Skip to main content

Autism Society of Pittsburgh, ASA Conference

Having moved from Minnesota to Pennsylvania in 2011, I have not been directly involved in autism advocacy and education for the last 18 months. I was busy enough moving and navigating my new workplace that I decided I was busy enough without volunteering to help others. Now that we are settling comfortably in Western PA and the job is now focused entirely on research (no teaching this semester), I want to do more.

On January 16, I had a nice lunch with Dan Torisky and Heidi Hess of the Autism Society of Pittsburgh (http://www.autismsocietypgh.org). Mr. Torisky is the president of the Autism Society chapter (or "affiliate") and Ms. Hess is the coordinator of community outreach. I look forward to working with the local chapter, because I respect the Autism Society of America (http://www.autism-society.org) and the work it supports.

The ASA annual conference is going to be hosted by Pittsburgh this summer, July 10-13, 2013. I look forward to helping the local chapter host this event.

I encourage parents, caregivers, educators, and support specialists to join the Autism Society chapters in their states and cities. ASA and its affiliates try to keep a local focus, something other organizations do not do well or entirely ignore.

As readers know, I am uncertain of what might be ahead for me. I do not know if I will be teaching next academic year, working in private industry, or finding some other adventure. (We hear the economy is improving; let us hope it truly is.) Yet, finding the regional Autism Society means that I will have supportive colleagues and hopefully new friends in Western PA. Having a social network and purpose beyond "work" reduces my stress significantly.

I also continue working with organizations in Minnesota, and elsewhere, via email and video-conferencing. Technology has made it possible to be engaged nationally without traveling. Admittedly, I love that I can stay at home and answer questions — but there is still something special about interacting with students, parents, and educators in person. If you are in Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio, West Virginia, or parts of New York, I am willing to meet with local groups and attend regional events.

Again, I thank Mr. Torisky and Ms. Hess for welcoming me into the local autism support community.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Autistic Burnout

Summer demands a lot of social energy, especially for parents. For autistics, the never-ending social calendar of summer can cause serious autistic burnout. Host C. S. Wyatt discusses his need to find a balance between social demands and self-care. Check out this episode!

Autism, Asperger's, and IQ

"Aren't people with Asperger's more likely to be geniuses? Isn't genius related to autism?" A university student asked this in a course I am teaching. The class discussion was covering neurological differences, free will, and the nature versus nurture debate. The textbook for the course includes sidebars on the brain and behavior throughout chapters on ethics and morality. This student was asking a question reflecting media portrayals of autism spectrum disorders, social skills difficulties, and genius. I did not address this question from a personal perspective in class, but I have when speaking to groups of parents, educators, and caregivers. Some of the reasons these questions arise, as mentioned above, are media portrayals and news coverage of autism. Examples include: Television shows with gifted characters either identified with or assumed to have autistic traits: Alphas, Big Bang Theory, Bones, Rizzoli and Isles, Touch, and others. Some would include

Free eBook on Autism and Relationships

This blog post is a bit unusual. I am testing to see if visitors can download a free eBook from this blog. I have linked to the file, which sits on our Web server. We have successfully tested the ePub edition of A Spectrum of Relationships . Only the abridged ePub edition is available for free at this time, not an Amazon Kindle edition, due to Amazon's policy requesting only full, commercial editions from small publishers. Until the text is revised and edited, I'm not comfortable publishing it formally. The commercial version will be released for the Amazon Kindle as well as other devices. In fact, it might be released first for the Kindle, if things go as planned. Downloading an ePub can be a challenge: some browsers try to open the file directly. To download the ePub, you might have to "right-click" and download the linked file. If you have the ePub extension installed, the FireFox browser will open the ePub correctly. A Spectrum of Relationships (ePub file) [