Sorry to disappoint, but life has been typical. (it isn’t always autism)

It’s hard to believe fall is finishing up, the “holiday” season is here.  Most of the summer was weird, and the fall surreal.

Blogging and social media time were taken over with “being with boyfriend Kevin” time.

“Boyfriend” seems such a strange word for one, since he’s in his late 40’s and two because I had previously vowed I was never attempting another relationship.


This past August Kevin asked me to marry him.  The date is set for a weekend in June 2016.

I feel so very happy.

How are the kids?


We’ve had a fairly productive time with schooling, went on a few field trips  and generally started looking for a new “normal” that includes a new family member.

Well, two family members, because we have a doggy now too.


Pete walking Cinder

I’ve also had three speaking opportunities at different Sherlock Holmes related happenings (symposium, conference, and scion society). In those talks I’ve disclosed my diagnosis, and while keeping personal info at a minimum, the boys’ as well.

The other day at another Sherlockian function I sat near a woman whose scion society I have attended in the past, but had missed the most recent meeting.

She had been worried about me, to the point of contacting me to see if I was alright.

I didn’t mind this, at first.

Through conversation I found that she had automatically assumed my absence was because of autism (mine or my children’s I couldn’t quite gather), and so thought some major catastrophe had occurred.

She didn’t even consider that like all people, sometimes life is just stressful, and often time is an issue. Automatically her mind went to autism.  I forget what she said exactly but it was along the lines of “with everything going on with you, I was really worried.”


I started to wonder if I was making a major mistake in terms of disclosure because of how autism and family life is portrayed in the media leaves us at a risk of being seen in this light.

It is a risk even with all the evidence to the contrary in my life, on this blog, and in other writings.

I decided not to bother telling her much about the reasons I hadn’t been around.  I felt like an object of pity and could see she formed so many assumptions on so little.

To be honest, I don’t feel like going back to that particular group now.

Nothing horrible nor harrowing has occurred.

Just life.

For the kids I’m thinking about:

How to engage and interest my six year old daughter,

keep my nine year old son out of trouble and interacting,

the almost twelve year old intellectually and socially  stimulated,

the almost fourteen year old son learning skills for independence,

plus helping the fifteen year old boy through high school and planning a future.

Every descent parent regardless of whether or not their child has a label should be doing that.

One kid has had health issues.

Typical kids have those too.

For me,

its a matter of continuing to try to build a career on the skills I have, paying bills, and working on a relationship.

I know its going  out on a limb, but I’m fairly certain most people think about and work on that too.

I’m having more issues with the city.

Living in Baltimore is a significant source of stress for anyone here.

My time is taken up with my fiancee, which should be no surprise to anyone  whose had a  romantic relationship or been around a love-struck couple.












Another autistic youth killed by a parent. And, No, Channel 11 Atlanta, it’s not a “mercy killing”


a person’s worth is not determined by their contribution to the economy
nor by their age, their education, or their abilities
We aren’t any more or less human than any other.
Dustin Hicks was murdered, just as anyone who is shot through the head, is murdered.

Originally posted on Left Brain Right Brain:

Dustin Hicks was an autistic youth. A teen. Someone who faced very significant challenges and needed a great deal of support. But someone who needed to be respected and valued as a person.

Dustin Hickie was murdered by his mother. News stories are reporting that he was shot in the head. The exact motives are at present unclear since the mother killed herself shortly afterwards.

A TV station in Atlanta reports the story as Dawsonville mother shoots disabled son, self in possible mercy killing.

No. There is no mercy in murder. Just because someone is disabled doesn’t mean someone can justify or downplay murder.

No. Just no.

Our children are our responsibility, not our property. We do not get to kill our children and downplay it because they are disabled and call it mercy.

I can’t go on.

By Matt Carey

View original

Biomes, ecosystems and animal habitats

Hello people.

Life is moving along.

Peter is recovering from his cornea transplant.

He’s been such a good and patient kid.


He still needs drops four times a day, but now only needs to wear this guard at night.

We’re wrapping up nature quest.


(Patrick playing in the creek at Cromwell Valley Park)

One more trail to go and we’ll be in the running for prizes at “Nature Quest Fest 2015” which is this coming weekend.

Learning goes on as it does.

During the month of October the littles and Pete are studying  biomes, first terrestrial and then we’ll take a dive into the aquatic for a week or two.

This week its a little bit of both with study of wetlands.

We’re talking about:

  • Climate: how it affects the specific ecosystem, the types of plants and animals that can live there
  • Biodiversity: examples of how everything relies on everything else
  • Adaptations:  how  animals and plant adaptations are suited to their habitat
  • Biomes: different types of ecosystems within each biome designation (rainforest vs. deciduous, salt marsh vs. swamp, etc.)

We’re reading about them.


