Friday, 5 September 2014

This happens and the media just don't care

On the 17th August 2014 an 18 year old male with Asperger's, fell, broke his spine in four places, and will, as a result, never walk again.

You probably won't have heard about this in the media. It has hardly been mentioned. Not on social media forums, apart from ITV News on Facebook. It has hardly been mentioned on the national news.

He now will have to face and come to terms with a permanent and life changing, not to mention mentally and physically devastating disability, as well as his Asperger's, which presented challenges in its own right. This was compounded with society misunderstanding him, and ignorance and bigotry.

You might say that this is a tragic event or accident, and very sad for the young man, and his family, but, not really worth mentioning. Tragic and devastating accidents such as this do happen. There is one exception though. This wasn't an accident. It was caused because he was running away from bullies, whose hands Joshua had been suffering at for five years. Earlier this summer he refused to buy alcohol for local youths. For that, somebody jumped on his back, and started hitting him on the back of his head. Joshua retaliated and was charged for assault, making him scared to defend himself again.

South Wales Police said it dealt with three allegations of assault against Joshua between April 2011 and June 2014. This still happened. Such is life. Such is the law.

This incident has hardly been featured on the national news. No politicians or celebrities have spoke out against it. If they have, I haven't heard them. There's been no condemnation of it from Ed Miliband or David Cameron or Nick Clegg. There has been no national uproar or outrage. There have been no campaigns demanding that those responsible are brought to justice. Nobody has launched a "Justice for Josh" page on Facebook or Twitter. It hasn't made the front pages of hardly any national newspapers.

Yesterday an 82 year old woman was beheaded in a garden in North London. This was an horrific and barbaric murder. It also received gallons of media attention and publicity. Umpteen threads forums devoted and dedicated to it on social media. Pages and pages in the national newspapers. People demanding the shooting, hanging, and repatriation of all Muslims. It seems much of the public are enraged, just as they were, (rightly) over Lee Rigby's murder on 22nd May 2013, another horrible, brutal and savage crime.

The victim has been named as Palmira Silva. I send my condolences to Ms Silva's family. Her murderer, Muslim or not, is a brute, who has to be locked away for a very long time, if not for the rest of his natural life. If you can have such a disregard for human life, then you are a danger to the public and should not be mixing with them.

Why though, does one cruel and brutal crime receive wall to wall coverage and attention and the other almost indifference?

What has happened to Joshua is a hate crime, which is as much as a social evil as racism, but whilst the latter is now a stigma (Rightly so) in society, the former is hardly mentioned or recognised. If those responsible are caught, they should receive at least five years in prison, their parents should be prosecuted and they and their parents should pay for his care for the rest of his life.

If the media aren't talking about the beheading in North London, they are talking about the middle east situation, which was partly created by us invading Iraq illegally in 2003. Or they are talking about X-Factor and Big Brother.

It makes you want to weep.

I think a Facebook group should be set up in support and demanding the convictions of those responsible.

Imagine if they had done it to a black man or an OAP. Imagine the outrage that would be occurring instead of the almost indifference from the media and society we are currently getting.

Monday, 16 December 2013

The variations of being normal

People talk about "Normal" or why can't you be "Normal". For me that is a very subjective word. It also changes with time.

It is December 2013. In December 1913 if you committed child abuse or were a pedophile, the chances were you would almost certainly have got away with it, as that sort of thing was not discussed in society back then. Nowadays it is viewed with horror and if you commit either act you will be looking at a prison sentence and will have to be protected in prison to stop other inmates from getting at you.

If you were a homosexual back then and were caught in a relationship with another man, you would be sent to prison or at least to see a psychiatrist to be cured. As late as the early 70's homosexuality was seen as a mental illness. Nowadays the age for homosexual sex is the same as heterosexual sex in the Western World, and gay marriage is allowed. What was seen as odd in the past is seen as normal now. Abortion was banned until 1967. It is legalised now in the UK. Who would dream of banning abortion or criminalising homosexuality now or turning an eye to pedophilia?

The slave trade was once seen as normal and so was viewing the mentally ill as being possessed by the devil. Who believes either are now?

It changes where in the word you live. What is seen as "Normal" in one culture or in one part of the world isn't in another.

