Sunday, August 18, 2013

Juggling the Astronaut


My name is Wendy Frye and I am the mother of two wonderful young men - the oldest on the Autism Spectrum.  As a mother to a young adult with Autism, we are slowly transitioning into the next phase of life by getting a job and hopefully learning to live more independently.

James was diagnosed at the age of 3 1/2 when no one really heard of Autism.  It's been a long road regaining health and supporting his needs.  Today his is a mouthy, funny, TALL, artistic person who has an opinion and is not afraid to share it!

Thank you Katie Kagan for starting this blog and for the invitation to contribute.  I'm looking forward to sharing some offbeat stories of the Frye family - and learning more about the rest of the world living with Autism.

~ Wendy Frye

Power in the Palm of Your Hand

My sometimes...earthy...aunt had a picture of Las Vegas. The caption: "Poverty Sucks".

Well, powerlessness sucks too. Not to mention learned helplessness. And first hearing about Asperger Syndrome (AS) at the age of 34, after K-12, college, graduate school and years afterward, is a good way to develop learned helplessness.

Why bother to try to make friends, get dates or obtain good jobs? Sisyphus, please call your office!

Well, if you're reading this -- you've got power.

First off, knowledge is power. If you're reading this, you probably know whether you're an Aspie (someone who's on the autism spectrum) or an NT (someone who isn't, aka a neurotypical). And we, as a society, know a lot more about AS than we did even a decade ago. For example, a recent episode of the kids' show "Arthur" had a segment with a "guest star" Aspie character, explaining his traits (very strong interest in trains, focus on facts not feelings, insistence on routine, occasional meltdowns) and then showing a clip about Aspies in real life.

Once we know how we tend to differ from most people, we can adapt much more easily. For example, most NTs know about "the sandwich"*...when giving negative feedback or other bad news you may wish to start with good news, then give the unpleasant part and finish with more good news. If you just tell an Aspie that, s/he may wonder "What is this person talking about? People have to take time to even know what was actually said, and it's only logical to react the same way to the same thing no matter what came before or after it right?"

But once we know that (1) unlike us, NTs tend to process and respond to what's being said in real time and (2) most people -- and even including many Aspies -- care about when in a conversation something comes up**, we can understand the advice much better.

Why are we focusing on how people feel about what we say and do? Feelings matter. That's something we need to keep in mind if we want to get anywhere in life.

If we focus on, say, the fine points of app development or the history of Victorian art, and miss the subtle ways in which most NTs let each other (and us) know where they stand, it's easy to overlook how important it is to actually be liked and respected.

"Oh, I'm really smart, so they'll forgive my being blunt and 'weird'." Nope, not nowadays (if ever). People would rather work with a likable dunderhead than a brilliant boor -- even when they have to choose (which, thanks to early training in schools, they increasingly don't).

In any case, once you're smart enough to do the work -- which in most settings only requires either being average or on the bright side -- it all switches over to the social stuff. It's like getting into a top college*** -- a strong majority of the applicants can do the work. And you can only be so picky about grades and SAT/ACT scores, when you consider that for the most selective schools even a majority of applicants who are class valedictorians and salutatorians don't get in. So it's much more a matter of how kind and charitable he seems to be, or how inventive she is, or how well they can keep a group going when things get tough.

Well, guess what? Welcome to the working world. All your grey matter, your fancy degrees and your job skills (and maybe a referral or two) just get you in the door. After that, you need to show you can work in a team. Often under rapidly changing conditions. While multi-tasking sometimes.

For example, Inc. magazine recently published a very short list of tips for teams. First and foremost: pick folks with high emotional intelligence -- not necessarily book smarts.

"OK, so now what? How do I get the specific skills I need after all?"

Start with this classic. And then try this interpersonal skills system originally for cops on the beat. For both strategies and tactics on the job, check out this simple work by an experienced career writer. And this sophisticated law career guide (even if you never work in a law office!).

Last but not least, this world-class guide to talking tactics will get you through all kinds of conversations, work and otherwise.

Then, practice, practice, practice. Now that you know what to look for, see what kinds of things others say that please or piss off people. Look back on your previous interactions and try to figure out what went wrong. And try out new strategies yourself.

No, not all of the strategies will make sense to you. But their results sure will.

We now have the power to go wherever our natural talents and hard work might take us. Let's use it wisely!

[*] That having been said, George Thompson, the police officer who devised the above-linked Verbal Judo, has said that the sandwich method is outliving its usefulness. In particular, since most people know about it, if you start off by giving someone praise they'll tend to figure there's criticism coming up and they'll just brace themselves for that. He has recommended starting out with the feedback...but still finishing up with praise. So real-time processing and timing still matter.

