Tag Archives | communication

No one is less important than you – vlog video featuring Minecraft

In this video, I discuss our perceptions and assumptions of people that either can not speak or speak in a way that seems younger or less intelligent than we might think they should.

Comments { 0 }

I think I speak for everyone when I say that I speak only for myself

If you read blog posts or news articles or random bits and pieces of things from people, do you honestly assume that the person is speaking on behalf of all those within their community? How about the world?

Chances are you haven’t really put much thought into it at all. You just read what someone says and go about your day. As it should be.

A funny thing happens though, when you are one of the people writing some of the same (or similar) things that other people are writing… you start getting defensive. As if somehow, in some way, those other writers are writing on your behalf and they’re not getting your message right at all.

It all starts to spiral quickly once one person starts naming another person and it gets ugly fast.

But for the most part, I think anyway, most readers don’t care about any of that and most never assume that one person’s writing is indicative of the way everyone thinks or what their experiences have been. I’m not saying they definitely know better and always think that each story is unique but rather that most people don’t even think about it at all.

Most people enjoy what a writer says and comes back to read more another time or moves on to the next thing they read or they go back to stopping their kids from fighting.

I think I speak for everyone when I say that I speak only for myselfIf you’re a writer/reader, try not to take it so personally when someone’s opinion is different from your own or if they’ve had conflicting experiences from your own. If it does seem that some other writer is attempting to speak for you, let it slide. You know they don’t. The reader knows they can’t.

If you’re a reader and not a writer and you’ve never really given it much thought, let me put your mind at ease right now. What I write, no matter what it is, is based on my own opinions and experiences and I speak for no one else but myself.

And if you read something from someone that does claim to be speaking on behalf of others, keep in mind that they can’t possibly do that. Don’t get mad at them, but just keep it in mind as you read. Their experiences and opinions are valid too, even if they do have an enlarged ego.

Sometimes they might even have facts and figures to back up what they say with such claims as “the majority of” and so forth. If you think about it… “most” people still isn’t everyone. Meaning, they still can’t speak for everyone.

Most of all, if you do see a writer naming another writer to discredit them or make an argument, keep an open mind that these are two passionate people, both with valid yet conflicting opinions. And try to filter out the ugliness as best you can. Chances are, they’re both not wrong. They just might not be able to see that at the time.

You really can believe everything you read, if you remember to keep in mind the source. They are human too. They are just one person and that’s all that they can speak for.

Comments { 4 }

Conversations within the autism community



Before I begin, you should know that I’ve altered these to be a bit more… generic. As in, not specific.

Also, I recognize that these types of conversations happen in any community and basically in general on the internet but this is an autism blog and thus, it’s my topic “du jour”.

But if you’ve been a part of the autism community for any decent length of time or even just been on the internet for more than say… 5 minutes, chances are you might recognize some of these.

Be sure to let me know which conversations seem most familiar to you in the comments.


Reading Comprehension

Person 1: Would you like to go for a drink after the movie?
Person 2: I’m not hungry.
Person 1: I didn’t say food, I said a drink.
Person 2: Listen, I don’t even like steak so just stop.
Person 1: What? When did I say steak would be involved?
Person 2: Great, now you’re talking in circles. You don’t even know what you’re saying. Man you’re stupid! This conversation is over. I’m out.
Person 3: What just happened?
Person 1: I have no idea.


Person 1: Hockey looks like fun. It’s fast paced and full of action. It’s a lovely sport.
Person 2: So you’re saying that baseball is a terrible sport, is that it? You prefer hockey over baseball??
Person 1: No, I didn’t say that. I didn’t even mention baseball.
Person 2: I can’t believe that you hate baseball!! It’s a perfectly great game and you have to come and rain all over it.
Person 1: I don’t hate baseball. I was just commenting about hockey, that’s all.
Person 2: People who hate baseball shouldn’t even be on the internet. I hope you die.


Person 1: They really should try to put a stop to the fighting in hockey.
Person 2: So what, you think it’s ok to fight in baseball?? All the players rushing the field and hurting each other is suddenly fine with you?
Person 1: What?? No. I don’t think fighting is ok in baseball either.
Person 2: Well that’s what you’re saying. Suddenly fighting in hockey is bad but all this time, you never said a word about the fighting in baseball so obviously you condone it!
Person 1: That is some twisted logic you’ve got going on right there.
Person 2: You’re the one who’s twisted. I can’t believe you actually think it’s fine for there to be all kinds of fighting in baseball but when hockey does it, it’s all rules and regulations with you.
Person 1: Wait, what?? I didn’t say any of what you just said.
Person 2: I’m going to go tell everyone what a bigot you are… how you want there to be more fighting in baseball but none in hockey. God I hope everyone learns to hate you as much as I do.


