Managing My “Inflexible Thinking By Judy Endow, MSW

recommended reading taken from: 

"Because of my autism I have an autistic thinking style. One characteristic often attributed to me is “inflexible thinking.”
Flexibility in thinking has to do with being able to adapt when circumstances change by adjusting or shifting from one expectation to another. This has never been easy for me, but I have learned how to live more comfortably with my autistic thinking style in a world where flexibility is much more highly valued than my inborn trait.First 
Step to Flexible Thinking
First, I had to accept my own autism and the fact that I think differently (Endow, 2009). Self-acceptance doesn’t come easily for most autistics because we are brought up being molded into acting as a neurotypical (NT) acts (Endow, 2012)". Read More....


recommend: 'Seeing Beyond My Autism Diagnosis'

'Seeing Beyond My Autism Diagnosis

By   (taken from 'Special-Ism website)

"I am an adult with autism. My thinking is visual rather than word based. Autism gifts me with a literal and concrete way of thinking. My thoughts are all in full moving color. You can read about this and about my life in my book called Paper Words: Discovering and Living with My Autism. (Endow, 2009a)"  read more ...


Parents Refuse to Give Up on Severely Autistic Daughter & Inspire Us All

article taken from: The Stir' website

"In March of this year, Carly, 17, along with her father, Arthur Fleischman, published Carly’s Voice: Breaking Through Autism. The book is a combination of Carly’s firsthand experience with autism in her own words and her dad’s story of finally getting to know his amazing daughter. In a matter of 6 years, Carly has gone from being a child who could not communicate with the outside world to being a young woman who is pioneering the way for the world to truly understand autism. And this because two parents refused to give up on their daughter. They followed their hearts and it paid off in dividends." read more 



taken from 'ACT NOW (Autism Campaigners Together) blog 
In regard to  parliamentary welfare reform which took place yesterday:
"Autism was discussed in the chamber today, which seems to have irked some campaigners but we have to remember, it is a largely hidden disability and alongside all people with hidden disabilities, the autism community is likely to be hit the hardest" read more 


UPDATE ON:My Son Has Been Out Of School For Almost A Year Now

(now 2 years by the time I write this)

It has been a year or so since I updated my story: My Son Has Been Out Of School For Almost A Year Now

Apologies for my silence of my fight to get my son back into school and a suitable school that would provide for his needs appropriately. Since this was an on going case, when I discovered that my blog was being read by my local government and their legal advisor, I felt it best to keep a lower profile in my blog, since anything I wrote about could be used in evidence.  

Having said this, my son and myself did win the long two year case, and from 8th June 2011 my son is now attending the school of our choice.  However I do not boast our success, but rather I am grateful that the correct school is now put into place, and write of this in hope to encourage others. My fight has been nothing unique, but common place to most parents of children on the higher functioning end of the autistic spectrum in the UK. It would be nice to think that our children could get the help that they are entitled to for their special needs, but this does not come automatically, and usually not come at all  without a legal fight. During these lengthy procedures, my son was growing up, and in fact by the time the final tribunal came to be, he was old enough, (14), to want to speak for himself in court, which he did, and to which all merit of winning the case goes to my son Ziggy himself, Well done Ziggy! (and of which could not have been achieved without our excellent legal support of course!)


Nerodiversity VS Disorder - The Other Great Divide Of Autism

 From Website:Autism Key -  www.autism key.com

"With all of the attention the autism-vaccine debate has received, often overlooked is another source of infighting within the autism community that involves neurodiversity vs. disorder. Neurodiversity is a movement commonly seen among those with high functioning autism and adheres to the notion that people with autism experience the world differently, not pathologically. As such, they are not looking to be "cured" and advocate for greater acceptance and awareness for themselves and others who are "different." Read More ...

"There is a real fear by many that the heredity model will take precedence and lead to eugenics as more and more parents opt to abort fetuses with a chromosome marker for autism, following the path of Down Syndrome where approximately 92% of all diagnosed fetuses are aborted. Do we really want to prevent the birth of the next Temple Grandin?"