[**] That's called the primacy effect and the recency effect. Basically, people feel most strongly about what comes first and what came last. They influence you emotionally, so it's easy to not realize that's what you're doing.

[***] Which I've done, btw. [Specifically, Cornell.]

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Meet Daniel D

My Name is Daniel Davis I work at Just a Buck and I Volunteer Computers. what I do for fun is Watching television,hanging friends and some others. My Challenge is to I want to be good learner,great respective and be responsible. I Would like to work computers because I like to fix computer, I like editing a video and make movies

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I am for Empowering people with Autism to live the best life Possible

Ok so this one is about my Journey to get to where I am today, It hasn't always been easy but it is worth it.

Ok so lets start out with the fact that both my Speech and my walking were somewhat delayed  wasn't delayed more then a year but around that time Frame however when I did start talking it wasn't in one word phrases it was in Full on Sentences  mind you Properly formed sentences  I learned how to walk but had problems first off my balance wasn't that great and second off my feet were a bit off center just enough to affect the way I walked, second off my talking was hurt by a Speech Impediment I had well into my early teens.      I had to take Years of Physical Therapy and OT  for Years well into High School to deal with Issues Assocated with Mild-Cerebral Palsy ( Yes that is what it is according to my doctor he even put it on my last Physical form.)      

Mom and dad cause of the Speech impediment  and the fact that I had a hard time communicating taught me ASL signs  to help me communicate with them, It was fun I did that well after I could talk just fine cause  I was used to it.      

Then here were the Sensory Interrogation Disorder Issues as I grew up, now mind you I have what a Friend of mine Calls Superman Hearing and I tend to agree  I could hear fire alarms turn on, I can hear Sirians from a long way off even now with me losing some of my hearing, and as a Kid a fire alarm going off would send me into a Meltdown and I run, I run for my life, I did this well into the 3rd grade when they figured out maybe they should tell me when we were going to have a Fire Drill or at least the ones they know about, I learned how over time to deal with the loud sounds. 

I also dealt a lot with Sensory Overload as Kid and learned how to deal with that, It took Practice and Trial and Error.     

Also I had to learn how to make Friends, that wasn't easy cause I didn't understand unspoken Social rules or even how to make and keep Friends and these were not easy skills to learn cause I want to have Friends so bad, I didn't have any Concept to Bullying even when I was Bullied cause I thought I had done something wrong when I was bullied I learned over time to tell the Difference  I had to learn to understand basic Jokes and Humor cause it kinda went over my head,  Had to learn about this thing people had Called Space Bubbles cause I didn't have one and had no way of Gageing where others people Space Bubbles were also it had to be Explained to me that where most peoples Space Bubbles were is rather Abertery to the person that there were no hard and fast set rules as to where they Existed.  

I had to teach myself in those days Coping Mechanisms to be able to cope with a lot of things I didn't understand and learn how to cope with the fact I was different  there were no Classes for Coping with ASD I had to learn how to cope all by myself and learn some skills all by myself or with a Friend when I had them.

Then there was Schooling, I loved it and hated it all at the same time, First off cause of my SID issues and some subjects I wasn't so strong in I was put in Special Ed, This often meant leaving the Classroom I was in even when the class was doing something fun that I really wanted to be part of Sped times were hard and fast,   I had to teach myself to read somewhat and then taught myself to Speed Read and Comprehend as I speed read mostly cause the English Class I was in was going too slow for my taste,  I hated the fact that I could learn a subject I wasn't good at but the teacher wouldn't Belive me so they unless I showed them in a Reasonable time by certain rules and if I couldn't keep up in that timeline, I had to do my work over, they really didn't know how much that Frustrated me and bored me to death on those Subjects.      In high School I went and helped Teach ESL at a community center, I am good at doing that in fact I found out I could do it cause I did do it,  I also had to learn when people were using the People skills and my good heart that is into helping people to Further there own lives and Ambitions and not give me any Credit for helping out, that hurt me.   I have had to deal with the issues of Trusting people cause I have been used in the past to help others then have them take all the Credit for the part of the work I did and not aknowledge me or my skills.  I had to learn to type cause of the CP and a few other things My handwriting isn't the best I can Sign my name and if I am Paying real hard Attention when handwriting I might be able to write one legible Senescence, don't ask me to do more then that cause the rest comes out as Chicken Scratch that I can remember what I wrote but you nor I will be able to read it.    I learned howto type good and fast at age 8 and have been typing ever seance  though we did work on Handwriting  in PT/OT 

I enjoy helping others always have and always will, It is just part of who I am.   

