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Marks and Spencer and the National Autistic Society have launched a school uniform range aimed at the parents of autistic children. Note that I say aimed at the parents of autistic children, rather than aimed at autistic children. All the blurb is to do with how easy it is to put on, and how hardwearing it is. The subtext is that it's designed for kids who can't dress themselves. This is clearly aimed at parents.

The other way you can tell that actually autistic people were not involved in this is that if you ask any autistic person what is most important for them in clothing they will tell you it's the fabric it's made of. Many autistic people have comorbid eczema, and a lot of those that don't have sensory issues, which mean that fabric and texture are hugely important in clothing. Something that is in contact with your skin all day needs to be made of something non-irritating; that almost always means 100% natural fibres. Cotton, or bamboo, or silk, or modal. Sometimes wool, but sometimes not. NEVER SODDING POLYESTER. And some of the clothes in that M&S range are 65% polyester. And of course it's very wearying that the only clothing specifically designed to be worn by autistic people is school uniform, because nobody of above school age is autistic, and no autistic child ever wears non-uniform clothing. AND they've "removed pockets for comfort". I have never known an autistic person who didn't want MORE pockets, as long as they are made from 100% natural fibre too.

So what would clothing for autistic people actually look like? Well, from the conversation on twitter today:
  1. Clear, obvious fabric labelling on the rack/shelf. While most of us just want everything 100% cotton, some of us prefer other natural fabrics like linen, and some actively prefer viscose or modal. Some of us can cope with silk or wool, some can't. Every single one of us, though, would like to see fabrics clearly, obviously labelled on the rack, without having to go hunting through the clothes for a tiny illegible care label.

  2. No polyester. Not even a little bit. Not ever. No, not even in linings.

  3. Linings are important! Linings are the bit that is actually in contact with your skin, so they need to be all natural fibres too. Note, though, that this does not mean you can take a garment made out of something horrible and line it with cotton and it will be OK - outer fabrics need to be touchable too.

  4. Care labels to be made of the same fabric as the clothing, not scratchy plastic.

  5. Elastic to be covered with the fabric the clothes are made of, not left to be in contact with your skin.

  6. Flat seams! Or even NO seams!

  7. For Cthulhu's sake, SOMEBODY make some bras we can wear! It is really, really, incredibly difficult to get hold of cotton bras, to the extent that I have considered making my own. And even if/when you DO find them, they are covered in non-cotton frills and lace and fripperies. And have stupid care labels made of plastic right in the middle of your back.

  8. Comfort and fit are much much more important than being on trend. I saw an article the other day that low slung waist trousers are coming back into fashion and actually cried.

  9. Moar pockets, on everything, especially women's clothes - but again, made of the same fabric as the actual clothing

  10. Stop saying things are "cotton touch" or "cotton feel" or "cotton rich". All this does is bugger up searching for cotton things. And actually, make your website searchable by fabric. That would be amazing.
And a clothing store for autistic people?
  1. Would be lit sensibly, not with migraine-inducing lighting.

  2. Would have the afore-mentioned obvious, clear clothing labels on the shelf/rack.

  3. Would sort by size and colour as well as style.

  4. Would have assistants that wait to be approached rather than badgering you the second you enter the shop.

  5. Would not have music at all (many many autistic people love music, but find music that they don't like intensely irritating; whatever music you play some of us will like and some won't) and would ideally have sound baffling so that other people's conversations are not intrusive.

  6. Would open from (say) 12 till 8, rather than 9 to 5. Autistic people are more likely than others to have odd sleep patterns and/or working hours.
Now, if some kind banker or venture capitalist would like to give me a wad of cash to make this a reality... And to M&S and the NAS... I do appreciate that you're trying, and I don't wish to appear ungrateful, but if you consulted any actually autistic people in fomulating that clothing range it's not immediately obvious. Please, please, bear in mind the priorities of actually autistic people, not the parents of autistic children, when making clothing that the autistic people are actually meant to wear. Remember the phrase: nothing about us without us. Thank you.

The Blood is the Life for 18-08-2017

Aug. 18th, 2017 11:00 am
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Monday is my birthday, and to celebrate Jane is going to show me around Paris for a long weekend. We're off tomorrow morning, and arriving back on my actual Birthday (Monday), which is _also_ the anniversary of the first time she hugged me (after she came to the airport to meet me off the plane back from my trip around the Southlands).

I arrived home to discover that she had made this wonder in the living room:


And I am looking forward to being allowed to open any of the things underneath it!

(Jim is being left with strict instructions that he is not allowed to eat any of the boxes. Or the tree. Or be sick on any of them. Or peek inside.)

