Monday, April 30, 2018

Influence of Art in ASD Children

All children can and deserve to make art
Art is a part of humanity, and it's unthinkable to deny a child to the opportunity of creating something beautiful.
Dear readers, parents, teachers, tutors, Autistic Soccer can empathize that educating autistic children can seem like a challenge at some point. Indeed, it’s often hard enough to educate children without ASD, but to commit into getting and maintaining the attention of a child with autism when trying to teach them about something in which they have no interest whatsoever can seem, at times, nigh on impossible.

Kids with ASD may often require very specialized teaching methods in order to combat sensory issues, difficulties in focusing on certain things, communication issues, and possibly attention deficiency. These problems may lead many to wrongly believe that the child is stupid or unskilled, and a lack of socially interactive skills on the part of the ASD child does nothing to help this prejudice. The common perception is that children who can’t get along with school, can’t get along in the real world.

This can prove to be frustrating for parents who want to ensure that their child gets the best possible education and best possible start in life and thus his future. However, a little patience, understanding, and creativity when it comes to education, can go a long way if it’s done with the heart. The use of art as a teaching tool can have unparalleled effects in opening up an avenue of communication between student and teacher, and in engaging the interest of the pupil.

How Art Can Be Beneficial for Children Living with Autism

Art lessons for children have benefits of both practical and emotional nature. Some young autistic children may more than often struggle with their fine motor skills, for which the simple act of guiding crayons over paper can render a huge and noticeable improvement. However, as well as honing their motor skills, making drawings allows autistic children to communicate thoughts and feelings they may otherwise have a hard time to express. Viewing a child’s drawing opens a window into their interests, preoccupations, and emotions which may go unregarded in a child with ASD, who doesn’t communicate these things in a conventional way, but that doesn’t mean they must go unnoticed at all.

On similar instances, people with ASD can respond in surprisingly positive ways to creative teaching methods. Music, in particular, has been found to engage amazing responses from children with ASD. Many autistic children respond with far more enthusiasm to a music-oriented lesson or with a noticeable rhythm than they would to a more conventional lesson.

Some ASD children like the patterns and rhythms of music or chants (because they have order and harmony, notions that attract them), and these can benefit from, for example, math lessons phrased in rhyme, or chanted. Some other children like the opportunity that music gives to them to engage with others through clearly defined parameters, thus allowing them to socialize. Making music or singing a song with the rest of the class gives the autistic child a part to play, which is predictable and easy to complete yet simultaneously creative, expressive, and most important, inclusive. Making them feel included and important is one of the greatest ways a teacher can ensure that the mind of an autistic pupil is in tune with the class, that their attention is on the lesson and, this is vital, that they are enjoying the lesson.

A Special Note for Our Teachers and Parents

Visual aids can prove to be useful for those teaching autistic children. Those who provide resources for the teaching of autistic children recommend the use of visual aids to help clarify certain concepts which may be confusing for someone with ASD. Autistic children are less likely than other children to just accept the word that their teacher presents when the reasoning behind an action or concept seems incomprehensible.

Visual aids help to illustrate these concepts in an easier fashion, making them seem much more reasonable. This principle can be carried through into the classroom in general as well. Dear reader, here at Autism Soccer we recommend the use of a highly visually defined teaching area to help children get into a “learning” state of mind, and to make clear that you can’t act in this space as you would act at home (setting boundaries and disciple). Many autistic children appreciate clear boundaries and definitions because they bring order to a world they often find chaotic, and there is no more effective way of defining a boundary than through clear visual markers.

As you have read, here at Autism Soccer we care about art, education, and most important, our readers. Follow us on our social networks and don’t hesitate to leave your comments in the section below.

Painting is a healthy form of expression.
Not all autistic children despise the texture of paint on their fingers.

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Friday, April 27, 2018

Top 10 Artists Within the Spectrum

From Tim Burton to Daryl Hannah, many famous artists have lived within the autistic spectrum

Throughout history we have been witnesses (and fans) of the work of some of the greatest artists in the world of music, painting, film and theater, these are individuals that we admire for their dedication and for the creation of masterpieces; they have brought a never seen before perspective to their respective guilds, some of them even had to overcome great difficulties in their lives to be able to create these wonderful works of art.

