What should be done for Autism

clipped wings

When my mom learned of my diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome, my college counselor gave her a book called The Oasis Guide to Asperger Syndrome.(You can buy a copy here.) The book gives great information on Asperger’s. Now, I realize autism is a wide array of cases, and Asperger’s is much higher than some may be, but after last week’s article about Autism Speaks, I thought I should balance it out by giving 20 things, some from the book’s epilogue, and others from my own ideas about what can be done for children with this condition.

  • Teach tolerance for all disabilities and differences. Point out that everyone “has something”. No one is spared.
  • Don’t force conformity on anyone, autistic or “normal”.  Teach acceptance of all who think differently, have non-standard reactions, or voice different points of view. New ideas are born that way. (Or as one of my favorite writers, Robert A. Heinlein put it, “When one teaches, two learn.”)
  • Gently invite other people who interact with your child to explore his unique world.
  • Don’t say a child “can’t do something”. Let them try.
  • Don’t make someone an outcast just because he can’t (or in my case, has little interest in) playing sports.
  • Teach children to become involved. If they see a child being bullied, make sure they understand why it’s important that it be reported and that you will protect them.
  • Don’t assume that autistic people like myself aren’t listening because we don’t make eye contact.
  • Talk to the managers of local movie theaters to lobby for a time at which they will agree to lower the volume. Arrange for a special showing for sound-sensitive children (I can attest that theatres are quite loud for those on the spectrum. When I went to see Iron Man 3 last year, I was cupping my ears at times to make myself more comfortable.
  • Volunteer to help at a summer camp for kids with autism.
  • Do NOT donate to Autism Speaks.
  • Don’t consider your children “puzzle pieces” that don’t fit into society. Celebrate their uniqueness.
  • Work with an attorney to develop a “living will” should there come a time when you pass on before the child.
  • If you feel the above can be discussed without causing anxiety, tell your child the details.
  • Share your wisdom with other parents of autistic children.
  • DO donate to organizations such as ASAN and the Dan Marino Foundation.
  • Join a web forum for others with this condition. I found two on Facebook, one of which is geared toward a Christian viewpoint, and there’s also one called Wrong Planet that has great resources, as well as a Youtube channel.
  • Commit random acts of kindness for other disabled children and their families.
  • Volunteer at your school if allowed.

The Truth Behind Autism Speaks

autism-speaks-doesnt-speak-for-meMany of you have probably heard of Autism Speaks, an organization that wants you to think they wish to help autistic people or families with autistic children.  That is far from the truth.

Last year, Suzanne Wright called out a summit in Washington, DC.  She said families of autistic people “are not living.” She portrayed them as living in fear of their children.

I would’ve provided a video of their propaganda, but of course, they got it removed from Youtube after word got out about the video’s true intentions.

 

What Autism Speaks really wants is a cure for autism. Here’s what fellow autistic blogger Tom Plastow has to say about that:

Autism is not a disease, it’s not a sickness, and the vast majority of autistic people do not want to be “cured.” Autism is a huge part of us, and removing it would radically change us as human beings. When you talk about “curing” autism, you are talking about eugenics. You are not helping us, you are not supporting us, and you are certainly not listening to us.

We don’t want to be changed, we don’t want bleach enemas, hug therapy, or to be treated like we’re dogs to be trained to your standards. We want to be listened to. We want to be accepted. We want to live in a world where people don’t see us as burdens that need to be eradicated so that “normal” people can have easier lives. We are not a public health crisis that needs to be stamped out; we’re human beings with – believe it or not – real emotions and thoughts of our own and everything.

In 2010, the organization only spent 4% of its budget on “family services.” NOT ONE STAFFER is autistic. How can an organization truly claim that it speaks for autistic people when it doesn’t have an autistic person on its staff or advocates a cure that autistic people do not even want?

Parents have been misled by this organization. Here’s an account by Sandy Kinnamon, found on boycottautismspeaks.wordpress.com

I thought it might be helpful to give some personal context as to why I don’t support Autism Speaks and am participating in efforts to boycott them.

