5 Stim Apps We Love

Hello, Beings!

Today the members of Cuil Press would like to give you the gift of stim apps that we enjoy.

What Are Stim Apps?

Most people outside of neurotypical communities aren’t familiar with ‘stims’. Autistic people (and we at Cuil Press are all autistic) stim a lot. But everyone stims sometimes.

Stims are repetitive motions or behaviors that help self regulate. They make you feel better when you do them. Many autistic people describe their stims as ‘soothing’ or ‘comforting.’

Many apps, especially game apps, involve the kind of repetitive behavior that make them wonderful stims.

Today, we are sharing five stim apps we love. There will be a description, link and personal review for each one. We hope these splendid apps help you as much as they’ve helped us.

1. Blendoku

Per Amazon’s description of the app, “Blendoku is a puzzle game that will challenge your ability to distinguish and arrange colors. The game is based on actual color principles and exercises taught in art schools around the world.”

I love the varying color palettes and intensity of the colors themselves. I also like how although the game has timed levels, you do not have to complete them to enjoy all that the game offers – that includes the reward puzzles!

Blendoku is available on iTunes and Google Play.

2. Shoot Bubble Deluxe

There are many variations of this game. Most are based on Puzzle Bobble’s arcade game (released by Taito in 1994) so the description of this one might sound familiar. Per Wikipedia’s gameplay description; “The goal of the game is to clear the playing field by forming groups of three or more like-colored marbles.” and there are varying levels of intensity and the game itself. Michón Neal of Cuil Press publishing is a big fan of City Games LLC’ s “Shoot Bubble Deluxe”! “I am addicted to shoot bubble. It has this delicious crunchy sound and it’s one of the few games I’ll have the sound on for. It’s very colorful, too. Who doesn’t like shiny colorful balls and knocking them out of place?” – Michón Neal

Variation Bubble Shooter is available on a grand total of 6 platforms! You can find it on iOS, Mac OS, Android, Flash, Palm OS, Pocket PC. If you search on Google or your devices App Store; You’ll find the right pick for you soon after!

This game is available in many variations on all platforms, you can download Shoot Bubble Deluxe on Android by clicking the following link.

3. Flow Free

Next up is “Flow Free”. I’ll let Michón do the talking for this gem. In ze’s words, “It’s almost like Snake, in that you draw lines across and together, but with colors. Basically, it’s a color match puzzle: two dots of several different colors (blue, red, green, yellow, orange, in really great shades) that you must figure out how to connect. The really nice thing is that the app background color default is black. The puzzles are by size such as 3×3 blocks to 7×7 etc. and it’s a rather quiet game, not too much noise or images to distract you.”. What about the gameplay experience? “It’s really calming. It features a very nice dark background with vibrant colors. Everything in the game is smooth!”

Flow Free is available on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon App Store and Microsoft.

4. Ice Cream Jump

This game is highly underrated! Ice Cream Jump has been a favorite of mines for a few years. Whether you play it on an Android or Apple device, fun and free of glitches! This game reminds me of old school SEGA! Catching coins and avoiding the bad guy(s) with the classic power-ups included. Not too complex to follow nor extremely stressful even though the goal is to beat your previous score. The sound effects, power-ups, backgrounds, “costumes” and scene keeps the mood light the entire duration of the game – even when you “lose” the crowd cheers.

This app is available on iTunes and Google Play.

5. Interlocked

And last but not least, we’d like to recommend “Interlocked”. This game is a bit complicated but the company behind it (“Armor Games”) explained it pretty darn well. To keep it simple; “Each level, you’re given a unique 3D puzzle consisting of blocks that hold each other together.” – Armor Games Inc. This is another one of Michón’s favorites and I see why. As ze put it; “It’s really visually pleasing. You just untangling different shapes. It’s just wonderful.”!

This app is available on iTunes.

