Hello, I'm Ciarán Kelly from Luimneach, Ireland.. You can find my picture on Everyday Lives 1 if you want to. Luimneach's motto is "Urbs Antiqua Fuit Studiisque Asperrima Belli" which means "An Ancient City Well-Versed in the Arts of War". It's appropriate that I should live in this old place because I'm also well-versed in the arts of war and becoming more so every day. Not because I'm innately bellicose (although my friend Michael says I am) but because I've had to be. As Jim Sinclair observed in his article "Don't Mourn for Us", we, autistic people, are foreigners in any society. Which means we have to guard our security well.
OK, at this point we need a picture and the one of Alyosha which we put up last month has been so popular that we'll give you another.This was taken while he was on an excursion to Pushkin, 25km south of St Petersburg. (This town was for centuries known as Tsarskoye Selo -- Tsar's Village -- and there you will find a huge palace which is now a state museum. It was enlarged to it's present size by the empress Yekaterina and in the process she used most of her country's wealth.) Alyosha is of course autistic and we have other pictures of him sleeping on a statue and on a seat outside the palace, pretending to be a homeless kid so he has a great sense of humour. Maybe we'll make an Alyosha page yet, who knows?
To be autistic in St Petersburg is not such a bad thing; the city is close to the west so some of the facilities are reasonable. In some other parts of Russia this is not the case. Alyosha is kind of a "mid-range" kid, he can talk and he understands that there is such a thing as society. It's hard to tell what else he knows, or what he will be like when he's grown. You can get an idea from the things he does.
Four people currently edit this site. Besides myself, they are Peter Edlund from Denmark, Anton Kalugin from Russia (unfortunately not from St Petersburg although he wishes he was) and my good friend Michael Beaumont who lives no further away than the next room.
And so what do we have in common? Well, autism and having high IQs are the two attributes applicable to this space but there are others which make us feel pretty unique. Or weird, strange, mad and peculiar. Or just totally alienated. Take your pick.
We're in no doubt that there's no place in contemporary society for us. We're our own society and if you, like us, embody the analogy of "wrong planet syndrome", you'll know that makes perfect sense. And we are a growing society too, from four to eight right now, two more from Denmark and two from Germany.
As for myself, people told me I was nuts when I was younger and I believed them. I used to get frustrated and angry because I although I was speaking plain English or Irish it seemed to be a variant that only I understood. So I'd lash out. Sometimes I hurt people and when I did I felt better. Not so long ago my friends hurt me because I did something very selfish so I had to understand what that was and how to keep from doing it again. It's not easy being autistic, even when your friends are too.
Lindsay first wrote this site in 1996 although all he does now is read what we plan to say. I met him in Melbourne maybe 18 months ago after talking to him for a few years on the net. My parents talked to him a lot also. That's when Michael came here from New Zealand. Lindsay came here to Ireland, to this house, to see that Michael was settled in. Then I saw him again in Paris not so long ago.
For every autism picture Lindsay has taken over the years, he has maybe thirty that are not connected with autism in any way. Landscapes, pictures of trains, buildings, events and so on. He wrote a website called The Picture Page which displays some of them. He put some essays there as well, just some of his thoughts and Anton who now looks after the domain has kept them although only one is there right now..
This site has always been as realistic a description of autism as possible, but we keep hearing and reading about what autistic people can't do. And often we disagree. So we're going to give prominence to what autistic people can do in the hope that they and/or their parents will not be discouraged. Last month Peter entered the word autism into Google and there are over a million links. Most of these will tell you how bad autism is. Let's have some perspective: if your child had to have a disability would you prefer quadriplegia or autism? Total heart block or autism? Cystic fibrosis or autism? Phobia to light or autism? And so on. Intellectual disabilty is not good, but that's not autism. Celiac disease is not good either, but that's not autism in fact a study just finished in Teheran, Iran, showed that celiac disease occurs just as much in neurotypical kids as in autistic ones. (Our source for this is the first Autism Connect newsletter for May 2007. Adam never gets it wrong, so we believe him.)
Nothing here is meant to describe "The Autistic Experience" because there's no such thing. There are as many ways of being autistic as there are autistic people. So all we can do is try to show the diversity that exists within the autistic state.
How can you have a picture of your autistic child displayed on this site? That's really very difficult. You would have to convince all of us that you are genuine. Lindsay took most of the Australian pictures himself, and he knows all the families. The pictures of American adults were sent to Lindsay or Judy by people they had come to know on autistic-space lists. Those of American children Lindsay mostly took himself or were sent to him or Judy by parents who checked out as genuine.
The Dutch pictures come from just one family who Lindsay came to know on an autism email list. He has stayed at their home and spoken to their children. The picture of Anders from Denmark is taken from his family's website, with their kind permission. The pictures of Arne in Norway were taken from his mother's website, now gone, at her invitation. The pictures of Alex Bain come courtesy of his mother, jypsy (Janet Norman Bain), who gave Lindsay permission to take any picture(s) of him that he wanted from her website (once more extensive), Ooops!! Wrong Planet Syndrome! The pictures of us we supplied ourselves for use on this site only.
About ten years ago, Lindsay was asked whether there was one
single thing that he remembered most about his childhood. It was an
question and it took him a few moments to formulate an answer, which
was simply "fear". All but a tiny number of autistic people have lived
one or another manifestation of fear as a major component of their
childhood, including all of us. We still experience some form of fear every day.
We received this press release from Research Autism in the
"Have you ever been conned into trying a treatment or therapy that cost an arm and a leg, seemed to last a month of Sundays and ended up doing nothing? Or has every intervention you tried turned out to be the next best thing to sliced bread? Either way Research Autism would like to hear from you.
"Research Autism is the only UK charity exclusively dedicated to research into interventions in autism. It commissions, carries out and supports high quality, independent research into new and existing health, education, social and other interventions.
"The charity has just launched a new website which provides free, impartial and scientifically valid information about interventions. A sort of "Which Guide" to treatments and therapies. And now it is looking for personal accounts from people who have actually tried some of the interventions. It wants to know what you liked, what you didn't like, and what you thought overall. That way, it can build a fuller, more useful picture of each intervention. Eventually, with your help, it may even be able to identify the interventions that rock!
"You can contact Research Autism via its website at www.researchautism.net or you can email email@example.com"
Last updated 10 July 2007
The content of this website is copyright 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 by Lindsay Weekes and Judith A. Badner. Additional copyright 2007 David Kelly for and on behalf of Ciarán Kelly and Michael Beaumont. Additional copyright 2007 Aske Edlund for and on behalf of Peter Edlund. Additional copyright Andrey M Kalugin for Anton A Kalugin. This site is defined by the universal resource locator (URL) <http://www.picturepage.net>, and all of its subdirectories. All rights reserved. If you wish to reprint, reproduce, or otherwise make use of anything on this website, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Your email should contain your work phone number for verification and full details of your qualifications and experience, your interest in publishing work relating to persons on the autism spectrum and the name of your potential publisher. All email will be supervised by adults.