Calling for Proposals

Hello World, this is Miyah and I would like to let you know that I have a call for proposals interviews for my podcast series. Below is the link and you can find more information. I am looking for wide range of topics that revolve around autism as a whole.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc67rRwxwPh2G7cOu_Ro58N3d6ip7jA-BKy9E1QrtSW7mgcFA/viewform?usp=sf_link

Review: An Evening with Temple Grandin: In Atlanta

By Miyah

Temple Grandin speaking in Atlanta

On January 28, 2020, I had the joy of hearing “An Evening with Dr. Temple Grandin in Atlanta,” at the Morrow Center, which is south of urban Atlanta and the airport. Because I live on the contrary side of town, I elected to stay in an inn up the highway from the locale. At any rate, I entered just after 5:00 PM. Once inside, pleasant team at a top counter and a splendid standing black-and-white sketch of Temple were displayed. Just down the hall was a lobby which held a short registration table and another which held the works and other resources by Grandin herself. Standing in right in front line of the table was Dr. Grandin herself, who was chatting one-on-one with one of her fans. Being that I was soon, I took a spot at the head of a small auditorium with round tables versus seating for a wider crowd. From what I gathered, this would be a smaller event unlike most events in which the auditorium is crowded, this ballroom was small. . Anyway, I grabbed a rapid dinner to go from a local mall in the city and came back to dine. Meanwhile, a short line was then developing, and Temple came to become more pre-occupied signing books and chatting with her fans. Meanwhile, Brad Masala, and his attendant were helping to check people in and making purchases.

 

All the while, I had the pleasure of meeting a mother of an autistic son after admiring her outfit. Here, she wore blue puzzle pieces on her tennis shoes. As we started chatting, I got in line and agreed to take a picture of her and Temple and do a group photo of the three of us.

Temple posing with a mother of an autistic son and I
My copy of Animals in Translation.

Shortly thereafter, I purchased a copy of “Animals make Us Human” and was hesitant to get my book signed. Instead, I elected to return to my seat and have her sign at the end of the talk.

 

 

Temple telling an amazing story

Shortly thereafter, Brad Masala stepped up to the podium to give a brief backstory about Future Horizons and how it became established as a publisher. Moreover he gave important announcements CEU’s being available to professionals at the event. Finally, he gave a biography about Temple which was followed by the trailer to the HBO film.

Following, the audience welcome Dr Grandin with an applause as she stepped up to the podium to give her presentation. “Well it’s great to be here,” she stated, prior to introducing herself . She also touched on historical figures, who had have been on the autism spectrum and how they began their great careers vs today. Of these, included Michelangelo and Jane Goodall and both were able to land in the back door of their careers. For example, she expressed that Goodall had gotten into the back door by using her associate’s degree in administration into a college and ended up with a degree. She also stated her arguments that because autism is looked at from a medical approach, too many people are being taught to focus way too much on the label. As a result of this, many individuals are ending up in the wrong situation. Say, adults today are ending up with overly protective parents who are getting on social security and playing video games versus getting out there and leading overly productive lives. However, said that it makes her happy when she hears about people with autism and other disabilities living productive lives and getting out into the world. For instance, she had shared a story seeing a man at an airport who had no arms picking up his shoes with his feet while going through security and put them on the conveyor belt. Earlier, that evening, I overheard her telling this story to another one of her fans. Nevertheless, I originally thought that she was talking about a man on the spectrum who had gone through an airport rehearsal tour, my bad. So, I found it helpful that she was able to tell her same story with the audience. What I also loved that she demonstrated that you can do anything you set your mind to.

In other areas, she forwardly touched about employment and how it is important for one to sell their work. “When you’re weird you sell your work, not yourself,” which the audience rolled in laughter at. In addition, she expressed her concerns about the growing number of needs in the skilled trade industry. She also advised her audience not to turn our noses up such occupation due to feeling their roles are important. Further, she explained that skilled trade types of jobs often come with hands on tasks and paying attention to details which people on the spectrum tend to do very well in. She set an example by talking about a recent visit to the Kennedy Space Center where she observed a structure in which a raccoon had climbed out of one of the hole. She also explained that she was able to visualize what types of things the animal might have been chewing on. “I thought, what have you been chewing on?” She also noted that visual thinking is common sense. She demonstrated this later by showing the audience a slide of a cow backing away from a beam of light from the sun. As the result the cow was backing away. She asked the audience how many people were able to recognize that beam of light. Out of the entire audience, I was the only one who raised my hand which she was able to pick up.