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An Autistic Parent’s Reaction to To Siri: Impact > Intent

If you aren’t part of the autistic community online, you probably missed the many discussions over the past week about the autistic mommy memoir “To Siri with Love.” Discussions which spawned the hashtag #BoycottToSiri

Other people have done a great job breaking down the many, many problems with this book. Kaelan Rhywiol’s Storify of her live tweeting while reading the book is the most detailed break down I’ve found, but prepare to be highly disturbed and possibly triggered. Here’s a review of how this book came to explode on autistic twitter. You can check out #BoycottToSiri for more discussion and info.

But that’s not what I want to talk about. Not really. I want to talk not about why the book itself is bad, but about why it’s not “just” a book.

Defenders of the Indefensible

It’s not the book itself that really disturbed me. It’s the number of people defending it. The number of people who read it and gave it 5 stars as a loving account of being an autistic mommy and how they “don’t feel alone anymore.” It’s the realization that this isn’t just one woman being a horrible person, but thousands, perhaps millions, of allistic (ie, not autistic) people who think of autistic people this way.

Now I’m lucky. I can, most of the time, pass as neurotypical. Lately, I have been increasingly unwilling to pass, because it comes at a high cost to me. I am no longer willing to pay that cost for the comfort and convenience of other people. Still, most of the time, if I need to, I can.

But not everyone can. In fact, I have reason to believe that not all my kids will be able to. And this is the world I am sending them out into. A world full of people who question their ability to think. Their ability to have empathy. Their ability to have relationships and jobs. That people will treat them not as people but as inconveniences and robots. At best as pets who maybe likable and sweet but you can’t trust them to take care of themselves and not pee on the carpet.

There are several funny stories of being autistic in public that my family tells. But those stories… they aren’t very funny right now. See, the funny thing about them has always been neurotypical’s reactions to us. And now I’m wondering… who do I know, who do I interact with regularly, thinks this way? Who thinks being autistic makes me and people in my family unfit parents? Who questions if we can think. Who might see me one day, non-verbal and pounding a table in frustration, and instead of giving me space and offering help, calls 911 because I’m obviously “low functioning” and shouldn’t be allowed out on my own? (90% of the time “low functioning” means “can’t pass as neurotypical. The other 10% it means “we don’t want to bother giving the accommodation you’d need to function in society”.)

That’s one of the “funniest” things about the defenders of this book. They insist that those of us critiquing it and criticizing it have no idea what it is like to be “low functioning” based on the words we share online. It never occurs to them that if they met us in person, they’d think we are “low functioning” too.

But it occurs to me. And it scares me.

Impact > Intent

This book isn’t just a memoir sharing one (abusive, narcissistic, disgusting) person’s experience and views. It is actively harmful to autistic people. It tells that we are are not safe among allistics, that we have no place in your world unless we can pretend to be like you. it increases anxiety contributes to depression, and triggers PTSD from past run-ins with autism mommies. And makes the world we live in–not really your world, but OUR world less accessible to us, with every person who reads it and thinks it tells the truth of our existence.

This book, and others like it, are why we say #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs.


(And if you parent to an autistic kid, here’s something much better for you to read.)

This is a personal piece by Jess Mahler. The rest of Cuil Press firmly supports and endorses the opinions and position shared here.

Why We Love Monster Stories

Jess Mahler spent a couple hours combing through werewolf romances on Amazon the other day before coming back and crying on the team’s shoulders about how hard it is to find monster stories that aren’t full of “destined mate” or “alpha male” bullshit.

Paranormal romance and urban fantasy are full of some really nasty tropes, many of which fully deserve a place on our “No! Tropes List.” But we keep coming back to them, combing through the bad ones for the rare gems that we finish with a sigh of utter contentment.

Why do we love monster stories so much? Why do we put ourselves through so much trouble to find monster stories that don’t fall prey to the nasty tropes?

Because WE Are Society’s Monsters

we are society's monstersThe black man in his hoody who just wants to walk down the fucking street in peace, the trans woman who just wants to take a piss, the autistic enby who just wants to be seen as a whole person and not a broken jigsaw puzzle. We are society’s monsters–to be either hunted down or locked away.

