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|Welcome to AFF
Welcome to Aspies for Freedom|
This site has autism forums, aspergers forums, autism chat room, articles and lots of information in the autism wiki. Anyone can join, and members of the autism parents community are welcome.
Aspies for Freedom began in June 2004. We have the view that aspergers and autism are not negative, and are not always a disability. This was a new concept to many people, but since we started the idea has spread further and now we are joined by many people who share the same positive view. It was called Aspies for freedom as the founders were all aspies, though the group is for anyone with autism, asperger's or any spectrum condition.
We know that autism is not a disease, and we oppose any attempts to "cure" someone of an autism spectrum condition, or any attempts to make them 'normal' against their will. We are part of building the autism culture. We aim to strengthen autism rights, oppose all forms of discrimination against aspies and auties, and work to bring the community together both online and offline.
|About this site
Our aims are as follows:|
- To prevent eugenic elimination of autistic people by opposing pre-natal testing for autism.
With the right support services in place, all autistic people are capable of living meaningful and fulfilling lives. However, negative media coverage and deliberate pity campaigning have created the public opinion that autism is a "tragedy", and that people with autism have no hope of achieving anything. As such, the availability of a pre-natal test would cause the majority of autistic people to be aborted.
A recent study has shown that 91-93% of fetuses that test positive for Down Syndrome are aborted. As autism is genetic, if these figures were similar for a pre-natal test for autism, the autistic population would be decimated, and autistic culture would be destroyed.
Also, the majority of autism fundraising currently supports genetic research. If this money were to be channelled into support services, autistic people would have a much greater chance of living productive lives.
As such, Aspies For Freedom advocates against funding for genetic research that would lead to a pre-natal test.
- To oppose physically or mentally harmful "treatments" targeting autistic people.
Due to the public perception of autism, a large number of unethical treatments have become quite common. These include physically harmful treatments (such as aversive behavioural therapies or restraints), mentally harmful treatments (such as 20-40 hr/week ABA, restriction of non-harmful stimming and other autistic coping mechanisms), dangerous non-medically approved therapies based on discredited theories or religious beliefs (such as chelation or exorcism), and therapies that would be called "torture" if they were used on non-autistic children (such as the electroshock "behavioural" devices).
Aspies For Freedom advocates the removal of all physically or mentally harmful therapies.
- To emphasise the "spectrum" view of autism, and de-emphasise the differences between the various autistic spectrum labels.
There are several different labels used for people throughout the autistic spectrum. These include "High Functioning" autism, "Low Functioning" autism, Asperger's Syndrome and PDD-NOS. The differences between these labels are often quite blurry, and are often based around childhood development, which has little bearing on the nature of an autistic adult.
One of the largest barriers to accessing support service is the use of sub-groupings to assign support, rather than assessing the needs of the individual. This means that, for example, someone with "high functioning" autism may be denied needed housing support due to the label, whereas someone with "low functioning" autism may be deemed unfit for activities of which they are entirely capable.
The autistic spectrum covers a very wide range of people, and these people don't always fit neatly into the available groupings. Often these groupings are barriers to understanding, rather than tools for understanding. Essentially, the people in all the above groups are all a part of the autistic spectrum, and generalisation of the specific groups within the spectrum is counterproductive. The personality and needs assessment of a person on the spectrum should be looked at on an individual basis, rather than on the basis of a label.
As such, Aspies For Freedom supports the spectrum view of autism, and advocates the de-emphasis of differences between the autistic spectrum labels.
- To oppose the idea of an autism "cure".
Part of the problem with the "autism as tragedy" point of view is that it carries with it the idea that a person is somehow separable from autism, and that there is a "normal" person trapped "behind" the autism.
Being autistic is something that influences every single element of who a person is - from the interests we have, the ethical systems we use, the way we view the world, and the way we live our lives. As such, autism is a part of who we are.
To "cure" someone of autism would be to take away the person they are, and replace them with someone else.