Following her talk, there was a short Q&A session and I was the first to ask her about developing an early portfolio based on some work I do back at the Center for Leadership in Disability. Yet, I was not able to let her know what I was doing because she had a hard time understanding my question. Thinking back later, I did not directly communicate some of the work that I do and how I can turn it into a portfolio. Instead, we ended up talking about me doing statistics for research, which is a field I am looking at for graduate school. She was able to tell me to be careful with the research industry with money drying up compared to the 70’s. Yet, she talked about a recent model in a paper with too many variables and how peer review was able to call the statisticians out. Still, she said that people need plenty of people who can do statistics such as in the teaching industry. She also went on to answer other questions including from a young adult who was on the spectrum who wondered whether or not she had the eidetic memory. She answered,” No” and gave him lots of other answers about her sensory. She said that for her, anxiety was her biggest sensory issue.

Post her talk, Grandin returned to to get sign books and chat with her fans. As I waited in line to talk get my book signed, I chatted with the same women, who I took pictures with earlier that evening. I found out that she was a parent of a son on the spectrum. Off topic, she showed me pictures of her adult son who loved his Barney and anything related to Barney. Upon seeing that and hearing that, I heard her talk about Barney, I burst into laughter and recalling that I had liked Barney for a few years at age 10 and how it drove my parents nuts. Otherwise, this wonderful mother had given Temple a small gift which was a hand made bracelet and beads and stitching which I thought I was precious.

Finally, Temple signed my copy of “Animals make Us Human,” and chatted with me about the the talk. We also posed for a few photos including this one below.

Temple Grandin and I posing for a photo after her talk

In review, the event itself was held in a beautiful venue which was a nice small room. In addition to that, I liked how there were round tables and chairs versus the traditional settings. Still, the event would have probably benefited more had there been several rows of seats. The event also lacked an audience of individuals who are on the spectrum, rather there were more non-autistics. Finally, depending on budgeting and availability, the event probably would have benefited had it not been so out of the Atlanta area. Rather, a location in a area like Decatur or Tucker, where I live has lots of churches for options with big auditoriums where she would have been more accessible for people who do wish to hear her speak. Other options would be been the Studio Movie Grill in Duluth being that a support group known as “SPECTRUM” would have brought out a lot of people. Otherwise, everything else was great.

Still, I really liked the event

One other thing to mention, when attending her talks, Future Horizon’s has done a great job with accessibility. For instance, they provide a microphone so Temple doesn’t have to repeat the question twice. They also provide better access to the slides via a QR code which are some similar things we are working on at The Center for Leadership in Disability, where I am employed. Another area they touched on prior to Temple’s talk were some of her sensory issues. In this case, Brad advised against flash photography during her talk and no video recording. That said, I had sat in the front of the room and had gotten up to use to rest room twice during her talk. She told me that one of her sensory issues was having people walk in front of her while she does a talk and how it disrupts her thoughts. I feel that Future Horizon’s could announce to their audiences to either sit further back or not get up in the middle of her talk, instead use the bathroom before or afterwards.

On a final note, I would like to thank Future Horizon’s and Temple Grandin for the opportunity to go out and blog about this exciting event.

Miyah R. Sundermeyer

Syracuse NY: Future Horizon’s Autism Conference reviews

Me in Syracuse NY

On November 21, 2019, I woke up at 5:00 am at the Syracuse/Liverpool,New York Super 8 motel. After a quick continental breakfast at the Super 8 of instant oatmeal, my Lyft driver picked me up roughly at 6:30 am. As I entered the vehicle, I stated the famous catch-phrase, “I love New York,” being that it was my first time traveling to New York state for the conference. During my short ride with Lyft, I was taken downtown beautiful Syracuse to the On Center at the Nicholas J. Pirro Convention Center. Upon my arrival, I networked with a few conference volunteers before saving a seat right in front of the podium. After, I headed back up stairs, I briefly helped with on-site registration where I handed out pamphlets related to several of their products. Post, I went back downstairs where a large continental breakfast was offered. While breakfast was being served, a resource table which sold various books and other autism related merchandise such as fidget spinners were offered.