So we love our monster stories. Werewolves, vampires, witches, dragons, the nightmares of European civilization. In our books, they have their own secret societies. They hide from hunters or fight back. Or they exist openly in “human” society. They live, and love, and THRIVE. And in them we see ourselves. The unloved, the unwanted, the outcast. The strong, the resilient, the tough ass bitches.

Like the monsters we love, we have built our own societies, our own communities. We have existed in the shadows, either hiding from those who hunt us or fighting for recognition from those who shun us. Sometimes both at the same time.

So bring on the werewolves, the selkies, the fae. We’ll read about vampires, dragons, wizards, and ghosts. Because you know the best thing about urban fantasy and paranormal romance?

In the end, the monsters win.

Confederate and Atypical Are Two Sides of the Same Bullshit

Mainstream media treats anyone who isn’t mainstream horribly. From shitty representations to reinforcing the oppressive systems of society today to imagining worlds where we literally don’t exist over and over and over again… We all know that when a mainstream media company announces a project “about” us or our struggles to buckle down for an at best naive and at work harrowing ride of misinformation, misrepresentation, and erasure.

And right now, we got a twofer. Two absolutely grotesque shows are getting talked about in two different parts of social media. Two shows that are getting ready to shit on two overlapping and already-struggle groups of people who don’t need any more shit in their lives. If you are reading this blog post, you’ve probably already heard of one of them—but many people haven’t heard about both.

Confederate and Atypical

Confederate is HBO’s white-supremacist fantasy of the South winning the Civil War. It is in development and had a chance to be seriously shut down. This past Sunday #NoConfederate was trending as people spoke out about why it needs to be shut down.

Atypical is Netflix’s painfully stereotyping and downright insulting autistic “representation” show. It is showing in early August–it’s too late to shut it down completely, but the #ActuallyAutistic community has gotten the attention of the show’s creators and this may be a chance to educate for better representation in the future and/or to prevent a second season.

An autistic character being the butt of jokes as he tries to lose his virginity is not comedy. A white-supremacist fantasy is not anti-racism drama. But that is what these shows are getting pitched as.

Two Sides, Same Bullshit

These are not separate issues. Both shows are the result of big media companies who can’t be bothered to listen to the minority groups they are portraying or even just do some basic research. They are the result of white neurotypical people thinking they can ‘teach’ about racism and autism better than those of us who are autistic and/or live everyday fighting against racism.

Right now, these shows are being addressed separately. While black activists and at least some non-black accomplices have been working to get Confederate shut down, we have seen no one in the autistic community make the connect to Atypical. And discussion of Atypical and its many problems has mostly stayed within the autistic community.

It doesn’t need to be that way. We can work together and support each other. We have a better chance of getting Confederate shut down and preventing more shows like Atypical by combining our voices and resources.

How to Help

If this is the first time you are hearing about one or both of these shows, here’s what you can do to help:

To support autistic people fighting against Atypical-style representation, hop on Twitter Friday, August 11th for the mass live-tweeting of the first episode of Atypical. Watch the #Atypical hashtag for updates and look for people tagging #ActuallyAutistic on #Atypical tweets to amplify the voices of autistic people.

To support black people fighting against Confederates, follow the #NoConfederate hashtag. Amplify black voices talking about why the show needs to be shut down and watch for additional plans for group activity. We’ve seen a few folks propose making a weekly #NoConfederate mass tweeting. Look for that, support, and amplify.

To support both, look for of protest and resistance activity on other social media sites and help activity jump to new areas of the internet. Storify tweets to share on Facebook or Instagram, promote mass tweet equivalents like mass posting or profile pic changes on Facebook to increase awareness and, as always, amplify the voices of people speaking from lived experience.

If you have a blog, website, podcast, or just a bunch of folks who follow you on social media, talk about both shows, how they are connected, and why they matter.

And if you know black autistic folks talking about either or both of these shows? Please amplify the shit out of that.