Also, funding for "cure" research is unlikely to ever produce a result. In the meantime, support services for autistic people are underfunded. This money would be far better used to help existing autistic people.
The cure mentality also influences cultural treatment of autistic people. Many parents focus on the idea of finding a cure for their child, and may neglect actual help and support in the process. Also, teaching children that they are "broken" and need to be "fixed" has long-term consequences for their mental health.
Aspies For Freedom opposes the idea of an autism "cure", as a real cure would be unethical, and the current myth of the cure is harmful.
- To evaluate alleged treatments for ethical approaches.
One of the problems with the current state of autism treatments is that there is little in the way of quality control, and often a suggested treatment is commenced without thought for the ethics involved. Some example of unethical practices include the use of aversives (e.g. "behavioral" physical harm, denial of food, deliberate triggering of sensory overloads), unreasonably long hours (e.g. many people advocate 40hrs/week of ABA), potentially dangerous treatments (e.g. chelation), and focusing on "normalisation" rather than help (e.g. restricting non-damaging autistic behaviors, such as stims).
Aspies For Freedom seeks to assess the ethical dimensions of new and existing autism treatments.
- To increase funding for, and access to, autistic support services and ethical forms of treatment.
Many forms of treatment are highly beneficial to many autistic people - For example, speech therapy, sensory integration therapy, and general counselling. Also, ongoing support services can help people live more productive lives - for example, emergency housing, specialised medical services, and employment support services.
Aspies For Freedom advocates increased funding for support services, and supports the fundraising efforts of support-based autism charities.
- To oppose negative publicity campaigns against autistic people as a group.
The majority of autism fundraising is currently generated using "pity" campaigning, suggesting that autism is tragedy, disease, or epidemic that needs to be stopped. Unfortunately, this point of view has propogated itself through to talk shows, news stories, and other forms of media coverage.
The usual technique is to show nothing but footage of (presumably) autistic children having tantrums, and then footage of parents complaining about their lives. It is very rare to see footage of an autistic child engaged in ordinary activities, and even rarer to see footage of an autistic adult.
This "tragedy" view of autism is extremely damaging to autistic people, far beyond the scope that any funds generated could justify. It causes employment discrimination, it worsens social isolation, and it leads some parents to give up on helping their children, in favour of holding onto a false hope of a cure.
Some organisations take this even further, using phrases such as "soulless", "worse than cancer", or "incapable of love". One of the biggest anti-autistic organisations, Autism Speaks, even went so far as to create a propoganda film in which a woman talks about wanting to drive herself and her autistic child off a bridge. This statement was made while her autistic child was in the same room.
These campaigns are based on stereotypes, prejudice, and deliberate misrepresentation, and they need to be stopped.
Aspies For Freedom advocates an end to pity campaigning, and an end to misrepresented or false media stories.
- To help promote an accurate yet positive image of autism.
One of the aims of the site is to help create a more positive view of autistic people, by showing the things we actually do, and emphasising positive stories about autistic groups and people. Autistics are a very diverse group, and our differences are a very valuable part of human diversity.
The reason for including the word "accurate" is that, although autistic people have achieved great things in art, science, mathematics, writing, and other creative endeavors, it is often the case that this is exaggerated to say that all autistics are geniuses - which has the unfortunate side effect of suggesting that an autistic person needs to be a genius to be considered a worthwhile human being.
Another extreme is the desire of some groups to ascribe mystical qualities to autistic people, which has the side effect of dehumanising autistic people.
Autistic people are everywhere. There's a good chance that you work with or know an autistic person without realising it. Autism isn't a tragedy, or a side-effect of genius - it's a difference to be valued.
As such, Aspies For Freedom attempts to destroy stereotypes to create a positive and realistic idea of what it means to be autistic.
- To oppose all forms of prejudice and bigotry.
Many problems associated with autism are caused, or worsened, by prejudice. The root of this is prejudice itself - if we deal with only the forms of prejudice that currently relate to autism, another form of prejudice will rise up to replace them.