Temple Grandin signing books and posing for photos before her talk
My copy of Temple Grandin: How the Girl who Loved Cows, Embraced Autism and Changed the World.

Amid my breakfast and networking, I spotted Dr. Grandin being escorted to the resource table where she signed books and posed for photos before her talk. Meanwhile, snapped a few photos and purchased “Temple Grandin: How the Girl who loved Cows, Embraced Autism, and Changed the World,” which was written by Sy Montgomery. At the same time, I picked by “Do or Do Not Outlook,” by Nick Maley and “The Complete Guide to Autism and Healthcare,” Grandin’s friend Anita Lesko. All in all, I look forward to reading and reviewing all three respectively. For now though, I will stick with my reviews of the conference.

In any case, the morning kicked off with a brief book signing and photo session with Temple before prior to giving her talk entitled “Connecting Animal Science and Autism.” Beforehand though, one of Future Horizon’s personnel opened the conference by giving a back story about history of Future Horizon’s, which was started by Wayne Gilpin in response to his son who lived with autism. Moreover, information about CEUs provided in which attendees could pick them up after lunchtime and get them signed.

Shortly thereafter, Grandin’s talk began in which she talked about the importance of “Kids on the spectrum” getting good jobs. She also put lots of emphasis on other historical figures such as Albert Einstein and Jane Goodall and where they would have been today. She stated that they most likely would not have gotten very far due to the over emphasis on the autistic label. Rather, they would have been coddled by their parents today and probably would have been stuck living with their parents while playing video games instead of exploring the world. She also mentioned that adults on the spectrum often go into two directions. “Go out into the world, get a job and live a productive life,” or “Get stuck addicted to video games.” She emphasized that because individuals with autism are being disabled, there continues to be a big shortage of personnel who work in skilled trades. In addition, she said there was a huge need for coders but it meant that individuals would need to move across the country. Additionally, she talked about Stephen Hawking since he could not write and got bored, he often thought about an advanced type of geometry known as “Penrose tiling,” which she said can be offered to elementary students who become bored with “Baby math.” For this reason, she stated that certain individuals think in patterns which is highly mathematically based. Finally, Grandin provided her audience with a 15 minute Q&A. During this part of the talk, I asked Temple about crying at work when I grew frustrated and especially during things like meetings. Her response was that it’okay for me to take a break and find somewhere like an electrical room where no one would find me. She also explained to me that scientists at NASA happen to cry all the time and particularly when I project gets shut down. She also answered a question with a young adult seeking to be a spoke’s person for the autism community. Yet, she encouraged him to put that on hold and work at least two jobs and build up a portfolio before persuing a speaking career.

Post Temple’s talk, she returned to the lobby to sign books prior to her flight home.

Shortly after Temple’s talk

Promptly following Temple’s talk and Q&A, she walked a parent out of the auditorium who she shared her advice with before signing books and posing for photos.

Nick Maley during his presentation

In the meantime, Nick Maley , or “The Yoda Guy” took center stage and shared his story and various notes from his book “Do or Do Not Do,” which had lots of helpful hints on how a person on the autism spectrum can life a productive life. During his presentation, Maley shared that he had followed certain film makers around until they gave him a job while he worked out in Hollywood. He also shared some of his work outside of the original Star Wars Trilogy. His included make-up and prosthetics on films such as The Shining, The Hunch Back of Notre Dame, and Krull. Finally, Maley’s talk was followed by a Q&A where various fans got up to ask him questions. In my case, I asked him more about his work with Yoda. At first, I thought that he had been a part of his design which I learned was not correct. Rather, I learned that he worked on getting Yoda to operate correctly as a puppet .

Nick Maley and I after his presentation in Syracuse NY

Following his talk, Maley and I had the chance to pose for a photo and get better acquainted. During our short session, I had asked Maley a few questions. The first was how long he had known Dr Grandin. As it turned out, he did not. Rather, he was set to meet her and have breakfast for the first time. Yet, he was stuck in an airport due to delays. I also asked him how he got connected to Future Horizon’s . He had explained to me that he lives in Saint Martin , in the Caribbean and happens to own a Star Wars Museum which is also located. Of all the people who had gone through, was CEO of Future Horizon’s who had fallen in love with Maley’s work and wanted to get him connected to Future Horizon’s. It was from this meeting that I was very impressed with the way Maley carried himself and how he was able to reach the younger generations in the autism community with Star Wars remaining so popular.

