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Showing posts from 2016

How it feels to be diagnosed with autism late in life - The Guardian

I was in my late 30s. I still don't know if the diagnosis helped. Maybe it helps others. More often, it simply frustrates me to be so tense and anxious all the time. I would like the world to be quieter, calmer, more honest, more logical. Is that being "autistic" or simply being an intelligent introvert?

What I want, more than anything else, is a steady and secure job. A career. And it seems that is what the adults in this article also want.

'All my life suddenly made sense': how it feels to be diagnosed with autism late in life | Society | The Guardian: I meet Baron-Cohen in a crowded Starbucks near St Paul’s Cathedral in London, where he wryly comments on the mixture of chatter, clattering cups and muzak – “For a lot of autistic people, this would probably be hell” – and casts his mind back over the 35 years he has been thinking about and researching autism. He started working with six autistic children in a special unit in Barnet, north London, in 1982. Fiftee…

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year... BUT

In a few ways, 2016 has been (with a nod to a great children's book) a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year for my wife and me. We have had medical issues, I have not had a full-time job, and a pair of accidents took our Jeep out of service.

It has also been one of the best years my wife and I have had.

The following is a lengthy post on the past and our future.

A friend and I had a polite debate on the topic of sponsors for "The Autistic Me" blog and my other creative projects. I generally believe that writers and other artists should find a market for their efforts and seek compensation accordingly. The idea of "donations" does not appeal to me.

"But you give to several organizations, including the performing arts," she insisted. "What is the difference?"

Much to my wife's chagrin, I do donate to theatrical organizations, local independent film projects, an autism cause or two, the humane society, and other non-profit groups. One…

My Jeep Friend

As September ended I was involved in what seemed to be a minor traffic accident. I was rear-ended while driving our 18-year-old Jeep Cherokee. Unfortunately, the accident was too much for the Jeep: the frame was bent by the impact.

The Jeep was the "real" last Cherokee Classic. Not a Sport. Not cheap decals of the model name. A 4.0L in-line six-cylinder 4-by-4 we took off-road and used for everything. It hauled furniture, cats, trees, bikes, friends, and family.

Over the 18 years, it was like a family member. We knew it couldn't last forever, especially since moving to states with salted roads in the winter. But, we wanted it to keep running for another two or three years.

Losing the Jeep is weird. I knew how it should sound. I knew how the steering and braking should feel. I could recognize its engine when my wife drove it to and from work.

Now, it's sitting in a lot, waiting to be hauled away to an unceremonious ending. It doesn't seem fair, for some rea…

School, Work, Life

I realize my blogs (not only The Autistic Me) have been slow throughout 2016. Life has a way of consuming more hours than exist in the day. My "to-do" list exceeds any realistic amount of time I might have each day, week, or month.

If all goes well, in December I will complete my Master of Fine Arts in Film and Digital Technology. I'll have completed the degree in a year, with a few extra units. I completed five classes this summer, which was an insane workload for anyone.

During the summer, we also juggled personal health issues for my wife and me. I ended up with an overnight stay in the hospital just as my classes were ending and I was starting a new part-time teaching post. That is how this year has been.

In the coming months, I'll write some reflections on 2015 and 2016, but right now I'm simply trying to keep up with school, teaching, and a part-time job I took to help pay some bills. It is all a bit overwhelming some days.

I don't like disorder…

End of Summer, Start of School

It is again that season, the time of year many of us will always consider the "new year" instead of some date in Winter. Yes, back-to-school.

For me, this is the end of a busy five-class summer as an MFA student in Film and Digital Technology. I promise (sort of) that this will be the last of my graduate degrees unless I stumble into a FREE degree in economics. I'll have only three classes remaining in a 12-course MFA program. This degree has been a lot work and I am exhausted.

I start teaching again the week of August 22. Summer ends and school starts. Not much of a pause between the two. My studies resume, officially, the next week, but I'll be completing MFA paperwork and thesis outlines in the meantime.

