Long story short, I had a meltdown within the last 24 hrs that has effected me for the most of the day today. The reasoning for this was of being unsuccessfully advocating for what I perceive, through countless hours of research and thought, to be the proper way to go about the next step for MY business with my advisers, who regardless of what I verbalize, is not enough reason to go ahead the way that I know is the next step for MY business that will benefit it the most, These type of meltdowns have been pretty common throughout my life and when the conditions, I calculated by knowing myself and contemplated everything about the situation for numerous hours, that will help me succeed the most are met, Guess what happens? I prove everyone wrong with what I am able to accomplish. I thought I would write down some examples.
Barrier: Writing for a reasonable amount of time
Proposed solution: OT telling me I HAVE to write with a certain grip,
Reason barrier was broken: Knowing that I had a deficiency that caused both hands to use muscles while writing I found the best grip that worked for me to succeed. To this day its still one of the oddest grips people encounter, but I have legible words and can write as long as needed.
Proposed solution: Attending social groups with other autistic individuals
Reason barrier was broken: I knew life experiences were better than planned interactions so I carefully watched others socialize before making attempts to connect plus started watching dramas to study facial expressions and subtle verbal clues. There were a lot of creepy interactions, but you live and you learn.
Barrier: Leaving Florida for college
Proposed solution: Stay in Florida, it will be easier
Reason barrier was broken: Due to some circumstances in high school I was done with Florida and just could not stand it anymore, if I was going to do anything in life I needed to leave so I took the Naval test and tested so well I was told I could have been anything in the Navy, told parents the results and was finally allowed to look at colleges out of state.
P.S.- I would not be where I am today if I did not leave Florida for college
Barrier: Raising GPA to join a Fraternity
Proposed solution: Take a lot of junk classes in a row to raise GPA
Reason barrier was broken: I knew I needed to focus on finding my calling first before trying to raise gpa so I worked my ass off when I finally got in MY major and was able to EARN my right to JOIN THE MOST HONORABLE SIGMA LAMBDA BETA FRATERNITY INTERNATIONAL.
P.S.- Would no where be the man I am today if I did not work for this. Went from a 2.1 to a 2.6
Barrier: Catching a football
Proposed solution: Your grip will increase with overall working out.
Reason barrier was broken: Knew that my grip would not just increase that easily due to barrier 1 so I worked my ass off to improve my grip by consistently training my grip through grip exercises.
Barrier: Writing my final college paper after moving from Tuscaloosa.
Proposed solution: You can write it anywhere
Reason barrier was broken: I knew I needed to be on my own with a computer that could not move. Once I got those things, paper was down very quickly.
What can you take from this?
When someone with special needs is self advocating for themselves, listen, try to understand, and never just say that's not the way to do it. They may not be able to communicate it properly, but it does not mean their reasoning is invalid or that they're incompetent in their reasoning or that their mind is stuck on a train track, you have no clue how many pathways were reasonably and logically closed before the only option left was the track they show you.
Last thoughts: In my profession, doing what I am doing, I will be advocating for myself my whole life and the only thing that will make it worth while is to know that younger generations will be listened to when they advocate for themselves.
When discussing the special needs community, its constantly being brought up how vulnerable this population is to individuals who may wish to do them harm, either physically or take advantage somehow. However, when it comes to services, activities, anything that sole purpose is to help and serve the special needs community, it is a constant that a organizations word can be trusted that they "have" to show these individuals having fun. For the most part this is a double standard, since most time the general population rarely has to sign their rights over for pictures used as promotional material. Instead, they use actors or individuals that work for the organization as fill ins, so they do not have to go through that trouble. With most of these services being only for the special needs community, it also means that HIPPA regulations are not being held in mind for this population. Example: If your a business that caters directly for individuals with special needs, automatically someone can guess a good portion of confidential medical information for an individual in the picture. Add that a business has an address, and I hope I do not have to do the math for you to know how easily a predator could end up taking advantage of someone just due to that little information. But, Wait, don't you have pictures of a couple of your clients? Yes, I do but these clients, without giving away anymore info, are the least I would worry about being taking advantage for reasons that I will not go into. And no, I don't just follow the rules because of Autism. I have on many counts broken rules. But this is definitely a integral piece of my business, that whether it helps or hurts me, I will stick by keeping my athletes information closed off as much as possible to the general public.
I guess I will sum this up by saying that if your signing a media form for an individual, put a little more thought into what all that could be at stake, just for people to see that they are having fun. HIPPA should be sacred for everyone, not just the general population and only held up to the proper standard by only doctors offices.
This also applies to parents/caregivers that are trying to spread awareness of their loved ones by constantly sharing videos and pictures of the everyday lives. I know I would not appreciate it if my parents did that when I was growing up.
Mark Fleming- Person on the Autism Spectrum