Because of this, Aspies For Freedom chooses to oppose all forms of prejudice and bigotry.
It includes forms of bigotry related to autistic culture, such as:
- The idea that being neurotypical (i.e. not autistic, or another psychological neurotype) is "better" than being autistic. (Note: this doesn't relate to talking about specific abilities, just to the idea of general "betterness")
- The idea that being autistic is "better" than being neurotypical. (Note: again, this doesn't relate to talking about specific abilities, just to the idea of general "betterness")
- The idea that some labels on the autistic spectrum are acceptable, but others are tragedies.
- The idea that Asperger's Syndrome or PDD-NOS shouldn't be part of the autistic spectrum.
- The idea that people have no right to self-identify as autistic
| Congress To Weigh Federal Response To Autism
Posted by: Lang - 11-26-2012 09:26 AM
- Replies (21)
|By Michelle Diament|
November 26, 2012 Text Size A A
A congressional hearing on autism planned for later this week is being hailed as a once-in-a-decade milestone by some and sharply criticized by others.
The hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Oversight and Government Reform Committee is scheduled for Thursday afternoon. Lawmakers plan to address the “federal response to the recent rise in autism spectrum disorders diagnoses,” according to materials provided by committee staffers.
In addition, the committee will also examine how government resources for autism are allocated and consider current research and treatment options.
Advocates at Autism Speaks are welcoming the hearing as a “much-needed” step, noting that the last time Congress held a similar event was in 2002. Witnesses expected to testify before the committee this week include the organization’s co-founder, Bob Wright, as well as officials from The Autism Society, the Kennedy Krieger Institute and SafeMinds, a group which supports the idea that vaccines contribute to autism, a theory that’s widely discredited by the scientific community.
Representatives from the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are also scheduled to appear.
The event is facing staunch opposition, however, from self-advocates who say they are being left out of the conversation.
“The fact that in this day and age that the House majority would hold a hearing on autism and not include an autistic person in the hearing is profoundly disappointing,” said Ari Ne’eman, president of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, which plans to protest at the gathering.
| Tell CafePress: Dont donate to Autism Speaks this year
Posted by: Meega Na La Queesta - 03-20-2012 03:06 AM
- No Replies
|CafePress is planning on donating the proceeds from items tagged "autism" sold during April to whichever 2 autism-related organizations get the most votes here:|
Last year, they were donating to Autism Speaks, but they changed the deciding process this year due to the autistic community's objections.
Please go forth and vote for ASAN, and/or a write-in vote for Autism Network International, both of which are anti-curebie and rrun by autistic people.
This survey will only be up for a short time.
| Stop Censorship
Posted by: ῦ - 11-16-2011 03:49 PM
- Replies (84)
|Today, the United States Congress will be holding hearings on the first Censorship system for the US Internet.|
This bill must not pass. Write your representatives and demand that they vote against it.
Watch this video for a better explaination
Some of you may disagree with us taking on this fight, but believe me - it affects us.
In the past, we've had a former member we've banned file a false DMCA claim against us and successfully take us down.
If this passes, our little forum is fucked. No two ways about it; Somebody will get butthurt about being banned and we'll get taken down, again - but this time, there's a risk of actual criminality behind it; Not just for Amy, Gareth and possibly myself, but for every single one of you.
Don't tell me that this will be carefully used and no false claims will succeed, because we've been on the wrong end of that tale before.
In addition, this has the potential to actually break the internet itself; The video above explains.
Today, we're standing alongside Mozilla, Creative Commons, Google, 4chan, Reddit, Wikimedia, Free Press, The EFF, Grooveshark and millions of others to say; "Aw, HELL NAW".
Do your part.
| Seeking homepage news writers
Posted by: Gareth - 09-24-2011 05:19 PM
- Replies (39)
|We are looking for some regular longterm users wanting to contribute some articles for our homepage.|
Those who match the following criteria will be accepted and may apply by clicking "join group" at http://www.aspiesforfreedom.com/usercp.p...usergroups - if you are not accepted please do not take offence, we will reconsider you later if you prove yourself.