What many of us do may not know is that some of these artists had to overcome one of the biggest obstacles: Rejection, and a difficulty in tightening social and affective bonds; That's right, some of the greatest artists in history live or lived within the autistic spectrum, even before this condition began to be diagnosed by doctors. This is a list of 10 exceptional artists whose condition did not prevent them from reaching greatness.

Did you know these Artists were in the autism Spectrum?

  1. Courtney Love: One of the most controversial and highly glamorized singers from the past decade, selling multiple platinum level albums and songs though her career. While now being past 50, she still continues to be an active artist and actress as well.It was revealed through her biography by Poppy Z that Love was mildly autistic. According to statements made by Love herself, her social skills have always been below those shown by average individuals. To better herself, she and her friends visited LGBT clubs to soothe her frustration and improve her social skills.Despite the condition, she has shown shear resilience and an undeniable attitude towards her commitment for her career and her fans alike.
  2. Susan Boyle: Back in 2009, this Scottish singer auditioned for the Britain’s Got Talent, and she touched our hearts with her mesmerizing voice and instantly became a sensation. After that, she never looked back and went onto selling no less than 14 million records around the world. Until recently, Boyle announced that she was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, through a Scottish specialist, to which she called “a relief”. According to her “Asperger’s doesn’t define me. It’s a condition that I have to live with and work through, but I feel more relaxed about myself,” she said in one of her many interviews. 
  3. Stanley Kubrick: One of the most recognizable Film Directors by his attention to detail, Stanley was quite obsessive and had trouble dealing with people while making movies. It is now known that his Asperger’s led to his passionate attention to detail and his eventual fame as a film director, Kubrick was diagnosed in retrospect by Dr. Michael Fitzgerald. He based his diagnosis mostly on Kubrick’s behavioral traits like obsessive interests, poor sociability and lack of adaptability towards trying new things.
  4. Hans Christian Andersen: This is none other than the beloved writer of such fairy tales as The Little Mermaid and The Ugly Duckling. The experts go back and forth over whether he was autistic or not. Most of those who insist that he appeared somewhere on the spectrum are those who are autistic themselves, and relate to Andersen on a personal level.Andersen’s diary describes to great length his many bouts of unrequited love for those who he considered unattainable. The experts also note the recurring theme of outcast characters in his stories. Most never achieve their sought after happy endings.
  5. Tim Burton: Is this iconic Film Director within the spectrum? His long-time partner (and mother to his children), Helena Bonham Carter, speculated that he was “possibly autistic” during an interview. While researching an autistic character for a film, Carter claims, she had an “a-ha moment” and realized that many treats of her research applied to Burton. Said Carter, “Autistic people have application and dedication. You can say something to Tim when he’s working and he doesn’t hear you. But that quality also makes him a fantastic father; he has an amazing sense of humor and imagination. He sees things other people won’t see.”
  6. Lewis Carroll: The controversial author of the classic book Alice in Wonderland. While some of his behavioral traits like continuously seeking the company of young girls, has made some experts wonder if the university professor was actually a pedophile, others use the same information to theorize that Carroll was autistic.Lewis Carroll lived in a different time and place, with very different social norms than what we are used to today. He was also known to be a quite poor communicator, and thus likely found interacting with children much easier than with adults. Finally, Carroll showed great mathematical and logical ability, both common traits of those on the spectrum.
  7. Michelangelo: This illustrious  Renaissance artist that was most noted for being unable to keep relationships with anybody. Some doctors have even hypothesized that his troubled social life and Asperger’s symptoms led to a more intense focus on his art work, which led him to paint the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling.
  8. Daryl Hannah: The Star of movies like Splash and Steel Magnolias didn’t always have the ideal life, during her youth her social  interaction was a nightmare for Hannah. She would even rock back and forth to self-soothe and and was so shy that once she began acting she refused to give interviews or even attend her own premieres. Though she has mostly learned to gain control over herself and live with her diagnosis, Hannah has all but left the entertainment business to focus on environmental issues.
  9. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Most scholars now agree that musical mastermind Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was somewhere within the spectrum. Mozart was allegedly extremely sensitive to loud noises, had a quite short attention span, and could change rapidly through a cycle of facial expressions within seconds. In one well-documented situation, a very bored Mozart began doing cartwheels and vaults over tables while meowing loudly, much like a cat.
  10. Andy Warhol: Some Experts (like Judith Gould, the director of the leading diagnostic center for autism in the United Kingdom) insist that it would be logical  that Andy Warhol was living with autism. As we recollect from his lifetime, much of the artist’s work focused on repetition, on which those with autism more than often fixate. In interviews, Warhol almost always responded to questions with monosyllabic answers, possibly evidence that he had the verbal dyslexia that is so common among those on the spectrum. He reportedly refused to wear anything but a certain kind of green underwear. Those who argue against this posthumous diagnosis strongly suggest that Warhol’s different behavior was a calculated and voluntary effort to “enhance a sense of mystery.” 

