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‘I’m a haemorrhoid warrior!’ Why Autism T-shirts and ‘Autism Warrior’ garments are insidiously wrong

‘I’m a haemorrhoid warrior!’ Why Autism T-shirts and ‘Autism Warrior’ garments are insidiously wrong

Do you remember the joke about putting a sign on someone’s back that says ‘kick me’? The idea is that they don’t know it’s there, and someone else gets to humiliate them. Isn’t a ‘knowing’ t-shirt a similar concept?

Would any child for example choose to wear a T-shirt that said:

“Warning – autism meltdown. Probability: high.” Or “I’m not a brat, I have autism.” Or “I can’t keep calm, I’m autistic.”

I doubt it.

Many of these horrible ‘autism shirts’ are sold in sizes for very young children who may not even know about their diagnosis with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Or maybe they do know to a degree, but aren’t aware of the subtleties of some of the ‘jokes’, such as: “Ask me about my ADHD (ADD), or pie, or my cat, or dog…I saw a rock, hi.” etc.

Then there’s the ‘Autism Warrior’ or ‘Autism Mom’ shirts that effectively ‘steal’ the child’s identity or story, and scream ‘Look at me! Aren’t I amazing! I am an AUTISM MOM!’

What about the one that says: ‘This is what autism looks like. Any questions, ask my Mom’. Cleverly combing the ‘kick me’ sign with the ‘self congratulatory’ element. As clearly, asking the child themselves wouldn’t work, would it – the Autism Mom in question can clearly talk for her child.

As soon as anyone starts following pages on Facebook relating to Autism, Asperger’s, Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) or any of the autism spectrum conditions, jolly old Facebook will find you a delightful selection of crass T-shirts to look at.

Less offensive than these ‘novelty’ T-shirts are the pin-badges that say things like “Hello! I have Autism. Please Have Patience.” These at least have a purpose; asking for tolerance in a more discreet way.

To conclude, there’s surely something a little odd about wanting to shout about a family member’s health issues. Would we for example wear a shirt extolling our own health challenges?

‘I’m a haemorrhoid warrior!’

‘I’m not limping, I have verrucas.’

‘This is what Athlete’s Foot looks like. Any questions, ask my daughter.’

The only way to stop the spread of these insidious ‘autism warrior’ style T-shirts is to NOT buy them. It’s really not big and it’s not clever!

A little disclaimer – here at Spectra.blog we don’t claim to be experts about Autism Spectrum Disorders; the information we post here is based purely on our own exposure and experiences.

‘Chris Packham: Asperger’s and Me’ – a brilliant and moving TV documentary showcasing life on the autistic spectrum

‘Chris Packham: Asperger’s and Me’ – a brilliant and moving TV documentary showcasing life on the autistic spectrum

In the UK we have been privileged to have been recently provided with an excellent autobiographical TV documentary by wildlife presenter and conservationist, Chris Packham.

“My name is Chris Packham. What you probably don’t know about me, because I’ve been hiding it most of my life, is that my brain is different than yours, because I’m autistic. I’ve spent 30 years on the telly, trying my best to act normal, when really I’m anything but,” he told us at the start of ‘Chris Packham: Asperger’s and Me’.

Chris was only relatively recently diagnosed with this type of autism, in the mid-2000s – (the TV show didn’t state it, however Asperger’s Syndrome as a ‘label’ is now more commonly diagnosed as ‘high functioning autism’) – and to UK audiences, the naturalist and Really Wild Show broadcaster has always simply seemed like a talented, enthusiastic and knowledgeable presenter. He’s known for his presenting quirks, but to viewers, few could have suspected that he is on the autistic spectrum!

The BBC TV show showed Chris researching TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) and ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis), both therapies aiming to improve the social behaviours of people with autism spectrum disorders. But, like many British people (where ABA is not widely used or advocated), the Springwatch presenter was uncomfortable with the latter treatment, saying: “I don’t like the idea of comparing autism to a cancer that requires a sort of educational chemotherapy.”

An interesting segment saw Chris at America’s California’s Silicon Valley, where he discovers that a large portion of ‘tech’ employees are on the autistic spectrum; Chris was in fact emphatic in his belief that many autism ‘aspects’ can be seen as a gift.

You can read a UK press review HERE on the Telegraph Online, and also at this site, where the question is asked by ‘inews’, Why force people with autism to adapt to society, when we can adapt society to include them?

The film has been very well received, and is a credit to Chris and the production team!

