On Thursday, November the 29th, I will be boarding a flight that is bound for Nashville, Tennesee. During my stay, I will spend much of the afternoon and evening studying, dining and sleeping in my hotel. The following morning, I will grab myself a large breakfast before hopping on the hotel’s shuttle which will drop me off at the Nashville Airport Marriott. It is at this site that Future horizons will hold it’s autism conference where I will blog about the event and the speakers.
I am particularly looking forward to attending this event is that two out of three speakers are women next to being on the spectrum like myself. What is more is that one of them happens to be Temple Grandin, who I have been acquainted with for quite some time. One of the main reasons is because her latest talks included information about how an adult with autism can learn to drive. Being that I am 37 and have never learned, I feel it’s never too late. So I am hoping to inquire with her second reason I catch up with Temple is that I have a friend who is currently unemployed and is facing some levels of discouragement at the moment. I would like to put her on the phone with him because she is very encouraging and I believing she would give him some helpful advice. Say, getting a work portfolio work samples that my friend can present when seeking a new job. All the while hoping to provide tips when he gets discouraged. Ultimately, Temple and I are both very quirky women on the spectrum who believe in getting things done. I look forward to seeing another go-getter like myself who believes in others on the spectrum.
Not only that, I look forward to meeting Anita Lesko, who the second woman on the spectrum who will be presenting. At the present, Lesko and I have not only had the chance to hear her speak live in an interview on World Autism Awareness Day. I also had a chance to read her book “The Stories I Tell My Friends,” which is exclusively about Temple herself. I am also inspired by her own amazing adventures including her all autistic wedding and her adventures flying on a fighter jet next to sharing some of the same struggles that I face daily. As those of you who are my followers recall, I read and reviewed that book. So am I excited to finally be able to meet Anita.
Following both of their talks, I look to get my copy of “The Stories I Tell My Friends” and hopefully at the same time. Apart from getting the book signed, I hope to pose in a photo together with Temple and Anita. Particularly as a way of saying “Thank you” for allowing me to read and review their book.
At long last, I will have the chance to meet Dr. Jim Ball, who is specialized in ABA. One of the reasons to listen to him is because of the some of the work that I am currently becoming more familiar with all this. As I don’t know much about Applied Behavior Analysis, one would argue that it would sensible to get my feet wet. This is especially since so many adults with autism are protesting the use of ABA versus other therapies such as floor time.
While I impassioned about the conference, there are two more days. During that time, I have to remind myself that things need to be done now and then. Between work, finals to study for and a flight to catch, there is a lot to be done.
At this time, you may wish to look at the link which contains information on the conference.
Recently, I had a chance to read Hartley Steiner’s new children’s book, It’s Just a What? Little Sensory Issues with Big Reactions, which had many vibrant watercolor paintings of distinctive children on the spectrum with some sort of sensory processing disorder. Sensory processing disorder, or SPD, can cause frustration and stress. Steiner uses the “a picture says a thousand words” strategy by arranging each painting with as few words as possible, only using the dialogue by each character while the paintings tell the story. She shows that every child has a creative imagination about what sensory processing disorder is like for them, all the while showing the extremely creative and often humorous imagination of a child through the images. The book demonstrates a solution to solving problems and reduce sensory issues to the adults interacting with the children. Take, for instance, the first little boy who describes his discomfort of a tag on his t-shirt as feeling like he’s being hugged by a porcupine. During the interval, his mother steps in and cuts the tag out of the shirt to relieve the boy of discomfort.
In many ways, I enjoyed this book for its awareness of sensory issues, artistic structure, and talent. Moreover, it gave me a broader idea of how everyday ordinary items, such as a tag on a shirt, can cause can cause misery to the point of torture to some people. I really applaud that they showed each adult taking the time to listen to each child while they described what their situations were, and appeared to respond to their needs rather than ignore them.
