A Little Christmas Spirit!

Hello everyone! It’s been quite busy over the past little while! Since Christmas is nearing, I thought it might be a good idea to pass along a really cool version of O Christmas Tree I found recently!  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!



A Little Christmas Spirit!

A new beginning, or the same old?

There have been quite a few big events happening politically over the past couple weeks – from politicians uttering crude phrases on tape, to a rather…interesting final U.S. debate!  However,  what many people might not have realized was something else happened a couple weeks ago that, for the autism/autistic* community, was pretty important.

Autism Speaks, one of North America’s leading autism organizations, announced the removal of the words “cure”, “struggle”, and “crisis” from their mission statement.

Sounds promising, right? On the surface, sure it does, but, for the moment I’m not so certain that decision will translate into real affirmative action.

For those who aren’t as familiar, Autism Speaks was founded in 2005 by Bob and Suzanne Wright with several goals in mind:  an effort to help their grandson diagnosed with the condition, to be an aid to other parents in a similar situation, and to eventually pour a lot of its funding into finding a cure for autism.  That last point is the most contentious between them and the autistic* community, and the following video seems to be the by-product of this particular goal.  I recommend watching the video until the end for context.

In my opinion, there are many things wrong with the cure vantage point Autism Speaks upholds and that appears in the video, but I’m only going to go over a few of them.

1) Much like gender, race, and sexuality, most autistics, myself included, view autism as a part of their identity. So setting up a video where autism is seen as a separate entity is, I think,  grossly inaccurate, much less an entity that is automatically demonic in nature.
2) Even if it were possible to separate autism from the autistic, most autistics whom I’ve met or read about do not seek a ‘cure’ for their condition. They want to be understood, respected for who they are, and be treated respectfully and fairly. I have yet to see any media from Autism Speaks that promotes this point of view.

3) All of the people speaking in the latter half of the video are either parents and/or related to the persons with autism in some way, shape or form.  What about the viewpoint of autistics themselves? Perhaps none could be found because of the explanation in point 2) above?

There are other issues I could cover re the modified mission statement, but the three shared here give a general sense of my reaction.  Overall, given Autism Speaks‘ past history, the announcement is one action to signal change.  Sure, it’s a good first step, but I’m skeptical.  What are your thoughts on this?


(* N.B. – Autistic community = people who identify as autistic [self- or clinically diagnosed]
– Autism community = autistic community + people related to autistics)

A new beginning, or the same old?

Quick Update!

Hello, everyone! I’ve been quite busy with school over the past couple of weeks, as I’m preparing for the final stretch in my Master’s Studies! I do have a quick update to make, though.

I just got myself a Twitter account!  If you have one yourself, follow me there at @COBRA_13413!  There, I’ll be posting links and media that will cover the topics that interest me (if you haven’t seen that yet, click here) as well as topics that may be too controversial for my blog space.

Can’t wait to hear from you all! Until next time, conversationalists!

Quick Update!

Comic Strips!

From a young age, I’ve had an on-and-off relationship with comic strips (and its digital cousin, web-comics).  I love the format because of its ability to tell a story or to shine light on something within the span of a fraction of a page.  Of the many strips I’ve read over the years, none has had as much of a lasting impact on me as the very series that got me into the medium in the first place:  Calvin and Hobbes.

Photo:  Tiger with a boy, sitting on a moving wagon going down a hill

For those who don’t know the series, Calvin and Hobbes is about the adventures of a 6-year old boy (Calvin) and his “stuffed” tiger (Hobbes).  I remember getting one of the book collections around Grade 2, reading the strips, and deciding I had to read them all (over time I managed to get 15 – I believe there are 16 books in all)! As a young child who loved to read, I was drawn to the fact that Calvin was like me:  a young kid with a high vocabulary who was often misunderstood by his classmates.  Not to mention the illustrations of the stories of his imagination are quite vivid to look at (click here for an example)!

As a young adult, I go back to some of the strips and am pleasantly surprised to pick up on certain things that had flown over my head as a kid!  Take this strip (click here for strip).  Reading it as a kid, I could tell Calvin was insulting the bully, Moe, but it wasn’t until I reread the strip a few days ago for this post that I truly understood the implications of some of the words Calvin used, which make the strip a lot funnier, in my opinion. It’s moments like these that still have me going back to read Calvin and Hobbes many years later!

If you are a fan of Calvin & Hobbes too, feel free to share one of your favourites with me.  If not, and you ever get the chance to explore C & H, go for it!  Then, let me know what you think.  Hopefully you’ll find much to enjoy and many moments that make you laugh out loud.

Comic Strips!