Monthly Archives: April 2013

Red Velvet celebrates 1000 Ausome Things #AutismPositivity2013

Before anything, I’d like to invite you all to join this flash blog, especially if you have firsthand experience with persons with autism. To join: Publish your post in the following title format: “ [Your Blog] celebrates 1000 Ausome Things #AutismPositivity2013″, post it on every social networking site you have with hashtag #AutismPositivity2013 and share. Oh, and do submit here even if you don’t have a blog 🙂

Admittedly, I still find it hard to write about anything autism-related even after three months of not writing about it in thesis. So I’ll make this simple. I also can’t post any pictures because I didn’t really ask permission.

I’ve met quite a lot of persons with autism, and, to break the first stereotype, they’re not all the same! Quite the opposite, they possess a huge variety of skills, personalities, characters, and traits. Two common things though are, of course, the symptoms, and their self-advocacy.

It’s really inspiring, to see adolescents with autism fight for their rights. Hope. They have it, even if society around them does not. And they’re right. The autism spectrum disorders are disorders, not diseases. There’s nothing wrong with having it. Let me walk you through the persons with autism that I’ve met.

The first one that struck me is a teenage boy in one of the institutions I’ve visited. Let’s just call him Fred. Among other autism symptoms, Fred has a little speech impairment. But that doesn’t stop him from pursuing what he loves: music. He has a good ear for tunes. And what really amazed me was his guitar skills. He can play a whole lot better than your average neurotypical guitar player (me included). He can even play it on his back! Of course he has other talents, but wow, those guitar skills are really admirable!

Second is one of our thesis respondents. Let’s call him Jay. If you asked Jay to tell you about his autism, you better be prepared for a long speech about his life. It’s a pretty good story too. What I love most about Jay is his drive to let his story be known and accepted. He’s one of those self-advocates that can really make you want to join the cause. It’s inspiring to see such pride and dignity in an adolescent with autism.

Another respondent from our thesis is Nikki. She’s a diva. And I mean diva. She can belt out and sing the craziest tunes, and has amazing stage presence! Of course, being a diva, she also acts like one, which would have been annoying if she didn’t laugh afterwards and show you that she doesn’t really mean it. Raised without much proper intervention, she was put through some improvised “intervention” such as modeling for discipline. Goes to show that you don’t really need to “change” them. Truly, Nikki is an inspiring, sweet, light-hearted diva.

Mr. congeniality I call him, my friend’s brother. Though I wouldn’t be surprised why he’s like that, considering he has such cool and supportive parents. I’ve only met him twice, and only spent a few minutes with him, but that was enough to charm me. The fact that he can openly talk to strangers in a comfortable way shows that this friendly dude really is something! So, no, they aren’t really anti-social as the stereotypes say. Far from it.

Lastly, I know it’s bad to play favorites, but I can’t help it. I’ve been friends with this boy for two years now and I still get excited over the next opportunity to see him! Let’s call him Jude. My first encounter with Jude was a handshake and a formal introduction. Proof that persons with autism can follow some norms. Jude has many talents, more than I can describe here in this entry, but what’s special about him is the friendship that he offers. A sweet and charming boy, Jude always finds a way to melt my heart. Just last year, after not having seen him for a long time, I wondered if he still remembered even my face. Lo and behold, upon entering his school, he quickly stood up and greeted me by my first name. And in one of our organization’s events that I couldn’t attend, I was told that he even looked for me. Simply the way his face lights up each time we visit is heartwarming, and to be honest, the main reason why I decided to “specialize” in autism.

I can go on about these five people, or I can give even more, but I think this should suffice. After all, there’s no comparing first-hand experiences with persons with autism. It really is wonderful. To conclude, I’d like to tell each and every person with autism: there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. Don’t let anyone bring you down, and most importantly, don’t bring yourself down because the people around you are fighting with you to show the world just how wonderful you are. You are different, not less. And with that difference, you can shine.

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1000 Ausome Things #AutismPositivity2013 Flashblog Announcement

Thirty Days of Autism

We know you have been waiting… and we have been working and organizing behind the scenes. Now we are ready and we are excited to announce the theme for the second annual Autism Positivity Flashblog Event on April 30th, 2013: AutismPositivity2013button“1000 Ausome Things #AutismPositivity2013”

Last year hundreds of bloggers came together in a show of support and solidarity in response to an anonymous person’s Google search “I wish I didn’t have Aspergers”. The posts that came flooding in from all over the world were a beautiful example of the power of strength in numbers. With so much negativity still surrounding Autism and the misinformation and misconceptions that continue to abound, we invite each of you to share one, or two, or more “Ausome” things!

We invite all of you, anyone who is Autistic, anyone who has an Autistic person in their life and all who blog about autism to share a…

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Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before I Entered College

Now that I’ve graduated and am in the next phase of my life, I’ve been looking for universities or training sites where I can get my career started. As I’ve been doing so, several doubts cross my mind. I know nothing about post-graduate studies, and absolutely nothing about studying abroad. Luckily, I have a few people helping me out, giving me advice and contacts to make sure I’m ready. A look back at when I was about to enter Ateneo for my bachelor’s degree made me realize that I was a bit unprepared. So here are some things I wish someone had told me before I entered college.

note: don’t base it on the bold titles below, they can be deceiving.

