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Book Review: Joel Suzuki Volume 4: Fable of the Fatewave by Brian Tashima

Book Review; Joel Suzuki Volume 4: Fable of the Fatewave by Brian Tashima
Over the past six years I've reviewed the first three volumes in the Joel Suzuki series; Secret of the Songshell, Mystery of the Moonfire and Legend of the Loudstone.

Fable of the Fatewave is the fourth book and it feels a little different. 

It's not just that the main characters of Joel and Felicity seem to have grown up over the course of the books, it's also that their story and the world of Spectraland seems to have become larger.

Fable of the Fatewave expands Joel's abilities to include time travel and when things start to go wrong in the present, it's only natural that the main characters might look to the past as a solution but things just aren't as easy as they might seem.

It's another great story and as usual, Brian's tales aren't predictable. Things just don't unfold the way that you think they might.

Fable of the Fatewave doesn't retread old ground but it do…

Time Management on the Autism Spectrum

One of the things that people on the spectrum do really poorly is manage their own time. This is because people with autism often suffer from poor executive functioning.  They have difficulty planning out their day or estimating how long a task will take. They're also very easily distracted. 

Time management is a critical skill, particularly after your child had left school and is expected to take charge of their own day.

In this post, I want to look at some of the reasons why time management fails and some of the changes we can make to train ourselves to be better at it.


Who Manages Your Time? In your formative years, you do very little time management and it's usually your parents who set alarms and cajole you out of bed, harass you into getting dressed, slog through the breakfast routine, push you into the car and drop you off at school.

Once at school, you're at the mercy of the timetable but apart from getting the right books to the right classes on time, there's v…

Anxiety and Approachability in the Workplace

Believe it or not, I'm not actually a shy person.  Put me in front of a group of people for a planned session such as training and I have no problem talking (I spent a few years as a TAFE teacher after all).  Drop me in an ad-hoc, unstructured conversation however and sometimes I get so nervous that I lose my words.

I often blame this on my poor hearing and it's certainly a large part of the problem. It's not that I can't hear though, it's anxiety.

I get anxious for a variety of reasons but recently I've managed to overcome at least some of it. While I'd love to be able to say it was my hard work, it really wasn't.  It was a clever choice on the part of one of my work colleagues.

Anxiety I've read very widely on the subjects of Asperger's syndrome and high functioning autism - and of course,  I've interacted with a great many people on the spectrum over the years.

Everyone is different and no amount of rules and exceptions can take into accou…

Some people just want a Reaction

It's a funny old world that we live in and it's full of people that I just don't understand. For the most part, I get along really well with just about everybody but every now and then I encounter "rogue people" who just want to attack me for reason unknown. 

It's something I've noticed since I was a kid and I've never felt that I had a very good handle on why this happens. I don't read people terribly well. I'm improving but I've got a long way to go.

Recently, it's been suggested that it's something to do with the way I present as emotionally unreactive. I thought I'd use this post to explore this.

The Unreactive Child When I was growing up, it was very much the norm for parents to say "boys don't cry" or "boys have to be tough". Of course, I did cry, especially when I injured myself but after an early life of tantrums and meltdowns and I learned to suppress my emotional responses.

There's also the …

Autism and Crime

There's a lot of news about autism and crime these days and I think it's worth some open discussion because the reasons are varied but the blame seems to be quite singular. 

I don't believe that the amount of crime among individuals on the autism spectrum is any higher than the crime rate for the general population. In fact, many of the attributes of autism such as a preference for isolation, should contribute to it being lower. Nevertheless, there are criminals on the spectrum and there are some attributes which are common to autism which could make an individual more likely to commit a crime.

"Us and THEM" There's no doubt about it, people on the autism spectrum often seem different to the general population. This difference in itself creates some issues;

The "Us and them" divide often leads to ostracisation within school, workplaces and social groups with people on the spectrum being clearly in the minority. In schools, it can lead to physical bul…

Mansplaining and other Conversation Breakers

Of all of the bad things that men do to women, Mansplaining is the one that terrifies me the most on a personal level. This is because I believe that I'm essentially a good person and I'm in control of myself. I know that I can easily avoid most mistakes but mansplaining is different. 

It's not so simple to avoid and it is something that sneaks up on me. Sometimes I don't realise that I'm doing it until I'm right in the middle of a conversation -- and then I suddenly feel like I want to run away.

