I began looking into the autism hashtags on Twitter in late 2018 and early 2019 between beginning to suspect I might be autistic and before seeking a diagnosis. Like most social media sites, Twitter uses algorithms to determine what to show you, even from the people you follow. So an interesting thing happened as I broadened my searches from just writing related topics to autism and ADHD.
Tweets and hashtags related to the own voices movement, most specifically those related to authors with autism and ADHD, began popping up in my feed. Before then, I hadn’t heard of such a thing.
In a manner of speaking, many of the paintings and literary masterpieces we consider classics are fan works.
Shakespeare is well known for taking the work of other writers and improving upon it when crafting his plays. When you get right down to it, what are Paradise Lost and Dante’s Inferno but fan fiction written about the Bible? Many of the earlier novelists took inspiration from each other’s work, often borrowing heavily from one another.
Aside from portraits, what are the subjects of most of the famous Renaissance paintings we learned about in school? They either featured Bible scenes or scenes from Greek or Roman mythology.
I might not have had a lot of time to really dig into any creative projects or make much progress on the ones I'd already started over the past couple of years. But this doesn't mean I forgot about them.
Sad as it sounds, I kind of coped with this desire to create and little to no time to do so via Pinterest. I might not have had time to make something, but I could usually scroll through Pinterest for about five to ten minutes each night and pin some things I thought I'd find useful once I had a bit of time again.
I have boards full to bursting with prompts and pretty stitches or psychology articles and infographics. I have pins of various mythological creatures and stories, all types of herbs, medical knowledge, funny geeky things, and all sorts of other things. Whole sheets of words pinned when I was just starting to have issues with aphasia after decades of not noticing the "spells" due to a lack of speaking in general.
It's an odd mix mash for those who find my public boards, but I have found them a source of useful information and an endless source of inspiration. I wasn't entirely sure what I wanted to talk about today, so I started looking through. And I found this image.
A few weeks ago, I talked a little about how I came to realize the way I experience the world isn't how the majority of people experience it. As a result of that particular journey and the things I learned along the way, I came to realize I had written at least two of my characters as autistic without actually setting out to do so. Having come to this realization, I had a choice.
Rewrite them to be neurotypical, which is another way of saying "normal," which in and of itself is just a way of describing how the majority are, or I could keep them as they were.
The thing is, I cannot really imagine either Pyrrha or Asa being any other way than how I have been writing them. Plus, for me at least, nothing has really changed about how I view either character. Both are still strong, intelligent, kick butt women. They have places where they struggle and places where they shine like anyone else. There's just a concrete, neurological explanation behind some of theirs.
Welcome back, dear readers.
It has been well over a year since I last posted anything here, but don’t worry. I’m not about to make a bunch of excuses for why posting fell off abruptly in late 2018. I’m not going to make promises about being better in the future despite planning to try and improve. I’m just here to sum up the year and state my goals for heading into the new year and new decade.
I had the opportunity to return to a favorite company in late 2018, one I loved working for before and to which I was excited to return. Although I returned to the same position I’d had thirteen years prior, the job was very different, as one would expect after so long of a time. The company had undergone some restructuring, and my old position had been merged with the old receptionist's position.
Have you heard all the hoopla surrounding Star Wars being bought out by Disney and all the new movies? Some are all for it, but others, including Mark Hamill have some... issues... with the new storylines. Why though?
Well, to get at the answer, you have to understand a few things about the Star Wars fandom and the franchise itself over the past thirty years or so.
I think we've all seen or heard the "tortured" artist trope at one time or another. It's no secret a high percentage of notable artists, be they writers, poets, musicians, painters, sculptors, or any other kind of artist, have or do suffer from a range of mental health problems. Because of this correlation between mental health problems and creative success, popular notions of creativity have come to romanticize them as part and parcel to creative genius.
I hate this notion so much! Even if there's some truth to it, it's a dangerous and irresponsible idea in so many ways.
Originally published February 20, 2015 at Diary of a Work-at-Home-Mom.
Learning to read backwards and upside down is how I learned to reorient letters. I seriously thought everyone could do it until I asked a coworker about something on a sign posted outside our window, and they responded by questioning how I could read the sign. It was only five years ago, when C. L. was taking the Ortton-Gillingham training that I learned it was one of the earliest methods of helping children with dyslexia learn how to reorient letters. Unfortunately, it's also a method that's effective for just 5% of those dealing with dyslexia, and while I might be part of that percentage, the girls aren't.