After my meet with Nick and a much needed lunch break, I attended Paula Aquila’s session, which took up the rest of the afternoon during the one-day conference. Unlike Grandin and Maley, she was not on the spectrum. Rather, she is an occupational therapist from the greater Toronto Canada area who works with individuals on the spectrum through sensory integrative therapy. During her talk she touched on the way the brain worked and other solutions that can help individuals. She also talked about how she helped different individuals. In one case, she talked about a client who liked to play with door knobs and how she worked with her team to build an obstacle course that led to a door knob in order to expand the young girl’s mind. Finally, Aquilla set examples by having members of the audience participate in activities to demonstrate that they can be challenging at first but with practice, activities can get better.

Following Aquilla’s long session, the conference ended at 4:30 in whih a long line of professionals lined up to get CEU’s for attending talks by Temple Grandin and Paula Aquilla. All the while, I took a Lyft back to my hotel by the airport ad called it a night after a very exhausting day.

In my reviews over all, all three talks provided a lot of meat that many professionals, educators, caregivers and autistics need to hear but do not. In fact, many of them today miss the mark on what could be done versus what can’t be done. I also feel that while most people know about Temple, Future Horizon’s could be featuring more promotions on other writers who are on the spectrum like Nick Maley and Anita Lesko. For this reason, both of them provide a lot of insightful information that parents and autistics alike could benefit from. In Nick’s case, his book provides some very realistic insight about autism and employment while Lesko, who was not at the conference talks about learning and neuroplasticity. Moreover, I feel that Temple could speak later in the afternoon due to her busy schedule. Otherwise, she is always full of good advice. Finally, I feel that Future Horizon’s could reach out local communities where they hold their conferences and find out which individuals are holding onto jobs and leading meaningful lives. That way, they could host a panel during the last part of each conference. Finally, I feel that FH could call for individuals who have a business or a portfolio to promote them at the each conference. Otherwise, the conference was very good over all and brought out a good crowd. Like always, I learned a lot of new things not only from Temple Nick as well. Even more so, I am looking to open his new book “Do or Not Outlook.,” and write a review.

Taking Middle Grounds

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.  

My on National Autism Awareness Day

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. 

You can make a donation here.

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. 

Odds and Ends to Consider for Passengers on the Spectrum

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.

Me in the cockpit during a Saturday tour.

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

Neutral smell

Soundproof

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.

Filtered florescent light at Hartsfield-Jackson sensory
Bubble Machine at Hartsfield Jackson

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.

Flight attendant

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. 

References

Dyson, M. (2019). Cork airport rolls out scheme for passengers with hidden disabilities. [Web article]. URL:
https://buyingbusinesstravel.com/news/2030046-cork-airport-rolls-out-scheme-passengers-hidden-disabilities

Sensory Room(2018). [Webpage] Pittsburg Intrrnational Airport. URL http://www.flypittsburgh.com/programs- services/services/sensory-room

Worth-It for You to Learn about the origins of “Hello World with Miyah”


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 received a press pass to blog about a Future Horizon’s Autism Conference in November 2018. Temple Grandin and Anita Lesko were two of the speakers

  • 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.
Me at an autism airport rehearsal tour

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.  

My best friend Brad Clark and at I at 2008 Candlight Ball, since I don’t have ones for 2007. No we are not dating but we have talked about it.


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.”

My Late Aunt Lois

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,

The first book I wrote about for Future Horizons
Temple and I at Matthew Reardon Autism Conference

