Another Spectrum

Personal ramblings and rants of a somewhat twisted mind


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The case for autistic pride — Yenn Purkis Autism Page

For a great many of us on the spectrum, Autism Awareness day/month in April is less than helpful especially in the form promoted by Autism Speaks – a “support” organisation that definitely does not speak for Autistic people. Instead, Autistic Pride Day (June 18) is the day to show the world we are not inferior but just equal and different. I might have something more to say on the day that is more relevant to my personal experience, but here is a post by Yenn Purkis that I believe most neurodivergent people (not just autistics) can relate to.

Friday June 18 is Autistic Pride Day so I thought I would write a blog post all about autistic pride. Sometimes people say ‘why would you be proud? You can’t help being autistic. It just is.’ I think for members of marginalised groups, like Autistics, pride is a political act and a way of asserting […]

The case for autistic pride — Yenn Purkis Autism Page


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We deserve better

In the unlikely event that you are unaware, April is Autism Awareness Month. You may see slogans such as “light it up blue” and others promoted by an organisation inappropriately named Autism Speaks. What it doesn’t do is speak for the autistic community, and in the eyes of most adult autistics it does more harm than good.

Below is a video clip created for Autism speaks in (I believe) 2016. While their rhetoric has been toned down in recent years, I see no evidence that their attitude towards autism has shifted one iota. It depicts people such as myself causing irrevocable damage to families and that we as autistics have very few prospects of living a rewarding life unless we are “treated” or unless a “cure” is found.

I’m not bothering with a transcription for this clip as the voices are American and consequently Youtube’s subtitling of the clip is quite accurate. So for those who wish to read read along, please turn on Subtitles/Closed captions.

The “I am autism” video by Austism Speaks that most adult autistics find offensive.

Here are some appalling statistics related to people who are autistic. These are statistics from Australia, but in all “developed” nations you’ll find the situation is similar. It’s important to understand these are not inherent in autism itself, but are entirely due to the way society treats those with autism. If you think racism is harmful, what do these statistics tell you about ableism?

  • About 60% of adult autistics are underemployed or unemployed
  • 87% of autistics have a mental illness
  • autistic people are nine times more likely to die by suicide than the general population
  • autistics have a life expencey of 54 years

We deserve better.

We don’t need to be cured. There’s nothing wrong with us. As suggested in the next video clip, perhaps neurodiversity is important in maintaining a healthy and sustainable cognitive environment in the same way as biodiversity is important in maintaining a healthy and sustainable physical environment. What is very clear to autistics is that current social attitudes towards autism is harmful. It’s not us as individuals that need curing. What is needed is a paradigm shift in how society views neurodiversity

A transcription has been prepared by Theresa Ranft and reviewed by David DeRuwe, so for those who find the Australian accent difficult or for those with hearing difficulties, please turn on Subtitles/Closed captions.

About the speaker Jac den Houting:

Being diagnosed with autism is often seen as a tragedy. But for Jac den Houting, it was the best thing that’s ever happened to them. As an autistic person, concepts like the Neurodiversity paradigm, the Social Model of Disability, and the Double Empathy Problem were life-changing for Jac. In this talk, Jac combines these ideas with their own personal story to explain why we need to rethink the way that we understand autism. Jac den Houting is a research psychologist and Autistic activist in pursuit of social justice. Jac currently holds the role of Postdoctoral Research Associate at Macquarie University in Sydney, working alongside Professor Liz Pellicano. In 2015, Jac was awarded an Autism CRC scholarship to complete their PhD through the Autism Centre of Excellence at Griffith University in Brisbane. Prior to this, they gained almost 10 years’ experience as a psychologist in the criminal justice system, with the Queensland Police Service and Queensland Corrective Services. Jac was identified as Autistic at the age of 25, and is proudly neurodivergent and queer. After participating in the inaugural Future Leaders Program at the 2013 Asia Pacific Autism Conference, Jac quickly became established as a strong advocate for the Autistic community. Jac is a current member of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network of Australia and New Zealand (ASAN-AuNZ)’s Executive Committee, the Autism CRC’s Data Access Committee, Aspect’s LGBTQIA+ Autism Advisory Committee, and the Aspect Advisory Council.

source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1AUdaH-EPM
Why everything you know about autism is wrong – a TEDx talk by Jac den Houting


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Words and actions have ‘immeasurable consequences’

Below are the UN general assembly Speeches by the president of the United States of America, and the Prime Minister of Aotearoa New Zealand. Do they even live on the same planet?

Jacinda’s speech in English starts at 1m 5s if you wish to skip her formal greeting in te Reo Māori, but out of respect for our culture, please don’t.


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Over the last month I have been attempting to coalesce some rather vague notions revolving around community, individuality, inclusion, diversity, language, and power. I have had four partly written posts that I just have not been able to complete. Then I happened across the post linked to below, and I though why re-invent the wheel, when there’s a perfectly good one is staring me straight in the face (apologies for the mixed metaphor).

Who has power, and how do they wield it in their words and actions, especially in a crisis?

via The power of the megaphone, the call to prayer — Jdanspsa Wyksui


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I find I’m sharing a lot of Michael’s posts. This is another I think is deserving of a wider circulation.

