Can an Autistic Person Change a Tire?

Why, yes, Karen, they can. While it’s not necessary for an autistic person to prove themselves this way, it’s a good skill to know.

I did not know if I could change a tire without help. Sure, I would start, but somebody (usually a man) would always help. While I appreciate the chivalry, it does not help in the knowledge department. Anyway, as of 6:15 this evening, I learned I could. From fixing the jack (took 2 tries), unscrewing the lug nuts, taking off the flat tire, putting the spare tire on, and reapplying the lug nuts… it was not too hard.  

You want to know what the hardest part was? Not the lug nuts. It was aligning the spare on the axle. But of course, it was getting dark, so maybe it is usually not as hard as it would have been in the daytime.  

Sometimes you’ve got to toot your own horn.

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Weighted Blankets at Target: Is it Cultural Appropriation???

I recently came across an argument – people getting weighted blankets to help them with sleep was a form of cultural appropriation. I was wondering: is this true?

I’ve never really considered this argument. But you can make a case for both sides.

First, that weighted blankets at Target is disability cultural appropriation. I can see the argument simply because disability aids and fidget toys, such as fidget spinners, became a fad. (Remember those? I still have mine.) They only became popular when abled people took them up. You could make the case for weighted blankets undergoing the same abled person pickup. It literally took the abled people taking up weighted blanket for them to even show up at Target – and they still do not come in queen size for my bed! What a shame that it takes the abled people to pick something up to become available for people who cannot make the something. That’s the textbook definition of ableism.

The argument against abled people taking up weighted blankets as cultural appropriation is another side. Basically, that something once used for autism, anxiety, and other disabling conditions is now used by abled people might just be natural because abled people see the aid can help them, too.

I see nothing beyond the above for these arguments, but I am disturbed by that fact that disabled people are not allowed to take control of their narrative the way other marginalized cultures do. We still need to pitch our disability aids to abled people to be able to even get them. Fidget spinners, fidget toys and weighted blankets are prime examples of this. Most abled people cannot see past the ends of their noses when it comes to us.

The sad thing is, my mother does not even know about the weighted blanket, so I do not have one.

New Year’s Eve at Home: A Perfect Scenario

Well, the Christmas decorations are put away, the patio door is unblocked again, the TV is back in its regular spot, and the front lawn (if you can call a small patch of grass that) is bare again. We’re back to normal, and I survived the cleanup. Strange how fast it all comes down.  

Now, on to New Year’s Eve. Honestly, I never knew how well I had it celebrating at home alone. No crowds of people, no loud and obnoxious bar patrons, and if I want a drink, I can get one myself. Also, no dressing up, no worries about how it looks on Instagram, and I can stay home with my dog, Bear. Bear will give me a kiss at midnight, so no worries. And if I don’t feel like staying up that late, I don’t have to – but it’s pretty normal for me.  

Shout out to my fellow New Year’s Eve homebodies! 

Christmas Report: A Merry Little Christmas

Well, it’s after ten at night on Christmas Day. My mother and I had a very relaxing Christmas. We did not go anywhere on Christmas Eve because the brakes in our car are shot. (It will cost roughly $300.) Other than that, we had ourselves a Merry Little Christmas, with no stress.  

I slightly overcooked the prime rib. I held it for too long in the oven. Perhaps it was too long. But the meat was not that dry, though. We just like it medium done around here. It was medium well. That seemed to be the only problem. 

Anyway, the big day was actually kind of relaxing. We got up around eight, opened small gifts from our family, had Eggs Benedict with hash browns, and mostly relaxed. Christmas Dinner was simple enough: Prime rib, rolls and steamed vegetables with bearnaise sauce and au jus. Aside from medium well prime rib, the dinner turned out well.  

As for presents, the sweets we got from my brother were nice. It was a good variety in two sets of beautiful boxes. I also got sea-colored earrings from my aunt Joan – they are beautiful.  

After the dinner, I cleaned up dishes and relaxed the rest of the day. It was pretty nice.  

I would like to give a shout out to all autistic people who have had to hide their true selves around family that refuses to understand. A shout out to autistic people who avoid their stubborn family altogether, too. Shout out to autistic people who deal with unnerving questions. Shout out to people dealing with infertility.

Christmas Prep Part 3: Take Care of Yourself

Some people say I preach to the choir. I say even the choir needs some guidance every once in a while. But truthfully, I am often preaching to myself. The issue at hand? The hectic schedules of Christmas many of us come across. Think about it. In Christian tradition, December is one of the busiest months of the year, if not the very busiest.  

