About Stuart Duncan

My name is Stuart Duncan, creator of http://www.stuartduncan.name. My oldest son (Cameron) has Autism while my younger son (Tyler) does not. I am a work from home web developer with a background in radio. I do my very best to stay educated and do what ever is necessary to ensure my children have the tools they need to thrive. I share my stories and experiences in an effort to further grow and strengthen the online Autism community and to promote Autism Understanding and Acceptance.
Author Archive | Stuart Duncan

PETA STFU ASAP – signed, the autism community

PETA has unveiled a new ad campaign that aims to turn people to the vegan side. Now, there’s nothing wrong with deciding to become a vegan. But creating an ad campaign to scare people with the dreaded “autism disease” to do it?

That’s beyond disgusting.

Their article, along with a billboard image that they’ll be using, is shown below:

http://www.peta.org/features/got-autism-learn-link-dairy-products-disease/got-autism-billboard

 

 

 

 

 

Allow me to respond to various points in this “article”, point by point.

1. “Got Autism?”

Really?!?!? I mean, sure, it’s clever… “Got Milk?” turned to “Got Autism?” as if one leads to the other. But it’s not clever. It’s rude, dehumanizing, insulting and just plain evil of you. Clearly you’ve never met an autistic. Plus there’s also that minor detail about it being wrong, or very likely wrong, as we’ll cover again in a moment.

2. disease???

Have you ever even heard of autism before writing this? Did you do any research at all before writing this or are you just spouting points you found on the internet somewhere? Are you aware there even is a difference between a disorder and a disease?

3. “More research is needed”

Well hell, start stringing up your “Got Autism?” billboards before that happens!!! Spend money before someone proves you wrong!

4. “The reason why dairy foods may worsen or even cause autism is being debated.”

So write about your stance on it immediately!! Don’t waste time on who’s right and who’s wrong when there’s vegans to be had.

5. “The Internet contains numerous heart-wrenching stories”

Well, I’ll give you this one. It’s true, anecdotes are proof enough for most people. Just ask Jenny McCarthy’s anti-vaccine fans.

6. “Anyone who wants to alleviate or avoid the devastating effects of autism should give cow’s milk the boot and switch to healthy vegan alternatives instead.”

Oh thank you!! Let me get my check book! Thank you so much for solving all of the world’s problems!!

 

Go home PETA, you’re drunk.

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To the autism moms for Mother’s Day 2014

When the “experts” say “some children just talk later than others”, you are the one that insists there’s more and gets it right.

When other people see something “strange” in your child, you see something special.

When the “know it all” posse questions your every decision, you stand strong.

When your child falls down, you teach them how to get back up.

When your child struggles to learn, you find new ways to teach.

When others call it a temper tantrum, you know your child is actually in pain.

When others say your child needs a firm hand, you offer a calm voice.

When bullies try to knock your child down, you are the one to lift them up.

When depression tries to steal your child’s self esteem, you reinforce it.

When the school tries to force your child into a standard mold, you shatter that mold.

When your child’s heart is broken, you are the glue that puts it back together.

When your child moves out to be on their own, you are the one that prepares them.

When your child has a set back, you get behind them and push them forward.

When your child needs you, you drop everything to be there.

When others see the rain, you see the rainbow.

To the single fathers, the legal guardians, the kind souls that see all children equally and of course, to the mothers… Happy Mother’s Day.

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I asked the Minecraft community to help stop bullying and this happened

Back at the end of March, I wrote a post asking the Minecraft community for help on autism awareness day to help end the bullying. That post was picked up over at Reddit and people shared it further.

Over the course of April 2nd and beyond, I found a bunch of videos from YouTubers talking about bullying and even sharing their own stories and experiences!

I can only share the bunch that I had come across and I’m sure there’s even more out there that I don’t yet know about but I felt that these people deserve the extra views, a thumbs up and if you can, even a quick click on their subscribe button.

I don’t expect that you’ll watch them all but hopefully at least one or two because these people deserve the recognition for taking the time and making the effort to help stop bullying.


