Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Thank you for a great year

Hello Bridges friends and supporters,
Wishing you all a warm, safe and joyful holiday season!

I have a new book out called Communication and Relationships. Please contact ebloomfi@uoguelph.ca if you would like to learn more.





Meanwhile I send you this link http://www.ont-autism.uoguelph.ca/BoB-14-2014.pdf
to the latest Bridges-Over-Barriers bulletin that contains:
-Highlights of our past eleven years and achievements of 2014
-New ideas for Bridges-Over-Barriers
-News from other Bridges members
-Kevin Vasey shares two poems
-Call for new communication assistants
-Film News
-Our right to communicate and make decisions about our own lives.
Please keep in touch!! I am having a wonderful time.

Your Bridges friend Andrew Bloomfield

Monday, 22 September 2014

My higher guidance

This painting represents my connection with my higher guidance. The higher guidance is my inner knowing. Knowing that I am great. I am great even though I am not perfect. I am great even when I don't know how to reach my goals yet.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Happy To Receive Award


I am happy to have had the pleasure to meet the mayor of Guelph. I feel really privileged to live in a great city. I am a happy receiver of an award of excellence. The link to the receiving of the award is below.
http://guelph.ca/2014/06/mayor-farbridge-honours-guelphs-difference-makers/

This is a link that mentions all of the others who received the award.
http://guelph.ca/2014/06/mayor-farbridge-honours-guelphs-difference-makers/

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The Result of Launch Day

Recently we launched the new film HOLDING IN THE STORM: MY LIFE WITH AUTISM which was inspired by our Bridges-Over-Barriers group of communicators who have to communicate in other ways because we cannot speak reliably with our voices. My 2002 poem "What it's like to be me" forms a theme through this film. We thought that the main purpose and outcomes of film would be in helping non-autistics to get a better idea of what it's like to live with severe Autism. One unexpected result of the movie is that it made me think more about what it's like NOT to have Autism and to be "neurotypical". I am now a bit more interested in fiction and drama than I was before. This is a poem I composed last week about this different point of view.


I wonder about you
AB 9 Apr 2014
I never used to wonder
what it was like to be you.
I always knew I was different;
I always wanted you to learn
what I was like inside.
The part about you having
things I might be curious about
is a new experience for me.

I think my conversations
have been focused
on me as the subject.
I am learning to wonder
 what is going on inside you.
It is a new thing
for me to wonder
about you
who I do not really know.

You are a person in the blur
of the greater world
and if I did not know you,
you had not existed for me.
If I cannot see past my circle
I could not connect
and you were not distinct
or separate from the world.

I now wonder
what makes people tick,
and that the universe is made up
of you and you and you
and a million others like you.
I have so many people
to meet and learn about.
The world is
a large place indeed.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Thank you for coming

Thank you for coming to the film opening.  You are all really true friends. For more information about the blog about the film visit www.holdinginthestorm.blogspot.com. The day was great.

I am the man who composed the theme poem for this movie, “What it’s like to be me”. I like and admire the movie very much, though I usually tend to prefer documentary films and non-fiction.

I hope that our Bridges-Over-Barriers group will discuss the film some more but here are some thoughts. I love the beauty of the sights and sounds in the film and the contrasts between the peaceful park setting and the busy and noisy lecture theatre.

I know that the film was intended to help neurotypical people understand what it’s like to live with Autism as an adult. But other viewers might like to know that the film also helped with another line of the poem, “I wonder what it’s like to be you?”

Some people have wondered if we autistics would feel insulted and hurt by the attitudes of the “neurotypicals” to us. In fact, I really learned about other people from the film. I saw the “Dave” guy as very enthusiastic and think he would be a great friend. He was very excited about his girl. He was expected to be nervous. Perhaps at first he was insensitive to Matthew but when the girl said she knew Matty he was different. I think many of my friends are like him.

The students were good just like students at the university. They are still young and not sure how to make good decisions on what to say. They will learn hopefully. I would not say those words--that someone is a schizo. I think we need to remember that we are all different as well. I think that I will try to laugh like the students to practice for my university years. I think I will be safer learning from here. I will always be a student. I never stop learning.

I think it was a great day and glad I could talk to people. I think that made it real for them. I see they were curious as to what I was typing with Beth’s support. It was the highlight for me to see people understand the meaning of the film and be sincere not just nice. Sometimes people just say nice things and don’t understand. I see this in their eyes. They don’t seem to really feel comfortable talking to me, but that film day they seemed to know what to say.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Candles from my garden

The plants that we used to make the candles are from my garden.The candles were scented from my roses. The pressed flowers were also from my garden. My garden gives me joy. Happy thoughts come from my garden. The friends that get them (the gifts) are there (in the garden). They are there in spirit.

Monday, 17 March 2014

The herbs in my garden

I love to plan my garden. I have been really excited about growing herbs. So far I've been starting seeds like Monarda and Stevia. I hope to make medicine with my herbs. Tea can be made by Monarda for things like an upset stomach. The tea can also be a good medicine for gas.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Trees Are Intelligent

We can learn a lot about building community from trees. Trees are friends. Not only do they provide humans with oxygen; shade; food; shelter; and beauty, but they are also beneficial to Earth's other creatures.

For instance, the Douglas fir will create a mutually beneficial relationship with a type of fungi growing in the soil. They try to create a network of roots together for the benefit of the whole community. The trees provide the fungi with carbon, and in return the trees get nutrients from the fungi. The network of roots ensures that nutrients are shared among community members. They get transported to where they are needed in order to maintain a balanced ecosystem.

Humans can use this beautiful relationship as an example of how to better interact with trees. We could plant more and try to be friends.

