Tag Archives: autism

No, I Don’t Laugh When You Make That Joke

I’m about to get really personal and really long, so if that’s going to make you uncomfortable or you aren’t interested in that, that’s cool, and I’d advise just navigating somewhere else for this one.

If you’re still with me, it’s either because you’re genuinely interested or because that sentence worked like a DO NOT PUSH THIS BIG RED BUTTON sign. I’m cool with that too.

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Now see, that’s quality humor right there.

LUL WELL MEMED

In the environment in which I play games, most notably World of Warcraft (obviously), but it extends to most games I play and most groups of people I play with, shit talking is the norm. Jokes are the norm. And I’m 100% okay with that. I have no problem taking it or dishing it out (yeeeeeeah see, the joke is RIGHT THERE, you’re welcome).

And we can get pretty crass pretty quickly. Not that I would ever…yeah okay, guilty as charged, whatever. 😉 I’ve heard things that would make my parents blush, and my dad’s former military so I know he and I could go toe-to-toe with stories (not that I ever would. Awkwaaaaaaaarrrrd).

But when you use the word “retarded” or when you make jokes about autism or anyone with a disability, really; I don’t laugh. And I’m never ever going to. 

Yeah, Okay, It’s Personal

15697952_10101280715333428_8192020663234473160_nTruthfully, I’ve never been comfortable with this, as far back as I can remember. But I’ll make no pretense of the fact that my son is autistic and that my daughter is also likely on the spectrum and that it weighs heavily on how I feel about the subject.

The thing is, to you it’s a joke. Someone does something weird or stupid and you ask, “Are you autistic?” Every time you say it, it stings. Every time you say it, I wince.

Because when I hear the word “autistic” and I look at my son , I see almost 9 years of love and struggle and understanding and amazement and wonder and joy. 

I remember the night I realized that the way he was acting had a reason. I remember worry and terror struck into me by certain organizations that use fear-mongering to capitalize off of parents and families of autistics.

I remember the first time he spoke a word in context (it was “go” and I cried for 10 minutes). The first time he responded to his name. I remember when I thought he’d never be able to blow a bubble or tell me he loved me.

And then I remember the moments he did those things. And the people who helped me see and remember that “autism” isn’t a scary word. It’s just a thing that some people have. It makes my son different, sure; but it doesn’t mean he’s stupid. It doesn’t mean he has to be limited in what he wants to achieve. It’s going to be a different path for him. And so far, the kid he’s becoming is amazing.

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This year is the first year he’s been in a standard classroom for some of his subjects, and he’s excelling. He’s smart, compassionate, sweet, and he’s developing a pretty hilarious sense of humor. I love all of him, even (and maybe sometimes especially) the “autistic” parts. You don’t know what joy is until you see him flapping his hands because he just can’t hold the happiness back.

Some things are hard. It’s difficult to see him frustrated or upset because he can’t communicate in the way he wants to. I know he does things sometimes and doesn’t know why he can’t control it, and I know that must be really frustrating for him. I can’t always fix those things, I can only be there to help him cope with it and find ways around it.

But that’s okay, cause he’s incredible and strong, and my heart still melts every night when he says, “I love you, Mom.” When I go afk in the raid with a “brb babies,” it’s because that’s a moment I refuse to miss, no matter what else is going on.

So yes. It’s very, very personal.

But What’s Bad About It? I’m Not Insulting Your Son

Except you are. And every other autistic. When you make “autistic” synonymous with “stupid” or “weird,” you’re creating a new label while simultaneously removing the importance of the actual meaning of the word.

“You just ran into that patch of fire on the ground, are you autistic?” Change the word “autistic” to “stupid” and the meaning of this sentence doesn’t change.

“Amber’s son is autistic.” Change it to “stupid” in that sentence. You’ve just insulted an 8-year-old kid. You’ve also minimized the fact that autism is a very real part of our life and a very pivotal part of who he is.

You are devaluingthe word. And that makes it a lot harder for our voices to be heard when we’re asking for things like acceptance and asking for people to remember to always presume competence.

 

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April is Autism Awareness Acceptance Month. Learn more about it here.

 

So Why Haven’t You Said Anything Before?

tenorOkay, let’s be real here for a minute, me and you. Let’s put ourselves in one of those situations. Let’s be halfway through a raid when you say “are you autistic?” and it starts a string of jokes about autism. Let’s jump right in to the times you’ve actually insulted me as a mother or my son as an autistic (cause it’s happened).

What would happen if I said something? What would happen if I told you in that moment that you were being offensive? That I didn’t think that was funny? What would reallyhappen?