On the contrary, while finding this book will be beneficial, I feel that she could expand on different types of issues related to sensory processing disorders and autism. For example, this book talks about sensory processing disorder only coming in the form of objects that touch the child’s skin, while failing to show illustrations related to getting a hug or touching their shoulders. I really feel that this would have been helpful for the eyes of young readers who are just learning about autism and sensory processing disorders. Steiner also left out other sensory issues, such as sound or visual. For example, I don’t like the sound of a fire alarm system. Though some would argue that “it’s just a fire alarm,” to me the sound is so grating that it hurts my body, like sandpaper scratching on a scab.
In spite of those missing elements from Steiner’s work, I am attached to this children’s book because of the education and creativity that it brings. I feel that it needs to be in the home of every family, whether their child has autism and sensory processing disorders or not. Furthermore, it should be in every library, place of worship, and public school in order for a child’s peers to know exactly what to expect. Teachers, parents, adults, and professional adults should also take to reading this book. Why? I found that this book will help lay the groundwork for people to understand how some on the spectrum think and learn: visually, by drawing pictures and diagrams. Being that I am somewhat of a visual thinker, this book was able to give me the message of what sensory processing disorder entails.
Semisirdyzhyda, A. (2018, 8). [book cover] It’s Just a What?: Little Sensory Issues with Big Reactions. Arlington, TX. Future Horizons Incorporated.
Steiner, H. (2018, 08). It’s Just A What?: Little Sensory Issues with Big Reactions. Arlinton, TX. Future Horizon’s Books. Future Horizons Incorporated.
Since April of 2016, I had longed to be involved with the developing autism airport rehearsal tours. During my second “Wings for Autism Tour” where I volunteered and worked in my blogs for youtube, I managed to seek out the right connections who would allow me to get involved with the tours. Upon my research, I connected with the director, who is an airline pilot named Captain Erich Ries who also have a young boy on the spectrum himself. Early on, Ries and I swapped a few emails led to being involved with his autism airport tours which are held every first Saturday of the month unless there is a holiday, the tour is held on the second Saturday.
At present, Captain Ries and other members of Team Delta and myself lead a tour of the airport. Each tour entails lots of information by a TSA member who often talks about accommodations through a program called “TSA Cares” which requires a family to call a toll free hotline at least 72 hours in advance in order to notify security of the child or adult’s special needs before helping the each attendee get through a security checkpoint.
By the same token, Ries leads a guided tour from the checkpoint, to the first state of the art sensory room, a concourse and a gate with an aircraft sitting at the gate. At this point, Ries, three other Delta employees and I give our input on what families can do. For instance, Erich says that a family should always mark the calendar ahead of time with lots of stars and while sharing as many pictures as possible that are related to the destination. Meanwhile, my guidance has suggested that families skip taking the plane train and use the tunnels being that they are quieter and less crowded.
After sitting at the gate, the members of Delta use special security clearance in order to open the boarding ramp and let families and their children get a taste of an aircraft. Once on board, Ries has each family sit in the Delta Comfort class as the seats are not only bigger but quieter as well due to some sensory overload. He has also often talked about setting up a living room like an airplane setting in order for each individual to get accustomed to an airplane type of setting. While Rise gives tips on air travels, other members of Delta hand out snacks and gifts for each child such as a narrative that provides visual support on the whole experience of traveling through an airport.
After Ries provides the information, each family gets a tour of first class and has the privilege of sitting in one pilot’s seat, holding the steering wheel while families can get pictures.
After each aircraft tour, families are them asked to meet back at the gate where group photos are taken after each session.
While I hold such zest for these monthly autism airport tours, I feel that much work to improve the rehearsals needs to be set into motion. For one thing, the monthly tours need to be more organized differently.
For one thing, Ries could attach a document into the emails of every single family member who has made plans to attend the tours rather than spend lots of time talking about these procedures. Rather, his same tips and advice could turn into rehearsals at home. For example, parents could use the tour date as if it were an actual day of flying, mark the calendar and use it as a pretend trip with all kinds of stars. All the while, taking pictures of Atlanta in and showing them to their children, teens, and adults who are on the spectrum. That way the experience would be made awarding. During the interval, families set up chairs in their living room as if they are on an airplane and practice boarding. For the moment, individuals sit in chairs while another member of the family plays the sounds of an airplane while another pretends to be a flight attendant offering things to eat and drink which I believe can be rehearsed as many times possible.