I in Recreant History have learned how to live on my own away from my house with a Roommate and have been Pretty Successful so far and I hope to keep it that way even with the fact my first roommate didn't pay the rent, Didn't  tell me he didn't pay the rent and got me Evicted but I learned how to look for a new Roommate and I found a good one.    I am also working on becoming a better Cook and getting Pretty good at it.

now for the longest time I  had a hard time living with my Autism or dealing with it, my life after 18 kinda became very limited and I dealt a  lot of the time with Depression and anger and feeling like I was being left behind and being a spectator in life  rather then a partipant, but then  When I   was 27  I accepted that I had Autism and I decided  that I am going to make the lives of people with Autism  better and make it so that people with Autism are heard and Respected and accpeted and allowed to have lives they can be Proud of.   I Decided I was going to empower people with Autism and let people with Autism get together in peer groups and talk about life with Autism and dreams and goals and have social peer social groups for people with Autism.     I started 3 Rivers Autism Outreach, and became a Self-Advocate.

So that is my life up to this point, I hope to get married someday, Have a family someday, and I have other Dreams and Goals as well :) I am proud to have Autism, I am proud to help others with Autism and help them to be the best people they can be.   I will continue my work with Three Rivers Autism Outreach and I will continue to help people both with and without Autism  and work to make our world a more Accepting place for  people with ASD to Maximize there Potential   

Welcome Oliver M Canby

Hey. I'm Oliver M Canby. I've previously written on Autism Is Bad, the leading pro-cure weblog in the autism debate. On this blog, I will contribute my position in support of a cure while respectfully disagreeing with those who support NeuroDiversity. I hope to avoid name-calling and engage in civil and productive debate. I am also good friends and neighbors with fellow pro-cure blogger Jonathan Mitchell. You can check him out at

Monday, September 17, 2012

Warrior Parents

Autism parents take a lot of flack; “they just need more discipline” “maybe you shouldn’t take them out if they can’t behave” “they’re just spoiled” But autism parents who are ‘treating’ their children get that and more. “Don’t you know it’s genetic” “Why don’t you spend more time with your child” “You’re just looking for something to blame” “Autism is lifelong and cannot be cured” “I can’t believe you’re trying to change who your son is” “Early intervention is the only treatment for autism” I’ve never seen so much discrimination against a ‘disability’, in all my years.  Do families of cancer patients, Alzheimer's, MS, Diabetes etc. deal with the same?

There’s so much misconception around autism, that there are many who have no idea what it actually is. Autism is the ignored epidemic. The first cases of autism were noticed in 1943 and because it was essentially a rare condition, it was paid only a slim amount of attention. Around the 1980’s people started noticing more children exhibiting behaviours attributed to autism and some parents even went great lengths to try and figure out just how many children were affected in their community. The 1990’s rolled in and not only were parents becoming more vocal about the increasing number of children affected by autism but organizations were started to notice increases as well. With such little known about autism besides the requirements for diagnosis and with such little awareness about the diagnosis itself, it took sometimes years for a child to be officially diagnosed after the first signs and still does to this day. In the early 2000’s a movement started gaining momentum; parents of children with autism starting solving the puzzle themselves.

Not only were parents starting to figure out exactly what autism was, they were becoming even more vocal than before and with these parents able to use such means as the internet; they were starting to be heard by more people than ever before. Things are quite different now than they were in the 1940’s, not only are we living closer together and in higher numbers but also the internet helped give way to something that wasn’t available to parents before; easy mass communication. Parents are now able to compare notes faster and in greater groups, they have not only brought about more awareness to autism, but have also paved the way for the swarm of new autism parents that are to follow. These parents have revolutionized the defining factors of autism and mainstream is years behind the discoveries made by these people.

We’ve gotten here today, because of how ignored autism was. It all begins when a child is diagnosed with autism and the parents are told something to the effect of; we don’t know the cause, it is lifelong with no cure, they will most likely never talk, you’re best to just give them an enjoyable life, because their intelligence level will stay the same and nothing you can do will help. This is where the divide begins, some parents accept what the doctor has told them and some parents refuse to accept that there would be no help, no solution or no investigation into this whole autism thing. Parents were the first starters of early intervention. Their efforts in trying to teach their children, to not leave them left behind, to refuse to let their children be unable to have the same opportunities as other children.