Interesting Links for 17-08-2017

Aug. 17th, 2017 12:00 pm
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The Blood is the Life for 17-08-2017

Aug. 17th, 2017 11:00 am
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Interesting Links for 16-08-2017

Aug. 16th, 2017 12:00 pm
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The Blood is the Life for 16-08-2017

Aug. 16th, 2017 11:00 am
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Interesting Links for 15-08-2017

Aug. 15th, 2017 12:00 pm

Interesting Links for 14-08-2017

Aug. 14th, 2017 12:00 pm
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Instead, I was seen by a doctor last night at the Out of Hours service, who checked with the Eye Pavillion, who told me to come in at 2pm today. So Jane got me there in one piece (crossing roads and navigating festival-goers being tricky when any change of brightness causes intense pain), the doctor checked it was nothing unexpected, and that my iris was not stuck to my cornea (like last time), and then handed me some Maxidex and Cyclopentolate. The former reduces inflammation, the latter stops anything sticking to anything else while it recovers.

It's a pain, because I have to take the Maxidex hourly for the next two days, then 6 times a day for a week, then 4 times a day for a week, then thrice daily for a week, twice daily for a week, once daily for a week, and then I can finally stop. So I've installed an app on my phone to tell me when I should, and am letting that worry about it for me.

Also, the Cyclopentolate seems to cause my eye to focus slightly less well, so for the week I'm using that I suspect I'll have a bit of a headache (as I do now).

But! I am not in as much pain as I was, and my eye is probably not going to explode. So yay!

Interesting Links for 13-08-2017

Aug. 13th, 2017 12:00 pm

Restarting the writing

Aug. 12th, 2017 09:55 pm
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I've been meaning to write more for ages. But nothing quite seems important to share, which frankly is a pretty silly approach to take.

So, I'm going to try writing more:
Pink Floyd/Dark Side of the Moon, as projected onto the inside of the dome at Dynamic Earth was entertaining, but largely because of the music. The graphics were, frankly, the kind of thing I used to see in 1990s demoscene disks. Basically a more modern take on this kind of thing. Which isn't _bad_ per se. But it was pretty uninspired, and not up to the quality you'd expect Pink Floyd to demand.

The local council are great. Well, when it comes to emergency sewage problems. Where the drain outside the back of the building flooded, leaving raw sewage coming in under the back door to the block. I paid for it to be cleared, and they couldn't, so I got my insurers involved. And they told me I'd need to get everyone in the block onside to pay for their share. And then Mandy at work recommended I talk to the council, who had someone here within two hours to say "Yup, that's a health hazard, and it affects multiple homes", and then had an emergency team out three hours later who had plans of where the drains were, found drain covers _under the grass_ and sorted it all out. And will now bill everyone in the building separately, so I don't have to worry about that!

The NHS are great. Because I have a recurrence of uveitis, which flared up over the last 24 hours. Previous occurrences were in October 2012, in January 2014, and in February 2015 (links more for my own future reference than anything else). Happened a week after seeing my family, and coincided with my IBS playing up, which may be A Thing. Anyway, I called the 24 hotline for non-emergencies, and they've given me an appointment at 23:10 at the Western General hospital, so I'll be leaping onto a bus in 45 minutes to be seen at the Assessment & Rehabiliation Centre.

Jane is lovely. And came on holiday with me and my family (parents, my brothers, and their partners/children), played lots of board games, went for walks with dogs, and is about to come to the hospital with me to keep me company. (Actual holiday post to follow at some point. Possibly even with pictures of dogs).

Work is good. And I am currently involved in multiple things I am enjoying, and stretch me. Favourite things of the last year or so are getting to learn PowerShell in a fair amount of depth, and finally getting to fix a bad design decision I made circa 2008 and remove a huge amount of duplicate code.

Interesting Links for 12-08-2017

Aug. 12th, 2017 12:00 pm

The Blood is the Life for 12-08-2017

Aug. 12th, 2017 11:00 am
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Friday Five

Aug. 11th, 2017 03:35 pm
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(questions via [community profile] thefridayfive)

1) What is the most outrageous style you've ever rocked?

When I was a young 'un, there was that brief period when shell suits were incredibly fashionable, but before they had been discovered to be ridiculously dangerously flammable, and we had a non-uniform day at school. Every single other person in my class came in a shell suit. Some of them had those colour change t-shirts that showed your armpit sweat even worse than grey marl does. I wore cut-off denim hot pants, fishnet tights, an Alice Cooper t-shirt and a leather biker jacket.

I think that tells you everything you need to know about my attitude to fashion.


2) As a teen, were you an emo, goth, punk, grunger, or prep?

Um. I never could be bothered with the make-up requirements for goth, but I suspect I tended more that way in other respects, with bits of punk and grunger too. I mean, I never did do the blue stonewash jeans classic rocker look, I always wore black and purple.


3) Have you ever had a crazy hairstyle/colour?

Ever since I was 18 right up until the present. I'm normally one or more of blue, purple, or pink, but I've been other colours too. Went jet black once; didn't like it.


4) Do you think we ever really grow out of our teen selves?

I certainly haven't. But then I was quite elderly in outlook from about the age of 18 months, so... (this is possibly down to the autism, which obvs was undiagnosed when I was a young 'un.


5) Is there any fashion style you wish you could wear but maybe don't have the confidence?

It's not the confidence, it's the tolerance for pain. I wish I could wear halter neck tops, but my boobs are so heavy that they give me horrific neck ache within seconds of putting them on.
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