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Showing posts from 2017

Equally treasured: story of the autistic loving God

Dearest readers,
I'm going to start a bit differently today. While clearing some papers up in nt room yesterday, I fell across some notes I had made for the youth group when I did an experiential session with them - bringing them into an equal, but different reality I habit in. I had also looked up and sourced some bible verses to give the presentation a Christian grounding. This one jumped out at me:
There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer make it female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Think it's from Galations - currently on my phone and on a roll so will check later. This jumped out at me for a few reasons. Firstly I don't feel I fit in anywhere at the moment. I've always done my own thing and I've never been one to be part of a tribe or heard. For me, personal reflection is vital. There is only one person I am accountable to (that being God) so I've gone from being an awkward inept youngster to someone wh…

Tied up in knots

Dearest readers, 
I hope this finds you well. I have been very busy this week helping team lead a study over the weekend (finished 9 pm last night) as well as working on my case study and research project for my degree and dealing with a very exhausting scenario on social media which has continued to leave me drained today still. People are so draining and social media is just literally a quagmire of opportunities for misunderstandings and jumping to conclusions. Some may say 'look only at my words', however I must add in, even in my experience as an autistic person, I am very sensitive and do read into things. People confuse me, irrelevant of my diagnosis, and this is all people, including autistic people. It has always frustrated me that I can't give people an HDMI cable and they can't just plug it into my head and I can't plug something into their head. Context is so important - not just body language BUT ALSO background, what has lead up to these things, each …

Why does autism matter though?

Hello dearest readers, 
It's officially more than half way through the year, having finally having reached July. One contact of mine shared a meme with something along the lines of only 24 more Mondays until Christmas in the last week; I have to admit I don't get as excited about Christmas anywhere as much as I used to - I find all the hype so draining and I get so anxious about the major change in routine over the Christmas day and the build up in adrenaline really wears me out - it's the same with birthdays for me now. Minimal fuss is nice as I can stay closer to a more energy-cost-effective neutral where I can enjoy the small things properly. Ten years ago I used to like organising and celebrating but I guess as I've got older I've a) learnt to look after myself but also b) have less capacity for these 'spikes' and would rather focus on Christmas for what it is intended for (celebrating Jesus' birth) rather than getting agitated and get agitated and…

Why don't you do something then?

Dearest readers, 
After a busy and rainy day and lots of organising and sorting for my research project, I was browsing Facebook (as per usual) and I came across many speaking about the most recent Methodist conference. I think conferences like this are a great place to share and learn and also to be part of a wider community, but to also cement and critique our own viewpoints and the views of others mentally, strengthening and enriching our own stances. It then occurred to me: it's great that we have all this learning available, but do we actually put into practice what we learn? Can we see the opportunities in which we can use this knowledge and see how it is directly applicable to our lives and the lives of others?
One example is this: when I went to hear Tony Atwood speak last month with my mum, Tony was talking about sensory differences and in particular how if there are multiple noises in a room, some autistic people do struggle to (or in my case, can't) differentiate b…

How much of a disability is autism then?

Dearest readers,
Greetings from the M1! Currently on my way back from Leicester after a lovely weekend with a dear friend of mine. The coach has wifi and I had the idea for a blog post (and I also had it on my to do list for the week so quite useful actually!). I saw an interesting post on Facebook a couple of days ago which I found to be very thought provoking. I have just tried to check where it is on my previous likes to refresh my memory but no luck as I can't seem to remember when I actually saw this. It was interesting food for thought and certainly enquired the title. I'll reflect on what I read and reflect on my perspective of how much of a disability autism is.
This post I saw was concerning autism as a disability and the language we use to describe this. There has been for a while many in the autism community who speak up against pathological language but this post was almost reminding us of the depth and breadth of the autistic spectrum and how it is so very diffic…

One radio show and two workshops later...

Dearest readers,
I hope this summer heat is treating you O.K. It's been over 30 degrees Celsius here where I am based and has been the hottest June day since 1976 today apparently. I've been sat in our uni air conditioned library for the last few hours which was lovely however now being back home without air con is not so nice. It's been a while since I updated and I've done one radio show and 2 workshops, one for a youth group and one for a mental health group about 40 minutes away, so thought I'd do an update on the work I've been up to before the heatwave.
Both workshops I did this month were church based but with two different age groups and requirements. Filling a small 'God slot' on autism is something I had never considered doing until a my friend Krys (confusing, eh? Thank you Krys!) suggested that it might be a good idea for a bitesize session for our youth group. By making the session 'hands on' it brought the young people into potent…

Accepting Difference: One Year On

Dearest readers,
Happy June everyone! I had a reminder that one year ago today the first article I wrote about autism and the church went live. The post is here. Such a lot has happened over the last year - things many thought would have not happened or be possible. Yesterday I also got my exam results for the first year of my masters and clearly surpassed myself, somehow. Learning about things I never thought I'd ever get my head around has been really interesting, although I now have a huge pile of library books to return that I had held onto 'just in case I needed to use them again'. 
To mark the one year of my blogging journey, even though my actual blog's birthday isn't until September , I thought I would reflect on the same title but from a different perspective: university. Certainly since I started my bachelor degree in 2010 there has been a massive shift in autism discourse and a huge increase in discussion and student led advocacy. The autism 'scape …

Only the best?