Here at Autism Soccer, we show you that no matter in what part of the spectrum you are, yu can not only look up to those before you that overcame the hardships of living witht this condition, but that you too can achieve great deeds

Literature, music and photography: autism has influenced the world of art for ages.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Autism, Acceptance and Feminism

Both women and autistic people have fought for equality and acceptance in the modern world

Equity, acceptance, work opportunities with payment and equal treatment; These are only some of the notions that the movement of awareness and recognition by people living with autism have in common with all those progressive women who struggle every day to live in a world where feminism is the norm and not the minority.

Both Autism Awareness and Feminism have had numerous support groups that have been growing progressively over the past decades and have participated in activities ranging from pacific marches to protests, both full of activists committed to a cause they consider fair, delving into that, in the following article we will discuss the similarities between the awareness movement by autistic people and the feminist movement.

Autism and Feminism: Labels, Limitations and Liberation.
There are some complex and intricate interactions between the notions of  autism and feminism, which can go in many different ways as we’ll read today. But we can start this article with a simple question.

Does a label limit the possibilities of what you can do?

Answer: only if you believe it does.

There was (not long ago) a time when being a woman was most definitely considered a restrictive thing. Women were expected to “understand and accept their own limitations” (whatever those were) and to never challenge them, thus believing they would never be allowed to do some of the things men did because they simply weren’t capable, it was futile to even trying otherwise.

Women were considered unable to vote, serve jury duty, work while being pregnant and even get a credit card bof their own.

Those alleged limitations were just mental images that people associated with the word “woman” but they really had nothing to do with what women themselves were capable to achieve, but had everything to do with what women were expected to achieve though, and it resulted in society putting so many restrictions on them that it was almost impossible for women to do anything other than cleaning, cooking and raising children for the men that restricted them in first place.

Sounds familiar? Now, Let’s compare these facts with being labeled as an autist; for most autistic people, realising that this society has expectations of them comes with the realisation that the do not conform with them (that’s a common treat in autism, being non-conformant). They may often find it difficult to identify the norms that they’re expected to live up to, and even when they have, if they can’t see the point in following them they just won’t try. Autistic Boys have even bigger shoes to fill in these aspects.

Among some of the things that autistics tend to be no good at conforming to are gender norms (Norms that can be quite strict to young boys). It can be recognised that there is an intriguing correlation between autism and variant gender identities, but this is a far more complex matter.

‘’Normal’’ Boys are expected to be competitive, specially in social games that are often beyond most autistic boys. They are expected to enjoy team sports, when teams are baffling and most of them have proved to be clumsy at the very least. They are expected to be part of a universal boys’ club just by being born males, when for the most part other boys are no less alien to autistic males than females are.

All of this means that the average autistic boy suffers as much from the patriarchy as women in past ages have. Male privilege means something quite different for someone able and willing to dominate others than it does for a socially confused autistic boy who can’t really grasp stereotypical masculinity.