- A long term regular user
- Good grasp of the english language, good spelling and grammar
- Good grasp of AFF's aims
- Agreement with our views (those who want to write an opposing view are welcome to submit single articles however)
- It helps to provide sample writing, but not having samples will not be held against you
For those with an opposing view who wish to write an article please post it in the "AFF news" section where it will be unapproved by default and PM myself indicating you would like it published. I will review it using criteria such as how honest it is and the quality of the writing itself, and will publish it marking it as "the opposing viewpoint" with commentary at the end of your article.
The policy on opposing views is intended to allow discussion of opposing viewpoints without censorship and publication of any article in this category indicates that whatever your message is, it will likely be heavily criticised. If you post an article for publication in this category and it is not accepted, then it will still be posted for community review on the site by request unless it contains any content that is actually illegal to publish.
A note on copyright:
By publishing stuff here you grant us a license to republish it, where "us" means the owners of this site and the general community.
Any such reproduction will indicate the original author and if it is modified, such modifications will be indicated in any reproduction.
Should you disagree with these terms, do not submit anything. If you submit an article and later file any sort of takedown notice, it will be ignored and any attempt at legal action later will result in a countersuit for expenses and damages.
Should you submit someone else's work, I will personally cooperate with them if you attempt to take credit for their work and takedown notices from third parties will be honoured so far as the law requires them to be honoured.
| Ken G.'s response to Autism Speaks
Posted by: Duckfetishgirl - 09-24-2011 01:51 AM
- Replies (25)
|Thanks for this interesting interview, tambourine-man.|
Assuming Dana Marnane was honest with you, then perhaps AutismSpeaks are doing tiny moves in the right direction. Yet, they have to make much larger moves in the right direction to be taken seriously by the Autistic Community.
Lets look at Autism Speaks annual report for 2010:
One tension that exists is whether basic research on the biology of autism or studies focused on services is more deserving. We believe we need to fund both kinds of research.
Research on the biology of autism doesn't help the Autistic Community. It merely stigmatizes us, as it implies there is something "wrong" with us.
However, over the past few years, we have been balancing this basic research with studies that are developing new service and support programs for people at all points on the autism spectrum. We have also directed more funds toward advocacy efforts and research focused on adults with ASD.
99% to biological research and 1% to researching services and support?
99% focusing on children and 1% focusing on adults?
(I'm just speculating here. I would love to get the actual data).
Among our six targeted research emphasis areas is a focus on understanding adult development, including issues related to successful outcomes, interventions and supports, and medical issues.
Lets look at your other 5 research emphasis areas:
1. Discovery of risk factors for autism, especially environmental factors and gene environment interactions
This doesn't help the Autistic Community. It merely stigmatizes us, by implying there is something "wrong" with us.
If you accept us as we are, you wouldn't use the phrase "risk factors".
Are we bad people? Is there a "risk" in parenting us?
2. Development of methods for very early detection of ASD risk
This doesn't help the Autistic Community. It merely stigmatizes us, by implying that autism is a "risk".
4. Identification of the molecular pathophysiology of ASD that can inform translational research for drug discovery or development of diagnostic methodsThis shows total disrespect to the beauty of the Autistic Community.
5. Development and evaluation of novel treatments that can address the core symptoms and associated medical conditions throughout the lifespan We need accommodations, not treatments.
6. Dissemination of empirically validated screening, diagnostic and treatment approachesSeems too vague.
We are working hard to understand the biological basis of autism as this will help us target medical treatments to the individuals who need and want them.
From what I've read and heard here on AFF, on Wrongplanet.net, at Autreat and at Autscape, these individuals are a tiny minority within the Autistic Community.
As our mission relates to “cure”, our goal is to reduce suffering associated with autism, in all its forms. Some would call that a cure. Others would call it remediation of disability. For others, it means acceptance and empowerment.
Your mission statement says, among other things, "We are dedicated to funding global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for autism".