Person 1: This ice cream sure is cold!
Person 2: So you’re saying that it’s too cold to eat? It’s not that cold, you know.
Person 1: No, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m just saying it’s cold. You know, like, I might get brain freeze if I eat it too fast.
Person 2: That’s like saying that a steak is so hot that you might get heart burn. You know you can’t get heart burn from something that’s too hot right. You do have an IQ high enough for that, right?
Person 1: No, it’s not like saying that and yes I do know that. What does my IQ have to do with it?
Person 2: So what, now you question my intelligence? That’s like saying I didn’t even go to high school. I’ll have you know I went to college and was on the honor roll! You probably didn’t even finish elementary.
Person 1: Wait, what? Of course I did. I finished college too. I don’t understand what our IQ has to do with the temperature of ice cream.
Person 2: I knew it, you’re a moron. I can’t talk with someone so stupid.


Person 1: Science is better.
Person 2: No, religion is better.
Person 1: No, science is better.
Person 2: No, religion is better!
Person 1: Listen, religion is all nice with it’s fluffy clouds but science is based on facts.
Person 2: Ah, Fluffy!! How dare you remind me of my childhood hamster!!
Person 1: What? What does your hamster have to do with this?
Person 2: You’re the one who brought it up. And you keep mentioning it!! Don’t you know I was horribly traumatized by the stench of my uncle farting on it and killing it?? It was death by gas cloud man!!
Person 1: Ooooo…. k. Well, I’m sorry I brought up Fluffy.
Person 2: You keep saying his name!! Are you intentionally trying to hurt me!! Is this how you win an argument??? You’re so cruel!!!
Person 1: Wait… what? I just said I was I sorry.
Person 2: You’re a vile and evil person.
Person 1: Ok… well, anyway… back to science vs religion…
Person 2: You don’t even care!! You jab a knife into my gut and then just go on like nothing happened!! Is this how you’re mother raised you!?!?
Person 1: Look, I said I’m sorry about the Fluffy thing. Let’s move on.
Person 2: You’re still talking about it!!! I can’t believe you keep saying his name when you know how much it hurts me!! I’m like, unable to stay seated in my chair right now because I’m just so furious!!
Person 1: I am very sorry that you’re so mad, I’m sorry for what ever I said… can we get back to the topic at hand?
Person 2: Oh no, I’m not leaving until this is resolved. You are going straight to hell and I’m going to see to it that I’m driving the bus mister!!
Person 1: Ok well, this really isn’t going anywhere productive for me so I’m going to go now.
Person 3: What happened here?
Person 2: Religion totally won that argument.


Person 1: Aww…. my baby just sneezed.


Sound familiar to you? Have any to add?

Leave me a comment below!

Comments { 23 }

Everyone has their own heart song

happy feet - mumbleIn 2006, a cute little movie came out that spawned a lot of fascination towards penguins. Granted, not many other movies or documentaries featured them singing and/or dancing. Still, Happy Feet went on to have enough success as to earn a sequel.

Since we haven’t watched it in my house in a while, I thought I’d put it on again for my boys, who are now 7 (Cameron) and just about to turn 5 (Tyler).

Right at the beginning of the movie, when little Mumble (the star of the show) is born, he starts to dance. He says he doesn’t know what he’s doing, he just can’t stop. His feet are happy.

This amuses my boys to no end and they get up and start dancing… er… well, what they call dancing. I’m sure my neighbor downstairs didn’t think it was dancing.

The movie very quickly went from happy to sad though, as all the other children began to sing, quite beautifully, while poor Mumble sounded terrible.

As Mumble failed and failed again to sing, his parents had this conversation:

Dad: It just ain’t penguin, ok?
Mom: So what if he’s a little different? I’ve always kinda liked different.
Dad: He’s not different. He’s a regular emperor penguin!

Are you starting to see why this movie is the subject of a blog post on an autism blog?

So while I sat there, watching this movie and thinking how familiar it all sounds and feels, it hit full force as the very last lines were narrated to close out the scene of Mumble’s childhood:

Pay no mind to his dancing heart. The kid saw out his school days at the back of the class, lost in his imaginings.
What fabulous worlds lay out there, far beyond the ice?
Was there any place where one small penguin without a heart song could ever truly belong?

It was at this point when Cameron looked at me, quite seriously, and said “He’s sad because he doesn’t have a heart song, right?”

What do you say to a child when you know that he’s asking because he feels like he is that penguin? Does he feel like that penguin? Has he drawn the same similarities I have? Is he really even following along that closely? Maybe he’s just curious like any other child would be? Am I the one that is putting too much of our life into what I’m seeing in this movie?