Autistic girls don’t do very different, them having to deal with all the usual issues that the rest of the girls have to handle the best way they can within a patriarchal society, and having to navigate social hierarchies that are quite incomprehensible for them. All this while being frequently baffled by things that their classmates, teachers and parents expect from any other girl.

As you have read, here at Autism Soccer, we care about social issues and we do our best to bring light to them, please follow us on our social networks and don’t hesitate to leave your comments at the comments section below.

Both movements have had excellent representatives along the latest decades.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Empresarios con autismo: ¡no hay imposibles!

Muchos empresarios exitosos han llegado a la cima aún viviendo con autismo. 

Esta vez nos gustaría comenzar recalcando nuestra firme creencia de que no hay nada imposible, de que los sueños sólo deben ser trabajados, y de que todos tenemos las mismas posibilidades de alcanzar todo eso que anhelamos con todo nuestro corazón.

Para las personas con TEA, los sueños están presentes todo el tiempo; sin embargo, su propio entorno puede jugarles una mala pasada al momento de comenzar a trabajar para conseguir lo que desean. Es común encontrarnos con personas que no creen posible que alguien con autismo pueda llegar tan lejos como se lo proponga, por eso, para probar lo contrario y reafirmar nuestro punto, decidimos presentar en nuestro artículo de hoy algunos empresarios que han vivido muy de cerca esta realidad.

Genios, artistas, y empresarios autistas con mucho talento

Se dice que el síndrome de Asperger es el síndrome de los genios. Este síndrome corresponde a muchas de las personas que han revolucionado el mundo en diversas áreas; como ejemplo de ello, tenemos algunos genios y empresarios que, a pesar de su condición y los problemas con su entorno, demostraron abiertamente que ningún sueño les quedó grande.

Mary Temple Grandin

Autista, y orgullosa de serlo, Temple Grandin es una empresaria y especialista en ciencias veterinarias que ha dedicado su vida a explorar posibilidades en beneficio de los derechos de los animales, sin alterar los procesos a los que estos deben ser sometidos. Sus experimentos en la infancia y su invención de “la máquina de los abrazos” la llevaron a matricularse en la universidad. Grandin le tomó un gran amor a los estudios, y decidió especializarse en psicología animal después de reconocer que estos, al igual que ella, tienen emociones y problemas emocionales. El tiempo la llevó a dedicarse netamente al bienestar animal y al mejoramiento de los procesos que los involucran. Por si fuera poco, Grandin resultó una precursora en el mundo del autismo; ella, al relatar su síndrome desde adentro, nos dejó ver la otra cara de la moneda.

Bill Gates

¿Quién no ha escuchado sobre este genio? Además de ser un increíble empresario, se presume que Bill Gates vive con autismo, sin embargo, esta sospecha no ha sido confirmada aún. Muchos especialistas de conducta hablan de un posible síndrome de Asperger, tomando como referencia su comportamiento al momento de relacionarse en público. Bill Gates es el creador y co-fundador de Microsoft, es un hombre revolucionario en cuanto a tecnología, capaz de ver una necesidad en un momento en el que las personas demandaban a gritos innovaciones tecnológicas. Tomó la oportunidad que la vida puso frente a él, diseñando el que ahora es el software más popular de la historia.

Woody Allen

Un hombre que ha construido su imperio haciendo uso de su talento y su pasión. Woody Allen es un actor, guionista, humorista y dramaturgo, que, a pesar de dedicar su vida a estimular los sentidos más humanos de las personas, no conoce muy bien la forma adecuada de interactuar con su entorno fuera de alguno de sus personajes. Este genio fue diagnosticado con síndrome de Asperger, condición que ha sido incapaz de limitar su ascenso a la cima del éxito profesional y la superación personal.

Susan Boyle

La cantante Susan Boyle confesó abiertamente que fue diagnosticada con síndrome de Asperger, después de sufrir una serie de acusaciones casi inhumanas por parte de su propio público. También resaltó que no fue sino hasta el año 2012 que un especialista le diagnosticó, y le dijo que su coeficiente intelectual se encuentra muy por encima del común. Este diagnóstico, antes de ser un problema para Susan, fue motivo de alivio; ya que, durante su infancia, fue diagnosticada con daño cerebral por falta de oxígeno al nacer, razón por la cual le costó vivir en carne viva el acoso escolar.