So what actually is this "Normal" that people talk about? Is it how you behave? How you dress? Your lifestyle? The music you like? Your political views? Your religious views? Your views on morality? Where you like to go for a holiday?

What can it be when it changes so much with time, geography, culture and interpretation?

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Thinking Outside The Box

In life, we all have our own strengths and talents, that's what makes us individuals. For me what is termed as intelligence can be measured in numerous ways: Academic, Linguistic, Numerical, Practical, Sporting, Emotional, Common Sense, Ability to make money, Cunning even. I find that the "Academic" curriculum, or education system in the UK or that style of learning suits people who think inside the box. There is a certain kind of free-thinker who prospers in education, but you can find that people with AS, Autism and ADHD/ADD, and Dyslexia have problems because they think outside the box. Some even throw the box away! Unfortunately in mainstream education unless you fit neatly into that box you're can be branded thick or be held back, which is not a good start to life for any young person. Sadly, as a result, and I am talking about NT people as well as non-NT people now, due to this they can develop and grow up with low self-esteem, which can get worse and worse as the years pass by.

I can find it difficult to follow instructions.. particularly when they are spoken, due to processing problems or misunderstanding what I am told or what the person speaking to me is trying to say. Sometimes instructions can be not very clear or long-winded, and by which time I lose interest or miss pieces out. Sometimes they can be vague. If someone shows me how to do something practically, it's much easier for me to do it. I seem to always do well on my own instructions and thinking but not always on other people's. When I am interested in something I hyper-focus and can read through it quickly and I understand things very fast. When I am not, I have to read, and re-read it so the information goes in, and that means writing it down as I read. I often become tired if I am not interested when trying to concentrate, because my brain is having to work twice hard to process information. Of course I can do it, but it is harder. I always seem to learn and do better in life with smaller groups of people around me. Like I have said before, I can function fine socially when I have to mix and converse with up to about eight people at once. When it starts getting more than that I struggle. In large groups I am often nervous and anxious.

Never make the mistake in thinking lack of academic success is due to low or lack of intelligence. It can be, but more often than not, there are plenty of reasons why it occurs, and low or lack of intelligence is rarely one of them.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Naturals and Strugglers See Different Things

How many times have you heard it said that someone is a natural at doing something? Be it playing football or learning to drive or drawing or photography or anything else. I am not sure I subscribe to the "Naturals" theory anyway. There have been plenty of people described as "Naturals" when learning to drive, particularly when at the ages of 17 or 18, and have passed their driving test first time, only to crash their car in the first fortnight and totally write it off, whereas many other people have passed third and fourth time, and have drove for many years without a point or ticket to their name, or without being involved in any kind of accident or incident, so you have to ask who is the natural?

Communication, interacting and socialising, along with reading other people and their body language and processing what they say, is second nature to the vast majority of people who are not on the Autistic Spectrum. You could say they are naturals at it and that it is as natural to them as blinking is to me. They probably don't even think about doing it. As a result, when it comes to socialising, communicating, interacting and processing spoken information, I will refer to those not on the Autistic Spectrum as "Naturals".

Yet most people on the Autistic Spectrum have to work very hard at doing it and are often worn out mentally and emotionally by having to do it, particularly if they have to do it for too long or if there are too many people around. I know I am.

I have a theory on why I can see through people or am rarely taken in by them, despite struggling in social situations or not being able to read them very well, whereas a lot of naturals in social situations often are taken in by unsavoury characters or dishonest people or can't see bad in others. Perhaps is because I am too busy focusing on them, and weighing them up, and not on the conversation, whereas a lot of naturals focus on the conversation. Eye contact, taking turns and body language come to them like blinking does to me. In situations such as that, I think to myself "He's alright. I don't like him, and I will work him out the next time I see him", and do you know what, I am very rarely wrong in my judgement or assessment of people... I don't know if it is a vibe I get or a hunch I have or intuition when I study them. I can't explain it, but I can explain that I am very rarely wrong in my judgement and assessments of other people.

I can only conclude that in social situations, people who are naturals and those who struggle see and process different things.