My daughter was diagnosed as Autistic May 2012. I was scared and knew nothing about Autism, nothing positive; anyway, of the little I did know.

I was given Autism Speaks 100 days kit, which did have some helpful information. So, I decided to view their website, since I‘d heard of them, but knew nothing about them. As I began to look around their site, I became increasingly uncomfortable with what I was reading. What they were saying didn’t appear to describe my daughter at all. And it only further terrified me and I began to feel my despair deep. By the time I saw the video of called “Autism Everyday”, here ,where Judith Singer spoke of driving off a bridge with her Autistic child, but remembered she had a much more valuable, “normal” child to be there for, I was completely horrified and wondered if one day I would feel this way. If Autism was THAT bad?

It briefly led me to groups that weren’t at all helpful or accepting of their Autistic children and even more desperation and depression engulfed me as I tried to figure out how to save her from this cursed affliction.  But one day she looked into my eyes with so much love and affection and I snapped out of my haze and again SAW my child. This child I worked years through secondary infertility to get. And the more other Autistic children and adults I met, the more I knew these were dreaded lies, awful mischaracterizations of every person on the spectrum. These people were loving, affectionate, bright, intelligent, funny…challenges, to be sure, but in direct opposition to Suzanne Wright’s “Call to Action”here stating emphatically they are burdens, with families that aren’t living, but barely existing, they are lost, missing, diseased and gravely ill. None of the people I know are ANY of those things, including my daughter.

This is not an organization that anyone should support, especially the government. (Then again, this is the same president who asked God to bless Planned Parenthood, an organization founded by Margaret Sanger, who was an advocate of racism and eugenics.) Fortunately, there are indeed organizations that will assist those with autism.  I have a link to ASAN (Autistic Spectrum Advocacy Network in my blogroll. Also, former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino has started his own foundation when he found out his son had autism. Boycottautismspeaks, which I referenced earlier, has a list of companies that fund Autism Speaks. They should be joined in their boycott. Let the word go out: They do NOT speak for us.

One Faith, Many Paths: Cindy Koepp

Thanks to Facebook, I met a writer! I asked Cindy Koepp for an interview, and here’s what she had to say:

