Thursday, March 01, 2018

Don’t Wrestle your Fears into Submission

Life Gets Better Together

It’s very hard to be proud of your sexuality when it hasn’t brought you any joy. Once it’s associated with joy and love it’s easy to be proud of who you are. The first time you actually believe somebody loves you it’s a wonderful moment in your life ~ George Michael

Thursday, February 01, 2018

299.00 (F84.0)

Autism is a lifelong neuro-developmental disability that affects the development of the brain in areas of social interaction and communication. People with autism have difficulties in communicating and forming relationships with people, in developing language and in using abstract concepts. It also impacts on their ability to make sense of the world around them. It was first described by Leo Kanner in 1943. The following year in 1944, a German scientist named Hans Asperger describes a "milder" form of autism now known as Asperger's Syndrome. It wasn't until 1994 that Asperger's Syndrome was added to the DSM, expanding the autism spectrum to include milder cases in which individuals tend to be more highly functioning.
Over the years, the definition, classification and diagnostic specifics of autism have undergone many significant changes. In 2013 the DSM-5 folded all subcategories of the condition into one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Asperger's Syndrome is no longer considered a separate condition. The severity levels for Autism Spectrum Disorder, 299.00 (F84.0) from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) are outlined below.

Level 3: "Requiring very substantial support"

Social communication: Severe deficits in verbal and nonverbal social communication skills cause severe impairments in functioning, very limited initiation of social interactions, and minimal response to social overtures from others. For example, a person with few words of intelligible speech who rarely initiates interaction and, when he or she does, makes unusual approaches to meet needs only and responds to only very direct social approaches.

Restricted, repetitive behaviours: Inflexibility of behaviour, extreme difficulty coping with change, or other restricted / repetitive behaviours markedly interfere with functioning in all spheres. Great distress / difficulty changing focus or action.

Level 2: "Requiring substantial support"

Social communication: Marked deficits in verbal and nonverbal social communication skills; social impairments apparent even with supports in place; limited initiation of social interactions; and reduced or  abnormal responses to social overtures from others. For example, a person who speaks simple sentences, whose interaction is limited  to narrow special interests, and how has markedly odd nonverbal communication.

Restricted, repetitive behaviours: Inflexibility of behaviour, difficulty coping with change, or other restricted / repetitive behaviours appear frequently enough to be obvious to the casual observer and interfere with functioning in  a variety of contexts. Distress and / or difficulty changing focus or action.

Level 1: "Requiring support"

Social communication: Without supports in place, deficits in social communication cause noticeable impairments. Difficulty initiating social interactions, and clear examples of atypical or unsuccessful response to social overtures of others. May appear to have decreased interest in social interactions. For example, a person who is able to speak in full sentences and engages in communication but whose to-and-fro conversation with others fails, and whose attempts to make friends are odd and typically unsuccessful.

Restricted, repetitive behaviours: Inflexibility of behaviour causes significant interference with functioning in one or more contexts. Difficulty switching between activities. Problems of organization and planning hamper independence.

'If they can't learn the way we teach, we teach the way they learn' ~ O. Ivar Lovaas 

Tuesday, January 02, 2018


Happy New Year to everyone who has ever read this blog. If any post or part of it has ever helped you in any way then I'm happy. Wishing you health, happiness and prosperity in 2018. I'll continue to try to create some posts moving forward, but I feel this year is going to be my most industrious one so far. New year, new me and all that jazz.

"A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true" ~ Greg Reid

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Schedules of Reinforcement

1. Fixed ratio.
Buy 4 coffees, get your fifth one free.
In operant conditioning, a fixed-ratio schedule is a schedule of reinforcement where a response is reinforced only after a specified number of responses.

> See earlier post on the Goal Gradient Effect

2. Variable ratio.
In operant conditioning, a variable-ratio schedule is a schedule of reinforcement where a response is reinforced after an unpredictable number of responses. This schedule creates a steady, high rate of responding.

3. Fixed interval.
Footballer signs contract whereby his salary increases are renegotiated every three years.
In operant conditioning, a fixed-interval schedule is a schedule of reinforcement where the first response is rewarded only after a specified amount of time has elapsed.

4. Variable interval.
Waiting for a taxi.
In operant conditioning, a variable-interval schedule is a schedule of reinforcement where a response is rewarded after an unpredictable amount of time has passed.

Properly used, positive reinforcement is extremely powerful ~ B. F. Skinner

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Never Give Up

Any effort to help is an effort worth making.

One day a terrible fire broke out in a forest - a huge woodlands was suddenly engulfed by a raging
wild fire. Frightened, all the animals fled their homes and ran out of the forest. As they came to the
edge of a stream they stopped to watch the fire and they were feeling very discouraged and
powerless. They were all bemoaning the destruction of their homes. Every one of them thought
there was nothing they could do about the fire, except for one little hummingbird.
This particular hummingbird decided it would do something. It swooped into the stream and picked
up a few drops of water and went into the forest and put them on the fire. Then it went back to the
stream and did it again, and it kept going back, again and again and again. All the other animals
watched in disbelief; some tried to discourage the hummingbird with comments like, "Don't bother,
it is too much, you are too little, your wings will burn, your beak is too tiny, it's only a drop, you
can't put out this fire."
And as the animals stood around disparaging the little bird's efforts, the bird noticed how hopeless
and forlorn they looked. Then one of the animals shouted out and challenged the hummingbird in a
mocking voice, "What do you think you are doing?" And the hummingbird, without wasting time or
losing a beat, looked back and said, "I am doing what I can."
~ The Hummingbird Story, told by Nobel Peace Laureate
Wangari Maathai in May 2006 at a conference on poverty
elimination in Montreal.