Another Spectrum

Personal ramblings and rants of a somewhat twisted mind


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Not knowing what you don’t know.

Lyric Holmans has released a Youtube clip explaining why she finds people overwhelming. You can view the clip and read a transcription on her blog. Like her, I find people can be overwhelming, and the reasons are similar – non-vocal communications.

While humans may be the only species to have developed a language, all vertebrates and many invertebrates communicate in various ways with their own species, and to a lesser extent other species. And while non-vocal communication may take second place to spoken (or written) communication in humans, it remains an important factor in our everyday communications.

For the first 60 years of my life, I was totally unaware that language (spoken or written) was complemented by other forms of communication, namely body language and facial expressions. I’m not alone. Many people don’t realise that body language exists, but nevertheless, they use it and read it every day. It’s instinctive to them. For many autistics, including myself, its not. Hence the title of this article.

During those first 60 years, I was able to read body language in domestic pets – better than most people in fact – in babies and to a lesser extent, toddlers. But apart from the way lips form with a smile or laughter I was unaware that the face, especially the eyes, can convey a whole raft of emotions and ideas. Even so, I was unable to distinguish between a grin and a grimace. I was completely unaware that humans also used posture, movement of body and hands, even vocal pitch and volume to supplement the words they use.

Now that I do know that a significant part of human communication is non-vocal, I’m able to look for it, and that in itself can be overwhelming. In the first place, making a conscious effort to look for non-vocal communication requires effort, so much so, that sometimes I forget to listen to the actual words being spoken. And then I’m always asking myself whether or not a particular facial or body movement is indeed intended (intentionally or not) to communicate something. And if it is intended to communicate something, what exactly?

I managed to survive the first sixty years of my life, more or less intact, not knowing that body language and facial expressions play a vital role in interpersonal communications. I’m yet to be persuaded that knowing it exits at all, let alone its importance, makes my communication with others, as individuals or groups, any less overwhelming. In my case it might actually make it more so. Group dynamics is another mystery to me (Lyric touches on it in the post linked to above), but that’s a topic for another day.


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The Case for a Non-Commercial Public Broadcaster — Peter Davis NZ

Once again Peter Davis has reflected on a topic that has been on my mind for some time – public broadcasting in the online multimedia age. It’s a topic worthy of discussion particularly in light of the trend towards the polarisation of ideas and beliefs.

The Government recently established a working group to look at the possibility of establishing a new public broadcasting entity. At present Radio New Zealand (RNZ) is almost the only agency that adheres to a public broadcasting mandate largely free of commercial imperatives. Television New Zealand (TVNZ) is in public ownership, but in all but name […]

The Case for a Non-Commercial Public Broadcaster — Peter Davis NZ


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It’s official: Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny are essential workers

While I do have some minor niggles with the management style of our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, it’s quite evident that her degree in communications has put her in good stead during times of crisis – the Christchurch mosque shootings, and now COVID-19 being two examples.

Sometimes it’s the response to “less important” matters that shows true leadership and an example of this is her taking time to send a personal message to children in her post-Cabinet media briefing yesterday:

You’ll be pleased to know that we do consider both the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny to be essential workers, but as you can imagine at this time of course they are going to be potentially quite busy at home with their family as well and their own bunnies.

And so I say to the children of New Zealand if the Easter Bunny doesn’t make it to your household, then we have to understand that it is a bit difficult at the moment for the Bunny to perhaps get everywhere.”

But I have a bit of an idea that maybe in lieu of the Bunny being able to make it to you home, maybe you could create your own Easter hunt for all the children in your neighbourhood?

So if you are one of those homes that’s had a teddy in your front window, maybe draw an Easter egg and pop it into your front window and help children in your neighbourhood with their own Easter egg hunt – because the Easter Bunny might not get everywhere this year.

post-Cabinet media briefing 6 April 2020


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wikipedia.org Article for Naoki Higashida

This is one of a number of articles I intend to re-blog opposing Wikipedia editorial policy that promotes “the complete erasure of living, breathing, autistic human beings and their experiences from the world’s largest encyclopedia”.

The Wikipedia.org article for Naoki Higashida was removed. In protest, The Aspergian is publishing it on our site.

Source: wikipedia.org Article for Naoki Higashida (3 minute read)


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wikipedia.org Article on Amy Sequenzia

This is one of a number of articles I intend to re-blog opposing Wikipedia editorial policy that promotes “the complete erasure of living, breathing, autistic human beings and their experiences from the world’s largest encyclopedia”.

When non-speaking autistics are given tools and choices for ways to communicate, to express themselves, they are empowered to become the authors of their own narratives.  In doing so, the power to own someone else’s story and control the autonomy of non-speakers is removed from institutions, systems, and individuals.  Because of this, corporations, “charities,” and…

Source: wikipedia.org Article on Amy Sequenzia (5 minute read)


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Wikipedia.org Article on Lucy Blackman

This is one of a number of articles I intend to re-blog opposing Wikipedia editorial policy that promotes “the complete erasure of living, breathing, autistic human beings and their experiences from the world’s largest encyclopedia”.

Wikipedia editors have gotten many autistic nonspeaker’s pages removed from the site. We are republishing the pages in protest.

Source: Wikipedia.org Article on Lucy Blackman (3 minute read)


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wikipedia.org Article on Tito Mukhopadhyay

This is one of a number of articles I intend to re-blog opposing Wikipedia editorial policy that promotes “the complete erasure of living, breathing, autistic human beings and their experiences from the world’s largest encyclopedia”.

Tito Mukhopadhyay is a non-speaking autistic author and poet. His page was removed by Wikipedia vandals. In protest, The Aspergian is publishing them here.

Source: wikipedia.org Article on Tito Mukhopadhyay


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FC, RPM, and How Wikipedia Became Complicit in Silencing Non-speaking Autistics

This is one of a number of articles I am linking to in opposition to Wikipedia editorial policy that promotes “the complete erasure of living, breathing, autistic human beings and their experiences from the world’s largest encyclopedia”.

Over the past few months, I was involved in an editing dispute on Wikipedia involving the efficacy of facilitated communication (FC) and Rapid Prompting Method (RPM). What began with one contentious edit has now resulted in the deletion of the following biographical articles of autistic people from Wikipedia: Amy Sequenzia, a prominent non-speaking self-advocate who…

Source: FC, RPM, and How Wikipedia Became Complicit in Silencing Non-speaking Autistics


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I have stopped donating to Wikipedia

For many years I have been donating anonymously to Wikipedia. Last year I slipped up and provided an email address. As a consequence, I received an email from Wikipedia the other day requesting another donation.

I will not be donating to Wikipedia.

While Wikipedia maintains its editorial policy of deleting pages by or about non-speaking autistics, I refuse to support it financially. For a better understanding of the background, I recommend reading FC, RPM, AND HOW WIKIPEDIA BECAME COMPLICIT IN SILENCING NON-SPEAKING AUTISTICS (13 minute read)