Let’s Unlearn TogetherUnprofessional Development August 2020 – Beyond Behaviors
Reposting from a fellow blogger and parent. This book is opening my eyes and provides real action for interacting with behaviors. All parents can benefit from it!
***SPOILER ALERT also TW: Harm of animals******
I know, I know… Two book reviews in less than a month. I was just as shocked. But truthfully I was so happy to see that I actually finished two books within a reasonable time. And despite the last book’s memoir theme, this book a little more imagiative. To the point a movie was made with Harrison Ford (always read the book–even on this one, I would say it’s better to read the book.) And admittedly I listened to this one on audible while taking my long dog walks within a few weeks.
However, this book has a long standing history with me. In sixth grade–we were given a list of books to choose from and I selected Call of the Wild by Jack London. To be honest-it was mostly because I loved White Fang the movie and thought since the author was the same that it would be the same “connection with the wild spirit” as his other book. So, I wrote a brief report, barely read any of the book and turned it in.Little did I know that my teacher knew I had not done my work, explained it to my mother and she not only grounded me with a massive room clean but also forced me within 1 weekend to actually re-read the book & write the correct report. It was a hard but nice lesson in responsibility and honesty.
So when the movie came out this year–I made a special effort to make sure to read the book again. And while I saw the movie, absolutely loving it, I still worked thru original story of the book.
Call of the Wild is a work of fiction by Jack London with a dog as the main character. His name is Buck and it starts with Buck’s kidnapping and travel to the new world of the Yukon. He is beaten, traded, locked into a sled dog team that delivers mail across the territory in the harshest conditions. It finally ends with the Buck being pushed to the breaking point and a gentle soul of a man comes along and nurses him back to health before Buck journeys into the wild wolf pack.
The book was beautifully written. It had this harsh but strong appeal to it, like one walking thru the hard snow in the Alaskan territory. I know its Jack London’s specialty (see White Fang and several other short stories), but it was as if you were Buck the dog. Feeling each of this trials, his struggles, his joyful moments where he becomes on with the wilderness and those depressing moments where he learns some humans beat dogs for sport.
I will say I am glad I just listened to this book. I think having something tangible in my hands would have made it more difficult to digest, especially the parts of animal torture. Especially because at the time I was walking my dog. But if you have seen the new movie–I believe for once this movie actually stays true to the book. And not in the sense not it describes EVERY detail. But it does include the book’s message. It embodies the word “inspired” or comparable. The creative liberties the writers and directors took were respectful, classic and well done. It also allowed for children to understand the books teachings (like beating a dog is bad) without going into the painful almost chalkboard scratching pain inducing feeling you get from reading the book.
So if you have not read or listened to this book (or even if you have), I recommend it highly. Even if you love animals. It will be a true classic pleasure!
A few months back, I joined my first Discord group. It was a nice pleasure because I am meeting autistics from all over the world. Another advantage of joining this specific group under a chanel for “Yo Samdy Sam” has a couple book groups-one group for comment on amazing books and one book club. It was in this book club that we as a group decided as our first book we were going to read Odd Girl Out by Laura James.
The book is the story of a late diagnosis autistic women, her attempt to catalog her life experiences and how they fit into this new world that has opened up to her. I was glad we had decided to read this book as it was shorter than the other book we were considering and it also had audible options along with digital and paperback versions–something someone with ADHD/autistic struggles in executive functioning truly appreciate.
*********WARNING: SPOILER ALERTS************
This feels like a “duh” in my mind when you’re reading a book review, but not always. So what comes hereafter may be a spoiler alert. There are also some mild trigger warnings from the events in Mrs James’ life including divorce, discussions of addiction and a lot of emotional topics personally set me off some nights.
So let’s dive into the book. It is divided into 16 chapters, mostly in chronological order from August 2015 when the author first reads her evaluation about her autism diagnosis while on a getaway vacation she is taking before her children go to university. The book follows the events that transpire in her life interjecting a couple sections throughout random chapters where “flashbacks’ appear mid-thought. She is a writer for the Telegraph and even writes about her “coming out” as autistic in one of her articles. At first, this thru me off. But listening to the book on tape a little helped me out a lot listening to it while taking a long walk or when driving in the car. But then I realized I wanted to highlight almost every line on every page. So I did have to spend a lot of time sitting with the audio. But it was worth every minute. And yes, my poo paperback is covered his markings. Several markings.
Besides the book being completely relatable to my autistic life experience — the author is excellent at writing out her thought process. This is extremely helpful because I feel as an autistic person– sometimes people don’t hear how we are thinking. And (surprise!) we do NOT think like everyone else. I know personally I have a great problem with people putting words and thoughts in my head and this is typical of most autistics. So to hear words from another autistic in the words (like word for word phrases) was hugely supportive. Page 99–i highlighted half the page. Same true with pg 164-65. Here’s one form page 154 “If my interests were people-focused, they would be too painful to deal with. People are unpredictable. They say one thing and mean another. Autistic honest has a purity. Ask us a question and we will tell you the truth. One hundred per cent. Undiluted by squeamishness. Unadulterated.” I tell people this all the time–that my questions are true inquiries and I am several times too honest for life.
Another discussion I enjoyed was at the end of Chapter 6–about finding information and being happy with this as an autistic. Laura James talks about Sarah Wild (a director of a school made for autistic brains) and how she believes that Autistic happiness is different and that neurotypical people need to stop judging autistics by their neurotypical standards. “Meeting experts is pure heaven for someone autistic. The access I am given to someone’s knowledge never fails to make me happy. Even more so if they happen to know something about one of my current intense interests.” (pg 111-12)
So I would arguably say if you have an autistic family, friend or you yourself are autistic–please PLEASE read this book. It’s worth it. To hear a voice is huge.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor. And this is my own experience from taking meds for my ADHD and meant to be used as a diagnosis, treatment or method for your own help. Seek out the professionals.
So after a good month of adjusting to taking ADHD meds, I had a meeting with my psych at Kaiser. This is the 3rd time I’ve talked with her. While I was mostly okay from taking the meds and my symptoms appeared to be improving, I had concerns about this weird feeling of not knowing when to go to sleep. Normally I wait until I’m yawning, can’t keep my eyes open or exhausted. That happened the first day quickly, but after a couple weeks, I couldn’t tell anymore. Dr H (hidden for privacy) decided we should try the immediate release drug since it seemed I was having a longer reaction to the extended release. So as a general practice, I waited to start the new drug on the weekend and April 18th I changed over to the new dose.
Picking up the drug was an experience. Due to the drug’s nature I had to physically pick it up. And like most of the world–we are in quarantine so I went over, wore a mask, stood in a couple lines to be asked questions and have temperature taken (I had no fever and was fine.) There was no one in the pharmacy area (a super surprise but expected) and I was able to get my meds quickly and efficiently. Which was great because then I could start them right away.
However, as I am finishing this blog on May 1st, I had even MORE changes happened. First–after a few days of getting on a better routine and schedule, I actually started liking having more control of my focus on the extended release. However, I stuck to taking the new meds because I didn’t know emotionally/mental if that was the issue. Suddenly–on the regular release–I lost control again. The drug hardly felt it was working, it was gone as soon as I took it and I was back into the crazy emotions and lack of focus. I thought it was going to be another transition period and wanted to take my time but it was just getting more and more difficult to do what I could. I sent her a message and I changed back to my extended release.
I’m doing well now that I’m back on the extended release. But I am concerned I will not be able to figure out when I’m having a bad reaction. I am also frustrated because Kaiser’s method is to have nurses answer the messages I send to the doctor which for medical items is not so much an issues, but with mental health has already run into problems They told me to order my prescription online–even though I knew because of its nature I could NOT do that.
SO we shall see how these meds work out.
Don’t worry Muse-loving readers– the frequency of the blog posts may go down but the content is coming. I have a long list of blog ideas to work through and eventually I will get back up to posting when they are complete.