As the date gets closer, families should be encouraged to contact TSA Cares 72 hours in advance in order to practice letting the security so that each member is well prepared to handle an individual with autism. Thereafter, each family would show up at the airport and practice checking in by walking to the ticketing counter where an agent would be well aware of each family member in order to receive a special boarding pass with the gate number and concourse location. From there, they would meet rehearsal guides who would then lead through to a TSA Cares member not only get them through security but also demonstrate by patting down parent or sibling in order to let each individual know that they will be touched. From there, the tour guide would show each family how to use two options in order to get to the gate.
The plane train- which is the faster option
The using the tunnel with the moving walkways in order to avoid lots of people and noises that would cause over-stimulation.
Regardless, a tour guide would be on either choice of getting from point A to point B. In option 2, the individual can learn to use sunglasses and headsets in the tunnels and the moving walk-ways depending on the types of sensory issues. For example, the sound of wheels hitting the grooves on a moving walkway might be squeaky.
Upon arriving at the gate, families sit at the gate and engage at the gate with other families and tour guides before listening to board time, which is 30 minutes on prior to departure. Like on a real flight, passengers board rows according to their seating by walking through the sky bridge or boarding ramp while the pilot turns the plane on (Depending on funding) As the plane is boarding, flight crews would demonstrate and talk about emergency procedures as the pilot maybe able to pull away from the gate and taxi around the run-way in order for individuals get used to the feeling of the plane in motion along with getting to know the sounds of the engines(Depending if there is funding). All the while, a flight attendant offers drink and snacks while another walks to a lavatory and demonstrates the sound of a toilet, while some families have their headsets ready and other gets accustomed to the sound. However, Ries pointed out that families can have their loved one use a lavatory and sit down during mid-flight while a parent or sibling flushes the toilet. Anyway, flight attendants would feel the need do a fake welcome to Atlanta and give baggage claim information and the carousel.
Yet, families can check out first class, get pictures in the cockpit with pilot while receiving gifts which includes an improved narrative which entails how to get from the gate to aircraft and how families can get to baggage claim and ground transportation.
Once done, families are encouraged to follow tour guides back to the plane train towards baggage claim and ground transportation where they exit the airport and visit the baggage claim areas to see where luggage is picked up.
To those who are living with or closely know someone on the spectrum, Autism Awareness month is no stranger. Family members, professionals and business alike often strive to make a venue more autism or sensory-friends. Others strive to raise awareness in our major media sources. For example, on Netflix, one can find the popular show, Atypical about a teenage boy named Sam who is just transitioning into an adult and going onto college. Others raise awareness through the work of puppets such as Julia who is a character on Sesame Street, who’s played by Stacey Gordon, a puppeteer who has a son with autism. On the other side of the coin, are self-advocates, who are autistic that believe in autism acceptance. From their perspective, we should do away autism awareness. They believe that awareness often gives people the wrong impression of us. Alongside, they often boycott Autism Speaks the organization believed in curing autism. Along with a strong loathing of the organization, they also hate the puzzle piece for the symbol’s negative history that autism is a disease. Rather, they use the infinity symbol to represent neurodiversity. They also do not wear blue but red, as a color of “Love.” Whatever the case maybe, I take a very different stance in all of this which entails taking middle-grounds.
Yes, while I am an autistic and a self-advocate, I have developed a very different mindset than a lot of my peers on the spectrum. I am more willing to take middle grounds. What that means is that I prefer to take elements from both sides. Why? Well, it’s simple, really. Foremost we can’t have autism acceptance without autism awareness. Perhaps the most important of all is that those on the spectrum need to have a level of self-awareness and understanding of themselves. Once they have learned how to become more self-aware, then can become to accept themselves. For example, there was a time in my life I hated being autistic because I grew up in a world with people looked at me like I was broken and therefore underestimated what I could or could not do. In contrast, I was strong enough to want a normal life. I wanted to hold down a job beyond custodial work because I knew something had to exist. I only learned how to accept myself in 2004, based upon joining a support group for adults on the spectrum. At that, a mechanical engineer and a pilot named Robert Morris who also carried a diagnosis ran the group. Contrary to another support group, which felt more like a daycare for adults, this group focused more on gifts, talents, and careers. Here, they spoke out against closed minded views related to autism. They further celebrated Temple Grandin before her movie came out. While this group helped me begin my journey in self-discovery but also in self-acceptance. Despite that, I am don’t want to get too far down the beaten track. Once a person learns these things about themselves, they can learn how to better serve in their community.