We’re watching videos about them:


“The Magic School Bus Gets Swamped”



“Bill Nye the Science Guy: Wetlands”

For a social studies tie-in we’re learning about famous deserts, wetlands, grassland, forest and rain forests in North America.

This week we’re watching these videos:

Nature Wonders : Everglades USA

Realm of the Alligator (Okefenokee swamp)

Bee is researching and marking the famous places on our map of the United States.


Friday, the plan is to wrap up the wetland study with a visit to Jug Bay Wetland Sanctuary which Lily marked out on our Maryland highway map.




Statement of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) Related to the Sandy Hook Tragedy


Reblogging from Left Brain/Right Brain

Originally posted on Left Brain Right Brain:

With another mass shooting we have, sadly, speculation that the gunman was autistic. When the Sandy Hook tragedy occurred, I was a public member to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) and we put out the following statement. While it is not directly related to the current events, I felt it worthwhile to put this out again.

Statement of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) Related to the Sandy Hook Tragedy

The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, an independent Federal advisory committee that provides advice to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on activities related to autism spectrum disorder (ASD), has issued the following statement regarding the tragedy that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012:

The events of December 14 in Newtown, Connecticut shocked and saddened people worldwide. All of the members of the IACC express our deepest sympathy and support…

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The Whipping Scene (Including Autistic Children)

Kelvin Moon Loh is acting in “The King and I” on Broadway.

He recently shared an experience where an autistic child became upset during “the whipping scene,” and the condemnation from the audience that followed.

In a public facebook post he writes:

” I ask you- when did we as theater people, performers and audience members become so concerned with our own experience that we lose compassion for others?…”His voice pierced the theater. The audience started to rally against the mother and her child to be removed. I heard murmurs of “why would you bring a child like that to the theater?”. This is wrong. Plainly wrong.”

“Shows that have special performances for autistic audiences should be commended for their efforts to make theater inclusive for all audiences. I believe like Joseph Papp that theater is created for all people. I stand by that and also for once, I am in a show that is completely FAMILY FRIENDLY.

Click to read the entire post.

Inclusion in Public Spaces

I am so glad that Moon Loh took the time to share this experience and explain his disappointment.

Special shows designed for autistic audiences ARE wonderful, sometimes they are the only avenue for those with sensory sensitivities to enjoy the arts.
They are not “inclusive.”
Inclusive means mixing.
It means an autistic adult being able to attend any show.
It means an autistic child being accepted at  a show intended for families with children.
It means those with disability invited and welcomed into the public space because it is

The experience is Necessary

A typical problem is that parents do not feel as comfortable taking autistic kids into public spaces and so children lack experience in knowing how to behave/what is expected/what is going to happen which increases anxiety, something that is a constant already.
Without the practice, how can one learn the skill?
Parents also often do not feel comfortable because of reactions like the audience members even at so called “family friendly” events where extra noise and moving around are expected.
Already under stress, they can become isolated which can lead to depression, guilt, and anxiety.

What Parents can do

I cannot say whether a Broadway show with intense scenes was appropriate for this child in particular, or not, but  sometimes parents do not consider the child’s needs or sensitivities and pick events badly, or stay overlong.

Parents and other caregivers must ask themselves:
  • How much time, intensity and excitement can my child handle in an activity without  melting down?
  • Is this something my child will actually enjoy?
  • Are there any sensory sensitivity concerns and what can we do to prevent or lessen them?
  • What calming activities/strategies do we  have to decrease stress?
  • What is our exit strategy should we need to leave early?
  Even with careful planning, shit happens, things upset, and limits are reached.

What the public can do

Get used to it, and show some compassion.

The general non disabled/neurotypical public  still marginalizes disability.

They shamed that mother and child.
I hope she isn’t too hard on herself, or her child.
I hope this mom keeps going, keeps trying to take her son places, and keeps his limits and needs in mind.
I hope with efforts to increase autism acceptance, shit like this happens less.
I’ll leave you with a last quote from Joh:
“The King and I on Broadway is just that- FAMILY FRIENDLY- and that means entire families- with disabilities or not. Not only for special performances but for all performances. A night at the theater is special on any night you get to go.”


It’s been forever guys, I know.

The thing is, I fell in love, and as usually happens have been filling all my free time with that special person.

Autistic people fall in love.

They get sick too.

My son Pete (classic autism, 13) had to have an emergency cornea transplant on Friday night.

I wish I could say it was healing great and all was well, but no,  we’re back to Johns Hopkins later  today.




I won an award.

Tricia over at Never Less than Everything tagged me for a “Sisterhood of the World Blog Award.”

It’s very kind of her and may be just the kick in the ass I need to start blogging regularly again (hey who knows)

The rules go like this:

“The Sisterhood of the World Blog Award is about connecting with other female bloggers and getting the blogger community together. The rules are:

1. Thank and link the blogger who nominated you.
2. Answer the questions the nomination has provided.
3. Nominate ten other bloggers
4. Create ten questions for your nominees and notify them of their nomination.”

