All opinions and views stated on this site belong solely to Corina Lynn Becker, and do not represent or reflects the views and opinions of any organizations, unless otherwise specified.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Autism Project Ideas

Originally posted on my tumblr: 
Autism project ideas that I have no clue how to start/run
  • Autistic mentors network, connecting young Autistic people with older Autistic mentors, a sort of You Are Not Alone, we can get through this together thing to help with self-esteem and mental health issues
  • a guide to give to house/room mates of Autistic people.  I find it so exhausting to try and educate each housemate I encounter, and find I forget the little things, like the need to have plates stacked a certain way, my annoyance in wet floors, and sensory issues.  It’s great that there’s materials for Autistic people, but what about the other people in the household? Why do we always have to be the ones to compromise?  Especially when other members are willing to learn about what we need to live comfortable?
For the guide, it’ll be cool if there was something like it, so I could just print it out and hand it to housemates.  So if it already exists, let me know.

As for the network, haven’t heard much about that sort of thing, but I think it might be good to have.  It just seems like something that I don’t have the spoons to do.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

An Autistic at IMFAR 2012

I finally got my article done on IMFAR 2012.  Whew!!! 

It is quite long!  Instead of dividing everything up, I did one big article on Storify, because then I could snag the tweets I did throughout the week. 

I'm very sorry it took so long to get this done; I hope it's worth the wait. 

Because the Storify format can cause lag on people's computers, I'm just going to link to it on here. 


Crisis with the Help Lines

You know those crisis help phone lines?  The woman's shelter lines, the pregnancy lines, the talk help, kids help lines, and mental health crisis lines?  Those.  It has occurred to me that those help lines are kinda ableist.

Think about it.  They all require people call them over the telephone and speak to them.

In a time when you can get customer service over an internet live chat, where are the help lines for people who are non-verbal, people who communicate better in written or typed word, or who are so into crisis mode that they lose all verbal capabilities?  Or people whom English is not their first language or whom aren't fluent in English?  Or who have sensory problems and have difficulties using a telephone? Or are in a situation where they cannot seek assistance through their caregivers to communicate the crisis?

Also, when in crisis, it can be very hard to verbalize the pain and what going through, even if one does retain verbal capabilities. Failure to address the needs of the non-verbal population means that there are people who are not being supported or have access to community resources and accommodations.  This leads people further into crisis, with no where to turn for help. 

So when someone goes into crisis mode, they also go into survival mode, a state where someone purposely or subconsciously shuts down skills in order to cope.  This is dangerous, because now the person have further difficulty in  accessing community help and services, cannot communicate, and is more vulnerable to further crisis, including escalation into self-harm coping strategies.  The longer in this state, the pain caused by the crisis can lead to extreme measures of self-harm, eventually leading to suicidal behaviour. 

At this stage, there are more than one crisis; the initial crisis and the mental health crisis.  The results of care then become dependent not only on the structure of support for that person, but also the preparation of local mental health services in dealing with complicated crisis situations. 

Now, there are online resources available for mental health crisis, such as the list provided by Boggle, including a Forum and live-chat online services.  However, there needs to be access to non-verbal crisis support across the global, and a connection to local mental health services.  With many service providers, crisis support phone lines already exist, and they maintain a team to respond to calls.  What if there was also a way to text into the crisis line?  What about maintaining a Twitter and/or Facebook account, where it's possible to private message the operator? Monitoring Twitter and Facebook messages can be done while monitoring a phone line.  There is also the option of a Forum, where there can be group support and private messaging options for daily support as well as crisis support. 

Non-verbal accessibility is possible, and is incredibly valuable to a wide population, not just non-verbal Autistic people.  It has the possibility of connecting mental health services to the online communities, to people who cannot otherwise access much needed support.  Yes, it does require making adjustments, getting people to write code, retraining employees, and other costly changes.  But this is an area of need within the disability and mental health communities that is not being adequately met, resulting in the isolation and despair of many.  It also sends out a negative message to people, that their needs are not deemed worth to be addressed, that their crisis, their methods of communication, are not significant. 

In my opinion, it is the obligation of mental health services to develop ways to make their services accessible to all.  Otherwise, they are failing to help the people that they are suppose to support, a failure that can have drastic and fatal results.  Yet, it is possible to correct this, to make crisis and other types of support accessible, if service providers are able to embrace alternative, online and text-based methods of communication.  Then truly they will be able to reach those who need their services.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Still Here

My badge for IMFAR
I have most of my report on IMFAR done, I'm just working on the last day.  It's taking a while because all of a sudden I'm having bouts of over-sleeping and insomnia, which is messing with my schedule, including taking meds.

I'm also trying to keep on top of a class that is very heavy on the class participation (arg) and is in seminary format.  Meaning, group work!!!  Group work to look over the readings for the week and then lead the student discussion. 

And I was in charge of the week right after IMFAR and it feels like the attention and focusing parts of my brain are on strike.

Anyways, report will be up soon.