As early intervention picked up speed amongst the parents -all the while mainstream had yet to acknowledge it- increasing numbers of children brought about more parents forming groups to exchange information. They only had each other as in many cases, friends and family suddenly found themselves too busy to visit, these parents support system had become null and they sought out each other for comfort. During this time as the numbers increased there were more and more parents talking about regression; a healthy born baby, progressing normally or above and then losing all or most of the skill previously achieved. Was this new, were parents paying more attention or were they starting to be heard and pass information for the first time ever. I’ll put my money on all three. Out of this spawned another group of parents, parents who were noting physical symptoms in addition to learning/skill/social regression. The take action movement that early intervention parents had started evolved into a movement that is putting the pieces together in this puzzle that is autism.

Not only do we know more about the similarities and differences between those with autism to the point that we could better group and diagnose, but we also know what is really causing autism and how to treat those affected. You’d think that these parent would be commended for the years of effort they have put in and for the discoveries made, but alas not only are they being ‘blacked out’ from mainstream, they are also meeting anger from those who feel that by ‘removing the autism’ you are also taking away who that child actually is. Autism has now become both controversial and political because of the gaining vocalism from parents who are just trying to help their children and make their lives better. Now if someone had discovered not only the cause of, say down syndrome, but also ways to treat it, would they too be met with; ‘it’s genetic there is no cure, you are talking quackery’ or ‘you’re trying to change who they are’

While mainstream is just grasping that early intervention is possible, this growing group of people are doing what no one else has; they are helping parents and children. What started out as institutionalize is the only option due to refrigerator mothers, to there is hope, support and children starting to recover.  Their personalities do not disappear, they lose the restrictions that autism brought and their bodies become healthy again. Doesn’t hope, support and recovery sound better than genetic, no cure and you’re on your own?
Autism is become larger because more and more children are being affected; an estimated 1 in 29 toddlers will be diagnosed with autism. Nearly everyone knows a child with autism and diagnosing has just this last 2yrs, gotten the push to pay closer attention. While the messages get muddied by the media and other self interest groups, more and more parents are finding these parents and using their knowledge to help their own children. Perhaps years down the road, mainstream will have no choice but to catch up as they had to with early intervention and maybe then we can put a halt to the ever increasing children being diagnosed with autism. If today it is 1 in 29, what will it be in 5, 10 or 15 yrs from now?

They even have a name that’s catching, warrior mothers, warrior fathers, warrior parents. They don’t always call themselves it but by golly they surely deserve it! They spend hours helping their children, discovering who they are, what their qualities are, what obstacles they face and see them as any other loving parent would see their child, but with determination. When they actually have time for themselves -whatever little that may be- they usually use most of it to study, research and plan for autism. They also take every moment possible to be vocal, spread awareness and advocate for their own and others affected by autism. They are some of the strongest, determined and hardest working people I’ve ever come across and instead of the praise they should receive, they are met with anger, abuse and mistrust. Yet still, they press forward and while they are still hurt deep down by what others say to them, they never let it deter them from fighting for the truth, for these children and for action.

These parents are truly the warriors of today and without them, my son would still be sitting in the corner rocking, spinning the wheels of a care for hours, while ‘zoning out’ and be unable to look at me, unable to be close to me, instead of the wonderful, expressive, imaginative little boy that he is today.

I chose this post to thank not only all the warriors before me but also the ones currently fighting today. You are making it possible for children and adults with autism to receive the services, support and possibility for a better, pain free, obstacle free life that they have today.

Thank you for your courageousness, your efforts, the sweat and tears, heartache and sorrows that you endure in order to change the face of what autism is. Know that parents everywhere are truly grateful for your voice and knowing that others stand beside them while they fight for the same cause. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

My name is Jason Ross. I am 33 years old Autistic Adult and an Autistic Rights Activist. I am pursuing my goal to help other Autistic people from all ages to be able to gain the support, strength, and empowerment any one else would need to live their life. Every one is different and unique.  No body can take dignity away from any one. We are all here for a reason. Some of those reasons are to be able to help each other along the way. I was featured in a few different media and publications already.
I do artwork and meditation for relaxation as a hobby. I want to be able to do more artwork and do it better each time. Meditation helps me relax and clear away the influences from the day. I love to help people in what ever way I can.  I use my hobby in artwork and writing to help express myself to help others, but I want to do this more in person. I am highly motivated to help.  I am hoping to help mentor an Autistic Adult in the future who I met recently.  I blog at Drive Mom Crazy, since 2007 and host the Autistic Artistic Carnival on my blog every year on June 18, Autistic Pride Day.  I will be simultaneously writing blogs on this website as well.

By the way, I love all animals and will be posting pictures of the family dog Chloe on here too!

I am happy to be a part of this blog, Katie!! Thank you for the opportunity, J :)