Monday, 4 February 2013

The Paradox of ASC's and NT's

I find it a paradox that most people on the spectrum don't like or are afraid of unfamiliar people and situations, and yet are often accepting of differences in people, whereas many NT's embrace change and unfamiliar people and situations, and yet are intolerant or hostile towards anything or anyone that is different!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

The extent people will go to be famous

Andy Warhol once said that everybody will be famous for 15 minutes. I don't quite agree with him but he has a point is that some people are famous and then fade away. For example, there are many rock stars or TV stars from the 1970's and 1980's, who are still alive and well, but you never hear about them nowadays in January 2013.. They don't make the news anymore and are more or less consigned to obscurity. Perhaps in some cases it is obscurity that is well deserved in some cases.

Does anybody remember Maureen Rees, that woman who took numerous attempts to pass her driving test? She was featured on a Reality TV show about 1997.. and for me, that programme triggered off the Reality TV crazy of the naughties and the tens. Of course there has always been Reality TV shows throughout the history of Television, but from about 1999 onwards there has been reality TV shows, after that, dominating our screens, on every Channel. Yet who hears about Maureen Rees nowadays? Or for that matter, many Pop Idol/X-factor winners or even notable contestants. Step forward Hearsay, Gareth Gates, Michelle McManus, Steve Brookstein and Shayne Ward. Do you see these people's faces plastered all over the national newspapers? Do you hear about them constantly on the national TV news?

The problem is with fame is that for some people it is never enough. Some seek it at any price. Like for example, those who go on the X-factor auditions early on, who have no discernible singing talent. Yet they still go on there to humiliate themselves on National TV, in front of millions of people watching. You must ask why on earth do they do it? Do they possess no shame or sense of self-worth? Are they so desperate that they will do anything to be recognised or noticed? I remember this bloke in his mid 70's went on.. with a white beard and white hair and recited a poem. I personally can't see the connection between that and musical or singing talent but there you go.

Occasionally people seeking fame, who aren't particularly talented, have gone onto make names for themselves. Jedward for example, have established themselves as a novelty act and I am sure they are now both millionaires. I think their music is hideous, but they have done well out of it so good luck to them. There was this guy who went on Holland's version of the X-factor who had no musical talent. I can't exactly remember what is name was but he was voted off early and yet made a minor name for himself as a novelty act and opened a few shops and supermarkets. And of course I remember from a long time back, Michael "Eddie the Eagle" Edwards, who came last at the February 1988 Calgary Olympics for Britain. Edwards became an international celebrity and appeared in talk shows all over the world. I remember him on Wogan all those years ago. Edwards appeared in a number of advertising campaigns, e.g. on television, promoting cars. He was able to command fees of £10,000 an hour, and again, good luck to him.

When you watch Snooker matches, people there seem to have a cough. Perhaps it must be a prerequisite to gain entrance to snooker matches that you have to have one. Whenever a player takes a shot, suddenly, everybody at once starts coughing!!! It seems that people are trying to get their cough on TV. When you watch football matches on TV as well, you see people waving at the TV cameras, or trying to get noticed.

Have you noticed with Songs of Praise it happens as well? On an average Sunday there will probably be about 6 people and a Dog in the Church. Then the TV cameras turn up and what happens? They are packed to the rafters.. even the Atheists turn up and start singing hymns just to get on TV... then the following week there are probably 6 people and a dog again in the same Church. And the regular congregation, the faithful who turn up every Sunday are shoved out of the way by the rest because the TV cameras are there.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

A fortune or property might not be the only thing they find

Has anybody seen that Heir Hunters programme on BBC1? If they look hard enough, finding heirs to fortune or property that has been left might not be the only thing the researchers come across if they search hard enough. It is formulaic that the deceased on the programme are loners or recluses who had hardly any friends, didn't bother with many of the neighbours, if any of them. In hindsight, from what we know nowadays, perhaps many of those who have died, who have been featured on the programme, were on the Spectrum and didn't know about it or were undiagnosed, or had at least psychiatric conditions or personality disorders which were undiagnosed? Watching that programme has made me realise that is actually a job I feel I would be good at. In fact I would be good at being both a recluse and heir hunter! I only accidentally came across my talent for research when I did my 95 year old Grandmothers family tree between March 2010 and March 2011.