Además, se dice que muchas empresas especialmente dedicadas al sector de tecnología, tienen como preferencia el personal con algún tipo de TEA. Esto se debe a que la mayoría de las personas con un TEA muestran cualidades impresionantes para la tecnología y las ciencias, a pesar de tratarse de una condición. Como muestra de ello, tenemos a grandes científicos como Nikola Tesla, Isaac Newton o Albert Einstein.
¡El autismo no es una enfermedad! El mundo de la ciencia ha ido restando importancia al significado de la palabra “condición”, y ha brindado al autismo un sinfín de posibilidades que deben ser exploradas. Es imposible condicionar los sueños de una persona segura de sus capacidades, y que está dispuesta a explotarlas al máximo. En Autism Soccer creemos ciegamente en que no existe nada imposible, y trabajamos constantemente para probarlo al mundo entero por medio de nuestras actividades de desarrollo para los niños con autismo. ¿Quieres saber aun más sobre esto? ¡Síguenos en nuestras redes sociales!
Las condiciones no necesitan ser impedimentos, ¡permítete crecer! 

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Monday, April 23, 2018

Autism Was Once a Virtue

100.000 years ago or so, people within the spectrum were championed and treated with upmost respect.

It is no secret to anyone that for many decades people living with autism have been victims of rejection and discrimination of many types because of their condition, from being denied jobs, education and services to ridicule by their peers; Today we know that autism is not a disability or a defect, but what was life like for an autistic person in past ages? and we do not even mean the last century, we are talking about more than a millennium ago or even more, at the beginning of human civilization.

Attention to detail, analytical capacity, rational thinking; While the behavior of people within the spectrum is considered unusual for most people, it is undeniable the amount of mental abilities that can develop these individuals, which would make them very useful and productive members of society, to live and develop in a receptive community where they are heard and treated appropriately; the ancient civilizations knew this, and as we will see in this article, they took advantage of the knowledge and way of thinking of those we consider today different and that some have moved to anonymity.

When one reads of ancient civilizations, there are many mysteries that come up along the reading. One eternall question is how societies with (supposedly) no technology, no alphabet, and no known system of calculation managed to develop the mathematical ability to accuratly calculate movements of stars and planets. There are overwhelming proofs that many early civilizations did this with great precision; one we did not surpass until quite recently, as ironic as it may seem.

Did those first people with a virtue for calculus and Mathematics had Autism by any chance?
If we look in retrospective, there’s a good body of evidence to suggest that churches have been home to autistics for thousands of years, and even that they may have had a hidden helping hand in the matter of shaping many of the world’s religions.

For example, Isaac Newton is widely believed to have been autistic, based on accounts of his behavior and his own writings. Nowadays we know Newton for setting down a description of calculus, which helped us to make huge advances. Some even say he invented calculus, but there are many autistics who can manipulate waveforms mentally, and the written calculus may just be a way to share that ability with others. In that sense, he didn't invent anything.  Instead, he described his unique t way of thinking, thus expressing himself.

But in his time, Newton focused considerably more on theology and religion than he did on science.  In his day he was more known as a theologian than a mathematician. In retrospective, we find most scientists and deep thinkers were supported by churches.  Prior to 1800, churches were the world’s centers of logic, reason and scientific thought.

Knowing this, we can find many descriptions of autistic behaviors alongside the achievements of early religious leaders.  We even find evidence of accommodation. For that, look no farther than the silent orders of monks, or the reflective orders that spent their days in cool shade, meditating.  Today we’d call that sensory-friendly activities.

New York University archaeologist Penny Spikins argues that sustainable autistic traits made their appearance in the human genome some 100,000 years ago.