The only thing I can compare letter reorienting to is looking at a 3D model that's been spun around. It looks different from the back or upside down, but it's still recognizable if you can shift your perspective mentally.
I'm relatively lucky in that from my perspective, the letters usually appear in the right order or with only a couple of letters swapped around, but I often see letters flipped on either the X or Y axis. (Numbers are a different matter entirely.) Spelling/sound inversions only happen, for me, between the brain and either hands or mouth. In essence, I'll think the word or sentence correctly, but it will come out in a jumble. This is why I depend on muscle memory to spell for the most part since there's less reliance on the sequencing center of the brain.
Reading upside down takes a few more seconds to get going in because you aren't just reading left to right but from the bottom up. And reading something written normally is more difficult than reading anything in all caps since more letters look similar to one another. For instance B, D, P, and Q look very different when capitalized, but depending on the type face, b, d, p, and q can look virtually identical in the lower case if you have issues with orientation.
For those who have problems solely with orienting letters, the rest of the letters and text can be used to help shift the problem letters back around. Context clues also play a large part, particularly with words like bare and dare were both versions are words, but only one would make sense in context.
From what I can tell after reading with Nichole over the last few years, she experiences the written word differently. There are days she does just fine, but on others, a page of text looks like one gigantic word scramble puzzle. Whereas I see letters in the correct order but flipped and on occasion with the spaces between them in the wrong place, her mind can't seem to decide where each letter is on the page. Let's take the highlighted text here as an example. When she's trying to read the word "order," she might see the "l" from the word "place" from below it or "like" from above it in place of the "r." Therefore, she'd read the word as older instead of order.
Using cards to cover all but the line of text she's reading at the time has helped a good deal. However, context clues and an extensive vocabulary are going to be crucial to her gaining full reading fluency as she progresses to more complicated material. That's one area where she has trouble now because of her age. She's forever coming across new words in her lessons, so she isn't yet confident in discerning between seeing a word wrong and coming across a new term.
I've been hearing from parents who suspect their child may have dyslexia or who have received a new diagnosis. It's not something that's talked about much, even in this day and age. And all the different variants thereof still aren't that well understood by many. If any of you reading this have any questions, please feel free to comment or message me. I'm far from an expert, but I'll try my best to help.
If you're in the thick of it now with your child, please remember that they're trying and keep an eye out for patterns in their "mistakes." While the various "disorders" beginning with the dys prefix are caused by the same difference in "wiring," they are experienced differently from one person to another. It might take months to figure out how they are seeing the text and the patterns behind it, but once you do, figuring out ways to work with their mind versus fighting it can open the door for massive improvements.
A lot has changed for Nichole since I originally wrote this. She's reading on grade level with a lot less trouble than she had even a year ago. Spelling, particularly with English's reluctance to follow its own rules, is still a challenge, but we've found a method that works for her a few months ago. So she's making great strides there now as well.
Today's book market is a reader's dream. The rise of independent publishing has opened the field to millions of niche stories and ones that don't follow trend at all, stories that wouldn't have seen the light of day twenty years ago. Today's readers have a golden opportunity to find stories you'll love no matter your taste, but all of this variety has a downside.
Finding said stories takes a bit of digging. After hours of searching, you may find a story with elements you love only to find a manuscript rife with errors or that the author's voice drives you bonkers. On the other side of things, it can be tough for authors, both seasoned and new, to make their books stand out in the crowd or to make any sort of traction, especially with pirating sites being more common and brazen than ever.
So, what's a reader to do?
A. B. England is a small business owner, mom of two, novelist, all around geek, and avid crafter. She loves mythology, fantasy, and all flavors of science fiction.
Yekara Series Book 2
The Icarus Project
Rough Draft Progress
77384 / 75000
Myth & Science Collection
Icarus Series Book 2
Sketched w/ Some Drafting
Yekara Series Book 3
Myth & Science Collection 2
Intent Only at this Time
Icarus Trilogy Book 3
Supers Collection 2
Intent Only at this Time
Yekara Series Book 4