At the same point, I elected to expand my written blogs by electing to find events where I could get a press pass and write blogs. One thing I wanted to blog about were events related to talks given by Temple Grandin. Luckily, my first opportunity was around the corner as a friend had invited me to an event in the Chicago area. I soon acted upon this opportunity by putting myself out there and making myself known. During the interval, a representative of Future Horizon informed me’s blogged about their books at conferences. Ecstatic as I was, I signed up and wrote my first blogs in mid-2018. These titles  includedhttps://helloworld240.wordpress.com/2018/07/23/reviews-its-just-a-what-little-sensory-issues-with-big-reactions/https://helloworld240.wordpress.com/2018/07/24/my-reviews-the-stories-i-tell-my-friends/https://helloworld240.wordpress.com/2018/07/25/reviews-on-manners-matters-temple-talks-to-kids-series/https://helloworld240.wordpress.com/2018/08/14/reviews-video-modeling-visual-based-strategies-demonstrated-to-help-people-on-the-autism-spectrum/https://helloworld240.wordpress.com/2019/03/28/review-dogs-and-autism/

and more…

Future Horizon’s trademark for bloggers

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Having said that, I hope you have a chance to check out my youtube channel as well as my written information.https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvee5Vz_h9bsFTwXbU3_GdA?view_as=subscriber

Note that if you like what I am doing, please hit those subscribe buttons and give me thumbs up. Also share this with anyone in the autism community. Happy Autism Awareness Month and Autism Acceptance Month

Until next time, I’m Miyah Ryan

Autistic and Grieving: Robot or Human?

Back story: January 7,2019

On December 26,2018, I had rolled out of bed after sleeping in late being that I was on holiday break for two weeks. That late morning, I made a late breakfast before jumping into the shower prior to heading out for a little day after Christmas R&R in the Midtown Atlanta area. The weather was a balmy 57 degree and I was not only going to hit the after Christmas sales but also grab lunch and shoot a few videos of people using the time skating rink for my vlogs. The day was going to be perfect and my evening would be just as relaxing. As I got off three in the early afternoon though, my phone was ringing and I answered. It was a call from my Aunt Lois’ neighbor.

Mark explained to me that the police and several of her friends were outside of her house trying to find a way in after not being able to get ahold of her for three days and finding her car tucked away into her garage turned carport. Not long after, the fire department arrived and climbed through her windows and took off a few of the locks. Once inside, there lay Lois barely alive and helpless several days alone after suffering a massive stroke and damage from fluids in her brain or so the MRI read. According to Mark, the paramedics said that she was septic, which means that she had massive amounts of poison in her blood. He also said that she was found with one eye open and the other closed while having drool in her mouth. Once in the hospital, Lois was kept alive on a ventilator or so I read on Facebook. She remained in the hospital for 10 days in a coma in hospice care post being taken off life support. Yet, she briefly came out of her coma on January 3rd where she had attempted to sip water. As a result, Lois was released from the hospital while we all believed that she would receive around the clock care in her home. In the meantime, her brother, Uncle Dennis, her brother began their trek down to Atlanta yesterday so he could help settle her new living arrangements. Sadly, Lois Ann Ryan slipped back into a coma in her home where she did this morning.

10 days, before her death and after Lois entered hospice care, a friend encouraged me to go see her and say goodbye to her despite a falling out that happened in late 2017. Upon entering her room, I signed in and grabbed my visitor badge before spending a half an hour with Lois she slept in a stable condition. At that point, they had already taken her off the ventilator and any other life supports. All the while, she barely looked recognizable. This was other her beautifully styled strawberry blond short hair and her hospital gown that very much resembled several t-shirts with little designs on that. Meanwhile, she slept in an elevated position with her head tilted down at an angle while I smelled the hint of urine and noting it in an evacuation bag. At this time, I asked for her forgiveness and told her why I cut her from my life for a while telling her I’d miss her. All the while, I saw her eyebrows rise next to seeing rapid eye movement or REM. Next, I recited Hebrew blessings and prayers from the Mourners Kaddish and the Aaronic blessings all before kissing her on the forehead and walking out backward. Though I cried at my friend’s house on the day that I received the news, I could not while visiting her one last time. Rather, seeing her in this state made me feel nauseated and I wanted to get out of there as soon as possible, though I knew I had to say goodbye. As sad as it was to see her in this that, I knew this wasn’t what she wanted. In fact, she had told me years earlier that if anything like this were to happen, she had a power of attorney on hand who she had long since instructed to take her off life support.

Aunt Lois: December 2005 at Disney World

However, the real question that I am asking and answering here is “Can an autistic grieve?” My answer to that question is “Yes absolutely.” Like the rest of society, autistics are human beings like a neurotypical or an allistic, we have feelings just like everyone else. As one who is on the spectrum myself, I have faced many different types of grieve from bereavement to the loss of friendships. What I have learned from my own experiences is that each is very different.