1. Tell me about your childhood?
That’s a paradoxically hard question, actually. I was on serious medication from a very early age to combat epilepsy. I don’t recall much from any time prior to about 12 years out – when I came off those meds and went onto others that were less obnoxious.
What little I remember involved living in a house on a hill near an air force base. I saw plenty of aircraft flying over, mostly T-37s and T-38s. Once or twice a year, the base had an airshow, and then we saw all kinds of wild stuff. F-4s, A-10s, F-15s, F-16s, C-130s, and so on. Much fun.
I remember other little snippets of things, but very little is solid. My folks were of the church-going variety, so I was raised Christian, but not until I was older did I take my faith seriously. We attended a wide array of church types. Even now, I find myself agreeing most with Baptist beliefs, but I attend a very Old School Lutheran church. I’ve also attended Catholic, Methodist, and non-denomination churches at various times in my adulthood. As long as the non-negotiables of the faith are there, I’m okay with it.
School? I was bored with it. I learned the material usually on the first pass then sat through a bunch of tedious practice and reteaching. I was never disrespectful to my teachers or classmates – that’s just not in my nature – but boredom was a constant feature. As a result, I loved learning stuff and hated school.
2. Who are your favorite writers?
That’s an easier question.
John the Beloved Apostle. I’ve done some very detailed study of his work in Revelation.
Janet Kagan. I can only find a couple books she wrote, and that might be all there is. Her books, both science fiction, deal with issues of ecology and interpersonal relations. My first degree is in an ecological science, so I found those particularly interesting.
Jude Watson. His first Jedi Apprentice series was wonderfully done. I enjoyed the characterization and the plots.
Gordon R. Dickson. I very much enjoyed the Childe Cycle, a series of ten or so military sci-fi novels. The stories wove together in interesting ways but each could stand on its own. Most excellent.
Bruce Hale’s Chet Gecko series. Hilarious. Puns everywhere and ties into the old detective movies of the 40s/50s.
3. What is your favorite passage in the Bible and why?
OOOooo… many to choose from. Um… I can narrow it to two for you.
Revelation 1-3 – You get a glimpse of Christ in His glorified form and get His opinion of what is and is not important to Him in a church. The view of Christ glorified is awesome. The current church as a whole is falling apart in some ways and stronger than ever in others. There’s a church on every corner in America it seems, and some are fabulous and others are broken. Badly. With so many to choose from, Jesus’ assessment of what to look for and strive for is invaluable.
Job first and last couple chapters – Job’s world explodes because God wants to prove a point, but Job remains faithful, and in the end God restores all that he lost … double. This is very encouraging to me. Although my world has never exploded to the degree that Job’s has, it has fallen apart more than once in devastating ways. God restored Job. When things go berserk, I have confidence that He’ll restore me, too.
4. Tell me about your most recent book?
Published? I only have one out. That would be Remnant in the Stars. This book is the first novel I wrote that I still have a copy of. (There was one earlier that was lost in a move and hard drive oops. I’ll be rebuilding it some time soonish perhaps).
In this book, an alien race, Aolanians, have been in orbit around Earth for a couple hundred years. They live on their ships and trade resources and information with humans while they hunt for a place to settle. One of the Aolanians is an astrogator named Sora. He’s carrying around the emotional baggage of a mistake he made sixteen years before. His oldest daughter is on an exploration ship, Kesha, which goes missing after managing a badly mangled distress call. At the same time, Sora’s youngest daughter is developing her mental powers, and he should be home to help with her training. There is some time before he’s really needed, so he joins a human scout ship involved in the Kesha rescue effort and reconnects with his friend Kirsten, a military pilot who lost her arm in a battle. Her prosthetic is not cooperating, and she has become mysteriously ill. He helps her and learns how to let go of the emotional baggage during the search for his child.
The development of this story from RPG to short story to full novel is a long, convoluted path. The road to getting published is no less complicated. There’s a sequel in the works, The Loudest Actions.
I have five other novels and a half dozen teacher resources under contract and in the pipelines of 3 different publishers. There are also some anthologies due out this month (February) with some of my short stories in them.
All the details are on my webpage. http://ckoepp.com
5. Is there anyone in your life who helps you to become a better person?
I go out to dinner with a friend of mine. We share a meal, enjoy each other’s company, and chat about all kinds of wild stuff. Some of our conversations are very serious and others are very goofy. I can be who I am without fear of rejection. Everyone needs someone like that who doesn’t need the mask to be in place. That makes it easier to go back into the world with the right masks for the right people without being short-circuited by being who we’re not.
There are other people in my world who inspire me for various reasons but none quite like that.
6. Who is your favorite biblical figure besides Jesus?
Wow, another tough one. There are so many fascinating people!
I’ll say David. He had such confidence in God, and he accomplished so many incredible things in several different arenas. He was a writer, a poet, a musician, a warrior, a king, … just wow. Yes, he made some frightening mistakes for which he and his family paid dearly, but he always returned to God and trusted to His mercy and grace.
7. What was the one book that made you think “I want to write!”?
I have no idea. I’ve been writing longer than I can remember, literally (See question #1). My mother has short stories I wrote in 2nd grade. They’re hiding in a scrapbook somewhere. I have no idea what started the whole writing thing, except maybe I was bored in class so I probably started writing to be less bored.
8. What evidence can you give that God exists?
Ironically, especially in light of the recent Creation vs. Evolution debate, science. No, really. If you look at how intricately things are balanced (“The Anthropic Principle”) and how complex things are – especially living things – how can it get here by any means except God? I’m educated in ecology, and I’m a science specialist in teaching, so I’m familiar with the phenomena. The more science I learn, the more convinced I am that chance is not the way we got here.
Consider Michael Behe’s irreducible complexity argument. There are processes that could not have happened by random chance. They’re nested feedback loops with dozens of steps. If one step isn’t up to speed, you have a dead critter. Dead critters don’t reproduce. The blood clotting mechanism is one example. Lots of steps. They all have to work correctly on the first shot. Otherwise, the critter bleeds out, or all the blood clots at once. There’s no halfway. It’s on or off. Those can’t develop stepwise. He explains it much better than I can, but it’s really dense reading.
Other evidence? Biblical prophecy. I’ve seen a presentation about the prophecies surrounding the birth of Christ using numerical probabilities to calculate the likelihood of just a dozen or so coming true simultaneously. The number reaches some absurd probability. Random occurrence? No way.
Structures in the biblical text – working from original manuscripts – involve elements that are equally too absurd to have been produced even by modern computers.
Closer to home? As I look back through my life, I can see how things have been orchestrated to work for the best, even when I saw them as the worst. Chance? Hardly. Too many things have lined up too well. The probability is astronomical. Karma? That’s just putting the question off one step.
These things point to God. What is not possible with man is possible with God.
More importantly, though, I have faith. That means more to me than any amount of evidence. Glory be to God.

