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Sometimes the HuffPo gets it almost right

25 Oct

Regular readers will know of my concern regarding the HuffingtonPost and its clear antivax agenda. Kim Stagliano, David Kirby and (I think) Barbara Loe Fischer post there and whilst I don’t believe David has an antivax belief, I do think he is unfortunately promoting unfounded statements that feed antivax talking points (eg the claim HHS conceded vaccines caused Hannah Polings autism).

However, I was really pleased to see a post today in my Google Alerts from HuffPo that got it 95% right. Before I say why I have to clarify once again my position as a UK citizen and therefore my belief that I really shouldn’t take a position on the upcoming US elections. However, thats becoming increasingly difficult to do as I read such monumentally stupid things from McCain as:

[Sarah Palin knows]…more about autism then anyone I know…

Which I take to mean that the only person he knows with a connection to autism is Sarah Palin. Also his confused and pretty desperate looking pandering to the antivax crowd is downright annoying. But anyway.

The HuffPo post I’m referring to is Obama and autism by Elaine Hall. She describes:

Neal is my resident expert on autism. Now 14 years old, Neal was adopted from a Russian Orphanage at 23 months, and diagnosed with severe autism at age 3 . Neal is non verbal (or as we prefer to refer to him “a man of few words”) so when he speaks his truth through typing – WE LISTEN.

Me like.

Last January at one of his sessions with Darlene she asked, “”So, Neal, what have you been thinking about lately?”

“The Elections,” he typed on his Alpha Smart keyboard.

“What about the elections?” asked Darlene.

“I’m for Obama, he typed.”

“Obama? Why?”

“Obama is for Autism, ” he finished.

That evening my husband and I Googled Obama and Autism. And there it was, pages and pages from people with autism. Supporting Obama.

Me like even more.

This tells me a number of things. First it tells me that Elaine Hall and her partner are smart enough to see their autistic son as the resident autism expert. What a refreshing attitude. Second it tells me that when their expert speaks – THEY LISTEN. Also a refreshing attitude. Thirdly it tells me that someone being non-verbal does not mean they cannot communicate. I can think of more than a few people who read this blog who need that lesson drummed into their heads. Fourthly, it tells me that autistic people by and large support Obama. This means (for whatever the opinion of a non-voting Brit is worth) that I’m for Obama too.

Now, I said at the start of this piece that HuffPo only got it 95% right. They would’ve got it 100% right if they’d let Neal do the typing. However, he is only 14 and maybe thats why he’s not contributing publicly just yet. For now, I’m more than happy to read Elaine Hall’s words. This is from the front page of her website The Miracle Project:

The Miracle Project is a theatre and film arts program for children with special needs and their typically developing siblings and peers. Our mission is to provide a loving, accepting nurturing environment which celebrates and honors the unique and often unrecognized talents of these young people by guiding them through creative workshops and artistic programs.

Thank you Elaine Hall and thank you Neal. I’ll be looking out for more from both of you.


15 Oct

I was motivated.
And I was creative. I was in a process of creating a world record.
My Creativity had nothing to do with aesthetic taste that expects an applause or get some kind of price tag attached to it.
My creativity was provoking much stir and turbulence rocking all the boats that came in my way. I was taking big steps.
I was taking big steps as I was trying to test how far my longest footstep would and could reach. My footsteps were breaking their own created record that they made just moments ago. It was not my concern where I was breaking my record and creating a new one. I was in the middle of my classroom and I was supposed to complete some work sheet that was lying on the table like an anchored boat in the midst of a very turbulent sea. Creativity can happen anywhere.
I was that hurricane tossing those dolphins up and down the air to sea and back to air again right under the suspicious gaze of the whales.’All will get a chance.’
I was walking through the class around those desks and chairs, knees and elbows measuring my footsteops breaking record after record.
“Can someone please stop Tito?” Who knows whose voice it was!
Wasn’t that unjust? I have seen all kinds of world records getting created. Longest nail, longest mustache, longest stare, longest time under water and longest time hanging upside down. Creative people fill the wonderful world with all kinds of presentations that are displayed in world record books.
Just because I was in a classroom did not mean someone should stop me from being creative.
Someone did stop me.
So I had to postpone my world record for a new moment. I came back to the anchored boat. The whales could have their time later.

Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay