Monday, April 8, 2019

Answer to How can I survive mainstream high school with ASD?

I decided to post my answer to another question on quora here.

I took a course at my local community college about what makes for greatest success for students with a disability. The number one thing was self-advocacy.
No one can accommodate you, if they don’t know what your needs are.
Things that my kids needed:
  • speech pragmatics — this should be huge priority, as it will help you in social situations throughout life,
  • homework accommodations — They just couldn’t do the amount demanded, because school was just too draining for them and they have low energy levels. They needed down time at home. They understood the material, because they were gifted, as demonstrated by their test scores, but the teachers insisted on giving huge amounts of paperwork that was very taxing for people with the executive function issues common with ASDs.
  • adaptive PE — the older one had floppy joints, which impaired his ability to participate in normal PE
  • protection from bullying — the school needs to be very proactive about this. You shouldn’t have to tolerate abuse.
  • counseling — learning how to cope with social situations, which will be stressful and baffling
  • OT & PT The younger one needed OT for dysgraphia. The older one needed PT for torso weakness and floppy joints
  • mentor — this was something that my school district wouldn’t do, but Tony Attwood recommends it, and I think it makes a huge amount of sense. This is a neurotypical kid who volunteers to accompany you and help you navigate social situations. I feel that this is particularly important at lunch.
My kids also benefited from a 12–1–1 class, but if you want to be mainstreamed, that should be your choice. Unfortunately, the 12–1–1 classes do tend to have lower academic standards, which is bad for a gifted kid.

Friday, February 22, 2019

features of autism

So -- if you ever noticed me -- which you probably didn't -- you might have noticed that I write novels with characters on the autism spectrum.  I got into this after my kids and I were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.  I concluded that everyone in my nuclear and my ex's extended families had autistic features. 

I've been on Quora a lot recently answering questions about autism.  I was looking at my answers there and liked this one, so I thought I'd copy it here.  The question was about what a person with Aspergers is like.

You're going to find a lot of diversity amongst us. We're not all the same.

Some clues as to differences you might notice, though:
  • Flat affect (few facial expressions)
  • Poor prosody (melody of speech)
  • Hyper and hypo sensitivities to sensory simulation (noises, tastes, textures, colors, lights)
  • Lack of eye contact
  • Trivia obsessions
  • Digestive problems
  • Sleep issues
  • Difficulty with transitions
  • Preferences for routine or ritual
  • Self stimming
  • Melt downs
  • Talking too much or too little
  • Doesn't understand why you're offended

Friday, February 1, 2019

On letting kids be kids

This is a response that I wrote on quora, but I wanted to reproduce it here, because I think it is very important

Annalisse Mayer
Annalisse Mayer, Author Specializing in Autism Themed Novels at Novels (2001-present)
It is hard to answer as to what is legal without knowing where you are. This is going to vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
In the USA, the rule of thumb is that kids can be made to do chores at home and can work in family run businesses.
As to what they can do beyond that, it can get complex. Please be sure that — if your kid is working for money outside the home — you are not taking the money. That is a crime.
I think I have pretty good work ethic. My parents felt that — before I graduated from high school — my job was school. They wanted me to focus on that. They didn’t want me distracted with other jobs. I ended up with excellent grades and getting into a top college.
I think this actually is very good work ethic: to try to focus on quality in your primary job and not over-extend yourself. Multi-tasking makes you mediocre at everything.
There is a lot of ongoing research into what helps kids develop into highly functioning adults — and on what activities improve brain health. Here is a hint of what is going on:
If you focus a child on adult-like tasks too early, you will stunt their development and reduce their long term potential. You may feel that this was good for you as a child, but was it really? Might you have been smarter, gotten into better schools, and achieved more as an adult, if you had been allowed to focus more of your energy on developmentally appropriate tasks, i.e. on being a kid?
This being said, my dad was on the graduate admissions committee for the physics department of our local state university. He found that kids who grew up on family farms were the best experimental physicists, because they knew how to do things. At home, they were expected to know how to build and repair equipment, for instance. But kids who grow up on farms, also get lots of aerobic exercise and play outdoors.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Meme re equal time for Democrats

This is copied from FB

For anyone inclined to add your voice on the matter, here's some info that I borrowed from another post.


Joint @SpeakerPelosi/@SenSchumer Statement:

"Now that the television networks have decided to air the President’s address, which if his past statements are any indication will be full of malice and misinformation, Democrats must immediately be given equal airtime."

Numbers to call to so request:
CNN: (404) 827-1500
ABC: (800) 230-0229
NBC: (212) 664-4444
FOX: (888) 369-4762
CBS: (212) 975-3247
PBS: (703) 739-5000

Monday, December 31, 2018

FB messenger meme

 I got this FB messenger meme. Not sure if I agree with it. And why doesn't it mention the president's salary?

Please read 28th amendment

Please Read, and forward.   This will only take 1 minute to read!
 28th Amendment, 35 States and Counting.

It will take you less than a minute to read this. If you agree, please pass it on. It's an idea whose time has come to deal with this self-serving situation:


Children of Congress members do not have to pay back their college student loans.

Staffers of Congress family members are also exempt from having to pay back student loans.

Members of Congress can retire at full pay after only one term.

Members of Congress have exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed, under which ordinary citizens must live.
 For example, they are exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment.

And as the latest example, they have exempted themselves from Healthcare Reform, in all of its aspects.

We must not tolerate an elite class of such people, elected as public servants and then putting themselves above the law.