It’s just a number, one of a several which struck me over this last week. We have all, here in New Zealand and in the wider world, felt the impact one way or another, of the attack in Christchurch on a small segment of our society. Until that fateful Friday there were an estimated 50,000 […]

via 49,950 — Michael Bracey


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Update Aotearoa: 20th march 2019

Turkey’s President stirring the pot

The Turkish president is using inflammatory language that endangers Kiwis travelling overseas, especially considering that many Kiwis will be making the ANZAC pilgrimage to Turkey over the next month. I do not know if any Turkish nationals were killed in the mosque attacks, but he conveniently ignores the fact that by far the majority of those killed were Kiwis, and the perpetrator was not. And it’s not his place to demand that we re-introduce the death penalty.
Turkey’s President calls for New Zealand to restore death penalty for shooter

Trade Me stops sales of semiautomatic weapons

E bay has been unable to make inroads in the NZ Market as we have our own unique online trading platform Trade Me that trades everything from secondhand goods to jobs, real estate, motor vehicles and guns. It has announced that it is suspending the sale of semiautomatic weapons indefinitely.
New Zealand’s biggest online classifieds site bans sale of semi-automatic guns

Facebook and other social media must do better than whack-a-mole

Over 1.5 million copies of the live streaming of the Christchurch massacre have been removed from Facebook alone, and yet it continues to pop up. Perhaps they and other social media need to reconsider live streaming until they have the means to control it better. One new Zealander has already been charged with uploading objectionable content in this regard. He is liable for a term of imprisonment of up to 10 years.
New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern leans on Facebook to drop Christchurch shooting footage

All New Zealand Asked Trump For Was ‘Love’

PM gives an unequivocal “No” when asked if she agreed with Trump.

For anyone who has the ears to hear and eyes to see, Trump’s condemnation of white extremism is positively friendly compared to his rhetoric over extremism when a non-white and/or a non-Christian actor is involved.
Despite Trump’s view, white nationalism is a growing threat, data shows


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Adam Serwer, a staff writer for The Atlantic and a Shorenstein fellow, discusses the lasting appeal of white supremacist ideology in light of an avowed white supremacist’s attack on two mosques in New Zealand that killed 50 people and injured dozens more.

via Harvard fellow examines rise — and roots — of white supremacy — Harvard Gazette


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Moving and beautiful

Early this evening, I, accompanied by my three grandchildren and their mother, went to the town square, where with 1500 to 2000 fellow residents we took part in a service for those affected by the tragedy of the hate filled attack on the Christchurch mosques. The service has just the right level of respect, mourning and hope. Considering the town has a population of around 14000, it was a good turnout. The service was a little too Christian in character for my taste, but considering Christians make up slightly more than half the population of this town, perhaps that’s understandable.

Being late summer Monday, holding the service between 5:30 and 6:15 was a sensible choice, and of course, as most businesses close at 5:30, the closure of the square to vehicular traffic was only a minor inconvenience. There’s not a lot to say about the service except that it was simple, moving and beautiful.

There is something about tragedy that brings people together, and I felt that today. While the loss of 50 lives is terrible, loss of this magnitude is really felt by everyone. To put it in context, New Zealand has a population of 4.7 million and the loss of 50 lives is the equivalent of America losing 3400 lives. I’ve seen similar levels of grieving after the Wahine disaster in 1968 when 51 people lost their lies, and the Erebus disaster in 1979 with the loss of 257 lives. I also have a very vague recollection of the sombre mood of the nation after the Tangiwai disaster on Christmas Eve 1953 which took 151 lives, although I was too young to fully understand it. But none of those were caused by a deliberate and intentional act that can only be described as inhuman. 

The number of Muslims in Aotearoa new Zealand, is small (a little under 1% of the population), and when you consider that 1 in every 500 Kiwi Muslims died in Friday’s atrocity it’s easy to understand their grief and fear. Grief is a natural emotion following loss, and most of us will learn to manage that. But fear is another matter altogether, and we all need to work together, to help all those affected overcome it. Fear, whether justified or not, has the potential to develop into a powerful and dangerous force if allowed to simmer. In fact, in all probability, the terror act carried out on Friday was in part motivated by an irrational and unfounded fear of those who the perpetrator perceives as invaders. I really do not want to see his actions cause the radicalisation of anyone else.


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I am sharing a selection of blog posts from Fellow Kiwis, who are more capable than I at expressing what most of us feel.

The recent terror attack on two Christchurch Mosques by what appears to be a small group of White Supremacists is a most unwelcome wake-up call to a nation unused to such extreme acts of violence. In the immediate aftermath the commentators all seemed to agree that such an event seemed totally out of character in […]

via CHRISTCHURCH SHOOTINGS, PERHAPS WE HELP THE ENEMY BY DEFAULT — Bill Peddie’s website


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I am sharing a selection of blog posts from Fellow Kiwis, who are more capable than I at expressing what most of us feel.

I write this with heavy heart and deep sadness. My thoughts are with all those affected by the tragedy in Christchurch; I stand by them, as do all Kiwis. As I write this, I hear reports that the youngest victim was just five, pursued and gunned down in cold blood. There are no words to […]

via New Zealand’s darkest day — Matthew Wright