My wife and I have had a lot going on this year, including health adventures. We've each had a night in the hospital; she had the far more complex and serious medical journey this year. I'm glad she's okay, because she's everything to me and o…

School Progress, Life

The Autistic Me goes in cycles, as do most blogs, based on my "free" time for this endeavor. Since it isn't a paying gig, it has to come after work, school, and family. I'm sure most readers understand that.

In January, I resumed work towards my MFA, something I started in 2006 in California. Now, ten years later, it appears likely I can finish the degree in December.

My MFA was going to be in Creative Writing, with an emphasis on [spoken] poetry and theater, but I switched to an MA and completed my Ph.D in 2010. Now, my MFA will be in Film and Digital Technology, an admission that "digital media" are the best way to reach some audiences.

One of my projects this semester was an interview with artist and activist Selene dePackh. You can see a short version of that interview here:

Selene dePackh: Working as Prodiga diNero

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQATvPILXtM

There are a lot of things happening in life right now. At least I have something to show …

Autism Awareness Month

It's apparently that time of year when we're expected to increase awareness of autism (which I forgot until Apple posted a video). Yeah, because the millions spent by Autism Speaks, the proliferation of puzzle pieces and ribbons, the endless public service announcements on Internet radio feeds, the countless feel-good "news" stories and on and on haven't done enough to increase awareness.

People are aware. Nobody needs me to blog about awareness, since readers of this blog are pretty obviously aware of autism and atypical neurology, neurodiversity, or whatever you wish to call it.

At this moment, I'm taking a short break from editing a video about autism, the arts, and education. If we want to increase awareness of some aspects of autism, how about debating these random thoughts?

1) Autistics and those with autism-like traits should be the ones speaking, writing, illustrating, signing, painting, composing, et cetera, about what autism means. Allies should…

Life Updates: The MFA Sprint

Life is okay, if more than a little hectic at the end of this first month.

With one month down, I'm 11 months away from my MFA in Film and Digital Technology. Though things might happen and things do go wrong, so far I'm on schedule and things are going well —— though I'm exhausted and working harder than I did for any other degree. Because the MFA requires projects every week, this isn't as easy to schedule as writing. Even researching a paper can be done from the comfort of home, at any hour.

You cannot make movies by yourself, at any time of day. It doesn't work that way. Filming takes time, and often requires a team of people. It's not comparable to working alone on a degree in writing or rhetoric.

The team-based nature of film is exhausting for me, but I enjoy the results. I also like the practical nature of the skills being taught. You either learn how to adjust ISO, f/Stop, shutter speed, and other variables or you don't. You can have theories …

Cure Messages of "Hope"

I understand that holiday fundraising is a tradition. Here's a cute child. You care about children. Send us money.

At the end of every year, I receive dozens of emails from autism advocacy groups. The higher-end email newsletters from Generation Rescue and Autism Speaks offer "hope" for a cure… someday. Other emails promise recovery through "treatments" ranging from fad diets to pressure chambers. Sure, autism is just like recovering from a deep sea dive.

It is almost impossible to judge these organizations and determine which are worth money or time. I don't send money to these groups and I'm not as involved locally as I was when we lived in Minnesota. I'm on a single board and volunteer to speak from time to time. I'm not convinced even the more serious organizations are accomplishing much, beyond "awareness" of autism.

We're aware. Thank you. Now what?

I'm not sure what should be next. I've written before that I&…

New Year, New Plans

This fall was a respite of sorts from academia while I concentrated on writing and considered my path ahead. For the last few months, I've been working on a mix of screen and stage projects, while also collaborating on some creative writing projects.

As December ends, I'm returning to both academia and corporate life, which will reduce my creative output significantly for at least 2016. I'll be completing my MFA (master of fine arts), something I started before my doctoral studies. If I complete the program, I'll have an MFA in Film and Digital Technologies, which will complement my interest in screenwriting and "transmedia" theatrical productions. At the same time, I'll be doing some corporate consulting to pay for classes and some home renovation projects.

My consulting work will be as an ADA compliance expert for Web, application, and new media content. This work aligns wonderfully with my doctoral research and my dissertation. Working on projects …