With the Red Instead versus Autism speaks, this is where I feel it’s appropriate for a self-advocate to take middle grounds. When I mean here is yes, standing up for what’s right should be number 1. For example, learning to educate or sometimes re-educate people in the community on what autism is and what it is not. Some people believe that autism is an anti-social personality disorder and that we are all sadistic monsters who go off for no reason. Following the Sandy Hook Shooting, which took place on December 14, 2012, I was watching a live stream from my computer which contained a chat session. During the stream, the leader talked about this shooting which I was thrilled with. Sadly though, another member of the chat room jumped into the conversation and stated ignorant stereotypes about it. While this makes my blood boil, she blurted out that Adam Lanza had Asperger’s Syndrome and all that all people with Asperger’s syndrome have a lack of empathy who go off for no reason. Little did she know that an adult in her early 30s was closely watching her comments and could call her out on in her ignorance. When I responded, she boasted about how she was in autism research and knew better because she listened to experts. “That’s doesn’t make you an expert,” I came back. In a similar hasty manner, people with little education on autism lean towards the disabilities associated with autism while forgetting that a person with autism can be still a person. Therefore, one on the spectrum can raise autism awareness for the sake of educational purposes while explaining the reason behind Lanza’s shootings and perhaps explaining where the disability lies.
Third and finally, I have taken middle grounds because I have elected to support Autism Speaks. One of the main reasons is because I see them working hard to become more autism-friendly. Though not perfect, something like this never takes overnight. For example, I have seen then create a special blog designed for adults on the spectrum. In fact, I submitted a few articles. One of which included getting involved in airport rehearsal tours. I have also seen them feature more stories by the voices of autistics themselves and become more and more diversified. Otherwise, most self-advocates want to reach out to as many parents, guardians and other people in the community who support autism speaks. Most of the time, these parents or guardians often lost as what I should do with their children as there are so many voices giving them confusing answers. I feel that they need to hear from the real experts and that’s us. Our life experiences is what will raise awareness and acceptance. Not only that we know best what types of services an individual needs and how expensive something can be. Again, that where a self-advocate can come in and get involved with their local autism speaks chapter. They can also start a team or sign up to raise money and walk while learning to keep track of how Autism Speaks spends their money. Last but not least, they may consider getting on boards and advisory councils part of Autism Speaks because that’s ours. Someone will hear voices.
Therefore, I would highly like to recommend that self-advocate learn how your differences side aside with people who support autism speaks and take middle grounds. As a result, I am not lighting it up blue to walking in red. Rather, I am combining the two colors together to make purple. My campaign logos are “Taking Middle Ground” and “Walk in Purple.” In fact, will walk on the 28th of April in the greater Atlanta area and wearing a T-shirt that not only promotes my campaign but also my blogging brand.
On April 1st, two very distinct things occurred. The first is that it has been marked as the official start of Autism Awareness Month. The second is that author, autism activist, and self-advocate Anita Lesko had a book published by Future Horizons come out as a new release. This book, entitled Becoming an Autism Success Story, finally hit the shelves on April 1, 2019. As a fellow blogger for Future Horizons, I had the chance to read this book a week before it released on the market. What I found differed from I expected.
Foremost, the book not only talks about Lesko’s upbringing and her background, it also talks about different methods that can help individuals on the autism spectrum. One such example is visualization and neuroplasticity, which is where one can learn to do something by seeing others doing an activity and then visualizing themselves doing that activity. Lesko also talks about hippotherapy, where one with autism works with horses to improve areas such as balance and coordination.
