Tuesday, December 27, 2016

‘The Autistic Gourmand,’ new blog

Cynthia M. Parkhill, shown in profile from shoulders up, examines restaurant menu

Eating is easily the most difficult sensory task for this woman on the autism spectrum. Risking unfamiliar tastes and textures, it takes time and considerable fortitude at times for me to get used to new foods.

The experience of eating — already fraught with sensory/tactile challenges — is further burdened by past experiences and prevalent social attitudes.

My new blog, The Autistic Gourmand, explores social “norms” and challenges related to consumption of food. Several writings originally posted here have been migrated or reprinted on the new subject-specific blog.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Hat People’s ‘Leaf Corps’ hat

Walking around Medford, we got so many compliments for this “Leaf Corps” hat by Hat People that I got Jonathan for Christmas. (I assemble crowns and brims for Hat People’s “newsboy” hats, and that piecework financed Jonathan’s gift.)

Like its name suggests, the “Leaf Corps” hat has unique sylvan touches: a point to the brim suggestive of a leaf, leafy top-stitch embroidery, and a fabric tail at the top of the hat reminiscent of a plant’s stem.

Two ties wrap around and hang down the back, providing a patterned accent to the solid-color body of the hat.

Where they’re secured around the hat-band, the ties can fold down to keep the ears of the wearer warm; the dangling ends at back can serve the wearer as a scarf.

Jonathan has long admired Jim of Hat People’s “Leaf Corps” design. For Jonathan’s hat we chose the fabrics and expressed our preferences in detailing. We really appreciate Jim’s care in creating what turned out a masterpiece.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Why isn’t bullying an ‘Adverse Childhood Experience’?

As featured by PBS’ Next Avenue: a survey of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) finds that effects of childhood trauma can persist into 50s and beyond.

As a survivor of bullying, I can corroborate that the effect lasts well into adulthood. But ACES focuses exclusively upon trauma committed against children by adults. Systemic ostracism and bullying by a child’s peers can also be devastating, but the questionnaire makes no mention of it.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

‘M in the Middle’ portrays girl’s experience of autism

Book cover, 'M in the Middle.' Colored-in drawing of pale-skinned girl with dark hair rendered in profile
M, a teenager recently diagnosed with autism, navigates school and social expectations while plagued by near-constant anxiety. She tries to shape her life to follow the “normal” life-event trajectory as defined by the greeting cards at her local Card Emporium and the idyllic life depiction of her television-drama idol, but can’t sustain the social “masks” she adopts to navigate friendship and dating.

M in the Middle (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, October 2016) offers a vivid portrayal of a teen girl on the autism spectrum. The book was written by the students of Limpsfield Grange School in England with creative-writing teacher Vicky Martin.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

‘Culture fit’: LinkedIn HR head offers caution

Appreciation to Pat Wadors, Head of HR at LinkedIn, for her cautionary take on using the term “culture fit” (LinkedIn Talent Solutions’ “Talent on Tap” video series and blog). I share Wadors’ concern that assessing for culture fit can lead to a “hire like me” mentality.

‘Fake news’: library scholars urge ‘metaliteracy’

Cynthia M. Parkhill's Bitstrips avatar accesses information via smartphone while standing on city street next to newspaper box
Information via Internet. Image created with Bitstrips
Implications for digital-literacy education, more critically important than ever: Citing the role of “fake news” in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, library and information science scholars Thomas P. Mackey and Trudi Jaccobson argue that it isn’t enough to be able to search and retrieve information from the online landscape. They advocate instead for what they term “metaliteracy,” an ability to make sense and critically evaluate this vast amount of information.