Blogger Widgets Ender-Chan's Thoughts: July 2015

Friday, July 31, 2015

5,000 Total Pageviews: Thanks, You Guys!

You made my blogging dream possible, not me. You did.

As a thank you, I will give you a quiz in which you will guess as many things as you can about me that I have not mentioned on my blog.

1. How many blogs do I currently have?
     A. One (1)
     B. Two (2)
     C. Three (3)
     D. Four (4)

2. What piece of kitchen equipment would I want the most?
     A. Anti-griddle
     B. Deep fryer
     C. Immersion blender
     D. Industrial mixer

3. Which of the five temperaments best describes me?
     A. Choleric
     B. Melancholic
     C. Phlegmatic
     D. Sanguine
     E. Supine/Leukine

4. Which of these cities/towns have I been to?
     A. Carson City
     B. Artesia
     C. Roswell
     D. Brussels

5. How many YouTube subscribers do I have?
     A. Less than 10
     B. 10-100
     C. 1000-10,000
     D. >10,000 (IT'S OVER TEN THOUSAND!!!!)

6. Which Musical Misadventures in Minecraft character are you most like in terms of personality? (Completely open-ended)

Post your answers in the comments!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Is My Journey Just Another Overcomer Story?

Overcomer Story Factors (Key factors are in bold.)
  • Someone achieves a feat that is perceived as "beyond" their abilities.
  • The person in question almost always has a disability, is financially disadvantaged, is part of a racial minority, and/or marginalized in some other way.
  • Hardships are either overplayed or denied entirely.
  • The person rarely has their say in how they got there, just that they did.
  • Overcomer stories make a task inherently more inspirational because this person had (insert a disadvantage here). 
  • The story exists just to make advantaged people feel good/bad.

My journey can easily be twisted into an overcomer story. "First resource student to attempt an honors institute designation" would be the headline. The story would go on telling me about why I am such an inspiration and how everyone else is lazy. People would read this and impose undue pressure on neurotypicals because someone with Asperger's Syndrome and ADHD pursued a high academic honor. Not everyone is made to achieve academic feats like this. Undue burdens imposed by these stories is one of the main problems I see with them. Everyone has a different set of strengths, weaknesses, interests, and passions.

Key Factors that Separate My Journey from a Typical Overcomer Story:

  • I've haven't gotten there yet and I'm not sure if I will. My grades are highly variable depending on the subject and the teacher. One bad teacher or confusing subject can derail my effort entirely. I have never been sure of my abilities.
  • This truly pushes me to the limit. I have seen how quickly grades can derail due to missing little details (as I tend to do). Now, I will have to make sure everything is perfect (or near perfect). That kind of thing makes me tired and frustrated. I have sacrificed my sleep to maintain my grades. 
  • I do not intend to make neurotypical people feel bad by sharing my story. I know that everyone is different and might not have my Herculean (or so I've been told) academic strength. That would be like comparing me to a Paralympic athlete. 
  • I will get a lot of help along the way. Rarely am I ever truly alone. I have my parents, teachers, and other people behind me.
  • There are days when I will doubt myself. Think I'm all cocky and confident because of what you see in my writing? I'm the shy and awkward in real life. Before I played the flute, I never felt like I was good at anything. Even now, the recurring twinge of insecurity among my multitalented peers comes at varying degrees.
  • This is my story as I tell it. Technically, this is on the Internet with consent because I am the one telling my personal experiences as I see them. I won't transcribe every little detail here for various reasons, but this is my story told by me, not my mom, not random people on social media, not random stalkers filming me without my consent, but me.

Not On My Board

I am not an AAC or PECS user and I don't know anyone who uses these communication methods, but   I have seen a common problem with these means of communication. How would one say "What I want to say isn't on my board/included in these card choices?" when they don't have an option to say that? To illustrate these frustrations, I will use hypothetical examples.

Person A uses the PECS system and wants grapes as a reward for doing well in school. Person A's parent offers Person A an apple card, a milk card, and a chips card. However, there is no grapes card in sight. Unable to say "More choices, please" or "I'll tell you what I need," Person A has a meltdown and doesn't get the grapes.

Person B is an AAC user and verbally gifted, but no one knows that because Person B only has basic words on their device. Person B can think "The marching band converges into formations while they play music", but can only say "Walk, music, shapes". This inability to express complex thoughts leaves Person B at the mercy of teachers who say Person B has "no human dignity" or "can't understand anything".

If you are familiar with AAC or PECS, tell me what you do to deal with this problem. Do you have a card that allows someone to say this? If not, I created one. Feel free to grab and print the image.

