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