Monday Morning Musings (7/15)

Got Stop Signs?

In the comments on my infodumping post last week, a mom mentioned that her son’s special interest is stop signs. He’s 6 and he loves everything stop sign related. His teachers think this is a problem and try to discourage his interest. But his mom, who sounds like an awesome person, encourages him to do stop sign activities at home, both for fun and as a way to learn new things. That got me thinking that we could potentially make a little boy happy and show him that there are lots of adults who think that having a special interest isn’t weird or something to feel bad about.

So how about if we celebrate Tommy’s special interest by seeing how many photos of stop signs we can come up with for him? Since he’s already using Google to find photos online, I’d like for us to share photos that we’ve personally taken. The easiest option is to take a photo of a stop sign in your neighborhood or if you’re feeling ambitious you could find some interesting place in your area that has a stop sign. Or maybe you happen to have a vacation photo with a stop sign in it?

I know there are readers all over the world. Hopefully we can get some different designs and languages, but any stop sign you can add to the collection would be great. If you want to write a few sentences about the photo–location, pronunciation for non-English versions, a bit about you or your neighborhood, a fun fact about the location (or the sign in general if you don’t want to reveal your location)–that would be awesome. Just keep it appropriate to a 6-year-old.

You can put your photo in the comments below. You can share it on Twitter (mention me so I see it: @aspiemusings) or my Facebook wall ( Or you can post it on Tumblr, Instagram or a photo sharing site and get a link to me. I’ll put together all of the photos and notes in a post for Tommy. Let’s put a deadline of the end of the month on this so we all feel motivated and such, executive function being what it is around here (especially mine!)

I’m going to start us off with this photo of a stop sign from a train platform in Korea:


Online Neurodiversity Lecture Series

In spite of its rather odd title, I’ve been enjoying the “No Mind Left Behind” lectures that @quarridors shared a link to ages ago. I’ve watched most of the first day of the scientific track, which I found more interesting than the bits of the “reality” track that I’ve seen. The scientific lectures have the benefit of being very short (no more than 20 minutes each) so the speakers are forced to get the point fast. Many of the lectures focus on autism, but ADHD, OCD, Tourette’s and other atypical neurologies are also covered. A scan of the lecture titles will help you narrow things down to your areas of interest pretty quickly.

Two lectures in particular that I enjoyed were the ESSENCE lecture on very early symptom identification and the lecture on the development of empathy. One thing that struck me in the ESSENCE lecture was the idea that very young children are often diagnosed based on the type of doctor that they see. ASD, ADHD and Tourette’s can look similar in two- and three-year-olds, so a child who gets seen by an ADHD specialist at that age is more likely to get an ADHD diagnosis while a child with similar symptoms who gets seen by an ASD specialist first is more likely to be diagnosed as autistic. The lecturer also said he believes that children younger than 3 with hyperactivity symptoms should first be evaluated for ASD before ADHD is considered.

The lecture on empathy by Chrisopher Gillberg was fascinating because he is the person who coined the term Empathy Quotient and his beliefs about empathy are so different from Simon Baron-Cohen’s (who developed the infamous EQ test). Gillberg takes a very neutral, scientific view, avoiding the sort of emotionally charged language we usually see associated with empathy and autism, which is refreshing.


This weekend I brought over a bunch of survey answers from Survey Monkey. Yes, people are still answering the adult autism surveys! There are links to all of the survey posts from the final surveyΒ if you want to check out the latest additions.

48 thoughts on “Monday Morning Musings (7/15)”

    1. That would be awesome!

      I hope the generally quiet response to this post so far is because it will take people some time to find/take pictures and not because it’s a dumb idea . . .

      *bites lip nervously*

      1. Totally not boring but instead wonderfully awesome! I can’t even imagine how it will make Tommy feel when he’s been told his interests are “wrong” and then to be vindicated by total strangers, kudos to you, you rock this is a fabulous way to pay it forward so to speak : )

  1. my phone’s broken otherwise I’d get one. I’m still waiting on my warranty repair, so I have no idea when I’ll be able to get a photo for you

      1. If he’s American, Canadian stop signs look exactly the same unless you’re in Quebec, which I’m not. But maybe I can find an old photo I took near a stop sign when I was in Quebec at 16.

        1. Aha! A friend of mine from QuΓ©bec is going to get a photo for a French stop sign – they say ArrΓͺte, which is Canadian French for Stop – for me to send to you. πŸ™‚

        2. I think Dutch stop signs look exactly the same too. But even that I would think is fun information. Imagine a stop sign half a world away that looks exactly like the one on the corner!