Examples

In the case of losing a friend, who decided we were not compatible, I found that I had gone through 4 of the 5 stages of grief. At the moment, I am on the tail end of being angry that the relationship ended after attempting to bargain with my friend. In this particular case, I had attempted to meet with my former friend in not only getting closer but also with the hope of rekindling the flame of our relationship. It was only when she said some very mean and hurtful things by attempting to pin her deep dislike towards me on her husband and admit that our friendship was a lie, then the anger set in. What I have found is that the anger has last for nearly 4 years. When she first cut me from her life, I went through a time of shock where I barely noticed that she was gone by keeping busy trying to enjoy my life without her. In the middle of this state, I felt that I had room to be myself and that I didn’t have her problems to weigh me down anymore. I also played the song, “Let it go” over and over again. As time progressed, though, I began to see people, certain objects and dates, my depression was triggered. One such instance was a month later when attending a convention where two situations brought in the depression. In the first, I met a friend at the train station who sent my former friend a private message on social media because he wanted to know why. He also showed me what she had written him back. The second situation was running into another former friend of hers who I had a crush on for many years. Not only was it hard to see him but he snubbed me as well. In fact, I was so depressed that I ended up having to take a break from the convention by going into the pool area and cover myself with a bunch of towels. There I cried while remembering a common lie, “I love you like a sister,” which she often put into cards she gave me. Thereafter, I spent most of 2014 crying about my ex-friend and feeling lonely.

In 2001, my grandfather died of a heart attack and though I cried during the wake and on the ride home post the funeral, I only remember facing one stage. In this case, I only recall spending the entire summer experiencing lots of anger when working at an amusement park. Most people thought it was because I got too stressed out easily but I do believe that it probably stemmed from losing Grandpa John. This came along with the frustration of not being able to get a boyfriend like most of me co-workers next to my co-workers connecting and doing things together but usually leaving me out. This being said, I don’t ever recall facing the 5 stages of grief. Rather, I was too focused on starting my own life and learning how to overcome the societal barriers.

All the same, I have learned that despite the mass amount of resources for autism, from self-feeding to solutions on meltdowns, there are no books or other resources on how an autistic can learn about grieving. Considerably, most resources focus on how a parent should focus on grieving because they have learned their child is autistic which I find disgusting. In any case, I believe there should be countless books written and created for autistics. While some are good at reading, others would benefit from a narrative with lots of visuals that would show that what grief looks like. Other materials should have information on resources on what they can do in regarding grief. Rather, I see more materials talking about what to expect in terms of the death process and what happens when an autistic loses a loved. Thus, we need to change that. In any case, they should not be told how and where to grief because no one ever expects this from a neurotypical. Ever!

One examples

On the other side of things, autistics today are not taken seriously due to the large amounts of misinformation regarding autism. Most who are not properly educated hold small minds. So when a person in the life of an autistic dies, those who don’t understand often get the idea that individual will not be able to understand the concept of a loss or grief. Therefore they will steer them away from the topic of their loved one’s death and focus on things like their favorite movies. Though most would agree they are helping, they are actually doing more harm than good.

All the same, an autistic should be allowed to communicate about the loss of their loved ones and how they are feeling. This should especially be true for those who do not use formal language but rather use letter boards, communication devices and sigh language to talk. Because, it is even harder for an autistic who cannot communicate to let someone know without the use of such devices. Lacking these devices that prevent the communication can bring on more challenging behaviors. I recently learned that having a weaker immune system and tiredness come follow just after the a death. For an autistic, they need to be able to communicate how they are feeling following a loss.

Yet, since grief is not the same for everyone, I would expect that each autistic grieves differently. For example, some might understand the concept of anger, sadness, and acceptance while the other two stages may not make sense to these. Others may look at grief from the form of logic by talking about why their loved ones died and how it happened. Since Lois died last week, I had been doing lots of research on how and why a stroke can be fatal. If I even had a chance, I would like to see what a computer model replicating what her strokes looked like from the inside. Why just before her death and just hearing what she looked like when she was found, I was able to gather the evidence and recognize that she had a stroke. All the same, others will experience grieve by having higher levels of sensory input and anxiety which will prevent them from functioning.

Whatever an autistic grieves, one still have to recognize that one it is grief and even if it does not come in the same way as an NT or an allistic.