Two-time Liebster Award Winner!

liebsterblogaward

I just found out that I have received the Liebster Award for a second time! My first time was with my anime blog, Lobster Quadrille.  Thank you, Video As Life, and welcome to my blogroll!

As part of receiving this award, I must answer the following questions and nominate blogs I read. I must also make up questions for them as well.

  1. What was the last movie you saw by yourself? Man of Steel.
  2. If you could go anywhere in the movies, where would it be? Well, Narnia was in three movies so far, so I guess it counts. I’ll choose Narnia.
  3. What was the first animal you hit with a car? I don’t drive. I don’t think I could trust myself behind the wheel.
  4. Watching Foreign films: Subtitles or dubs? It depends on the quality of the dub, whether animated or not.
  5. If you could be any animal, what would it be? A platypus.  I just love the fact that God created such a strange, yet beautiful animal. When he created this animal, God was purely showing off.
  6. What’s your favorite guilty pleasure movie? Rocky Horror Picture Show.
  7. What movie should have won Best Picture, but didn’t? I’m a firm believer that It’s a Wonderful Life was cheated out of this nomination.
  8. How do you watch The Wizard of Oz, with or without Pink Floyd? As much as like both Oz and Pink Floyd, I’ve never considered combining Oz with Dark Side of the Moon. I’ll have to do it sometime.
  9. Remakes: Friend or Foe? Remakes are evidence that Hollywood has become a creative wasteland. Not one remake has ever improved on the original.
  10. What movie do you regret seeing? Oh, so many! But the first that comes to mind is Starship Troopers. Which is a farce of a movie, especially if you’ve read the book, as I have.

I nominate the following blogs:

  1. Annah’s World, a blog for a trilogy in progress. I am friends with the blogger, Clay Gilbert.
  2. Vampire Syndrome, like Clay, this blogger, Daven Anderson, is a friend and writer of the Vampire Syndrome series. He’s also an advocate for those with special needs.
  3. Behind the Masq, a budding anime reviewer! Very good approach to his reviews.
  4. Rat’s Right, a right-leaning news blog.
  5. Three Puzzle Pieces,A parent blogs about her three children, who are all disabled.
  6. Well-Spent Journey I just started with this blog, and I’m already enjoying it.

Here are your ten questions:

  1. What is the worst book you’ve ever read?
  2. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
  3. If you could own any fictional car, what would it be and why?
  4. What creature from mythology do you wish existed?
  5. What song do you think best describes your philosophy and why?
  6. What’s your favorite verse from the Bible and why?
  7. A time-traveller has offered to take you to any p0int in history, so long as you do not attempt to invoke the “butterfly effect”.  What event would you wish to visit, and why?
  8. Who are your favorite musicians?
  9. What is your favorite animal?
  10. Name three musicians you feel deserve a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame who have yet to be nominated.

Okay, you bloggers know what to do!