September 07, 2001

women athletes, autism, and women athletes

It is FINALLY getting cooler in the mornings. Callooooo! Callaaaayy! I gloat. Hear me!

Yes, I am fully capable of mixing Alice and Tom Brown when happy. Not only was the weather pleasant (Callooooooo!) but we did a lightweight Womens' four again, which was also very pleasant. We are a kick-ass four and I am really looking forward to racing with this group -- in fact, one thing on my list for today is to see if there are any fall regattas not too far away that have a lightweight category.

None of us but Pigtails actually got much constructive coaching today, but they did give us a lot of compliments. Not helpful, but at least pleasant.

For some odd reason, the keys on the left side of this keyboard are louder than those on the right. I've probably gotten crumbs in it -- I have an unfortunate habit of mixing food and keyboards a little more closely than is optimal for the latter.

Yesterday, I had lunch with a former co-worker from Boeing and her husband. They both quit work awhile back in order to have more time to work with their autistic son and it sounds like their methods have worked extremely well with him. They hope to get a grant to work to teach their methods in a local school for autistic kids. I don't know much about autism, so it was fascinating to hear them.

Apparently, the cornerstone of their method is to realize that as far as these kids are concerned, everything is fine. They may have retreated far inside their own heads, but they're happy in there. So instead of forcing them to cone out in order to make other people happy, they start with a basic respect for the kid and work from there. Their own son is now social and verbal, reading and speaking and making eye contact. Perhaps the fact that the mother herself has a problem with her legs that forces her to use crutches or a wheelchair has helped them realize that a disability can be a fact and a hindrance without being a tragedy. I don't know, but I am impressed.

I'm not an expert on this stuff, not having kids, but a lot of what they were saying sounded to me like an amplified and targeted version of general good parenting techniques. I suggested that after they finish their book on dealing with autistic kids, they write one aimed at all parents, adapting the lessons they've learned to dealing with all kids.

They get to practice dealing with other kids anyway, since
they also have an 11-year-old daughter who is not autistic -- I gather one of
their challenges is to make sure she gets enough attention, that all their time
isn't spent on her younger, cuter, and needier brother. Right now, their biggest
concern with her is that she's not even a teenager, and is very skinny, and is
thinking she's too fat and trying not to eat. Arrrgh.

I recommended the book "Generations", in hope that hearing three generations of women talking about their lives might give her interesting perspective. I should also have recommended "Game Face" which I've just finished. It's a collection of words and pictures of women athletes throughout the century, or all ages, shapes and fitness levels, from a little girl playing with a ball to Flo Jo to Ernestine
to a swim team of older women from over in Sun City. Great book. And great role models.

Posted by dichroic at September 7, 2001 04:59 PM

Somebody needs to REALLY take a closer look at autism in females because there are cases of autism in females that we don't even know about! Where did people come up with statements saying that autism is four times more common in males than in females?! We have got to pay closer attention to autism in females and I mean soon! I was born August 8 1960 and I belong to the Generation X period! We want the truth and whoever says that we can't handle the truth isn't listening to what we have to say about autism! There is WAY more to autism in females than we're being told and I plan to become an autism activist! I want organizations focusing on autism in females to be set up and I mean NOW! Whoever says that autism is four times more prevalent in males than in females not only isn't telling the truth, they're lying, BIG TIME! I live in New York City's Manhattan borough and it's WAY past time to take closer inspections on autism in females!

Posted by: Penelope Downs at December 9, 2004 08:51 PM
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