Your mission statement does not mention accepting us as we are, nor does it mention empowering us, nor does it mention providing us any kind of services, supports, or accommodations.
there are individuals severely affected who have significant medical conditions, like GI distress and have never spoken. For those individuals, the prospect of a cure for autism is really important because to that person “cure” means being able to communicate and free of pain.
Curing medical conditions which are common among Autistics is totally different from "curing" Autism.
Nobody objects to curing such medical conditions, but you need to be explicit about the huge differences between such conditions and autism itself.
We wish to celebrate the valuable human characteristics of autism, as you say, by helping each person with autism use those characteristics in the most successful and rewarding way possible.
So why don't you mention this in any of your promotional materials?
For those who are self-advocates and just want to be accepted for who they are – we salute you and we would never try to change you. In fact, we desperately need your voice to help bring even more awareness, understanding and compassion to those who are not touched by autism.
If we give you our voices, then how much funding will you give to our self-advocacy projects?
Will you help us fund Aspies For Freedom?
Will you help us fund Autreat?
Will you help us fund the Autistic Self Advocacy Network?
Our main goals moving forward are:
• Federal legislation to cover autism insurance – in the meantime we will continue going state-to-state.
• Reauthorization of the Combating Autism Act to provide critical government funds for research and services for autism.
Would you, as a woman, support the Combating Femininity Act? You wouldn't? You would feel threatened by such an act?
If so, then how can you expect Autistics to support the Combating Autism Act?
Can't you see such an act threatens our very core of existence?
• Creating a more compassionate world for all those with an autism spectrum disorder.
If you are serious about this, then how about eliminating the word "disorder"? (many of us are more ordered than you are). We don't like being stigmatized.
In the section "How Common is Autism", on AutismSpeaks "About Autism" page, (as well as on 2010's annual report) you write:
"Today, it is estimated that one in every 110 children is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined". Can't you see how offensive it is to Autistics? Would you write the same about dyslexia? about femininity? about other minority conditions?
Is our blood less red than yours?
Are our feelings less valuable than yours?
 Removed title - was not appearing on homepage properly (Gareth)
| Don't make me Obsolete
Posted by: Genesis - 09-22-2011 06:18 PM
- Replies (14)
|I am a burden, I am a statistic, I am a number. I am one of many, solely because I am autistic. This is how the organization Autism Speaks views an autistic person. The goal of Autism Speaks, devoted to the curing and research of autism, is “Making autism a word in the history books.” Other autistics agree with me when I say, “We don’t want Autism Speaks speaking for us.” |
According to Ari Ne’eman, the founder of Autistic Self-Advocacy Network or ASAN, the right motto is, “Nothing about us, without us,” which is a motto that has been embraced by the autistic community. This motto expresses the outrage of planning the future for the entire autistic population without the involvement of those that are on this spectrum.
Before I started accepting the fact that I was autistic, I heard of Autism Speaks.
This organization was founded by a couple named Bob and Suzanne Wright as a means to help their grandson. Yet when I look deep into the pages of their website and it says clear as day “Making autism a word in the history books.” Anyone like me would react with shock when hearing these words, “Making autism a word in the history books.” Why focus on curing autism? To focus on a cure ignores those that need help today. The focus should be on helping autistics meet their needs now. Autistics need to learn how to acquire basic living skills, such as having a job and establishing a roof over their head.
Autism is a cognitive disability. When one hears that someone wants to make a cognitive disorder “a word in the history books,” one thinks of eugenics or in other words “wiping out a minority group”, and while I’m not suggesting this is connected with Nazi-era Germany, the core of the idea is similar. Attempting to cure a cognitive disability is absurd, yet never the less Autism Speaks is using Dr. James Watson’s efforts to what he calls curing stupidity.
