Viqui Dill #PowerOfStory 2019 07 16

Viqui Dill presents her story to celebrate her 60th birthday. #PowerOfStory #StopSuicide

Free downloads of the music are here

Blog post: A Tale of Two Little Girls

Blog post: Letter to myself in 1987

Blog post: Letter to myself in 1997

My journey to appreciate neurodiversity

When my son was first diagnosed with Autism, I remember thinking of the condition as my greatest enemy. I devoted every waking moment to combatting and conquering it, shedding tears, saying prayers, and spending my retirement savings on therapies and treatments.

Now that my son is an adult, my view has changed. I now see Autism as just another characteristic that makes Jim uniquely Jim. Like his thick curly hair and his deep baritone voice, Jim owns his Autism and uses it to his advantage. I have learned to appreciate the neurodiversity in our home.

Neurodiversity is a concept where neurological differences are to be recognized and respected as any other human variation. These differences can include those labeled with Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Autistic Spectrum, Tourette Syndrome, and others.

Now let me explain that I am glad that we did invest so much time, energy, and money in the interventions that allowed our son to get along in a neurotypical world. We began with weekly speech therapy that improved his verbal skills and reduced emotional outbursts when he couldn’t make himself understood. We took occupational therapy to help him find satisfying ways to get proprioceptive stimulation, eliminating the hand flapping that made him look strange. We experimented with a controversial allergy treatment that improved his behavior by improving how he felt inside. We invested in another controversial treatment that adjusted his overly sensitive hearing that allowed him to start using his hearing normally and be more in tune with the world around him. We homeschooled throughout all of middle school, breaking the cycle of fight or flight that had plagued his previous school years. All of these interventions brought him closer to our world and helped him enjoy being a part of it.

On the other hand, some of the Autistic characteristics have turned out to be assets. Jim has an ability to concentrate and focus that is unmatched. This comes in handy in a musical home and he is able to go about his business despite the loud rehearsal that is happening in the basement. The social detachment that comes with Autism keeps Jim’s life drama free. He never gets in a twist about what someone says or what someone thinks about him. He just lets it go in a way we all wish we could.

And best of all, the repetitive behaviors that doctors label “perseveration” make Jim a fantastic percussionist. Jim picked up his drumming technique in a single lesson back in 2004 and has been drumming with our family band ever since. He is able to make the same repetitive motions for hours during a gig, singing at the same time, without skipping a beat or varying tempo. He is also a strong rhythm guitar player for the same reason.

Come see for yourself. The Dill Pickers will be performing on the main stage at Apple Blossom on May 3. Come sing along, dance in the street and say hi to our neurodiverse family.

Below. the Dill Pickers first gig at the 2004 Balloon Festival at Long Branch Historic House and Farm in Boyce, Virginia.

The Dill Pickers perform on the main stage at the 2018 Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival. Left to right, Keith Dill on Stratocaster and vocals, Jim Dill on djembe and vocals, Viqui Dill on bass and vocals.

Do not feed the monster

Another fine post from a fine writer.

Hire this guy!

James Dill's Public Opinions

Hatred was a game that generated a lot of controversy. Controversial games that put the artistic merit of the entire medium into question are anything but new, this has been happening since the first Mortal Kombat, but what I thought was interesting about the controversy surrounding Hatred was an unusual amount of it came from gamers themselves.

I recently watch Total Buiscutte’s let’s play of Hatred. I have to say that I was underwhelmed about the whole affair. The game is pretty tame compared to comparible AAA M rated titles. There were lots of titles that contained a lot more gore and violence, God of War, Gears of War, Mortal Kombat, Prototype, lots of examples that were bloodier and gorier that didn’t generate nearly as much contraversy as Hatred did, in fact, I’d go so far as to say that the level of violence in Hatred was on par with…

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Legitimization through violence

Check out this thoughtful blog post by my son, Jim Dill.

James Dill's Public Opinions

I remember having a conversation with my mother where we discussed ISIS and what they were doing, specifically, them kidnapping news reporters and holding them for ransom. She asked me “should the government have ransomed those reporters?” I said no. she asked me “but what about the reporter?” I told her “to pay the ransom money would enable ISIS to go out and kidnap more reporters, ISIS wins. On the other hand, to try to break them out would be to acknowledge that ISIS is a threat worth responding to, ISIS wins. To fight them is to legitimize them so the worse thing the government could do to them is ignore them.”

I bring this up because something mildly interesting has recently been brought to my attention. Yet another cartoonist has been violently attacked by Islamic extremists. the extremists attacked newspaper Charlie Hebdo, killing 10 of the staff and…

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Letter to myself in 1997

December 19, 1996

Hi honey, it’s yourself, 18 years in the future.

I’m writing you this letter on your son’s 9th birthday to let you know that everything is going to be all right and to show you a picture.

Graduation 2014

Look what happens 18 years from today. Your baby boy is a Virginia Tech grad. Can you believe it?

I know right now, you can’t believe it. Things are not going well on the motherhood front.

Your biggest fear right now is that the grad in the photo is headed for trouble, real trouble. Your days are busy chasing interventions, therapies, special diets, and programs that may turn things around. You have no dreams of graduation. You have dreams of avoiding jail. Life is scary right now.

But look at how far you’ve come already. Since the first diagnosis of autism at age three, your baby has learned to talk, read, write, and tolerate new situations. He’s going to move on and make the honor roll soon. He will eventually break out of that fight-or-flight reaction and learn to manage his stress well enough to really enjoy high school. His college entrance essay will make you cry.

And as you can see in the photo, he’s going to be a Virginia Tech graduate, just like the grandfather for whom he is named.

So hang in there, mama. Trust your gut. You have the stuff, girlfriend.

Love you,