Dearest readers, 
Liebe Grüße aus Hamburg! Currently on a short trip to visit a friend - while she is busy with her 'Masterarbeit' I thought I'd brush together a quick post. I do enjoy writing a good post and also it gives me space to write about something (well, two things which sort of intertwine for me) which I wanted to write about that came out of the conference I went to on Friday: Atwood on Autism, hence why I was in Winchester. Tony Attwood is such an amazing presenter; so lively and animated yet did not pathologise. His fresh approach to autism was also welcomed as we learn so much through journals and books (as the autism modules on my course are distance learning) that seeing someone face to face in a seminar effectively was not only a good change of scenery, but also fitted my learning style well. 
One thing that was mentioned in the conference but I have also read in books and journals I have been required to read is the idea of a mono tracked mind: almost li…

'Aren't you just shy?'

Dearest readers,
Greetings from Winchester - I am currently at a hotel in a different part of the country to usual for a conference. My mum and I booked tickets for 'Atwood on Autism' roughly 9 months ago after I saw it advertised, to be honest I can't remember where exactly but I thought it may be relevant to my MA (which it hopefully will be, I'll be slightly concerned if not) and also keep my brain going while I am taking things a bit slower so I don't burn myself out. It may also be another good chance to network if there is the opportunity, but certainly I will be going armed with my laptop and pen and paper ready to make notes! 
As part of reading 'for fun' I have been reading 'Neurotribes' by Steve Silberman. It's a great book which is really insightful in regards to history of autism and how autistic individuals have been perceived in the past. In the first chapter, I was very intrigued about the perception of Henry Cavendish - a Britis…

Autism: created in God's image

Dearest readers, 
Having now finished my exams (endlich!) I'm finally back to the world of blogging and feeling more human again. I have to admit I have no idea how well I have done at this stage but rather just glad they are over and ready to continue with my research project and case studies and other projects I am involved with.  It has come to my attention through groups I am in, discussions I have seen and people I have listened to that there is an interesting concourse in regards to autism, healing and it's origin in the church. I would like to put my tuppence in as this is a very sensitive dialogue that needs a autistic voices as well as non autistic voices. 
I believe that we are all made in God's image, and this includes autistic individuals. I firmly believe that I do not need healing, for I was created the way I am for a reason. The reasoning for this? There is not one group of people of individuals that are made more in God's image than another group. Not …

Reflections from the Roundtable: Why autistic individuals need to be leading the way

Dearest readers, 
The 'Attentiveness to Autism' project (or in English, Pru, my minister and I!) got invited up to the SEND Methodist Roundtable as part of the planning team for SEND and autism and increasing accessibility in the Methodist Church. I have to admit, this was a surprise being invited up as we only received our invitation early April just after our service. I had no idea what we would be discussing, and the outcome of the session is still under wraps until passed by connexion (central head office) so this post will not be reflecting on the outcome. Rather, this post will be picking out some of the key points that are crucial to a successful implementation of pushing boundaries and opening up the church. There are many who I have spoken to who keep their cards to their chest and just say 'it is difficult'. This is not inspiring or innovating and keeps them as the stakeholders of the change. This winds me up no end. We should be inspiring in the face of adv…

The fourth workshop: college CPD

Dearest readers, 
I hope this April is treating you well. This is probably one of the busiest Aprils I have ever had with multiple projects on the run as well as my upcoming exams, which have priority (I am also acutely aware I do not want to turn opportunities for my portfolio and CV down as having found it hard to gain work after my first degree, it would seem a waste not to take advantage of these opportunities but plan them in effectively). Universities seem to like you spending all of your time either on work for them, or telling you that you should be involved in every extra curricular and project going (or get this jist! What an annoying mixed message). I'm hoping I am striking the balance right for me this time, as I do not want to shunt any opportunities prematurely. 
On Thursday I completed my first workshop for a education trust in my local area, making this the fourth workshop I have run in total. I went to visit two dear friends of mine (casual shoutout) up in Grimsb…

The service and the radio interview

Dearest readers, 
I hope you had a good Sunday. As the final day of World Autism Week and World Autism Day (WAD) our 'autism friendly' church service, which is as far as we are aware is the first in England and certainly the first in the Methodist Church of GB. I also had a great surprise on Thursday that it had been negotiated for me to have a short 5-10 minute interview on our local BBC radio station on the breakfast show on WAD regarding our service and the 'Attentiveness to Autism' project. Until today, I had never been in any sort of media really at all and had never been on the radio, so had no idea what to expect. One of the panellists was not present, so I was invited at short notice to take a place on the current affairs panel, thus was on BBC local radio between 06:50 and 08:00 this morning! 
I have to say both were a roaring success. I really enjoyed speaking on the radio, especially about a topic that I feel very passionate about and that is so current. I …

Why we must keep an open dialogue on autism in the church

Dearest readers,  I wrote this article for my local methodist circuit magazine following on the work I have been involved in on the 'Attentiveness to Autism' project. This is a project I am very passionate about, I hope this can be gauged from this short article. Happy reading:
tc  -krysiawally
Autism: it’s a buzzword that we often hear in the news, in schools or maybe on social media. Maybe we know a little bit about it, or know someone on the autism spectrum. But as autism becomes more discussed in mainstream society, is it something that the church should be discussing?
The short answer is: yes! The current prevalence figures are set at 1% of the general population; this includes people from all ages, genders, ethnicities and social backgrounds. Autism isn’t fussy in that way. This means we are all bound to know someone or have a connection to autism somewhere down the line, including those of us that do not think we have a connection. This high connectivity is part of the…