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Showing posts from March, 2013

Anonymous Questions on Life with ASDs

I have a text file I maintain with question and topic suggestions for each of my blogs. Many of the questions to The Autistic Me open with, "I didn't want to post this publicly…" and then proceed to ask questions that range from the obviously personal to those I suppose relate to a private matter. Most of these questions are not about my private life — but asking the question reveals what someone else must be struggling with in life. Allow me to post a few of these topics and some short responses. Q: I am being bullied at work/school/local club. Ask a friend or family member what they suggest. I am the least qualified person imaginable to answer that question, since I tend to simply leave situations I dislike. If I don't like my work space, I leave the job as soon as possible. If I felt uneasy with a teacher, I would try to take a different course. If I don't like a social group, I stop attending the meetings. My method isn't the best approach for mos

Autism Prevalence Is Now At 1 In 50 Children - Forbes

The conclusion of this column makes a point I've stated repeatedly: we are getting better at diagnosing “autism” — while the criteria also keep changing. Autism Prevalence Is Now At 1 In 50 Children - Forbes : You will probably see a lot of headlines about the 1 in 50. Some organizations might even try to use those numbers to scare people, to talk about an “epidemic” or a “tsunami.” But if you look at the numbers and the report itself, you’ll see that overall, the numbers of people born with autism aren’t necessarily increasing dramatically. It’s just that we’re getting better and better at counting them. The next step is getting better at accepting autistic people, seeing their potential, and ensuring the supports and resources they need to fulfill that potential.

Collaboration Conundrum: Mastering Group Projects At School and Beyond

Autism Society National Conference  July 10-13, 2013 David L. Lawrence Convention Center Pittsburgh, PA Title: Collaboration Conundrum: Mastering Group Projects At School and Beyond Content Area: Social Skills Target Audience: Adolescence and Adulthood Understanding Level: Intermediate Description: Schools and workplaces embrace collaboration, assuming that groups engaged in brainstorming, crowdsourcing, and agile development produce better ideas than individuals. Although new scholarship raises questions about the benefits of collaboration (Cain 2012), our cultural bias towards extroversion and social interaction means navigating collaborative projects is an important life skill for autistic students and adults. Schools claim to appreciate different learning styles, but they overlook different social styles. This presentation explores how autistic people can succeed in collaborative set

Another Hospital Trip

Sunday was my turn to visit the local hospital. After I fainted two or three times, my wife managed to get me to the local emergency room. It seems the flu was winning — I was seriously dehydrated. We took Muttley to the vet Wednesday, and the vet had a cold. Otherwise, I wasn't around many people. By Friday, I wasn't feeling so great but thought it was simply exhaustion. I went to local mall to walk and write. I grabbed a sandwich for lunch, started to walk a second loop around the mall, and started to feel weak. I drove home and took a nap. After my nap, my wife and I collected a half-pallet of bricks from next door. The construction manager generously said we could claim any of the left-overs from the various homesites and use the brick. Another homeowner has done the same, using the bricks to build a nice box around an air conditioner and decorative edging around a patio. I didn't finish collecting all the bricks, because I felt weak. Saturday was spent feeli

Writing and Autism: Return to a Past Topic

Two years ago, I posted on the topic of "Writing and Autism" because teachers and students were asking me for suggestions to improve grades on written assignments. I posted two entries, and then redirected people to the Tameri Guide for Writers , which my wife and I maintain. Many of the issues I might address for students with ASDs and other challenges were similar to what I observe for most students. Something about the way we teach writing in the K-12 system fails to prepare students, and students with disabilities struggle a bit more with writing. My doctoral dissertation raised questions about how well autistic students navigate academic writing, especially at the college level. The mandated first-year composition courses common in our universities carry a number of assumptions about what is "normal" and what is the "right" way to think about the world around us. Some of the classic scholarship in writing studies makes claims about thinking and pro

Rising Cost of Special Ed in Minnesota Schools

According to federal laws, public schools and those post-secondary institutions accepting public monies (most colleges and universities accepts grants and federal monies) must make every “reasonable” effort to accommodate students with special needs. What is reasonable when schools are running deficits? Rising Special Ed Cases are Huge Cost by Jeffrey Meitrodt and Kim McGuire, Star Tribune Updated: March 3, 2013 - 6:07 AM Room 112 is walled off from the rest of a Maplewood public school by an ugly row of concrete blocks. Its wooden entrance was replaced with a steel door, and the carpet and plumbing fixtures removed, all so its sole occupant — an 8-year-old boy prone to attacking teachers and classmates — would have nothing to destroy during his daily outbursts. Even his books and toys were kept on a cart that could be wheeled away at a moment’s notice. Every school day, the boy, who has autism and doesn’t speak, came to the barren cell built only for him. Two adults spent a

Feeling Powerless

My wife had an outpatient procedure March 1, and I hated every minute of it. I know it has never been easy for my parents or my wife when I've had my little medical misadventures, but it stinks to have to be the one in the waiting room. Sure, it was "no big deal" in the end. Her doctor told me things had never gone so smoothly; my wife is in great shape and the procedure took mere minutes. The "mere minutes" in the operating room left me waiting for two hours. I walked the corridors, visited the hospital gift shop, the coffee shop, and the diner. The hospital diner was nice, with a counter and round stools like you might find in any 1950s malt shop. Every surgery is major. Anesthesia is dangerous. Surgery is dangerous. When it is me, I don't worry as much as I did when my wife was in the operating room. If something happened to me, I know she'd be okay. Her family and my family would see to that. But, if anything ever happened to her, I&#

The Librarian

This weekend, TNT aired "The Librarian" movies. It reminds me of other great references to books and libraries. From The Mummy  (1999): Evelyn: I may not be an explorer, or an adventurer, or a treasure-seeker, or a gunfighter, Mr. O'Connell, but I am proud of what I am. Rick: And what is that? Evelyn: I… am a librarian. From the Doctor Who episode "Tooth and Claw" (2006): Sir Robert: Nevertheless, that creature won't give up, Doctor, and we still don't possess an actual weapon! The Doctor: Oh, your dad got all the brains, didn't he? Rose Tyler: Being rude again! The Doctor: Good, I meant that one. You want weapons? We're in a library! Books! The best weapons in the world! This room's the greatest arsenal we could have - arm yourselves! I found the idea of being a librarian very appealing—working in a place where people had to whisper and only speak when necessary. If only the world were like that! ― Peter Cameron, Someday This