Things would get weird, at best. Everyone would feel a little awkward. Or, at worst, you’d start to make fun of me for being sensitive. The new joke would be that I can’t take a joke. Maybe it wouldn’t be a joke, maybe it’d just be whispers between people about “Oh, don’t make an autism joke in front of Amber, she’s gonna get all mom about it.”

Not only would it not make a difference in how you think or behave, it would make the situation worse for me. So I sit and I listen and I wince and I’m sad that people I otherwise really, really like have this ugly thing that I have to put up with. 

This morning, when I dropped my son off at school, we did our routine. He gave me a hug, a kiss, and one forehead kiss. He said “Goodbye, Mom,” like he always does. He walked down the hall by himself and into his classroom. And every day I couldn’t be prouder.

When you say autistic, I see my son’s face, and it’s not stupid or weird. It’s wonderful.

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An Explanation, An Adjustment, and A Patch

An Explanation

How long has it been since my last blog post? A month, 2? I don’t even know without looking. The reasons are fairly straightforward: 1) I haven’t had anything to write about, and 2) I haven’t had time to write about nothing. That is, there’s nothing I felt led to write about when it concerns WoW (at least, nothing that would be appropriate in a public forum), and I haven’t had time to come up with neat in-between ideas.

Back in November, I let you have a peek inside my life away from WoW as I detailed the diagnosis experience of my autistic son. I mentioned in that post that he would begin receiving intensive therapy, and boy, has he ever! We are now in the midst of ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) Therapy at the hefty time block of 20 hours per week. It has been nothing short of absolutely wonderful for him (and me).

While I can’t always be in the room with him while he’s in therapy, I don’t feel comfortable devoting my full attention to blogging when I could be paying attention to what’s going on with him, and I don’t want to write crappy blogs, either (it’s okay if you think my usual posts are crappy, I won’t take it personally). Further, when therapy ends for the day and my son takes his nap, I’m itching to play, not write. Things are starting to get back to a more natural rhythm now that we’re getting used to our schedule changes, but I still haven’t had any in-game experiences that would prompt me to blog. That is not an invitation to drama, I swear.

Why do I feel like I just jinxed myself?

An Adjustment

Many of the people who read more than just N2B are familiar (enough) with my family either from spending time with me in-game or through Twitter. Particularly, many of you know my husband Ultraking. After a few days of thought and processing, he has decided to step down from raiding to spend more time with our children since he works so much right now. I am so proud of him for going with his gut on this.

I haven’t come to the same decision yet, and will continue to raid unless we decide that we can’t handle being a one-raider couple. It’s going to be an adjustment for both of us, but at least I have fewer people to roll against? (weak laughter).

A Patch

Hey! It’s Patch Day! I thought about writing about Patch 4.1 before we actually ran right into it, but the truth is, I’m not that shaken up by any of the changes.

He just heard about the nerf to Starsurge.

That’s not entirely true. The nerf to Starsurge made me weep big, drippy moonkin tears. I do know what it did in PvP (I think considering our survivability, more burst was a fair trade, but what do I know?), but I also know that a flat out nerf without a balancing buff seems a little harsh to those of us who are more concerned with killing bosses than players. I’m hoping that there are going to be tweaks coming as they see what happens now that it’s going live.

Other than that, everything else I either have neutral-ish feelings about, or I downright like them. I like idea of the new 5-man content, I think the change to ground AoE’s to be distinguishable between friendly and enemy players is a great idea, I am thrilled about being able to rez easily after someone has released (without using Mass Rez), and of course, the Stampeding Roar buff is going to make me recover from wipes a lot more easily (so I can forget to cast Mark that much sooner)!

The first thing I’m going to do when I log on? Probably jump in a group for the new 5-mans. Maybe consider trading in Justice Points for Honor (maybe not) or buying Maelstrom Crystals with them to improve some of my enchants. Troll land, here I come!

Something Completely Different

Congratulations to my guild, <Ephemera> of Durotan, for achieving Realm First! Guild Level 25. That was some serious heroic-running, the likes of which I have never seen; it was a total blast! Great job, guys!

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Behind the Chicken: IRL & the Battlechicken

Have you missed me so far this month while I’ve been pounding out my novel for National Novel Writing Month? (The only correct answer here is “of course!”) I’ve missed you too, if it makes you feel better.

I don’t often bring my personal life to WoW-related stuff (Twitter being a mild exception…), but in this case my personal life is likely to change the frequency and consistency of Tastes Like Battle Chicken, so I think it’s relevant.

Some of you know that I have two children: a girl in kindergarten and a 2 1/2-year-old son. Corny or not, they’re my little blessings; big things in small packages and all that.

Back in February of this year, our life changed dramatically when we stopped making excuses for our son’s developmental delays, talked to our family doctor, and hit up books and websites for information. It didn’t take us long to realize that our son identified with many of the characteristics of autism. Continue reading

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