(https://www.youtube.com/user/TLCheeto)


(https://www.youtube.com/user/MCsoapthgr8)


(https://www.youtube.com/user/Greatlando)


(https://www.youtube.com/user/MrPop2213)


(https://www.youtube.com/user/TillDeathOrRespawn)


(https://www.youtube.com/user/2girls1minecraft)


(https://www.youtube.com/user/ItsStrapz)


(https://www.youtube.com/user/akirbs80)


(https://www.youtube.com/user/DevertonJuntion12)

To all that shared links, to those that made their own statements, to those that made videos like these and to anyone that stands up to bullies whether they are bullied or witness someone else being bullied…

Thank you.

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This is what happens when the Minecraft community accepts the challenge – autism, bullying

Hi, I’m AutismFather. Well, that’s what I’m known as in Minecraft. I recently created a Minecraft server for children with autism and their families. Due to its crazy success and the incredible amount of stories from those children about how often they’re bullied, not just in real life but on other Minecraft servers, I put out a challenge to the Minecraft community to speak up and take a stand against bullying on April 2nd, Autism Awareness Day.

Most people seem to believe bullying can’t be stopped and that it’s just a regular part of growing up or that it’s so common place now that it’s a normal part of life. So I figured people would think it’s nice that I want to try and stop it but that it’s really quite pointless.

To be honest, I thought that my plea for help would go largely ignored.

I was wrong.

Support

Support on Twitter

Support on Twitter

Twitter lit up, sharing my blog post and retweeting it far more than I ever expected and then a couple days later, I discovered that it was shared to reddit. I thought to myself that, knowing reddit, I should just not even click because reading the comments there often upsets me. But I was getting a lot of clicks, so I checked it out. To my surprise, it had received over 1200 “up votes” and 200 comments and almost the entirety of it was in support of what I was doing. People opened up about their own experiences with bullying and people were vowing to pitch in and help out. It was awesome!

People told me that bullies would never stop bullying just because I or anyone else asks them too and then I discovered discussions such as this one: http://forum.minecraftpvp.com/t/minecraft-and-autism/46082

Videos are already starting to appear:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCWH4jRRaJw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vp3I9yL6lpM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUEekNgbfMs#t=175
(Please give them a thumbs up and/or comment to show support. They’re pretty awesome to do this.)

The Marathon

Created by LapisLauri

Created by LapisLauri

One Saturday, March 29th, 14 different live streaming Minecraft players got together and filled over 12 hours of consistent live video to help support my server (Autcraft) by raising money and also awareness of not just the server but autism in general as well as bullying.

The campaign raised $800 in total for the server but more importantly, got people talking. During several live streams, I joined in to discuss what autism is, why autistics are targeted often by bullies and some of the things to be aware of when you see an autistic on a server, especially if you see them being bullied.

This spurred on more conversations both in the chats of those streams and on forums and twitter (that I saw). It was extremely encouraging to see and be a part of.

Some live stream entertainers went the extra mile, setting benchmarks along the way as AudioModdified danced for the entire “What Does the Fox Say?” song, Tewkesape did 20 sit-ups at one milestone and then “twerked” (or tried to) at another and finally, HypeGameboy shaved his head on camera for all to see when we reached $700.

So I have to include a huge thank you to those that dedicated their time and support in this: Wout12345MKtheWorstKohdWingWynAudioModdifiedHardingboyz, Hype, Pantertainment, Tewkesape, Braveheart1234TheQxQ, ClasslessDeadra, Glis6Jarren and OneWolfe.

An even bigger thanks to Graphoniac who came up with the idea and organized the whole thing. This was a huge undertaking that I, personally, will never ever forget and just can’t thank her enough for.

And the biggest thanks goes to those that donated, participated and showed your support. If you listened to any of it, you took the time to just find out what I am all about or what I’m doing, I just can’t thank you enough.

What now?

Well, the money from the marathon is already set and ready to go towards new servers. Our server has some very unique challenges in that survival servers were never really meant to be networked together the way minigame servers are. So we have to solve many problems, have all new plugins developed and most of all, get even more servers. Growing to 3800 people on the whitelist in 9 months has not been cheap and so the money raised is just an incredible life saver for me.

We’re going to continue to be there for these children and their families. We’re going to be there for as long and as many that need us.

And for the fight against bullying in the Minecraft community? Well, this blog post continues to build upon that. I’ve written 2 rather dark posts to help show just how bad the problem really is.

This post, I hope, both counters and adds to those posts by proving that the Minecraft community will not sit idly by and let this happen. Whether people think that bullying is normal in schools or on the Internet or anywhere else, clearly the Minecraft community refuses to accept that it should have any presence on our servers.

