question for y'all: driving

Anonymous said to realsocialskills:

I want some information about people with autism and driving. Google helps me with NOTHING about info from actual autistic people, of whatever age and driving level, on their experiences. -.- as usual

realsocialskills said:

I don’t drive, because thus far I have not figured out a way to do it safely. I have unreliable motor skills and weak spatial reasoning and poor executive function. These have all caused me trouble in my various attempts to learn to drive safely. I think I probably could learn to compensate for this kind of impairment with sufficient support, but I don’t want to learn driving through trial and error because error could involve crashing cars and killing people.

Have any of y’all who’re autistic or otherwise disabled learned to drive safely? How?

On Equality And Differences

Men and women will never be completely equal. Men will always excel at some things and Women will excel at others. The same can be said for genetic differences that define the human race.

What we need to make sure is that people aren’t defined into these roles, and people with ideas and skills can do what their best at for the benefit of all society. Link

I seem to get a lot of criticism on this post but I still don’t understand why. When I ask people they say I should downplay the role that genetics plays in a person’s development, then they curse at me, then ban me on twitter. I want to expand why they are wrong and why video games help to lower this genetic divide.

Even at infancy both men and women have different abilities when it comes to cognitive skills. For example boys as young as 5 month old showed better spatial skills than girl. We don’t know why this is, but we’ve shown it statistically. Link

This gender divide continues throughout life with men having a greater level of spatial awareness than women. It’s important to understand that while this is apparent when you analyze a group of men, and a group of woman, the skill difference between any individual man and any individual woman is far larger the difference between the groups. Just because your girlfriend is a superior shot at Halo does not make you the woman in the relationship

So why am I bringing this up, because in this specific case video games help to erase this divide. University of Toronto researchers have shown that this difference in spatial skills is largely eliminated when playing video games. Playing only 10 hours of Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault destroyed this gender divide. This effect persisted for months afterwards but is most prevalent in First Person Shooters. Link

Equality isn’t about lying to people about our difference, an average man without legs will run slower than a man with legs. Equality is about giving people the time, and the respect to live their dreams even if society thinks it’s impossible (Whoops totally forgot Oscar Pistorius killed his girlfriend, I’ll replace him with Aimee Mullins you can see her TED talk here). When people say that violent video game hurt equality, not only are they playing into gender stereotypes, but they are actively preventing women from developing the skills to make true equality happen.

In the end the reason for this project is not to tell people what they should do but to question what they’ve been told.

Feedback for Apple's iOS design team

You’ve tried recruiting me a number of times, but I’ll never work there. I still love your products and I want them to be better, so here’s my feedback on iOS 8 Beta, which I put together while eating a burger.

  • What happened to inertia attached to the swipe gesture for Control Center and Notification Center? It actually vanished in one of the 7.x releases and is a huge step backwards. Feels very clunky.
  • The radial menu animation when using the single input control for sending photos/videos feels realllllly mushy. Takes twice as long as it needs to open and close.
  • When you are in the multitasking view and swipe away an active app, the avatars of recent contacts merely fade out. This feels like it breaks the spatial model already established. They should move out of the way at least. Anything but fade. It feels like a lazy solution.
  • Contextual zooming in and out of an app in springboard feels way snappier. Timing is better. Nice job.
  • Camera.app icon is still an eyesore.
  • Master-Detail view animations don’t animate the header in a fashion that is consistent. Some elements fade, some slide.

Maybe I’ll make a video about all of this.

Review: Tears of the Singers by Melinda Snodgrass

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Melinda Snodgrass wrote a Star Trek novel in which Uhura and her cranky, Beethoven-esque, musical genius boyfriend try to stop evil hunters from clubbing magical singing baby seals.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s actually pretty good as far as Star Trek books go, especially if you can keep reminding yourself that it was written in 1984, when a future full of super-advanced synthesizers and “Computer Tapes” seemed plausible.