Not only that, we can try to create better relationships with each other in a similar way that the Douglas fir and the fungi do.

   

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Earth Alerts

Please take a look at my new Earth Alerts page. My first post is about stormwater management.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Tree of Life

Tree of life
11 Sep 2013
Life can be summed up
when we take time to look at a tree.
It starts at the roots:
we all need roots to ground us.
If the trunk is strong we stand tall,
but it can be beaten down by wind and disease.
In the life of a tree
the nourishment it receives
can make or break it.
The nourishment it receives
can help it withstand
the storms in its world.

Each tree is different as is each of us.
The tulip tree is magnificent and unique.
The red oak is fiery in the autumn.
The maple is dripping with sweetness
and reminds us to be generous
in giving goodness to each other.
The ginkgo tree is enduring:
it goes on and on
and gives me the inspiration
that my deeds will also live on.

Trees are worth protecting.
When we take care of the trees,
we protect our very lives.


Monday, 13 January 2014

News From Bridges-Over-Barriers Friends

This month marks ten years since Bridges-Over-Barriers began! We have had at least 77 gatherings in Guelph. We all miss the gatherings during the midwinter months.

Some of us have news to share.

IAN has started downhill skiing this month. Like me, Ian enjoys the outdoors and loves to be cool.

TIM is being brave about his health. For nearly two months last fall, Tim was also brave when Betty had to be away having a knee operation. I asked Tim is he had some lessons for all of us about facing change like that. This is what Tim replied:
"I did well when my Mom was away and I think it was the fact that I knew my supporters already and they were my friends and knew me well and they love me a lot. I learned that they are very good at supporting me and I can trust them to help me with my life even when things are hard. They help me to understand their world and they really try to understand mine.
"I really enjoyed visiting the L'Arche houses in the evening and getting to know the assistants and the core people too. They were always so welcoming of Kristen and me and they loved having us drop in.
I was very busy during the days with my truck and also working with Jenny on the drums and the metronome and talking with her and with Carl on my i-pad. Had I been bored or isolated it would have been very difficult."

Bravo Ian and Tim!

JOHN and his family recommend a new book about a Japanese boy Naoki who types to talk like us.
The Bridges group have all seen Naoki before as the Japanese boy (with his charming mother) who featured in the FC film Wretches and Jabberers that we saw in 2011. I think the book was actually composed several years before the film, when Naoki was 13. Here is a review of this book.

Meet one person with autism
The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida, KA Yoshida (Translator), David Mitchell (Translator). Reviewed online by William Mandy 15 November 2013.
http://sfari.org/news-and-opinion/autism-in-the-arts/2013/book-review-meet-one-person-with-autism

“The autism described in The Reason I Jump is quite different from the mostly social disorder that I, as a researcher and clinician, find in textbooks and journal articles. The new bestselling book, featuring the remarkable testimony of a Japanese boy who has severe autism, is a surprising and engaging memoir that’s full of paradoxes.

“Naoki Higashida finds spoken communication all but impossible, but has learned to express himself by pointing to Japanese hiragana letters printed on a piece of card in order to spell out words. In this manner, he meticulously wrote the book over the course of months with his mother as scribe.

“The book then came to the attention of a married couple, who were perhaps uniquely qualified to make it accessible to English speakers: the renowned novelist David Mitchell (author of Cloud Atlas) and his Japanese wife K.A. Yoshida, who have a son with autism. Mitchell and Yoshida translated Higashida’s work for an international audience.  The result is a slim volume whose lucid prose has caused me to reconsider some of the most basic ideas I have about autism.

“Over a hundred or so pages of question-and-answer, Higashida displays an originality of thought and poetry of expression that eludes most writers, let alone most 13-year-old boys. For example, when answering “Why do you ignore us when we’re talking to you?” he writes: “A person who’s looking at a mountain far away doesn’t notice the prettiness of a dandelion in front of them. A person who’s looking at a dandelion in front of them doesn’t see the beauty of a mountain far away.

“Further, the level of empathy and emotional insight this teenager displays will surprise many readers, and certainly anyone who has studied autism. The conventional wisdom holds that the disorder, at its heart, is a social disorder, in which the capacity for understanding the thoughts and emotions of others is badly impaired.

“Naoki Higashida is explicit about why he wrote The Reason I Jump. Speaking on behalf of people with autism he writes, ‘We are misunderstood, and we’d give anything if only we could be understood properly’ and ‘I hope that, by reading this book, you might become a better friend of someone with autism.’”

Photos of My First Run

Can I share some photos from my first race on 14 December 2013. We ran in a blizzard. It was cold but exhilarating!
I am very glad to run regularly, with my wonderful encouragers David and Dean.

Running in aid of The Big and Little Brothers and Sisters of Guelph
Andrew with running companions, David and Dean


Friends cheering Andrew on as he crosses the finish line

Proud parents

David, Andrew and Dean
I composed this poem about how my encouraging supporters help me to keep going.

My encouraging supporters ground my life
AB, 7 Dec 2013
It is with these people
and my furry friends
that I can move forward.
I am a man with ideas for myself
and these ideas come to life
with help of others.

It is important you know it is me.
My goals for new things are realized
by working through the obstacles
and overcoming what I think I cannot achieve.
It is a kind word or a touch to my shoulder
to say “well done my friend you can do it”.

I have many who encourage me
with my expression
of my thoughts and ideas
and my love to create my garden and art.
My passion to be healthy and strong
includes my running and good walks
with friends and Yukon.

I am in constant mode of rhythm
which helps me to keep the beat of my activities
but it is the beat of these encouragers
that keeps my life song singing.