I truly don't care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent, or whatever. The self-serving must stop.

Governors of 35 states have filed suit against the Federal Government for imposing unlawful burdens upon their states.It only takes 38 (of the 50) States to convene a Constitutional Convention.

If each person that receives this will forward it on to 20 people, in three days most people in The United States of America will have the message.

Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution:

"Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the Citizens of the United States ..."

This is an idea that should be passed around, regardless of political party.

Congressional Reform Act of 2017

1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they're out of office. And, no more perks go with them.

2. Congress (past, present, & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress must purchase their own retirement plan, just as ALL Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people (i.e. NO MORE INSIDER TRADING!!!).

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women. Congress made all these contracts by and for themselves.

Serving in Congress is an honor and privledge NOT a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators should serve their term(s), then go home and go back to work … not get all kinds of freebies.

Just hold your finger down then hit forward and send it to everyone you know.  Let’s help get the country straightened out.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Suspected side effects of CBD oil

I took CBD oil in July of 2018 for neuropathy caused by an anticancer medication

The first thing I noticed was that my thumb started triggering again. I had that treated with a cortisone injection two months earlier, which had worked. Then the triggering stopped again after I stopped taking the CBD oil

The second thing I noticed was some strange little bumps on the soft skin right where my inner thighs join my crotch. Again, these bumps, not itchy btw, but sort of hard, disappeared when I stopped the CBD oil

I'm not sure if the CBD helped with the neuropathy, because I also reduced the dose of my cancer med at that point, which also reduced the neuropathy. And I restarted my B12, which my neurologist recommends for neuropathy

My neuropathy wasn't super painful, more tingly

Fortunately, my oncologist put me on a new cancer med that doesn't cause neuropathy

I still have some residual neuropathy from my chemo in 2014, and from some spinal stenosis, but it's minor compared to what I was experiencing this summer on the prior cancer drug

So I don't 100% know that these side effects (thumb triggering and skin bumps) were caused by the CBD, but I strongly suspect so

Also, I spoke with a guy who sells CBD and he told me I was taking too much, so I took less

The high concentration stuff is pricey. Fortunately, I found one that was only flavored with peppermint oil. Some of them have sweeteners and fruit flavorings. The stuff doesn't taste that bad tho

There's another type of cannabis derivative called terpenes. This guy who sold the stuff said the terpenes were important. The stuff I bought didn't have them, though. That might have been part of the issue. But, fortunately, the neuropathy got better from stopping that one drug anyway.

Also, I visited a new yoga class that gave me some ideas for postures that would help, which has alleviated some of the spinal stenosis issues

Monday, October 29, 2018

Advice to young female college student

  1. Never be alone in a dorm room or other bedroom with a man unless you're planning you have sex with him
  2. Go to your professor or teaching assistant if you don't understand the class material. Don't be embarrassed. It's better to ask a stupid question than to do a stupid thing. It's a lot easier to understand topics explained one on one, than in a classroom or textbook. Don't be afraid to come in frequently. Demand to understand.
  3. If you find yourself falling asleep in class, demand that the carbon dioxide levels in the classroom be checked.
  4. You are no better and no worse than anyone else. You are not terminally unique. Just because a topic scared you in k-12 doesn't mean you won't be able to do it now.
  5. People who pressure you to: drink, use drugs, have sex, drive dangerously, or do any other risky behaviour are not your friends. Find other friends.
  6. It's usually better to get assignments in on time, even if they're not perfect, rather than turn them in late. It's certainly better to turn in an imperfect assignment than none at all. If you need an extension communicate with your professor promptly. Get help early. Don't wait until the last minute.
  7. If you have writer's block, try speaking your essay into your computer or phone and then type or use voice recognition to convert to text.
  8. If you feel very unhappy, look for the counseling services in your college. If you get a counselor, as I did, who seems really off base and not addressing your issues. Tell them they're off base. Request another counselor.
  9. Learn about oxytocin and its effect on the body. Try not to get biochemically bonded to a man who doesn't love you. You won't get over it. It's permanent.
  10. Learn about contraception.
  11. If your roommate is really making you insane, they can usually find someplace else for you.
  12. If you have a lot of AP credits, as I did, make sure you understand master's degree options at your college. You may be able to get both a bachelor's and a master's for the price of a bachelor's.
  13. Think about the secret thing or things that you most like to do that you haven't ever told anyone about. Think about whether those could be related to a career. Ask a career counselor. It's better to be in something you love, even if it pays less
  14. Get enough sleep, even if it means taking naps.
  15. Eat three square meals a day.
  16. Sugar is an addictive drug. It's not your friend.
  17. Sororities can be a great source of lifelong friendships, but be sure to choose one that builds your moral character.
  18. Look for the eyes that love you. Spending too much time listening to your critics will get you down. If someone criticizes you, say "Thank you. I'll think about what you said." You can be polite. You don't have to do what they want. You don't have to allow their criticism to affect your self esteem.
  19. Authority figures are not your parents. They're fellow adults. Try not to project issues from your family of origin onto strangers.
  20. I found that the lies I told myself were the worst ones, especially unrealistic expectations of myself.
  21. Get enough exercise. That's usually not a problem, but if there's a shuttle on campus, you might consider walking instead if you have time.
  22. Fasten your seat belt
  23. Don't get into a car with a young, inexperienced driver and other young people. Inexperienced drivers cannot deal with the distraction of unrelated passengers. An accident is almost guaranteed if there's more than one.

    Originally written in answer to a question on Quora