In addition we can recommend Chris’s book, ‘Fingers in the Sparkle Jar: A Memoir’, described as ‘A beautifully told, deeply personal growing-up memoir from the BBC presenter about life, death, love and nature.’

A little disclaimer – here at Spectra.blog we don’t claim to be experts about Autism Spectrum Disorders; the information we post here is based purely on our own exposure and experiences.

Could CranioSacral therapy improve meningeal lymphatic drainage and brain inflammation in autistic people?

Could CranioSacral therapy improve meningeal lymphatic drainage and brain inflammation in autistic people?

Has anyone spotted an interesting new paper published in the Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies this year? (2017)

Titled “The use of CranioSacral therapy for Autism Spectrum Disorders: Benefits from the viewpoints of parents, clients, and therapists,” the paper examines the efficacy of CranioSacral Therapy (CST) which ‘Mobilises restricted connective and meningeal tissues by following a progression that aims to identify structural restrictions.’ Apparently, ‘neurobehavioral dysfunction’ can (hypothetically!) lead to ‘the free movement of cerebral spinal fluid being impeded.’

The researchers state that post-mortem studies have shown evidence of ‘neuro-inflammation’ in people with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). This seems to indicate that experts in the field are working out if the brains of people with autism are naturally hyper-activated and inflamed.

Researchers have proposed that ‘meningeal lymphatic drainage deficits’ may occur due to inflammation in the brain of an autistic person – the study we mention here also cites the subject of toxins, stating ‘There is also a growing amount of research regarding the presence and levels of environmental toxicants in the bodies of people with ASD.’ CST has been successfully used on people with migraines, dementia and general ‘autonomic nervous activity’, so it is perhaps a natural step to see if it can aid the symptoms associated with autism.

The study in the Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies found the following improvements/findings in some of the people that took part in the study:

Anxiety and emotional stability

  1. “CranioSacral Therapy has an immediate calming effect on my child. He relaxes and lets go. He will often ask for a session if we forgotten to make an appointment. Monthly sessions seem to work best now.”
  2. “My son is very calm after each session. He is able to communicate where he wants his therapist to work.”
  3. “Able to calm self down faster than before.”
  4. “Calm and happy.”

Social changes

  1. “Eye contact, quality of social interactions.”
  2. “Moderate improvement: social communication.”
  3. “Eye contact and awareness of others around him; improved area.”

Sensory and language improvements were also noted.

The study concluded that ‘There is a definite requirement to find effective treatment for ASD and initial findings suggest that CST may be a viable alternative or as a compliment to traditional medical, psychological, and educational approaches.’

More research is surely imminent but it is interesting to read about the concept of autism being a kind of inflammatory state.

A little disclaimer – here at Spectra.blog we don’t claim to be experts about Autism Spectrum Disorders; the information we post here is based purely on our own exposure and experiences.

Reference for study – The use of CranioSacral therapy for Autism Spectrum Disorders: Benefits from the viewpoints of parents, clients, and therapists Susan Vaughan Kratz et al. Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies (2017) 21, 19e29.

 

 

 

David Mitchell’s book ‘Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight’, featured on Jeremy Vine Radio Show

David Mitchell’s book ‘Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight’, featured on Jeremy Vine Radio Show

The essence of the interview on  BBC Radio 2 was that autism is essentially a condition of COMMUNICATION, and that the person or child has difficulty ‘processing’ and ‘expressing’.

On the BBC’s website, David says: “Naoki Higashida is a young man who lives with his family in a small city outside Tokyo called Chiba. Like my own son, Naoki has non-verbal autism, and has never engaged in a spoken conversation longer than a handful of words in his life. Naoki displays many of the classic autistic “tics”: he vocalises looped thoughts in a high-pitched voice; repeatedly drums his fingers against hard surfaces – known as “stimming”; has a hard time concentrating; and occasionally endures meltdowns – loud, agitated, sobbing – caused by fixations that he knows are irrational even as he suffers them; for example, being unable to turn on all the taps in an airport bathroom. It’s full-on, relentless and sometimes dignity-shredding.” David’s book Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight was also Radio 4’s Book of the Week.

Naoki’s experiences are insightful and humbling, and we enjoyed David’s description of autism as ‘a communication disorder with sensory processing trimmings’.

Thanks Jeremy and the BBC for helping promote autism acceptance! We can’t wait to read David’s new book which is available via the link below.

A little disclaimer – here at Spectra.blog we don’t claim to be experts about Autism Spectrum Disorders; the information we post here is based purely on our own exposure and experiences.