Twice Exceptional Misbehavior Guide for Teachers

A Quick Guide:
It follows the format of a dichotomous key for the most part.
Potential solutions, instructions to advance, and points to ponder are (in parentheses).
This is by no means comprehensive. 
No guaranteed for any of this working! :)

  1. Are you yelling, being excessively controlling, or saying things the student could interpret as an insult?
    1. Yes/I think so. (STOP IT RIGHT NOW.)
    2. No, of course not! (Go to 2.)
  2. Does the student need something like a trip to the restroom or medicine for a headache?
    1. Yes. (Provide it if possible.)
    2. No. (Go to 3.)
  3. Is the student (sometimes along with the rest of the class) bored/tired?
    1. Yes. (Try offering something stimulating.) 
    2. No. (Go to 4.)
  4. What is the student's general attitude towards the class?
    1. Likes it (Go to 5)
    2. Dislikes it (Go to 6)
  5. Have you considered the possibility of a medical condition such as asthma, epilepsy, or diabetes causing the behavior?
    1. Yes, and this is the source. (Go further.)
    2. Yes, but this is not the source. (Go to 7)
    3. No, the student does not have any such medical conditions. (Go to 8)
    4. No, but I will consider it next time.
  6. Do you know why the student dislikes the class?
    1. Yes. (Circumvent it.)
    2. No. (Go to 9)
  7. Have you provided the appropriate accommodations for the student?
    1. Yes.
    2. No/Not sure. (Go to 10)
  8. Are the problems the side effect of or an adverse reaction to medication?
    1. Possibly. (Discuss it with the student's parents and with the student.)
    2. The student is not medicated. (Go to 11)
  9. Two main factors influence a student's ability to like a class: the subject and the teacher. Which do you think the student dislikes more?
    1. The subject (Go to 12)
    2. The teacher (Go to 13)
  10. Have you come up with something that has a chance of working?
    1. Yes. (Discuss and implement it.)
    2. No. (Ask around.)
  11. Does the student have an option to escape and decompress?
    1. Yes. (Present the option.)
    2. No. (Give the option and go to 14.)
  12. What makes this subject difficult, tedious, or both for the student?
    1. The co-occuring disability (Offer the appropriate help.)
    2. A lack of interest in the subject (Go to 15).
  13. What about your teaching method might make the student dislike the class?
    1. Pace (Go to 16)
    2. Presentation (Go to 17)
  14. Do you feel that the student needs this option?
    1. Yes. (Create it.)
    2. No. (Do it anyway. It might help.)
  15. Can you make the subject more interesting by appealing to their strengths?
    1. Yes. (Then do it.)
    2. No. (Find a way.)
  16. Is the pace too fast or too slow?
    1. Too fast (Offer extensions.)
    2. Too slow (Present extra challenges.)
  17. Does the student have sensory integration issues?
    1. Yes. (Go to 18)
    2. No. (Go to 19)
  18. Is the stimulation too much or too little?
    1. Too much (Allow a sensory break or slow down.)
    2. Too little (Offer a fidget toy.)
  19. Have you considered and tried the Irlen method?
    1. Yes, and it helped. (Good to hear!)
    2. Yes, but it didn't help. (Go to 20.)
    3. No, but I will. (It might work!!!)
    4. No and I won't. (Try it anyway.)
  20. Is the student acting out purely for the sake of acting out and not due to boredom or needing something?
    1. Yes. (Deal with it according to the school's discipline policy.)
    2. No, this is different. (Go to 1 and read through the whole guide.)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Survey Results Analysis

Participants: 3

This is what I found out:
People read my blog for various reasons.
One person reads to read all the blogs, another wants to get to know me, and the third respondent said my blog had something that other blogs did not have. From what I saw, this means my blog is a good supplemental read to other blogs, my blog content is original (for the most part) and that my posts are a way to get to know me (as they are for most bloggers).

I can improve on structure.
Two respondents said I needed to improve the structure of my posts. I'm not exactly sure what the problem is, but I will address it.

The respondents want to see linkups and images.
I use YouTube videos in some of my posts, but rarely images. I have avoided images for a myriad of reasons:
  • The image might not show up and, thus, rendering problems will compromise the integrity of my posts.
  • Images are intellectual property. Even if I take it off of Google, it's still the property of the owner unless stated otherwise. While I could do image credits, some images take me to suspect or defunct URLs. 
    • I don't want anyone to click on a misleading, defunct, or virus-ridden link because they like a certain image on my blog.
    • I will use videos on YouTube to substitute for images in most instances. 
  • I tried to host a linkup, but nobody joined. 
Most of my readers are people with disabilities.
I find this to be an example of herd instinct. Similar people gravitate to each other and form networks.  As a self advocate, I find it important to be heard. We may be small boats on the ocean, but we're sending big waves into motion. (Comment if you get the reference.)