Mansplaining is certainly not "an autism spectrum thing" -- it's not even a "man-only" thing. I think however, that being on the spectrum may increase the likelihood of our conversations being interpreted as "mansplaining". I certainly don't mansplain for a "power trip". If and when I do it, it's  usually because I'm so poor at conversation and because I'm partially deaf.

Regardless of the reasons, I'm deter…

Teaching Teens with Autism about Budgeting

Money is the key to freedom and it's essential that all teens know how to work within the confines of a budget before they reach an age where adult intervention becomes difficult. Don't forget, as new payment methods emerge, physical cash is disappearing and this makes it more difficult for teens to understand how quickly they can go through their funds, or even worse, rack up debt.

For many teens, simply having a good grasp of mathematics is enough but what if your teen is on the autism spectrum. They could be brilliant at maths but it might not translate into the real world -- or they could have learning difficulties. 

How do we get these concepts understood and accepted? How do we make budgeting an automatic part of your teen's spending habits?

Start young The earlier you start getting your kids to purchase things on their own, the better. With my boys, we were giving them money before they'd even started at school. It wasn't pocket money then but we'd be sitt…

Autistic Burnout - Causes and Prevention

In some of my other posts, I've talked about meltdowns, which are when people on the autism spectrum lose control. I've also talked about the quieter form of meltdown; the "shutdown" where an individual is unable to connect with the outside world. 

Meltdowns and shutdowns are transitory things, they happen and they pass. They're also usually quite short, lasting at most, for a few hours.

When a person with autism experiences a condition similar to a shutdown that lasts for days or even for the rest of their life, it's something else.  It's called autistic burnout. 

The symptoms The symptoms of autistic burnout will vary significantly from person to person but there are a few common signs;

Inability to cope with daily life Autistic burnout is often compared with a mental breakdown for good reason. They're very similar. A person may be coping well with the pressures of family or working life and then may suddenly become incapable of continuing. This may m…

When should parents stop pushing their children with Asperger's syndrome?

If you're the parent of a young adult with Asperger's syndrome you'll be very familiar with the need to keep educating and pushing your child. You'll probably be an expert at it and you'll most certainly be very tired of all the work involved. 

The question is; should you continue to push your young adults past their twenties or should you back off and allow them to find their own way forward?


We Never Stop Pushing  Regardless of whether or not we should give our kids more space, one thing is clear.  As parents, we never stop caring for our children and their future. We simply can't help ourselves - and that's okay.

It's okay that we're always concerned for their welfare and that we want what's best for them but there are big differences between trying to help and trying to control.  We need to make sure that we stay on the right side of the line.

The Impetus to Move One of the biggest areas of contention between parents and young adults on the s…

A Mother's Day Poem

Today is Mother's Day in Australia and apart from presents and food, one of the traditions I have is to put a bit of effort into the card that I give my mother. Often they're hand-made but even when they're not, they usually have a poem inside. They're always intended to be funny because my mother has the best laugh in the world. 

I'm not a brilliant poet and like my blog posts, I don't spend much time editing my work. I prefer things to be original.  As such, there's probably only 10 minutes of work in here - so don't expect Shakespeare.

A Mother's Day Poem Thank you for being there for me,
T'was not an easy thing to be.

When to the shops you would go,
My eiderdown would be in tow

My hands would wander to every shelf
Especially glass - I couldn't help myself

And when I sneeze everything was game.
My sleeves would never be the same.

And then you'd cook and I would scowl,
She looked at it. I can't eat it now.

Then Sunday came and we…

Adjusting Society to Meet the Needs of People with Autism

As we wind down April, the month of "light it up blue", "autism awareness" and "autism acceptance", I wanted to ponder the other side of the equation. At the beginning of the month, I talked about how those of us on the spectrum needed to represent ourselves. Now I want to look at what we really need from people who aren't on the spectrum. 

As usual, the best way to answer that question is to pick a group which already has good accommodations and look at how this could apply to autism.

Beyond Acceptance, the example of the blind.  My comparison point this time is blind people. I'm not suggesting that nothing more can be done for them but rather that their needs are understood and catered for well beyond simple "acceptance". Our social care of visually impaired people is impressive and something that other groups should strive to match.

So, how are the visually impaired being looked after by society? Braille: It's not just that braille…