Monthly Archives: October 2015

Single-sourcing text – Managing thoughts in multiple documents


’Single-sourcing’ is a method of content management common in technical editing, and something I have used in various forms for years to manage my thoughts and notes, and (ultimately) any presentations or publications that come from them. The aspiration of single-sourcing is to have one document source which can be transformed (without further editing) into multiple output formats.


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Disablement, like homophobia, is social oppression

We usually talk about autism and many other aspects of our everyday experience as a disorder, with all the connotations that medical interpretations bring – of disease, individual tragedy and suffering. Autism is a mental disorder within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), a dyad or triad of impairments, a learning or language delay and a set of deficits. All of these words medicalize the everyday experience of people with autism. Some elements of life — particularly the minutes spent in consultation with a doctor — are medical, but as soon as you leave the consultation room, you return to being a child, a boy, a girl, a person, or whatever else is your primary identity. Taking on the belief that you are diseased and in need of cure (especially when there is no cure, nor any immediate prospect of cure for autism) can be very damaging to self-esteem.

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Sensory overload – a video experience


The experience of sensory overload can be difficult to describe, or difficult to imagine, without having some common ground of experience to use as a base. Attention deficit (which is acute sensitivity combined with an inability to focus) means hearing, seeing and smelling what feels like everything, all at once. This short (50 seconds) video attempts to provide a shared experience of sensory exposure to discuss the feelings of sensory overload.

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Sensory issues in public spaces

Public spaces challenge everyone to sensory experiences that they have little control over, other than leaving or changing the time and places you visit. Sensory experiences include the obvious external 5 senses, sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. They also include the internal senses, vestibular (balance, challenged on escalators and lifts), proprioceptive (body location, challenged in unfamilar small spaces) and temperature (challenged when you have no control over temperature, but only one set of clothes).

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Autism in feature films

FeatureThis is a collection of mainstream feature films about autism or featuring characters with an autism spectrum diagnosis. In some cases the audience has stated a belief that a character is autistic, even though this is not explicit in the film. A link to the Internet Movie Database and to a relevant Wikipedia article is provided for every film, and my own comments if I have seen it.

I am interested in films that portray autism in realistic ways, or at least in useful ways. Hollywood and Bollywood films play to exceptionalism and tragedy more than printed fiction, and a disabled hero overcoming tragedy has lead to several Oscar successes. As with films about other oppressed groups, it is common to use autism or an autism cocktail as a backdrop to a self-sacrificing saviour – an even surer route to Oscar success in creating a feel-good film that the oppressing majority can be comfortable with.

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