Working towards a cure isn’t going to bring forth a worthwhile society; it is only going to strip enrichment from the world. Working towards getting rid of autism will not make the world happier; it is only going to sadden the world by eliminating genius. For example, scientific and artistic contributions to society have been made by some well-known historical figures, such as Albert Einstein and Vincent Van Gogh, who, if today’s diagnostic tools had been available, might have been on what we call the spectrum, ranging from Asperger’s, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, to High and Low Functioning Autism. What if Albert Einstein never existed? What if Starry Night was never painted by Van Gogh? The world would be worse, not better, without the contributions of Einstein and Van Gogh.
What I want to suggest is that Autism Speaks not focus on the intent to get rid of something because they view it as a burden. When hearing Autism Speaks commercials portray autism in a negative light, I am saddened by the ignorance of the commercials’ approach. It’s not a burden, it’s a gift. It’s not a curse, it’s a blessing. All we need to do is learn to use this difference in cognitive function as a gift and a blessing. I am one of those advocates along with ASAN who want to focus on improving society’s perspective of autism and on improving the living situations of individuals that are on the spectrum.
At first, I thought my diagnosis was crazy. I did not notice the quirks that I have,or how tired I got of acting normal to everyone else’s standards, and trying to pass myself off as a neurotypical, the name autistics use to refer to those not on the spectrum. Actually it’s very hard to portray myself as not being on the spectrum. Even in high school, I didn’t want anyone to know because I didn’t want to be treated any differently. I wanted independence like everybody else. But I felt like I was alone and worthless.
Searching for open communication, I found a forum in February 2009 for autistics, and I realized I wasn’t alone, would never be alone, that everyone has struggles, but we are still worthwhile and valuable to society. I am autistic. I do not need to become obsolete, a word in the history books. I am not a burden, I am not a statistic, I am not a number, and yes, I am one of many.
| Migrated to new server
Posted by: Gareth - 05-29-2011 05:42 PM
- Replies (6)
|Hi everyone - we recently migrated to a new server as some of you may be aware.|
It seems to have gone smoothly but there was a small amount of data loss (about 2 hours worth of posts and PMs).
Should you notice any issues with the new setup please inform me.
| Matthew Israel up on Charges
Posted by: ῦ - 05-25-2011 03:59 PM
- Replies (29)
The founder of the controversial Judge Rotenberg Educational Center is scheduled to face criminal charges in Dedham today arising from a night in 2007 when two special needs teenagers at the center were wrongfully administered dozens of electrical shocks, according to the father of one of the victims and another person with knowledge about the case.
In a deal reached with the state attorney general’s office, Matthew Israel, 77, is expected to be spared prison time in return for stepping down from the Canton-based center that he founded 40 years ago and accepting a five-year probationary term, said Charles Dumas, the father of one of the two victims in the 2007 case who said he spoke yesterday with prosecutors. As part of the agreement, the school’s day-to-day activities will also be overseen by a court-approved monitor.
A court official who works at the Norfolk County Superior Court said that today’s schedule of cases lists a defendant named Matthew Israel facing two charges, misleading a grand jury and accessory after the fact to a crime.
The charges against Israel are believed to be related to the destruction of some of the center’s digital surveillance tapes that would have showed what occurred the night of Aug. 26, 2007, in one of the center’s residential group homes in Stoughton. That night, staffers received a prank phone call from someone posing as a supervisor, saying two teenagers, including Dumas’s son, should be administered electrical shocks as punishment for bad behavior earlier that day.
The attorney general’s office declined comment on the case yesterday, as did Ernest Corrigan, a longtime spokesman for Israel and the center. On May 2, Corrigan had issued a press release announcing Israel’s retirement, effective June 1. In the release, which made no mention of a pending criminal case, Israel is quoted as saying, “I am now almost 78 years old, and it is time for me to move over and let others take the reins.’’
The case marks a dramatic turn in the career of the Harvard-trained psychologist, though it does not appear to end the center’s unorthodox practices that have generated national controversy: the use of skin-shock treatments to discipline behaviorally troubled children.