My personality and the topics I write about are most appealing about my blog.
Personality is the most important part of writing. The fact that this appeals to my readers the most speaks volumes to me. I have a very distinct personality that people either love, hate, and/or can't understand. I also come from a unique place. The disability/special needs community is lacking in 2e perspectives and I provide that. 2e people are often misunderstood and isolated. By running this blog, I show other 2es that they are not alone.

I added the hair dye question to make sure you were paying attention.
Most of you said to keep it natural, but one person said "multicolored." I think multicolored hair suits my personality. Because I can't have multicolored hair in real life, I have it in Minecraft.

Someone started their own blog because of what I wrote.
I started blogging, first to supplement my YouTube channel, and then for the sake of blogging. Now, I consider myself a blogger. I'm honored to be someone else's muse.

I let others know that they are not alone.
This is why I love the blogging network. In our trials, others who go through the same thing let each other know that they are not alone. I have no other words, so enjoy this video.

Color scheme is the least appealing thing about my blog.
My blog is designed to represent my colorful personality. I will look at my blog to see what I can do without changing the overall esthetic, but, for the most part, the color scheme stays.

People like reading about my blog. That, in itself, is enough to keep my blog going.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

My Small Flute Solo

Warning: Bragging ahead

I finally got a solo! It is not technically written in the song or a moving line, but it is still a solo. During my solo, I hold concert C6 for 16 1/2 counts while other players join in to create a bell tone-like effect. The crunch chord was too dissonant, so people had to be cut for it to sound good. I have been selected out of several talented flutists to play the first note. One other person, on second flute, plays the B natural after I play my C.

To be honest, I was surprised I got to play in the chord. I had been rejected for the moving line solo due to my age (and sounding horrible because I had a bad flute day at the time of auditioning). I was selected for being able to play soft and in tune. I use a trick called shading to prevent myself from going sharp.

I achieved this solo through skill, hard work, and a stroke of luck. It is no extraordinary feat or instance of defying the odds. I have not only achieved within the confines of my limitations, but I have earned a place among my more experienced and talented peers.

(A/N: Yes, I know this post is kind of short and pointless, but I had to write something.)

Friday, July 17, 2015

Everyone Is Fighting

Is fighting
A hard battle.

You may not see the sword
Or what they fight,
But everyone is fighting.

Some people battle large enemies.
Others' enemies are small.
They might be internal or invisible.
Each one of them is a formidable foe.

"My monster is larger
Or breathes fire
Or is invisible"
You might say.

But everyone is fighting something.
No life is without struggle.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Esmé Blows Minds

I have casually followed Hillary Savoie's blog The Cute Syndrome for a while and, when I found out Esme could read, that blew my mind. Esmé cannot point, sign, or talk due to her limited motor skills. However, her mom (Hillary Savoie) discovered that she could read when Esmé was four. Since this is when Esme's ability was refined enough to see, Esme might have had the ability for longer. I started reading small phrases at the age of four without any instruction on how to read, but Esmé's story is truly groundbreaking. She even came up with a "language" of her own to get her points across. That alone is a profound indicator of intelligence; Esmé is gifted in language and has her own way of showing it.

Esmé is capable of forming her own opinions. She does not like mint ice cream, but she likes coconut ice cream. Though she tube feeds, she would like a taste of that coconut ice cream, just enough to bring the pleasing taste to her palette. Every time I read posts, I see Esmé's critical thinking and problem solving skills. She works around her disabilities to move, play, and do what four year olds do. Her affinity for Yo Gabba Gabba is ever present, but she would not like to be called a baby based on her disabilities.

This level of complexity indicates that oral speech alone cannot accurately determine someone's intelligence. From what I read, Esme is gifted in language and she needs a way to show it. I want her to have an eye gaze device so she can show her giftedness to others without her mom having to carry an Esme-English dictionary around with her. Though she is four years old, she deserves effective communication. She should have the freedom to endlessly ask questions, request (read: demand) tastes of ice cream, and reason with her mother about why she should get what she wants. If her giftedness is profound now, I want to see what she will do with the proper tools and as she grows and learns.

An Open Letter to Teachers From a 2e Student

Dear Teacher,

You may have a gifted student with a neurological disability. Such students are called twice exceptional or 2e. The mind of a 2e student is, to say the least, downright baffling. How can the student who always has the answers forget their homework so often? Doesn't it take more brainpower to (insert demanding, creative task here) than sit still? If you think your 2e student doesn't try hard enough, I'll tell that you have no idea how hard we try.