'Cambridge University Researcher Endorses Neurodiversity', by Dr Thomas Armstrong

Dr Thomas Armstrong author, speaker and educational consultant, writes:
"I was happy to see recently a post on the Encyclopedia Brittanica blog that featured an interview with Cambridge University researcher Simon Baron-Cohen on the topic of neurodiversity.  When asked about the movement, Baron-Cohen replied:  “The neurodiversity movement has been a very positive influence in reminding us that there is no single pathway in neurological development, but there are many ways to reach similar end-points.” 
Baron-Cohen is most well known for his research in the field of autism and gender differences.  His book The Essential Difference: The Truth About the Male and Female Brain (Basic Books, 2003), presents a fascinating look at two dimensions of human behavior that exist along a broad continuum:  empathizing and systematizing.  Empathizing, of course, refers to the ability of an individual to get under the skin, so to speak, of another person and to know what they are thinking, feeling, or intending.  Systematizing, on the other hand, involves relating more to systems than to people.  Examples of systems include:  a computer program, a football game, a mathematical system, an automobile’s hydraulic system, or a poker game.  It may not surprise people to know that systematizers are more frequently male, and empathizers are more often female.  Women get together to talk about feelings, relationships, gossip, and other interpersonal behaviors. Men typically talk about what’s under the hood of a car, last night’s basketball scores, the latest software program, or what’s on TV tonight (and, of course, they control the TV clicker with greater speed and aplomb than women). 
Baron-Cohen emphasizes that these behaviors exist along a continuum, and that most people are in the middle of the spectrum, combining aspects of both empathy and systematizing.  On the extreme end of the systematizing side, however, one is likely to find individuals with autistic spectrum disorders.  A look, for example, at the savants of autism (estimated to account for about 10% of all autistic people), reveals their incredible abilities at manipulating various systems:  rapid calculation of mathematical information, incredible fluency with musical structures, extraordinary attention to visual-spatial features of the external environment, and the like.  Even those autistic individuals with low I.Q. scores are often found to be obsessed with systems such as the snow on a television screen or the workings of an electric fan.  What is significant in Baron-Cohen’s “system” (remember, he is a male!), is that we are all on the spectrum, so to speak, between empathizing and systematizing.  As he points out later in the Britannica interview, “The impact of dimensionalizing autism has been very positive, in terms of recognizing that we all have some autistic traits and that the difference between someone who needs a diagnosis and someone who does not is simply one of degree (they have more autistic traits) and their “fit” in society.” Read more


Pupil With Asperger's Syndrome Rejected By School

from The Guardian thegardian.co.uk

A teenager who was refused a place at his local school because he has Asperger's syndrome has won a conditional offer to study engineering at Cambridge.

Alex Goodenough, 17, taught himself at home from textbooks after Hertfordshire and Essex high school and science college (H&E) rejected his application to study there. Read more....


Article from 'Babycenter Community' website: 'A World Without Autism'

Quote from article Baby Center Community article:

"... would be a very boring, lackluster, unimaginative place. Did you ever why advocates enjoy letting people know about famous people with Autism Spectrum Disorder? Because it proves that Autistics are very intelligent people, very often genius in their intellect. It proves that Autistics can overcome their differences in thought processes to be not only productive human beings, but can make contributions that echo through history and across the entire world. It proves to overwhelmed, scared parents that their Autistic child can not only be successful in life, but be extraordinary."  Read more...

Brett's Blog: 'A World Without Autism'

Quote from Brett's Blog: 

"If autism could be cured, and if we, as a society, chose to cure it, what would that mean for our future?

How would it impact our lives, and the lives of our children (and descendants many generations down the line)?

What would society look like 50 years from now? 100 years from now, when autism (or autism-like traits) were no longer a part of our world?"