1. It’s a whole new world out there

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No, it’s not Aladdin and Jasmine, but it is a new culture, a mix of different breeds from different walks of life. Culture shock is quite common among freshmen. I remember my first culture shock was when (don’t judge me, I came from a conservative high school) I found fellow freshmen smoking like there’s no tomorrow. I had no idea there were more extreme things I had yet to find out… *ehem*… So yeah, be open-minded, but be yourself! You’re part of that whole new world too!

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2. The freshman orientation is just as important as any of your lessons

True, you don’t really have to know what year which building was built, or why it was named after this person, but it’s good to pay attention to certain histories, certain trivia, that will help you through the next few years. Also, it’ll be really helpful to know the shortcuts around campus to avoid being late! Orientations are there for a reason, so don’t take them too lightly.

3. Stereotypes are about as true as myths and legends

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Well, myths and legends do have bases, so they are partly true. But don’t let that fool you. I came into Ateneo thinking that everyone spoke straight English all the time. I always introduced myself with a handshake. And I thought everyone was supposed to wear fancy clothes and skirts. Well, it turns out that only around 25% of the population spoke straight English. 10% spoke straight Tagalog. And the rest are just conyo :P. Handshakes and formalities are not really required when introducing oneself, especially not to blockmates and orgmates because you’re gonna be reeeeaaally close one day and it’s going to be funny to remember that silly introduction. And not everyone wears fancy clothes and skirts; only the school of management students do (just kidding! okay, half kidding).

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4. Keep your old notes

Okay, on to the academics! This one I really regret not doing, especially now that I’m considering furthering my education. Notes are important. Nope, not just the ones from your favorite subject, or your majors. Even notes from core or minor subjects are important! I’d have liked to have had my old English notes when I was doing thesis. Well, now that electronics are much more common, it’d be a lot easier because you could just store everything in dropbox or google drive.

5. Join organizations

Last but not the least, you need to find yourself a home away from home. It’s advisable to join a handful of orgs in freshman year, so that you’d already know by sophomore year which ones you actually belong in. Of course, you can always keep all of them, but beware, org events clash and sometimes things don’t end well. Find your passion, and stick with it; find your people, and stick with them. Orgs are going to be helpful in all aspects of your college life because it’s where you’ll meet great people from different years and courses, and it’s where you get to do stuff they don’t teach you in the classrooms.

So there, the things I wish I knew before entering college. Now to find a similar list pertaining to post-graduate studies abroad 😛

Thanks for reading!

Nimble Life

Hey, reader! Boy, have I got a treat for you! It’s the latest, hottest, juiciest scoop on my oh-so-exciting unemployed life! (I really hope you get the sarcasm here). It’s about this new app I downloaded on my iPad, Nimble Quest. Similar to the classic game, Snake, you go around on a field non-stop and try to avoid obstacles, but it has many twists!

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Nimble Quest

Now, just like I do with every entry I make, I’m going to discuss this one in relation to life and humanity (oh, what a shocker!), just be thankful this one isn’t about Oz anymore.

You start off choosing a main character, or a leader, to lead your soon-to-be long line of heroes. Everything relies on him/her. If s/he dies, everyone dies. Since Blaze is my favorite character, I shall now refer to the leader as Blaze. So Blaze leads the group. He shoots fireballs and collects gems. He also collects other things such as power-ups and other heroes. The other heroes help out with the attacking as well. But what happens if they die? Well, bye-bye hero, and the line moves on. Such is the life of a follower.

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Blaze with other characters

Blaze is like that one thing in us that we hold on to. He is our fundamental option, a term theology students know so well. It is a basic life direction we choose at some point, upon which our other decisions are based. Blaze, as the fundamental option, leads and directs the other heroes, the other life decisions, around the field. What’s amazing about Blaze is that, not only is he the strength (being the leader), he is also the weakness. Being the sole basis of whether or not the team dies, Blaze has the burden of–well, not dying. The fundamental option of a human being is the same. While its strength is apparent in that it leads our lives, its weakness also lies in its frailty. Imagine if one day, the one thing you believe in suddenly seemed so untrue. Imagine if your biggest life principle did not seem applicable anymore. Your life direction wavers, leaving you confused. That’s why Blaze, your fundamental option, needs so much thought and care. We need to pick-up power-ups, shields, and potions, to keep Blaze going, to keep our fundamental option strong.

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Dungeon

What’s interesting about this version of Snake is that the opponents move as well. They don’t just stand by waiting to be eaten. They also attack. The skeleton throws bones. The spider slows you down with webs. They even have healers on their side. I find this twist amazing. In life, we don’t just deal with static people. Just like us, the people around us are mobile too. They change. They grow. They attack. They heal. We choose our paths according to these mobile people. We pursue. We avoid. And sometimes, we clash.

Don’t worry, I have no more boring life lessons or metaphorical whatnot to give. I just want to emphasize how great this game is. Snake will always be a classic, a legend. The twists just make it more interesting. There isn’t a moment of boredom in this game, as you have to watch out for incoming attacks from all sides and at the same time try to collect gems. The character-building and the variety itself of the characters are also great for RPG fans out there, although it would’ve been better if we were allowed to choose our own skills to develop. Overall, it’s just really fun to watch your line of heroes grow as they blast fireballs and other things around to enemies, all the while reflecting on how much metaphysical sense this game makes.

Well, thanks for reading! Munch on!