The Plot

There’s a bonkers spatial anomaly that is basically eating the galaxy between Federation and Klingon territories. Spock figures out there is some kind of musical pattern to it but doesn’t have the musical skill to translate. Coincidentally they are on a starbase where there’s a musical genius, Guy Maslin, who is short, ugly, and as cranky as Beethoven but also as idolized as…Justin Bieber? One Direction? (what are the kids listening to these days?)

Read More

reply about driving

cardboardcommunist replied to your post “question for y’all: driving”

I am autistic and have mental illness disabilities. Admittedly, my spatial reasoning can be a bit crap, and I don’t drive when the m illness is really bad, but I do drive. My suggestion is to find someone who is really understanding and take it slow.

Also, give yourself lots of time and space in which to practice, and see about any assistive technologies that might help you drive, be aware of hazards, navigate, etc. Learning to drive is tough but doable!

realsocialskills said:

Those are all good suggestions, but probably not a solution for everyone. Some people can’t drive. It can be hard to figure out whether someone has the kind of difficulty learning that can be overcome with good teaching, or whether someone is impaired in ways that make it unsafe for them to drive at all. Both exist.

autistic madoka

she’s easily overwhelmed by multiple things going on at once and is hopeless at multitasking.

she can only stand eye contact for like a second. she’ll focus on someone’s nose or mouth if she has to.

she loves stimming with anything fluffy or soft, like her many stuffed animals.

she’s good with language but hopeless at math.

she feels anxious if her room is cluttered, but due to executive dysfunction, she finds it impossible to get started cleaning her room. her mom helps her break it down into manageable steps.

she has dyspraxia. she’s known to trip over her own feet, can’t understand spatial directions, and always takes a minute to figure out which is left and which is right.

re: question for y'all: driving

realsocialskills:

Anonymous said to realsocialskills:

I want some information about people with autism and driving. Google helps me with NOTHING about info from actual autistic people, of whatever age and driving level, on their experiences. -.- as usual

realsocialskills said:

I don’t drive, because thus far I have not figured out a way to do it safely. I have unreliable motor skills and weak spatial reasoning and poor executive function. These have all caused me trouble in my various attempts to learn to drive safely. I think I probably could learn to compensate for this kind of impairment with sufficient support, but I don’t want to learn driving through trial and error because error could involve crashing cars and killing people.

Have any of y’all who’re autistic or otherwise disabled learned to drive safely? How?

I know at least ten autistic people who can drive. Almost every one of them that I know of who posts on tumblr has been blocked by realsocialskills for not agreeing completely with their views on mental health issues. (I was going to say every one, but I saw a post from @xkrisxcross, who is apparently not blocked yet.)

I think that’s sort of an excellent summary of why this blocking thing is a huge problem for the utility of the blog. Seriously. I know autistics who drive well enough to have seriously considered pursuing long-distance trucking as a career. Realsocialskills doesn’t want to risk them responding, though.

Anyway, driving was hard for me and took a while to get good at, but honestly the ADHD has been a bigger problem than the autism. I did find it impossibly hard at first, what eventually happened was I aged and my brain developed a little further and things got better. So I think I started driving when I was maybe 23-24. I learned on a stick, which resulted in hilarious troubles when I first tried to learn an automatic.

Motor skills get better with practice and time. Practice at low speeds in a large empty parking lot or something. Executive function is honestly not used that much once you’re used to driving, usually it’s pretty straightforward, I think. Spatial reasoning, mostly a matter of leaving larger margins for error whenever possible. And then, just… Practice, practice, practice. My spouse was pretty distrustful of my driving for at least the first five years, but then we did a ~3k mile road trip and by the end of it he was pretty okay with my driving, it sorta finally got settled.