It is known that we humans are social animals. The lifestyle we know today, with all sorts of technological and artistic advances, is only possible because generation after generation, we’ve worked together, joining our abilities to improve our collective lives. But this hasn’t always been the case (which would be ideal). A study now estimates that this attitude towards amity and union, known as collaborative morality, developed through a slow and sublte evolutionary shift around 100,000 years ago. Collaborative morality opened up a social niche for a minority that was  much likely ostracized before, that is people with autism.

Rather than being rejected, the team (constituted by academics from the University of York) concludes after a long study that they assumed an important role in their social groups due to their unique traits. This, in the long run, allowed them to play a major part in human society development and evolution, thus proving that they were embraced as specialists of sorts in their groups for their unique abilities, allowing them to play a central part in human evolution.

As you have read, here at Autism Soccer, we care about our past so we can understand our present better and prepare for the future ahead, please follow us on our social networks and don’t hesitate to leave your comments at the comments section below.

Traces of their different conducts can still be noticed on cave drawings.
The attention to detail, a special treat that comes with autism, was essential for our ancestor's survival

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Friday, April 20, 2018

Autism and Fashion

Who says autism can't be fashionable?
Fashion translates emotion, attitudes and culture in a language that we all understand.

The fashion world is something that draws everyone’s attention to a greater or lesser extent, after all, we all need to get dressed. For people with autism, fashion can represent an adventure: from choosing socks soft enough to not irritate their sensitivity to touch, to learning to combine patterns and colors. Knowing this, some designers and fashion houses have implemented adjustment and alternatives in terms of clothing for people living within the autistic spectrum. In today's article we will explore a little the influence of the autistic spectrum in the world of fashion.

Fashion Alternatives for People with Autism: Textures, Shapes, and Fabrics
Sensory processing disorders are common among people with autism. Their central nervous system has a difficult time receiving and organizing sensory stimuli correctly, leaving them either overly sensitive to stimuli, or not quite sensitive enough. This manifests in many ways, but here's one good example, according to experts like Kristie Koenig, chair of the Occupational Therapy Department at New York University: “You know that scratchy feeling you get from a tag in a new t-shirt? Imagine that agitation multiplied by 10. That’s what a dysfunctional sensory perception can feel like”.

To help people with this special condition, Caravan Design (2015) launched the Sensewear Fashion Line, thinking especially to help ease the sensory process of people within the spectrum. In general, Sensewear isn't ordinary apparel, it's an exotic-looking line of prototype clothing designed as an example of how apparel could help treat people with sensory perception disorders. Emanuela Corti and Ivan Parati, Dubai-based designers who make up the Caravan design collective, imagine the collection of jackets, shirts, and scarves as sort of garment-therapist prototypes for people who undergo sensory occupational therapy.

Wearing a Sensewear jacket isn't like wearing an ordinary jacket. It doesn't just keep you warm, it can give you a “hug” sensation, thanks to its inflatable lining. When you put on a Sensewear scarf, it does more than wrap around your neck. It can also emit soothing aromas that bring back pleasant memories. Very useful for calming the nerves.

The Sensewear line imagines clothes as a toolkit for handling those uncomfortable sensory moments. Because they're modular the way all clothes are, they easily adapt to different situations. Most importantly, they let patients learn to soothe themselves, which empowers them and could take pressure off therapists.

All these pieces are meant to be incredibly versatile. Corti and Parati — who were furniture and product designers before working on this particular line —, worked with researchers at the Dubai Autism Center, who told them that sensory reactions vary with every person in therapy. “Every kid reacts in a different way to the therapist, so they have to try everything with them”, Corti says. “So the idea was to give the pieces different interpretations”.

As you have read, sensitivity is an important issue for people within the spectrum, an issue that some kind, caring people are taking measures of by now. Who knows how many wonderful pieces that we all can enjoy they might come up with? Only time will say it, but as of now, we have hope for new fashion alternatives that can be useful and practical for those with autism.

At Autism Soccer we care about all manners of advancements that provide comfort and integration to all the members of our community, so don’t hesitate into following on our social networks and leave your comments in the section below!

Clothing not only has to be pretty, it must be functional for those who wear it, no matter the condition or lifestyle

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