His tactics have been condemned as barbaric and savage by many top medical and mental health professionals. But despite some injuries and even deaths at the facility, the center has continued to get state approval to operate as a special-needs school serving some 200 students with serious emotional and behavioral problems, including autism and intellectual disabilities.
Its most effective backers have been the parents of some of these troubled students who say Israel’s center accepted their child when no other school would. Israel has said his methods work and have virtually eliminated the use of psychotropic drugs at his center.
In the press release announcing Israel’s departure earlier this month, one of the center’s board members, Margaret Vaughan, a retired professor of psychology at Salem State University, described Israel as a “heroic figure’’ to thousands of families. She said he helped the families who saw the center as “their last thread of hope’’ for their children.
The center has launched a national search for a successor to Israel. The center is being run on an interim basis by assistant executive director Glenda Crookes.
The case against Israel allegedly centers on the tapes that captured the wrongful shocks delivered in 2007, said people familiar with the case.
The center has a policy of monitoring students’ behavior with help from remote surveillance cameras. Those monitoring the tapes had the option of ordering skin-shock treatments via telephone if they witnessed inappropriate actions, even hours after they occurred.
Based on the phone call, staffers woke up Dumas’s son and he was given 77 skin-shock treatments over three hours while being restrained on a flat surface. Another teenager was given about two dozen shocks.
The center acknowledged mistakes made by staff that night, and vowed to change many of its policies, particularly the issuance of shock treatment orders via telephone. Charles Dumas said his son remained at the Rotenberg center for another year, but was moved to a different group home and taken off the skin-shock treatments. He said his son, now 22, is now living on his own and working two jobs.
Dumas said he was told by the attorney general’s office to keep secret the news of Israel’s criminal charges, but he wanted to speak out when approached yesterday by the Globe about the case. “I don’t want to do anything to protect Matthew Israel,’’ he said.
| Regarding Spam
Posted by: ῦ - 05-04-2011 03:18 AM
- Replies (3)
Very pleased to announce that we finally seem to have our spam problem under control - and it only took the banning of the majority of the ISPs in India and the Philippines!
In seriousness though, our spam problem seems to have abated, but I would still ask everyone to keep an eye out for it and report it as soon as you see it - or better yet, as soon as you see a poster who looks like our typical spammers. I'm sure you're all very familiar with the particular syntax and posting patterns by now.
For any other admins who are reading this and experiencing their own spam problems - ask, and ye shall receive a nice list of all the IP ranges we've had to ban to bring this under control. Do yourself a favour though, and ban AirtelBroadband.in now.
| How much would you pledge?
Posted by: Gareth - 04-02-2011 11:27 PM
- Replies (32)
|If we were to incorporate a charity or nonprofit of some sort in order to fund a small holiday resort or intentional community for autistics, how much would you pledge on a monthly basis?|
Myself and Amy have been looking into precisely this. In order to know how realistic it is we need to know how much people would be willing to pledge.
We are also investigating things such as housing benefit for permanent residents, though that would only be possible after sufficient funds are raised to purchase a property.
Essentially, it would work like this:
Fundraising period during which people pledge X amount of money per month and this is placed into a suitable high-growth investment fund of some sort or a generic savings account.
Once sufficient funds have been raised, purchase of the property and any work needed to get up to decent standards.
Finally, ongoing maintenance expenses paid through voluntary pledges and/or rent payments from residents.
Note that this is more likely to be a nonprofit or social enterprise than a registered charity due to regulatory burdens upon a charity, but it will definitely have strict bylaws defining how money raised may be used.
1 person pledges £200/month = £2400/year
5 people pledge £100/month = £6000/year
10 people pledge £50/month = £6000/year
50 people pledge £5/month = £3000/year
That's £17400/year if we achieve the above goals if we ignore interest.
After 3 years, that's £52200. This is more than enough to use as downpayment for a mortage.
At this point, if people maintain their pledges there will be £1450/month available. But assuming a drop in pledges, let's take that down to just £1000/month.
So, we have £52200 in the bank and £1000/month to spend from pledges.