In another part of the book, Lesko describes growing up living in a poor family and finding alternatives to doing the activities her to otherwise could not afford. One such instance is receiving horse lessons for working at the stables by mucking out stalls. She also talks about struggling with coordination and having trouble socializing with everyone but her mother, Rita. Prior to working with horses, she never really talked to anyone. Beyond her childhood years, Lesko talks about how she broke out into the world of nursing and anesthesiology. In her book, she shares how she learned, which is through visualization to become a successful grad student and nurse.
To boot, she talks about transitioning from having supportive parents for 53 years and living with them prior to dealing with the bereavement of losing them. She also discusses becoming a support group leader and meeting her husband, Abraham, who is also on the spectrum. She talks about how she and Abraham never wanted to part and married at an all-autistic “2015 Autism in Love Conference.”
Finally, she talks about making self-discoveries at 50 after being diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome in 2010. She spent much of this time doing lots of research on autism. Right in the middle, she stumbles upon the popular documentary The Woman Who Thinks like a Cow, which was about Temple Grandin. She also talks about how she met Temple at a conference in 2013 and how those two have been able to become friends.
In reviews, I highly recommend this book, whether you are a parent struggling to find answers for your child (despite if they are 10 or 21) or are a person with autism who is battling with depression and is ready to give up. Not only does Lesko share helpful tactics, but she also describes that she has intense training in life coaching. To show says she is open to others on the spectrum contacting her in sharing their success stories while talking about using 7 steps to using visualization.
In other areas, I found myself on the edge of tears when she described losing her whole immediate family right around the same time. I especially found this touching as I had just lost my aunt Lois three months ago, who could mentor me and change my life. That was one part that really hit home for me as I read the rest of the book on April 7, 2019, before turning the lights out.
Things I would have liked to have read about was about how long she had known Abraham before they fell in love and got married. I also would have liked to have heard her talk about her wedding in more detail. In other areas, I would like to have heard her talk more about how they selected Anita to speak at the United Nations in 2017. Finally, a little more about how she wrote The Stories I Tell My Friends. Otherwise, this book is worth the read.
[Photo] (2019) Becoming an Autism Success Story. Future Horizon’s
Books. Arlington, TX.
Lesko, A. Atwood, A, & Grandin T. (2019). Becoming an Autism
On April 3rd, 2019, Autism Live, a talk showed hosted over the internet, featured Dr. Temple Grandin as a part of World Autism Awareness Week which is hosted by Shannon Penrod. Unlike last year, when Grandin and her friend Anita Lesko, had called in, to promote “The Stories I Tell My Friends,” things were different this year. Comparatively, Penrod played three archived interviews with Grandin.
1. The first was a brief Q&A which displayed questions on a screen prior to Temple looking into a camera gradually answering each question.
2. The second was an interview was at a studio in Denver for a show entitled “The Future is Bright” with Stephanie Shaffer.
3. The third was a retro-interview between Shannon Pendrod and Temple Grandin shortly after
In the first’s course short Q&A clips, Temple talked about a wide variety of items. One of them entailed individuals often struggling with remained hyper-focused on a particular item or top. Over and above, how there is a general rule of thumb to bring up that interest with someone twice, otherwise move on and talk about something else. A second example described sensory enrichment therapy in which Temple gave a great description. In which, a therapist will use a different method involving distinct types of therapy compared to ABA. Here, the therapist will use two different senses of at. In the example she gave, Grandin said they may have a child smell cinnamon while instructing them to “Touch carpet.” She also said these sessions often interchange the senses regularly.
All the while, Grandin’s interview with Stephanie Schaffer appeared to be much more up to date because a few of the things she talked are available in Anita Lesko’s book, “The Stories I Tell My Friends.” One thing, that Temple was the best way that an individual on the spectrum can learn how to drive. Rather than going directly to driver’s education, she explained that it’s better for an autistic. Instead, she explained that it’s better for an autistic drive a car in an area where there are no cars around. In her case, her late aunt used taught her how to drive by going to pick up the mail, which was three miles from Anne’s ranch. She talked about work skills and the importance of autistic learning them when they are young. Say, learning how to walk other people’s dogs.
