Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Brilliance of Autism

Try to remember back when you were first getting the world in order in your mind. Remember how you learned to write, to draw, to read? Or how you got positional prepositions down?

Probably through watching someone and imitating them. You saw THEM put something in a box, you put it in a box. They showed you it, you did it. You saw them write the letter A and followed it up with a scribbly, freestyle impression of your own.

Now, what if you weren't able to imitate?

There's scientific evidence showing autistic kids have a problem in the 'mirror neuron' area of the brain. This area fires when watching someone do something, even if the something isn't actively imitated. But in autistic kids, it only fires IF they imitate it.

This is one reason autistic kids may not pick up on things that are second nature to others. How would you explain 'blue' to a blind person? They aren't able to implant that image in their brains. With autistic kids, things they may have absorbed through watching others doesn't set in. This also explains why so many autistics can't understand emotional expression - it doesn't connect with them, sliding through the brain.

Now, imagine putting together concepts like 'in', blue, the letter A and so many others simply by doing it yourself, not by getting it from your environment. For comparison, imagine putting together a computer from scratch with an instruction manual written in a language you don't understand and only a few pictures to guide you.

This also explains why the usual teaching methods have limited success with autistic kids. And why everything an autistic kid picks up should be impressive.

Monday, April 30, 2007

The Return of SNS!

Republicans Offer Bill to Add 11th Commandment to Original 10

Other Commandments to be considered as well

from Satire News Service

Today, the Republicans offered a bill to add Ronald Reagan's '11th Commandment' - "Thou Shalt Not Speak Ill Of a Fellow Republican" to all 10 Commandments icons in the United States today. "The time seemed right," stated sponsor Bill C.N'ohevil, "what with the Alberto Gonzales hearing and all. It appears some people need a reminder of how important it is. I'd like to see it everywhere, from schools to tattoos."

While the bill has little chance of passing, it has great support from the White House. Bush has pledged to use all of his remaining political capital to push the bill, already preparing a 'Snowflake' rally for the bill and giving speeches about how 9/11 fell on the 11th for a wake-up call. Bush's wholehearted support is expected to make one unnamed Democrat pause for exactly one second before voting against the bill, although political experts have stated should Bush edge up to a 35% approval rating that time may double.

Cheney's offer of a hunting expedition to raise awareness of the bill was turned down due to a shortage of bright orange, bulletproof hunter's vests.

"We, as a nation, have forgotten this critical enjoinment, and the effects are devastating," stated a press release from the RNC. "Remember, if you can't trust the Republicans not to let you slide, who can you trust?" The bill has also been praised by Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and the Fox News Channel as well, who formed the PAC 'Gipper's Rule - Our Utterly Precious Idea, Ever So'. The Republican GROUPIES plan to mention the bill every chance they get.

Should this bill capture the public's attention, N'ohevil has other add-ons ready to go. "I would like to see another one that mentions how important loyalty is over all - call it the Meirs Amendment. One that states thou shalt not trust the media unless it agrees with you. And of course one that states excess in the pursuit of ideology is a virtue, not a vice."

A random thought

I've seen some articles on teaching the Bible as a form of literature/history in public school classes; showing its effect on thought, writing, and so on. A Bible literacy class, where students learn about the Bible but don't worship it in the process.

Of course, some people get worried that the course will turn into a religious class, where Christianity is praised and urged on the kids, rather than the Bible being studied separately from religion. (Of course there are some people who protest the class b/c it isn't so proselytizing, but these people seem to get upset when math books don't say "2+2=4, because Jesus died for you," so onwards.)

While reading a story about this, I thought, "Why not just hire an atheist or an agnostic to teach the Bible literacy class?" It probably wouldn't be a cure-all. but they certainly wouldn't try to convert anyone to Christianity.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


An eloquent and heartbreaking truth.


Since I stopped blogging, Google came in and took over Blogger. Now that I'm back, I've been fiddling with their add-ons and stuff, and have added some new things. Hope you like them - any suggestions?

Yes, It's Me.

Almost a year, huh? My, you look good. Did you lose weight? Work out? You look better - been taking vitamins?

Me? What's been up with me? Why, how nice of you to ask. Would you like to take a seat, have a drink maybe?

Well, as I said way back when, I had a case of blogger burnout. I mean, come on, given some of the brain dead things going on out there in the swamp of politics, you think I had a lack of material? It just didn't seem important, or as I said way back before Hereos even premiered, I felt other people said it better. And all the other reasons back then were true as well.

But there was another reason, one that made the listed ones the thin layer of frosting on the cake.

My son was officially diagnosed autistic.

I'm not saying that's the only reason I stopped posting. We had suspected it for some time so the news wasn't out of a clear blue sky. But after that, quite often, blogging just didn't seem all too important.

He's high level, so we are very lucky there. The major issue we have is his lack of verbalness, since we often have to try and guess what he wants or needs and he can't tell us specifically how he feels, leading to many guesses about IF he's sick and HOW he's sick and HOW sick he is. There are other issues, of course, and I'll start posting about them as well in addition to my thoughts on all the other non important things. have you been?