I have changed them a bit, please keep reading to find out how.

Here are Tricia’s questions and my answers…

  1. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?

We tend to do things we don’t like out of obligation or necessity.

For example,

Most people don’t like doing laundry.

Clothing is a requirement (social obligation) in most settings, and generally people prefer being clean. It’s also no fun to be cold. Options are to do laundry/walk around filthy/ keep buying new clothes/ or join a nudist colony with reliable heating.

Generally, people opt for washing clothes.

Not doing the things we like can also be because of necessity or obligation.  Of course many people ignore that, throw caution to the wind and end up in prison.

2. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

A faulty assumption is being implied in this statement.  Words can call one to action, soothe hearts, create hope, affirm and educate.  Sometimes, saying IS doing.

3. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?

I’d like to teach the world to sing eradicate poverty of the mind.

Signs of an impoverished mind include hate, ignorance, and fear.

I think I’d have an easier time teaching the world to sing.

4. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?

What I do now.

5. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?

I believe in faeries, (I do, I do) so its working out.

6. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?

I don’t usually entertain the idea of a different past as even past mistakes, regrets, abuse, poisonous frames of mind, and lack of critical thinking have brought me here, with people I love. I don’t think I’ve ever done anything based on the belief I’ll live past 40, so I can’t say how that would influence me.

7. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?

I don’t believe fate/destiny nor luck/randomness. As a part of a very intricate living system I have some effect on how things go but only a small bit. I have controlled, sometimes poorly, sometimes well, my life in the decision making, actions, and reactions that I have been able to control. It’s all there is to do.

8. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?

Define “right” and what the difference would be -between the two? Like Susanne Vega, you can always find me a bit left of center.

9. You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire.  They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend.  The criticism is distasteful and unjustified.  What do you do?

I defend my friend and re-evaluate my feelings for these people.

10. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?

“I know you haven’t quite got the receptive language t comprehend this advice but, Don’t put that in your mouth, you don’t know where its been.”

11. Would you break the law to save a loved one?

Probably. The only exception is if they needed “saved” from the punishment of a heinous crime they happen to be guilty of.

Time for my questions.

  1. Why do you blog?
  2. What would you like to achieve in life?
  3. Moist. <—– does this word squig you out if so, WHY?
  4. Do you have a nemesis animal? What is it? (bug, mammal, reptilian, whatev) Tell us about your trauma.
  5. What would be your ideal out of town holiday (vacation)?
  6. What is your fav. season?
  7. How do you feel about Mt. McKinley getting changed back to its native name?  (my international friends may need to google this)
  8. What are you reading right now? (if you aren’t name a movie you’ve seen recently)
  9. Whats up with Donald Trump’s hair?
  10. John always wears a shirt, pants, socks, and shoes. He owns 12 pairs of socks, 3 pairs of shoes, 5 pairs of pants, and 5 shirts.
    Assuming all other imaginable variables remain constant, How many different outfits can John make?

Now for my new rules.

I’m waving the implied vagina requirement.

Do consider yourself tagged if you’ve read this far .

If you don’t have a blog, answer in the comments.

The Hooker/Thompson conversations: were significant analyses omitted from Hooker’s paper?


Reblogging from Left Brain /Right Brain
An excellent breakdown of the unethical (and sloppy) “science” behind the “re-analysis” of the CDC study concerning vaccines and autism.

Originally posted on Left Brain Right Brain:

As a few people have written about recently, a book was recently published in which we get to read transcripts of conversations between Brian Hooker (a vocal advocate of the idea that vaccines cause autism) and William Thompson (a researcher at the CDC).

The basic story we have been told is that supposedly the CDC team (of which Thompson was a member) saw a “statistically significant” association between MMR vaccination and autism in African American boys. Specifically for boys who got the vaccine late, but before age 3. The story then goes on to claim that he CDC team worked furiously to bury this association. William Thompson, wracked with guilt over this, finally reached out to Brian Hooker to guide him towards this result.

This story is full of holes, as has been discussed here and elsewhere. Rather than go through that again, just take this backstory and ask yourself:…

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Convention Ramble (Neurodiversity in Sherlock)

Morning everyone,

This past weekend I was part of the Neurodiversity in Sherlock Holmes panel at “GridLOCK DC” a Washington D.C area Sherlock Holmes convention.


Many things happened.

Some were fun.

Some were amazing.

I will get to the best bit at some point in the future but you’ll have to wait on that.

Today we’re talkin bout the panel.


 I’m on the right here, mid sentence about…something.

Topics discussed were both about autism in general, and the tendency of many to “read” Sherlock Holmes as being neurodivergent in some manner. Labeling Sherlock Holmes is problematic to say the least, but it cannot be denied that many people relate to his differences.