Finally, she answered several questions that fans which fans had written prior to the interview. One question that she answered was on her views regarding inclusion. Grandin responded by mentioning her childhood experiences where she could be in a regular classroom during her elementary year. She shared her opinion about the DSM-V manual reduced the number of autism diagnosis. Originally, the Asperger diagnosis was going be eliminated from the autism spectrum altogether. Rather, the new diagnosis was going to be changed to a social communication disorder. ” I think that’s rubbish,” she openly stated.
If you are a fan of Grandin, check out the interviews here
Despite everything from my blogs related to products and other events through Future Horizon’s, I have to once again realize the origins of these blogs. That is to write about topics are of scholarly value while others in practical application. Here, I would like to once again write about autism and traveling through an airport. Yes, it has been a while since I have put my peddle to medal and really talk about more things that I feel anyone could benefit from. Without further delay, here are more things I have considered.
Foremost, about a handful of airports, including Hartsfield-Jackson International airport have opened sensory friendly. To name a few others, Cork International Airport in Shannon Ireland, Heathrow International Airport, and Myrtle Beach International. Beyond that, officials from Pittsburg International came to visit Hartsfield with the purpose of designing a third sensory room in the US. Looking at their website, they stated that they have spoken with the public of how a sensory room should look like. A few suggestions were
Calming activities for children
As someone who have spent lots of time with the “Wings for Autism/All” events and the “Taking Flight: Autism Worldport Rehearsal Tours,” I support all of the above, being that autism can affect one’s sensory issues. That Hartsfield-Jackson being so big, I warmly welcome closing down the smoking lounges and converting them into other sensory rooms. Right now the option is to go all the way to concourse F, they locate which just inside the international terminal. Otherwise, finding the quietest spot at another concourse at an empty gate, discovering nooks inside each gate, and even walking downstairs with the tunnels and the electric train are. Even more so, since there are only a handful of sensory friendly rooms in international airports, out of 40,000, other options have to select.
On another note, families have the option of investing in noise canceling headphones which are wireless. After doing thorough research of trying out and looking into price options, I found that Sony really has the best quality for families who have loved ones with sensory processing disorders and other factors that trigger their anxiety. Yes, Sony and Bose offer a more peaceful experience for an autistic, this is a very costly investment. The average price of good quality noise-canceling headphones comes in at the price of $300-$400. In that case, a family night needs financial aid to help their child. Yes, there are cheaper options out there. For instance, Sony offers a pair of $50.00 noise-canceling headphones that required being plugged into a phone. Others only work when paired with a phone or plugged in. Unlike the Sony or Bose, listen to music. Still, they are thick enough to muffle loud, surprising and overwhelming noises. That said, if noise cancelling headphones are not an option, one can invest in getting a pair of headsets or old-fashioned foam earplugs.
I for one and a sensory seeker, which means that I enjoy the feeling of the foam when applying the ear plugs in a noisy environment.
Just as importantly, airport personnel needs to know that a passenger has an invisible disability like autism spectrum disorders. Just recently, airports in the UK have adopted the Sunflower lanyard program. This enables autistics to wear special lanyards with Sunflower which tells a worker that the passenger has an invisible disability and may need help. Why just today, while I was at the Wings for All, event, I received a gift bag. Inside contained a bracelet with the Delta logo that lights up in two directions. One one end, the light remains steady, whereas the other, the light will flash. This gave me another idea I think airports like Hartsfield-Jackson will find to be helpful. Like with the sunflower project, autistics would wear similar bracelets that light up while they are at an airport. All the while, they would train all airport personnel to in being able to recognize the illuminated bracelets. Whenever an autistic is about to have a meltdown, their parents and themselves can then switch the bracelet to flashing mode which would notify an airport official they need help. Believe me, I could think about all of this in one afternoon after seeing the bracelet post at the big event.
As I bring this to a close, I really hope that the public has time to read this blog and that these words taken seriously and put into action. Even more so, that families and individuals on the spectrum will feel more comfortable by traveling through an airport.
It’s April, meaning that this is Autism Awareness Month to most of the world while others refer to this as Autism Acceptance Month. Since the opportunity is at grabs, I would like to share a little more about myself and how I got started as a blogger.