            1. The thing is, the Dutch word for “stop” is the exact same word… So we do use our native language πŸ˜‰

  2. Thanks heaps for the opportunity! I’d love to take a photo for him, but it’ll have to be next weekend – it’s winter here and I leave in the dark and come home in the dark at the moment (then eat and go to bed tired out) – but I’ll try and take a night shot if I can.
    I think it’s an excellent idea, you’ll just might have to wait a bit for some action, that’s all – patience…… πŸ™‚

    1. That would be excellent! No rush. A night time shot would be cool. πŸ™‚

      I’m very bad at being patient but I’ve been getting some serious lessons in the importance of it lately . . .

  3. This is a lovely idea. I will head out this week and see what I can come up with. I am so impressed that this mother understands that nurturing a passion is important whether the passion is fine art or stop signs. Passion is passion, right?

  4. These were taken right outside the headquarters of Shell (the oil company) in Amsterdam. I work just around the corner. There aren’t that many stop signs in the Netherlands anymore I think. Most of the streets near my house have traffic lights. Maybe they thought people weren’t paying enough attention to signs. The word “Stop” is the same in Dutch (the language we speak in the Netherlands) as in English.

    The location of the stop sign is here: You won’t be able to see it on Google Streetview because they were still building when the satellite picture was taken. But it’s right where you see the white squares on the bicycle path. The white squares are also a sign, painted on the street, to warn drivers to slow down because of the bicycle path. πŸ™‚

    1. You rock! I just spent way too long staring at that first photo because it has so many cool patterns in it. πŸ™‚

      I looked from stop signs in Washington DC on a recent visit and found them equally hard to locate because it’s mostly stop lights. I did find one in front of the FBI headquarters instructing people to stop before entering the garage to have their IDs checked.

      1. Haha! I officially trespassed on Shell private terrain because I wanted that particular angle and had to stand in their car park to do it. It was the first stop sign I saw since the moment you mentioned you were going to ask people to take pictures, so I was well chuffed! Not going to let a little fence hold me back. πŸ˜›

        1. I will definitely not mention that in the stop sign post. Don’t want to be corrupting six-year-olds now, do we? πŸ˜› The photos are both quite lovely actually. I like the lighting in the background and the mix of light and dark elements. Yes, I’ve spent way too much time staring at them.

  5. Little did I realize when I threw caution to the wind to tell you of my son Tommy and his wonderfully unique passion for all things stop signs, that it would take on a life of it’s own thanks to Musings of an Aspie…and all of you! To say that I am touched is quite the understatement. Words cannot begin to express my most sincere gratitude. This is going to mean the world to him…little does he know that the world IS being brought to him by such caring and responsive people; by you. Thank you…thank you so very much! You have most definitely touched my heart; but I think when Tommy sees all of this, not only will you have touched his heart, you will have touched his very soul!

    1. I’m so excited about this project and also tickled to find a mom who encourages her son’s interests and his uniqueness.

      I have one somewhat delicate question for you. I’m writing a little introductory note to Tommy to explain what we did and I hope you don’t mind me asking if he knows that he’s autistic? I was going to say something along the lines of many of the photos being taken by autistic people “like you and me” but if you haven’t told him then I can easily reword that to respect your timeline. Just give me some guidance. πŸ™‚

  6. Could you please remove the e-mail I posted? I was supposed to forward this to her…oops!!

  7. Hi there, I have some photos of Stop signs that I’d like to send you, but at this point I’d rather not have my email address associated with them – is there somewhere I can put them or email them to so only you see them? Once you’ve got them I don’t mind what you do with them. Sorry, I’m not big on social media or living publicly…
    Many thanks.

    1. Can you upload them to a site like Photobucket or Flickr and then give me a link to retrieve them?

      I think reducing them slightly from full size will make it easier on the page load time. Maybe reduce to a little under 1 MB each. Most of the ones I’m getting are around 600-800 pixels on the larger side.

  8. Here’s a stop sign from my hometown, Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada. It’s in English and Inuktitut.

    I didn’t take it since I’m not home right now, but it’s still pretty cool. The Inuktitut is written in syllabics; in Roman Orthography it says “nuqqarit”. In the smaller communities, they leave the English out entirely and it looks like this:

Share Your Thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s