But yeah, tricky stuff. It’s hard to learn, and honestly I think it’s hard for non-autistics, they just don’t realize they’re having trouble. And I do commend you for being cautious about trial and error when errors can hurt people, because that is an attitude more people ought to have.

like, I’m not happy that other people have problems with driving, but I’m happy to see that I’m not alone in it. to see that other people feel the same sense of being overwhelmed and shutting down when they have to go through all the mental processes involved in driving. I’m relieved to see other people talk about spatial reasoning skills and how having weaker ones can make driving difficult (how far am I from that car, really? from that light? how much space does this car take up from the outside? I have no idea, honestly). it’s reassuring to see other people acknowledge that driving does require using a lot of motor skills and processing a lot of information all at once. most of the time, people will acknowledge that driving is difficult at first and then say “oh, but you just need practice to get used to it’ because they do not understand the level of anxiety and helplessness and just being completely overwhelmed I experience when I have to drive (which I haven’t done in maybe three years).

it’s just. not being able to drive has made me feel so deficient for so long that I really need to see that other people have similar issues with it.

Mapping blank spots in the cheeseboard maze

IST Austria Professor Jozsef Csicsvari together with collaborators succeeds in uncovering processes in which the formation of spatial memory is manifested in a map representation • Researchers investigate timescale of map formation • Inhibitory interneurons possibly involved in selection of map

During learning, novel information is transformed into memory through the processing and encoding of information in neural circuits. In a recent publication in Neuron, IST Austria Professor Jozsef Csicsvari, together with his collaborator David Dupret at the University of Oxford, and Joseph O’Neill, postdoc in Csicsvari’s group, uncovered a novel role for inhibitory interneurons in the rat hippocampus during the formation of spatial memory.

During spatial learning, space is represented in the hippocampus through plastic changes in the connections between neurons. Jozsef Csicsvari and his collaborators investigate spatial learning in rats using the cheeseboard maze apparatus. This apparatus contains many holes, some of which are selected to hide food in order to test spatial memory. During learning trials, animals learn where the rewards are located, and after a period sleep, the researchers test whether the animal can recall these reward locations. In previous work, they and others have shown that memory of space is encoded in the hippocampus through changes in the firing of excitatory pyramidal cells, the so-called “place cells”. A place cell fires when the animal arrives at a particular location. Normally, place cells always fire at the same place in an environment; however, during spatial learning the place of their firing can change to encode where the reward is found, forming memory maps.

In their new publication, the researchers investigated the timescale of map formation, showing that during spatial learning, pyramidal neuron maps representing previous and new reward locations “flicker”, with both firing patterns occurring. At first, old maps and new maps fluctuate, as the animal is unsure whether the location change is transient or long-lasting. At a later stage, the new map and so the relevant new information dominates.

The scientists also investigated the contribution of inhibitory interneuron circuits to learning. They show that these interneurons, which are extensively interconnected with pyramidal cells, change their firing rates during map formation and flickering: some interneurons fire more often when the new pyramidal map fires, while others fire less often with the new map. These changes in interneuron firing were only observed during learning, not during sleep or recall. The scientists also show that the changes in firing rate are due to map-specific changes in the connections between pyramidal cells and interneurons. When a pyramidal cell is part of a new map, the strengthening of a connection with an interneuron causes an increase in the firing of this interneuron. Conversely, when a pyramidal cell is not part of a new map, the weakening of the connection with the interneuron causes a decrease in interneuron firing rate. Both, the increase and the decrease in firing rate can be beneficial for learning, allowing the regulation of plasticity between pyramidal cells and controlling the timing in their firing.

The new research therefore shows that not only excitatory neurons modify their behaviour and exhibit plastic connection changes during learning, but also the inhibitory interneuron circuits. The researchers suggest that inhibitory interneurons could be involved in map selection – helping one map dominate and take over during learning, so that the relevant information is encoded.

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you have to remember.

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Microsonic Landscapes

3D-Printed music visualizations of modern albums. Using Processing, each album’s soundwave was analysed and created a unique visual form. The albums are: Jewels by Einstürzende Neubauten, Another World by Antony and the Johnsons, Pink Moon by Nick Drake, Third by Portishead, and the composition “Für Alina” by Arvo Pärt.

An algorithmic exploration of the music we love. Each album_s soundwave proposes a new spatial and unique journey by transforming sound into matter/space: the hidden into something visible.

More can be found at the project’s website here

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