First and foremost, I would like to mention that I wear 7 hats in society
I am employed at the Center for Leadership in Disability which is housed in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University . The second hat that I wear is that I am an undergraduate student in my last year with a major in psychology before going onto persue a master’s in public health with a concentration in statistics
The second hat that I wear is that I am an undergraduate student in my last year with a major in psychology before going onto pursue a master’s in public health with a concentration in statistics
I am the entrenuer to the blogging Brand “Hello World with Miyah”
I started blogging on youtube in late 2013
I expanded my blogs to writing on wordpress in 2016
Recently, I began blogging for Future Horizon’s books, which sells products related to autism resources. I am a homeowner in the greater Atlanta area which I have been for nearly a decade and recently just got a red-headed roommate named AJ who says “Meow.” homeowner in the greater Atlanta area which I have been for nearly a decade and recently just got a red-headed roommate named AJ who says “Meow.”
I sit on the ADA at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport along with being involved with their monthly Autism Airport Rehearsal Tours. “Taking Flight: Autism Worldport Tours
Our team won an award from Delta Airlines
The 7th and final hat that I wear is that I am autistic and was diagnosed at age 11 in 1993 with Pervasive Developmental Delay- Non-Other Specified. Post, diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at age 22 in late 2003, which was renamed as an autism spectrum disorder.
It all began in 2007 when I could attend a special black-tie affair called CADF: Candlelight Ball, they held annually which raise money for autistic adults to receive services. Back in the day, I was a client for the Emory Autism Center, which had a program for adults. Based upon learning that a close a friend telling me of this exciting opportunity, I was persistent in contacting my behavior specialist. At first, the opportunities were slim pickings as the slots were almost full. Apart from the odds, I could get into the event. Prior, it required me to take etiquette lessons with other clients, which included two friends of mine. In the course of the lessons, the center hired a videographer named Damon Wood. While he recorded the lessons, he looked for clients who will do an interview As he was asking around, my late aunt and I was among those who he inquired. As a result, I said, “Yes.”
As he was asking around, my late aunt and I were among those who he inquired. Following, Lois had had Damon and his assistant, Chris over for dinner. Next, I stayed in the dining room with Damon and Chris while Lois left the room. At such a time, I spent the next hour sharing my story in which I shed tears while I shared my desires. Though I wanted something to show those desires, Damon fell in love with some outspoken and straightforward things I came up with.
When the big night came on March 8, 2007, I fell in love with the event which was something I saw out of a favorite TV show, “The OC,” which was big in the early 2000s. During, they treated my friends and me to a top of the line dinner and a lovely jazz band. Therapists and mentors who had worked with I also greeted me. Most of them approached me and said that my interviews in the video were fantastic. Then the big moment came when they showed the video, A Lifetime of Service, which was about all the things individuals could achieve at the center. Though I was expecting a Barbara Walters’s style interview, it surprised me. Rather, there were snippets of myself practicing dinner etiquette with my peers, cooking, studying and saying outspoken things. One of those things were, “Sometimes neurotypicals can be a pain in the butt, but I have learned to live with them. I moved the audience to laughter and tears. In fact, you can view the video down here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAjywO1VMA4
Six year later, Wood had gotten in touch with me after looking over my archived videos. In consequence of, I agreed to meet him at a frozen yogurt shop in late June of 2013. During this time, we discussed doing a series of vlogs with me. He said that these should really be on you tube. At that date, I was in love with shows like Good Morning America and The Today Show. At the moment, he wanted me to a day in the life of an autistic type vlog. In the meanwhile, I desired to create a vlog that would look more like a news show by autistics for the nerd word, where we would cover everything from NASA to conventions like Dragon Con. All the same, Damon attempted to do a few sessions with me which I looked forward to. Prior to this, I began writing out scripts and constantly thought about old broadcasts in the 50’s ere combined with the first two words in the opening theme from the Partridge Family. In which, these words were, “Hello World.” That being said, those opportunities would not last being that he had a family to take care of and bills to pay. Therefore, I took over project on the 25th of October 2013, the day after my 32nd birthday. Link can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVr6z2U0eNE =qVr6z2U0eNE
Since that date, something has determined me to build an audience for myself. In the beginning, I relied on a webcam, a Kodak digital camera and iPod Touch. There were no fancy titles or music to speak of. As I researched vlogging, I found free editing apps on my iPod which had music and titles.
