hero in a trap and says “you’re gonna be history.” It didn’t do me any good to ask anybody else what “history” means, because the answers I got all tended toward the “Oh, it’s things that happened in the past.” I couldn’t phrase it differently at the time because I didn’t think I had to (after all, they knew what the word meant), and eventually I just stopped asking. (Yes, there came a point where even I picked up on the fact that I was being annoying.) It also helps that I understand the concept of sarcasm now.

The other bonus is, of course, picking up on all the cultural references I’d missed before and realizing exactly why the grownups laughed at those lines. I’m fairly sure most people do that, though.

Single-Sentence Saturday, Arts & Crafts edition September 20, 2008

Posted by speakingaut in just for fun, single sentence saturday.
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I love crochet; it’s the one form of perseveration I like that doesn’t garner me weird looks.

Frustration. September 15, 2008

Posted by speakingaut in interaction, language, social.
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So, a bunch of people on another site are discussing autism right now, and there’s one person who, while through the rest of the discussion is being very sensitive and understanding in her attitudes, keeps talking about “real autistic people” versus people on the less classical end of the spectrum.

For several reasons — not the least of which being that I really don’t feel like defending the fact that I exist right now — I pointed out how condescending the phrase sounds and then I left. I know it’s most likely either a linguistics issue (where she doesn’t know the right term and is compensating) or a matter of not realizing the impact words can have, but it’s still bugging the crap out of me. And being the person I am, I’m going to have it bug me for the next few days unless I get it out of my system now. So:

AAAAARGH.

(In other, unrelated news, I have a cat scratch on my left hand such that it hurts to move my little and ring fingers on that hand. It makes typing fun!)

Stats weirdness September 13, 2008

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So. According to my stats page, eight people have found my last entry through the tag “Jacob Grabe“.

It just doesn’t seem right that the only post (posts, now) on WordPress with that tag is my own.

Oh, yes, also: I got a comment today from one of Grabe’s teachers. The bank she mentions that has set up the fund for his mother is Alpine Bank; she says any of the Grand Junction locations will do.

A somber Single-Sentence Saturday. September 13, 2008

Posted by speakingaut in media, single sentence saturday.
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I have nothing pithy, profound or even just bizarre to say today; instead, this sentence is for Jacob Grabe.

Social Stories and airplane trips September 11, 2008

Posted by speakingaut in interaction, medical, social.
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One of the blogs I follow regularly is called Parent Hacks. It’s full of parenting tips and shortcuts, and while I’m not a parent, there are enough children in my life that I can use the tips. A tip that was posted today caught my eye, since it’s geared toward parents of autistic children: “‘Social Stories’ coach kids through transitions and new situations.” There’s evidently a specific way to write them, but I’d tailor it to the needs of the child or children I’m writing for.

The post also links to a collection of examples.

I remember when I was little, I was really nervous about new situations. It really helped when people explained to me exactly what to expect when, what counted as “normal” and when I should ask for help, and addressed any other questions I had. I also remember asking many of these questions several times. Considering that I started reading when I was two, it might have been easier to have things written down. (Come to think of it, I think that did happen a few times.)

I’m still nervous about new situations, of course, but it’s less paralyzing now, and the good thing is, I can do my own research now. If I go in for a medical procedure, for instance, I read up on what exactly to expect. And one of the requests I make of any doctor who treats me is “please let me know what you’re going to do and what it’s for before you do it.” Nothing turns me off from a doctor faster than being surprised by something simple.

A different example: When I was six or seven, I went to Disneyland with a close family friend. While I’d been on airplanes before, it had been when I was a baby, and if I remembered, the memories were spotty at best. When it came time for me to leave, I was terrified. I had a basic idea of what would happen, but nothing measurable or specific. It certainly didn’t help that when the friends I was with showed me a map of the United States, they joked around by pretending our route took us on a looping course around the country, but I couldn’t have done anything about that.

(No social story could have prepared me for losing one of my favorite shoes in the Pacific or having the plastic toy sword I’d bought at the Pirates of the Carribean gift shop confiscated at airport security, either, but that’s another story.)

Of course, now I understand what’s going on and what to do in what situations, I am the family’s second most fearless flier. I’ve been in one of the world’s largest airports, in a country where I don’t speak the language (aside from a few choice words I can’t repeat here), on a flight that landed twenty minutes late, with only the vaguest of instructions on where to go next, and I’ve made it to the rendezvous point on time.

But the beautiful thing about liking to know what’s going to happen before it does is that I was able to pay it forward. One time, I was flying solo. The plane I was supposed to be on had just landed and its passengers were disembarking, and the little boy who was across from me at the gate kept asking his mother what was going on. His mother kept saying she didn’t know.

So I braved the whole “talking-to-strangers” thing, and once I got permission from his mother, I told the boy that the plane had been full of people who wanted to come here, and now that it was empty, we needed to wait for people to clean it. I told him that they were going to put the checked luggage on the plane and call the passengers up in groups, and that once he was in his seat, he should put his seatbelt on and listen to the instructions the cabin crew gave. I even told him he could wave at the pilot on the way out of the plane.

The kid’s response?

“Oh. That’s cool.”

So yeah. This works with (presumably) neurotypical kids, too. As a rule, knowledge reduces fear.

Even if you don’t have time to write stories yourself, there are books already existing that are extremely helpful. I remember reading a series of books by Fred Rogers that dealt with first experiences, and the Berenstain Bears are classics by now. (I have no knowledge of what the newest ones are like, but I have fond memories of the ones that were in print when I was a child.)

In conclusion: Man, that’s a longwinded way to say “ooh, these things are a great idea.”