 I have ASD (Asperger's Syndrome), ADHD (inattentive type), and I am gifted in language (verbal IQ is 146). For me, it takes great effort to focus, sometimes to the point of suffering a headache and/or nausea. My language giftedness does not help me when I'm trying to crank out one more math problem. Instead, it reminds me that I should be anywhere but the current tedious situation, so, naturally, I will want to escape. I might be fidgety, restless, and frustrated at this point. My fight or flight instinct will take over. I will want to be able to reason rationally, but I cannot at this point. Since I do not have the option to fight due to non-violence policies at schools, and neither do I have the immediate option of flight, I will remain in this survival mode until (1) an option to fight or flee presents itself or (2) something else sends me over the edge. If I can escape, I won't feel as trapped. 

Forgetting homework in every form is also a problem for me. Sometimes, I have no idea why I forget. I just do. Please have patience with me as this is as frustrating for me as it is for you. Calling me lazy will not help; it just makes me feel worse. These comments are why people like me lapse into depression, self-harm, and suicide. I don't want to spend my life cutting myself down. If you give me the chance, I assure you that we will both benefit. Even if we never see the benefit, it will be there. It will help me to be verbally reminded of homework so I can write it down in a planner. I am doing my best to manage a conflict of processing. My ADHD side moves at rapid-fire speed grasping every bit of interesting information while my Asperger's side is slow to receive this information or tries to sort what it gets. It would be like working at a factory for the first time when the conveyor belt is set to maximum speed. Please guess what this leads to. My forgetfulness is a result of these processing conflicts. An attempt to understand and care on your part means more hard work on my part.

The concept of being gifted and learning disabled at the same time is hard to wrap your mind around unless you have experienced it. Emphasis on the giftedness while addressing the disability will ensure success. If you are 2e yourself, use your experiences to help students. Having someone to relate to in a world of misunderstanding makes all the difference. If you have questions, comment below. I don't have credentials (yet), but I do have a brilliant mind and a desire to open doors.

A 2e Student

Thursday, July 9, 2015

New Labels (and What I Think of Them)

Today, I got an evaluation with a neuropsychologist and received two new labels to add to my one. One of them highlighted a talent that I have always had and the other explains the scatterbrained mess that I am. In other words, they confirmed my suspicions as labels should and aroused new ones. Having already embraced the autism (Asperger's, but the DSM V does not have it anymore), I opened  myself to new ones.

Profoundly Gifted in Language 
I always knew I was good with words, but not that good. My verbal reasoning is more than just a thing I use to impress my teachers. I use language to express myself creatively, communicate, and gain a foothold into the world. Having strong language skills makes me a diplomat, musician, and potential catalyst for something important in history. As an unofficial intermediary between neurotypical and autistic people, I can use my language skills to bring both groups to an understanding. It is no secret that language has power; civilization would not exist without it. 

Inattentive ADHD
This one went unnoticed for a long time as it tends to go under the radar in girls. While doing research on ADHD in order to portray Steve accurately, I found that I could relate to most of the symptoms listed. I do not exhibit as much hyperactivity/impulsivity as others and probably disguised this my entire life with my academic record. That and the telltale executive function deficits masquerading as a symptom of autism made this one fly under the radar. Some people deliberately avoid getting diagnosed with ADHD because of the stigma associated with it. If you spent your entire life flying under or sporadically dodging a diagnosis, I'm here to tell you that a diagnosis will help you to avoid a lifetime of trouble.

Final Reflections

  • The labels do not change who I am. They give me insight into who I am so that I can act accordingly and be the best person I can be.
  • I don't think my language giftedness is technically a savant skill because I fall into the average to above average range in other areas (except for math, which is below average).
  • Please don't crack squirrel jokes on my blog.
  • Labels are, indeed, for soup cans. I would like to know what's in the can before opening it. Likewise,  I would want to be informed of something that makes me a little different from the rest.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Linkup Guidelines

I've decided to do Wednesday linkups because a reader suggested it to me.

 The theme varies. If I do not specify a theme, you can pretty much post anything I might find appealing, cool, or interesting. The two main themes are neurodiversity and band life. I may do special themes if a US holiday falls in that week or to commemorate something worth celebrating (like my birthday), promote a random cause usually in the name of a favorite blogger, or to mix things up because I get bored.