Since that date, I have been determined to build an audience for myself. In the beginning, I relied on a webcam, a kodak digital camera and ipod touch. There were no fancy titles or music to speak of. As I began to research vlogging, I found free editing apps on my ipod which had music and titles.
During this time, I attended talks by Temple Grandin next to reading her books. Among this information was excellent information regarding autistics developing talents and skills which could turn into a portfolio. Being I loved to write, I elected to put my writing skills to use so I too could sell my work. I had elected that unlike my YouTube videos, these would be scholarly and practical application types that would be autism specific.
I also stumbled upon a well-known vlogger named Casey Neistat who showed the meaning of “Day in the Life” type vlogs. Though I didn’t jump onto that bandwagon at first, I watched plenty of Neistat’s videos and listened to his music repeatedly. In 2018, I could download my first serious editing software along with getting a hold of the few of the same songs found in his videos. In January, my first works got published,
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A short while ago, Future Horizons put out a set of new release to add to its collection. One of those books is Autism & Dogs by Dr. Annie Bowes. To give you more background, Bowes is a woman living on the autism spectrum who was diagnosed later in life. She currently works as an emergency veterinarian and lives in Idaho with her husband and her dogs. She picked up her passion while being raised by a father who fostered her connection with her dogs.
In her book, Bowes discusses her autistic brain and her veterinary career expertise. She covers everything from selecting the right breed to dogs in mythology. She often talks about not being much of a social person and how she isn’t bothered with the idea of making friends; she would rather spend time with her dogs. Of these dogs, she describes her toy poodle, Bazinga, who often has her fur dyed different colors. She makes the mention of going out in public with her little dog who helps her socialize with other people. Additionally, she talks about how she never socialized as a little girl; she was home schooled and instead traveled around the world, receiving acceptance from her autistic father and spending time with her canine companion.
All in all, this Bowes not only is able to reach the autism community, but people who are interested in owning a dog. Beyond that, her book could educate those in the community who are unfamiliar with autism and the spectrum in general. Yet, I had expected Bowes to write the book in the form of an instruction manual where one could train a dog to work with autistics. I also expected to see more research related to autism and dogs. Still, this was a great read and it was wonderful to see someone take their passion and turn it into a career.
Currently, I just read the newest release of the children’s book “My Special Brother Bo,” which was written by Britt Collins with illustrations by Brittany Lynn Bone-Roth. While Collins has a background in occupational therapy post receiving her education from Colorado State University, Bone-Roth has a background in art. The pair both have their share of experience working with very young autistic children in addition to other types of special needs. A short time ago, they paired up to create and publish this newest book that will be available through Future Horizons. It can be picked up at various autism conferences or online.
The story is told from the the point of view of a seven-year-old girl named Lucy who is the older sibling her pre-school-aged brother, Bo. While Lucy appears to have a normal childhood, she explains that her brother has special needs. Though Lucy does not directly mention that he is autistic, she implies that this is the case. One such instance is that Bo was enrolled in an early intervention where he was taught to speak and eat in a special gym. Lucy describes some of her frustrations of living with an autistic brother and not being able to do specific activities with her brother because he is scared of them, such riding on the swings. She also discusses feeling ashamed of inviting her friends over in the fear that Bo might not be accepted. Lucy also goes on to talk about how she loves her brother and feels proud to be his big sister, and to help him learn new things and succeed.
As a reader, I really felt that this book should be in elementary and daycare settings so that children can learn more about autism spectrum disorders, autism awareness, and autism acceptance in mainstream settings. At the same time, there should be more than one book and preferably describing what autism is. Not only that, there should be books similar to the one written above written by real children who have siblings on the spectrum with the help of their parents. That way, children will better be able to understand what it’s like to live with an autistic or neurodiverse sibling.
Bone- Roth, B.L. (Illustrator). (2019). My Special Brother Bo. [Illustration]. My Special Brother B. Arlington, TX: Future Horizon’s Books.
Collin, B. E. (2019). My Special Brother Bo. Arlington, TX: Future Horizon’s Books.