Autism Speaks Does Not Speak For Me: A Reply to Their Recent PSA


Lots Of Paper Work

In fighting for our Aspie' children's education many of us know all to well that there is much work involved. For those beginning the fight, you must be prepared for a lot of paperwork, your daytime may well becomes your office space at home. A full time job, but our children are worth it, who is going to fight for them if we don't? Below is just some of my own for example :)



UPDATE: (UK Cuts In Government Spending Hits Hard)

One week later, my son is already shown signs of regression without his home tuition. He has little interest or in getting out of bed and seldom leaves his room.

Please help and sign the petition 'ACT NOW'

quote from website:

Those who live with Autism 24/7, 365 days each year will be at the core of these cuts and will have to live with whatever ensues as a result. We are not opposed to cuts as such and understand that reductions need to be made, however the magnitude of the changes that these cuts will bring about and how they will impact on a community that is already marginalised and discriminated against, must be taken into account"
please see details, and SIGN PETITION HERE



UK Cuts In Government Spending Hits Hard And Puts My Asperger's Son Into An Abyss

For the past 2 years my 14 year old son has been out of school and has got by successfully with home tuition, (see my earlier blog post). However, due to costs the tuition services used by the local authority have now been closed down, and the authority have not offered any replacement. At the same time Social Services now say that my son's high functioning autism is not disabled enough for any services.Quote from social worker who recently re-assessed his core plan, "it's not as though he can't walk or talk is it?", and talking to my son in the hall she went on to say, "there is nothing wrong with you, you are not disabled, you seem like a fine young man to me and there is nothing that we can offer you".

My son has a statement of special needs and since his ordeal with his secondary school will seldom leave the family home accept with his home tutors. An indipendant psychologist advices in her recent report of my son that schooling can only be reintroduced very slowly or it is going to fail.

The local authority recently backed me up in visiting a school I had discovered independently, since they had failed to fulfil their legal obligation to find him a school themselves,and have now put it on his statement as his school. They now claim that they have found him a school, which by law he is now obliged to attend, and so far as they are concerned they have completed their legal requirement. They are aware also, that implementation back to school has to be slow and carefully planned. However, I am not convinced that the school in question will be able to supply my son's needs and I am appealing against the decision, and visiting a new school which has opened up especially for asperger children aged 16 - 19 and more suitable. But my appeal is grossly affected by cuts in 'legal aid' spending also, making it extremely difficult to bring back the psychologist to further look into both schools and necessary to back up my case.

The home tuition has worked extremely well for my son, and without this as a routine and way of getting him to leave the home I fear that the situation will go backwards. What is needed is continuation of home tuition in view of keeping him focused, expanding the time he is learning, getting him out of doors, and in keeping routines whilst introducing schooling one or two lessons a week until he reaches full time involvement into a suitable school.

At the same time some of the his home tutors have offered to work privately with my son and to accompany him to venues which will aid physical and social development, but is also very expensive. Up until the government cuts this would have been covered by 'Direct Payments', which I believe no longer exists, and in any case I am told that my son's disability of autism does not count as disabled and that no equivalent service will be offered!

News has it that if the present climate continue, we can expect that things will get much worse.

Campaign - ACT NOW
"The proposed benefit cuts and the assessments will begin in 2013 for those on the Autistic Spectrum who are in receipt of Disability Living Allowance, Employment Support Allowance and other benefits. In addition the cuts across Local Authorities and the demise of Primary Care Trusts could have a catastrophic effect on the autism community, a group whose vulnerability already creates high levels of stress and anxiety to those involved."

Please help and sign the petition here


Article from Healthzone.ca

"A groundbreaking study suggests people with autism-spectrum disorders such as Asperger's do not lack empathy – rather, they feel others' emotions too intensely to cope". READ ARTICLE

In my experience the so referred to 'lack of empathy' is misunderstood as lack of emotion or feelings, this is so misguided from the actual truth. 'lack of empathy' is more to do with difficulties in how to interperate social situations.