Deletion Policy
 I will delete misleading content, spam, inappropriate and/or offensive content, defunct links, anything that resembles virus bait, irrelevant content, blatantly erroneous science articles, and personal attacks to anyone. I apologize for the inconvenience if I delete something useful and I am not sorry for deleting spam and virus bait.

Note: Advertising miracle cures/instant deficit reducers, regardless of effectiveness, for neurological disabilities counts as spam. Even if you did find the panacea for such things, I don't want to hear it.

Non-Discimination Policy

This linkup welcomes people of every walk of life. All ages, races, gender identities, (dis)abilities, occupations, musical experiences (and lack thereof), and forms of education are welcome here. However, I do not welcome intolerance towards any fellow linkers. The Internet is a public place and you should behave on the Internet like you would at a public place.

The Wednesday Linkup: The First Time

Band Section Stereotypes


  • Positive: Intelligent, collected, diverse, and a bit quirky
  • Negative: Lazy, apathetic
  • Positive: Humble, talented, good musicians, endearing
  • Negative: Don't want to stand out, awkward
  • Positive: Funny, laid-back, like less pretentious clarinets
  • Negative: Not the most organized, have to be reminded not to swing
  • Positive: Quirky, strong, good teacher
  • Negative: Only one bassoonist, a bad bassoonist wrecks the band
  • Positive: Natural leaders, kind, intelligent, athletic
  • Negative: That one egotistical guy (or girl), loud, brash
  • Positive: Sense of humor, good leaders, eccentric in a good way
  • Negatives: Being the trombone/baritone section
  • Positive: Good leader, not a spotlight seeker, sense of pitch
  • Negatives: Won't play tuba solos anytime soon 
  • Positive: Intelligent, precise, tends to major in biochemistry
  • Negative: Loud, impulsive, talks too much

Aromaleigh Eyeshadows Promote Neurodiversity

I have recently started applying makeup and think these eyeshadows are to die for. The fact that part of the proceeds go to organizations like the Golden Hat Foundation, Autistic Self Advocacy Network, and Autism Women's Network make them even more beautiful.

The first shade, #LoveNotFear, is a muted tan and shimmers subtly. The pinkish tint represents the love, not fear, that autistic people want. This shade is geared towards autistic women who do not wear or barely wear makeup. From the stock photo I found, it appears to be a mainly pastel-ish copper/lavender blend.

Enigma is a deep chocolate brown with noticeable multicolored sparkles. This shade represents the complexity and diversity of the autism spectrum. It is representative of the rampant misunderstanding that contributes to the enigmatic nature of autism. This shade is for everyday use by people accustomed to wearing makeup or special occasion use by people who usually don't or barely wear makeup.

Neurodivergent ventures into bolder territory with its teal/taupe/mauve coloration. It reflects the intensity of the autistic experience. This shade is my favorite because it appeals to my daring personality while still being neutral. It can be used for special occasions or everyday depending on your tastes and confidence in your makeup skills.

If you get all three, you can do this:

My Favorite Qualities of These Shades
#LoveNotFear is good for a no makeup makeup look. It looks to be a versatile base shadow.
Enigma looks to be especially flattering on olive skin. (I have olive skin).
Neurodivergent appeals to my colorful personality.

Questions For the Comment Section
Which shade best suits your personality/lifestyle?
How often do you wear makeup and, if so, how much do you apply?
Are you more inclined to subtle or dramatic looks?
Which of these shades of eyeshadow appeals to you the most?

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Blog Survey

Since others did them, I decided I want in on the fun.

You have one week to complete the survey starting...NOW!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Not So Comprehensive Guide to Presuming Competence

What it Means
Presuming competence means assuming that someone is capable of doing something, grasping a concept, understanding what you say, and/or functioning in any other way. For example, talking to someone who displays little signs of competence like you would anyone else in their age group (as in: not baby talking or reducing your vocabulary to the most basic words). 

Why to Do It
Presuming competence indicates that you think of someone as equal (or superior) to you. It gives the person an opportunity to demonstrate their intelligence and independence. Even if someone does not display "competent" traits, they more likely than not can understand you. If this person cannot understand, they will still appreciate the gesture. Presuming incompetence suggests inferiority and serves as the perfect breeding ground for learned helplessness.

Examples of Presuming Competence:
  • Allowing a student to participate in a project
  • Inviting someone to a party
  • Trying something new with the person (They may be better at it than you.)
  • Talking directly with the person rather than to a translator/companion/parent/someone else
  • Speaking as you would normally 
  • Asking about their personal life (their friends, their school/work, favorites)
  • Asking before helping
  • Simply asking!!! It never hurts to ask.
Who it Benefits
  • The person
  • Others around them
  • Anyone who knows them
  • You