Let's round down how much is in the bank to £50000.
A deposit on a mortage for a £150k property of £50000 gets a mortage from HSBC that costs roughly £998/month. (this is according to their site, with an APR of 4%, rates may be different for business but it gives a rough guide).
There are properties in this price range in wales that can house about 12 people (and do so nicely too).
So, if we maintain those £1000/month pledges but charge each of the 12 people £50/month rent on top that would leave £602/month for general maintenance costs of the property. And of course if rent goes up to £150/month (that's £37.50/week - cheaper than a lot of places), then £1800/month is available for general maintenance costs or for mortage payments if the voluntary pledges cease.
1 person pledges £200/month for 3 years
5 people pledge £100/month for 3 years
10 people pledge £50/month for 3 years
50 people pledge £5/month for 3 years
Then 12 people pay £37.50/week (£150/month) for however long they want to live there.
Once those 12 are in place, another fundraising cycle can begin to setup another property.
| Recent Actions Regarding Spam
Posted by: ῦ - 03-25-2011 02:28 PM
- Replies (6)
|Right, we've noticed a HUGE jump in our membership count in the last week or so, and picking through them it's 95% spammers and spam.|
So, we're taking drastic action. We've banned several Indian ISP ranges, as well as a few from China, Singapore and a couple from the Phillipines. We've also banned a Canadian ISP (iWeb Technologies) and are on the verge of banning an American one, too - Nobis, if anyone is interested.
Since banning the Indian ranges, posted spam has dropped off markedly - however, we've also seen this huge surge in the last few days of spammers registering, filling out their signatures but never posting; we have no idea how or if this is related.
We've also removed the signatures and blanked the profiles of anyone who has registered but never posted.
Our apologies, but none of the admin staff feel like picking through a couple of thousand new members and picking out just the crap - in total, 1788 signatures have been removed. Legitimate users are free to replace them.
For any of those spammers reading; You are wasting your time. You can make as many accounts as you like - if you never post then those links never get indexed by any search engine, as our member list is hidden and is set donotfollow, and we'll be purging your signatures from time to time.
| Article about how autism awareness is still failing.
Posted by: Alison - 02-19-2011 01:50 PM
- Replies (22)
|The link to this, and the comments that follow are here:|
I've commented on this site, gave a serve to Autism Speaks and pimped our own AFF site to those who want a truer representation of what Autism is.
And here's the actual article, sans comments:
The news about autism this summer has been difficult.
A Bronx mother killed her 12-year-old autistic son Wednesday night before taking her own life, the July 29th New York Daily News reports. Last week, a mother in Dallas killed her two young autistic children. Another New York city mother and a mother in Wales killed their autistic sons earlier this year. A Colorado mother killed her baby because she thought he might be autistic. A Chinese mother who admitted to killing her autistic daughter in Canada walked free from prison. And many in the autism community will remember the case of Dr. Karen McCarron, an Indiana woman who killed her young autistic daughter, Katherine, and was sentenced to 36 years in prison in 2008.
Are there really more parents---mothers---killing their autistic children?
Is it rather that, due to the explosion of interest in autism in the past decade, the media is reporting more about such crimes?
I don't know. I'm not sure that we can know.
The Rise of Autism Awareness in the Past Decade
All the interest in autism in the past couple of years has been fueled by the efforts to raise awareness about autism, by organizations like the Autism Society of America and Autism Speaks. There have been many, many more books, blogs, movies, charity fundraising events, more everything, all with the general belief that, by increasing the amount of information available to the public, people will understand more about autism and things will be better. Things will be better from better services, more understanding in the community, school programs.
But is all this autism awareness really helping autistic individuals and their families and caretakers? Or is it just promoting a rather sensationalistic and tragic view of what life with autism is?
For myself, I'm sticking with the example of the late Clara Claiborne Park, for whom the 'last word' was 'still love'----love and, for my husband Jim and me, a hectic, difficult, and richly meaningful, and good, life with our son Charlie.