We talked generalities such as:

  • Functioning labels, definition and connotation
  • Executive Functioning
  • Autism Empathy Myth (we’re not sociopaths thank you)
  • Definitions of  “neurodiversity” and “neurodivergence”

And more Sherlock Holmes specific:

  • Character’s divergent behaviors (and of other characters)
  • Troubling statements made by a certain actor and that being considered a good actor or a good person doesn’t make one an authority on everything
  • BBC Sherlock’s entire “high functioning sociopath” silliness
  • The ability to make Sherlock Holmes into anything we like (as he is, really, not a well developed character, its easy to mold him into whatever we want/need)
  • Problems with labeling the character with specific disorders

It went well.

Had a nice mention on “Art in the Blood” a Sherlockian fan/forum site:

Amanda Mills is becoming one of my favorite presenters. She was one of the two presenters on a powerful panel called “Neurodiversity in Sherlock.” This might have been my favorite panel (even including the two in which I participated!). I really appreciate the way Mills approaches subjects that can be confusing or even unknown to people, such as autism and other examples of neurodiversity, such as bipolar disorder and sociopathy. She speaks clearly, concisely and with authority, but she is quick to contextualize her responses with relevant peer-reviewed data and the caveat that she can only speak for her own experiences. As an audience member, I felt very welcomed to ask questions and contribute ideas (mostly I just clapped and laughed and hummmmmed in interest).

So that is really good.

I felt though, somewhat discouraged concerning having to explain the difference between theory of mind (a deficit of everyone on this planet) and emotional empathy to an otherwise knowledgeable and accepting crowd. It’s not their fault, but still, its disheartening.

I touched on that quite a bit for Quora, but don’t believe its been delved into too much on this blog.

It needs covering.

Let’s do that.

Come What May, Never Say Never


I went from a bad blogger to a very very bad blogger.

No apologies.

I’m in love with someone who reciprocates.

Its a tad thought/time consuming  and I don’t mind one bit.

The children have spent the summer swimming, hiking, watching movies, playing games, taking day trips, and playing in the park. They’ve done quite a bit of the typical North American kid summer activities, and missed out on others.

Monday we went to the zoo.
They got to ride camels.


As a child, I didn’t  get to ride a camel.

Now I’m afraid I would hurt the camel’s back.

Yet, I don’t feel less because my possible camel riding days are behind me.

We don’t all get to “do” everything.

This post is for my “anyone having anything to do with kids” readers.

It contains my opinion based on twenty years of parenting and a degree in child development.

If you don’t care, please move on.

I’m certain somewhere there is a story of a politician saying something outrageous that could take up the two minutes you could have spent reading this.


Everyone who stayed,

I hope you don’t  fall into the trap of believing a child in your life will never do something simply because they are autistic, or have some other type of disability, or for any other reason.

To quote many lyricists and poets through the mists of time,

“Never is a very long time.”

It’s also bullshit.

Unless the kid has a terminal illness,

YOU DON’T KNOW what their achievements, experiences, relationships, and other aspects of their lives will be like.

Ruminating on all the things they will be left out on is not healthy for  a caregiver.  Whether they  go about it consciously or not, this negative thinking can cause them to limit that child’s potential and opportunities.



Now, how about the words “May Not?”

Sure, the kid MAY not do many things.


There are the small things.

Little Augustus may not:

  • Ride a bike
  • Go to prom
  • Withstand a trip to Disney World or some other overpriced/crowded theme park
  • Want to do all the other things parents envisioned doing with the kid
  • Do the things that typify a preconceived “normal” childhood

No, he may not.

Many children do not, and in the end, it doesn’t matter.

There is  NO actual set of standard childhood experiences all children must have in order to “succeed” in life, no matter how you define it.

Don’t project your disappointment onto the kid.



Having said that,

A rich environment and experiences ARE important.

You MAY have to work very hard on learning what experiences will work despite and perhaps because of your child’s unique situation. It may be difficult to provide them,


Don’t tell me there aren’t any,

That is also bullshit.


There are the big things in life all parents tend to worry over.

Precious Isabella may not:

  •  Fall in love
  • Go to college
  • Live independently
  • Have a job or career

Yes and no.

No-one is incapable or unworthy of love and being loved in return.

Successful romantic love doesn’t happen for everyone no matter who they are.

As for career and independence and education,

No, the kid may not.

Yet they may.

Be careful how much importance you place on them.

While those things can lead to happiness, they aren’t requirements for happiness.

Some people do all those things and aren’t actually happy.

There are happy people who haven’t accomplished that list.

There are moments of joy in life, open to everyone.


I happen to think moments of joy are far more attainable than a permanent state of happiness, but those terms are subjective, debatable, and better left for long philosophical talks over alcohol.