You have parties, caroling, lights, sounds from nowhere, smells, cooking, church services, church potlucks, card send outs, family get-togethers…think about it. It is quite easy to get swept up in the hubbub – and forget to take care of yourself. The meds are a small thing, yet they help keep you stable and able to somewhat enjoy the season. Anyway, self-care is even more essential than ever in this time. I hate to bring it up, but there’s a reason airplane people tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping anyone else. How can you help someone if you can’t breathe? Take care of yourself. If you need a break, take a break.  

If you don’t celebrate Christmas in this hectic manner, feel free to apply this advice to the month(s) you are busiest. It’s all good advice, applicable to busy times.

Why Self Diagnosis is Valid to Me


Now, a lot of people in the autistic community are self-diagnosed. In this, they check their symptoms, and realize there is a central theme behind their symptoms.  

What I have noticed among the self-diagnosed is another central theme: a theme of being women and persons of color. It seems that people in these categories are routinely denied their proper autism diagnosis simply because they are not white and/or male. In other words, if you do not look like this: 


Sheldon Cooper, of course. 

Or this: 

*This “Rain Man” Babbitt in meltdown.*

You are simply not autistic. And that is a crying shame.  

This is boiling down to one thing. Prejudice. And that is the reason self-diagnosis is valid to me.

An Open Letter to the Newly Minted Parent of the Autistic Child


Dear Parent of the Autistic Child, 

I know you are somewhat scared for your son. What will he be able to do in his life? Will he need constant care? Will he be able to take care of himself? Is there hope for him? Autism is a big pill to swallow. But there is hope, and there is hope for your child. 

I need to tell you a few things about myself. I am an autistic adult. Which means, I was one of those autistic kids. It’s not that hard a jump to make. I have held down a job for six years. I currently take care of my mother full time, and maintain a small home. I talk like a non-autistic. I even do the cooking at home, too. It’s a little hard for me to make friends, but I would not judge your son by my yardstick.  

I’m not exactly sure if you have a proper yardstick to measure your son’s abilities by. Nobody really knows the potential a person has, even an autistic one.  

I have a few things for you to consider. 

  1. I believe in vaccines. I believe vaccines did not cause your child’s autism. I don’t know where you stand on this issue. Many people do believe this, though, even many celebrities. This fear has caused many outbreaks of once-eradicated diseases. Be careful who you trust. 
  2. Autistic Adults are not morons. Actually, most autistic adults have a perspective that many parents of autistic children do not consider: the perspective of the autistic person themselves. Who better to help a person with a trait or condition that someone with the same trait or condition who has been down the road a bit? There is a reason certain conditions run in families! 
  3. Be Wary of Applied Behavior Analysis claims. Applied Behavior Analysis – ABA – was formulated to make the autistic child “indistinguishable from their peers,” or to make them seem non-autistic again. The truth is, your child is not a potential non-autistic. They were always autistic. They were born that way. I was born that way. Be careful how ABA is taught to your child. He might be taught how to behave in public, but make the boy non-autistic again? Not going to happen.  
  4. Listen to your child. Every bit of behavior is communication. They may experience the world in a completely different way from you, due to sensory processing issues. Almost all autistics have them. If he starts to stim, then consider the surroundings. Is he uncomfortable?  
  5. Do not be afraid of stimming. Stimming is a comfort behavior. As long as he is not hurting himself or anyone else, self-comfort is a good thing. If his stim is harmful, I would suggest getting a small toy or game to stim with. Any autistic adult can have a suggestion that helps.
  6. Delays in growth are not denials. I was older than five when I finally asked my first question. I was delayed in almost everything social and acceptable throughout my childhood and early adulthood. But keep going. Most of us autistic people are verbal by adulthood. Many of us work jobs.  
  7. When he gets a Special Interest, let him study it. It might be something like buses or trains, or airplanes…it might even drive you and yours crazy. But hang in there. He might be going toward his ultimate career choice in the end, and he’ll possibly outdo others in the field. Is his special interest the airplane? He might be a pilot or mechanic. Is it music? A great musician. You never know.
  8. Be Wary of Autism Speaks and Other Cure Crusaders. The  notion of cure in autistic circles is akin to eradication of autistic people themselves. They see autistic people as a big scourge that must be destroyed. 

This is by no means an exhaustive list. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. My email is: cambriaj1977@hotmail.com.  

With Warmest Regards,

Cambria Jenkins