This is what I told him:

Cameron, he does have a heart song. Everyone has a heart song. A heart song is something in your heart that only you can hear. Those penguins, when they hear it, they’re able to get it out and express it through singing. That’s how they share their heart song with the world.

But little Mumble, he’s not able to sing. For what ever reason, he just can’t. And so his heart song comes out another way, through his feet. He dances. And he dances better than anyone else.

When you hear the music in the movie, but don’t see anyone around playing the music on guitars or drums, what you’re actually hearing is the heart song in that penguin’s heart. So when he’s dancing, he’s dancing to his heart song.

At this point, Cameron asked about us. “Do people have heart songs?”

I explained:

Yes, sort of. But it’s not always music. Some people are really good at drawing, cooking, running really fast, playing video games… we all have something that we love to do and we are very good at it.

That’s our heart song.

If someone really loves music and is really good at it, then perhaps they really do have a heart song. But if someone really loves riding horses and is really good at it, then that is their heart song… only it’s not exactly a song.

We all have one. No matter how different we may think we are or how much anyone else thinks we are, we each have a heart song. And it doesn’t matter if it comes out through our feet and people think it’s weird, so long as it comes out.

Because our heart song is important.

Sure enough, later in the movie, as Mumble ventured out and eventually found the aliens (humans), he failed at being able to communicate with them… that is, until he danced.

So I told Cameron “look, he can communicate with them now.”

Cameron looked at me and asked “What does “communicate” mean?”

Again, I explained to him:

Well, communicating is the way in which we tell each other something. Like, me talking to you. But it’s not always talking. Like, when you see a smile, you know someone’s happy. Or you see someone crying, you know they’re sad. They are “communicating” that to you.

In this case, Mumble was talking but those people don’t understand Penguin talk, so they weren’t communicating very well. They didn’t understand each other. But once Mumble started to dance, and the people all gathered round, they were communicating.

At which point Cameron asked: “So his heart song is how he communicates?”

Yes!! He gets it!

And sure enough, as the movie played on and the humans followed him back to the penguin home land and they all started to dance, he started to see how that one little dancing penguin wasn’t so “different” after all. That what made him different made him very special.

If it wasn’t for his dancing, he never would have found the humans, or communicated with them, and they would have ran out of food.

So no matter how different or weird or “not penguin” it is to find your heart song and to let it out, you have to do it anyway.

We all have one. And it’s special.

It needs to be shared with the world.

Comments { 5 }

Visiting family – One year later

We made the decision to move pretty far away from my family before Cameron was old enough to start school, in an effort to get him into a school that would suit his needs rather than force him to conform to the needs of a school around here.

It was a big move as it meant separating my children, and myself, from my family. It’s an 8 hour drive so it’s not so far that we never see them but it’s far enough. Plus with extreme weather conditions where we moved, we basically only get to see my family once a year.

A year isn’t really much to me or my aunts, uncles or my mom… because we’re all adults. But to a child that is only 6, or 4, as is the case with Cameron’s little brother Tyler, a year can make a huge difference.

There’s extra inches, there’s maturity in their face, a wider vocabulary, a better sense of humour and in the case of a child with autism, like Cameron, there’s progress.

Yes, Cameron is taller and smarter now but it’s the fact that he’s willing to actually talk to people that really shocked my family. Not just talk but have real conversations.

That’s thanks to the hard work of his great teachers at the school, his therapist, our own hard work at home and of course, Cameron’s very hard work to be willing to put in the effort to try. If he didn’t want to, and I’m sure a big part of him did, he could have just shy’d away and refused to talk to them. But he didn’t, at least, most of the time anyway.

More so than that was his need to get changed in the bathrooms, not wanting anyone to see him naked. At 6, this probably should have happened earlier but as a child with autism that is not overly fond of wearing clothes as it is… it’s really a very big deal.

It’s very gratifying, as selfish as that is, because it justifies, at least to me, our decision to take our family so far away. And my family sees that and understands our decision. They understand why it is that they now only see us all once a year. I mean, they understood the decision when we made it but now we have results.

And I’m proud too. Not of my decision or of myself but I’m proud of my son. I’m proud of Cameron for making that effort to talk to people and even play with them sometimes. To get off the couch and go outside to play with the other kids a couple of times.

I’m proud of him for making so much great progress so that when we do see my family, he can impress and even amaze them.

Not every parent is able to pick up and move and certainly, not every parent sees these kinds of results from year to year… so I’m so much more grateful than any words I write here could convey.

Comments { 1 }