Corina writes:

'Puzzle-less Autism Awareness Ribbons
For the longest time, I've been bothered about the autism awareness ribbons and other products displaying puzzle pieces. As a lot of autistics say when we object to it, we are not puzzle, we are people. So, since I've been aware of why it is offensive, I've been avoiding using it for any autism-related images.

Except my Anti-puzzle graphics for protesting Autism Speaks and other organizations.

However, I wanted an autism awareness ribbon that anti-puzzle autistics and other community members could display and use. So I made one, using the concept of my Neurodiversity infinity mobius and the spectrum part of Autism Spectrum".

View Corina Becker's blog 'No Sterio types Here'


More on 'The Geek Syndrome '

Article from 'Wired.Com'
The Geek Syndrome - By Steve Silberman - see full article

"Autism gets to fundamental issues of how we view talents and disabilities," he says. "The flip side of dyslexia is enhanced abilities in math and architecture. There may be an aspect of this going on with autism and assortative mating in places like Silicon Valley. In the parents, who carry a few of the genes, they're a good thing. In the kids, who carry too many, it's very bad."

Issues like this were at the crux of arguments that Bryna Siegel had with Bruno Bettelheim in a Stanford graduate seminar in the early '80s, published in Bettelheim's The Art of the Obvious. (Siegel's name was changed to Dan Berenson.) The text makes poignant reading, as two paradigms of scientific humanism clash in the night. Siegel told "Dr. B" that she wanted to do a large study of children with various developmental disorders to search for a shared biochemical defect. Bettelheim shot back that if such a marker were to be uncovered it would dehumanize autistic children, by making them essentially different from ourselves.

Still an iconoclast, Siegel questions whether a "cure" for autism could ever be found. "The genetics of autism may turn out to be no simpler to unravel than the genetics of personality. I think what we'll end up with is something more like, 'Mrs. Smith, here are the results of your amnio. There's a 1 in 10 chance that you'll have an autistic child, or the next Bill Gates. Would you like to have an abortion?'"

For UCSF neurologist Kirk Wilhelmsen - who describes himself and his son as being "somewhere on that grand spectrum" - such statements cut to the heart of the most difficult issue that autism raises for society. It may be that autistic people are essentially different from "normal" people, he says, and that it is precisely those differences that make them invaluable to the ongoing evolution of the human race.

"If we could eliminate the genes for things like autism, I think it would be disastrous," says Wilhelmsen. "The healthiest state for a gene pool is maximum diversity of things that might be good."

One of the first people to intuit the significance of this was Asperger himself - weaving his continuum like a protective blanket over the young patients in his clinic as the Nazis shipped so-called mental defectives to the camps. "It seems that for success in science and art," he wrote, "a dash of autism is essential."

For all we know, the first tools on earth might have been developed by a loner sitting at the back of the cave, chipping at thousands of rocks to find the one that made the sharpest spear, while the neurotypicals chattered away in the firelight. Perhaps certain arcane systems of logic, mathematics, music, and stories - particularly remote and fantastic ones - have been passed down from phenotype to phenotype, in parallel with the DNA that helped shape minds which would know exactly what to do with these strange and elegant creations." continue reading this article......

Temple Grandin: Animals Make us Human


The N.A.S You Need To Know Campaign

THE FACTS (extract from N.A.S website 'The Facts')

Over 70% of children with autism also have a mental health problem. It doesn’t have to be like this. Children with autism can have good mental health just as anyone else can, and this campaign aims to make this a reality.

We all need to know that by giving children with autism the understanding and support they need, we help promote their health and happiness.

The Government needs to know that the mental health system is failing children with autism and that by acting now we can change our children’s future.

Mental health practitioners need to know how to help and support children with autism and mental health problems.

Families need to know that they are not alone – that we are here to help them every step of the way.

Sign the Campaign: 'You Need To Know'