This is very encouraging to me. I hope it’s encouraging to you as well.

Help Stop Bullying

Help Stop Bullying

Please, don’t sit back and hope that others will speak up so that you don’t have to. Record a video, write an article, tweet it, share it, get on a server to talk about it… what ever you need to do whether your audience is 10 or 10,000, please don’t ever think that you’re not important enough to make a very real difference and a very real positive change.

This post should prove to you that bullies can change, people will stand up and support you and that lives can be saved. All you need is a keyboard and the passion to see it through.

By doing this on April 2nd, you won’t just be supporting me. Not anymore. You’ll be joining us. All of us. The Minecraft community and the autism community and everyone that has decided that it’s not ok and that it’s time for the bullying to stop.

I’ve always been proud to be a part of the Minecraft community but now I have a whole other level of respect and admiration for this great group of people. We still have a few days to go until April 2nd and already I am seeing changes being made and lives being affected. That’s a very powerful thing.

Big things are happening and I would love for you to be a part of it.

Thank you for your support.

Stuart (aka AutismFather)

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What if I fail even just one time – on Minecraft, autism, bullying and suicide

I wrote recently, a plea to the Minecraft community from the autism community for help on April 2nd because I had received not one but two messages from children that were ready to take that final action, suicide. They’re both great kids but their lives are plagued by bullies. It affected me, I became emotional and that post was the result.

bullying - suicide

Click for full size

Monday morning, the start of a brand new week and first thing in the morning, another child was on the server, demolishing his buildings, giving away all his belongings and talking of committing suicide. The difference this time being that he refused to talk to me in private. 3 hours of talking to him and working with him and eventually he was building again and feeling better again… and it was all made public for the whole server to see.

On average, using my best math and recollection, I’ve had a conversation like this with a child at least once a week since I started the server just about 9 months ago. This is the first time that it’s been in front of everyone.

Perhaps it’s because it was public that, for the first time, I started to ask myself, what if I fail? Even just one time… what if I can’t help? Maybe I already have and just never got word about it. But what if I do fail and I do get an email. What then? What will I feel? How will I react? What will I do?

I’ll be honest, a million answers run through my mind and the majority of them are not good. But I feel that I can’t honestly even pretend to know. If 2 great kids coming to me in one week can catch me off guard the way it did, then getting such terrible news could only be worse, right?

The more I think about it though, the more I realize that there’s only two things I know for certain.

1. In 9 months, 3700 people with autism have joined my server. 3700 children that are bullied on every other server they try. There should not be 3700 in total much less that many in 9 months. And my server has only been spread by word of mouth. These numbers should be alarming to you.

2. I am going to fail eventually. Even the best, most well trained professionals can’t save every person that has reached that level of desperation. Me? Well, I’m not trained and I’m certainly not a professional. The law of averages is working against me in this case as the reality of it is, I can only keep doing this for so long before I find myself facing down a parent’s last email to me.

I can’t even begin to tell you how terrifying that is to me.

It’s time to get proactive.

Instead of sitting back and waiting for that to happen I’m going to try my best to motivate enough people into taking action on this.

What I need is to reach as many Minecraft players as I can. Whether you make videos, live stream or just play on servers with others to please speak up on April 2nd, Autism Awareness Day and tell the world that you are taking a stand against bullying.

Then, every day after, when you see someone being treated unfairly, rudely, brutally or in any other manner that resembles a form of bullying, don’t just turn away… please, say something.

Let those bullies know that you are not ok with how they are treating others and that it’s not going to be tolerated any more.

Don’t just do this because it’s the nice thing to do and certainly don’t do it as a favor to me… do it for those children that should never even be thinking these terrible thoughts much less ending their own lives before they ever had a chance to really truly live them.

Bullying doesn’t just target autistics, that’s true, but autistics get it far worse. As we all know, bullies prey on those that are different somehow and being different pretty much defines the autistic experience. This is why this is my focus and this is why I encourage you to speak out collectively on Autism Awareness Day but the truth is that this is for everyone that has ever been bullied everywhere.

By doing this, by speaking up even just one time, you could be saving someone’s life. All they need to know is that someone cares and that there’s more to life than just the bullies.

Please spread the word. Please help.

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