Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Kathy & I very much appreciate the work that you do for us... Both the quality of your work and the positive attitude and work ethic you always have. We just wanted to thank you say, "GREAT JOB"!
This small "holiday bonus" is intended to express our thanks... Hopefully you can treat yourself to some little treat that will help make your holiday season a little more enjoyable.
Disclaimer: I typed up the words in the same format they appear on the card.
My response to Phil and Kathy:
Thank you for the card and the “holiday bonus.” I enjoy working at Light and Associates. I appreciate your willingness in being flexible regarding my work schedule and college classes. My job at Light and Associates has encouraged me to pursue an Associate degree of Applied Business in “Office Operations Management.”
At various times, Phil mentioned some of my traits. I would like to expand on what he stated. My positive attitude and work ethic are part of my personality; however, my attention to detail and quality of work relate to my Asperger’s Syndrome. My positive attitude relates to my strong aversion of pity parties. As one “You Tube” video put it, “Everyone has challenges. Everyone has choices. Everyone can find their own path to success.”
Regarding Facebook, some of the information is no longer applicable to me. (I have not updated my profile in nearly a year.) Recent information can be found at my blog: http://aspergianperspective.blogspot.com/.
Some of my favourite quotes are by Temple Grandin, an animal scientist and college professor who experiences Asperger’s. She says, "My life is basically my work. I obtain great satisfaction out of using my intellect. I like to figure things out and solve problems." Grandin’s quotes apply to me approxiamtely 90 percent of the time.
My interests and fascinations include but are not limited to: reading – usually non-fiction but also some fiction, writing – poetry, opinion responses, blogging, comparing and contrasting, and other types. I listen to almost all Country artists. In addtion, I like inspirational music, classical, Jazz, The Beatles, Weird Al Yankovic, and others. I’m open to most genre’s that don’t include explicit material.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Who is Ari Ne'eman?
Ari is an adult who experiences Asperger's and talks about it from HIS perspective.
Who is Scott Michael Robertson?
Scott is an adult who experiences Asperger's Syndrome, anxiety, depression, and other challenges. Scott presents on Asperger's Syndrome from HIS perspective.
Who am I?
I am an an adult who experiences Asperger's Syndrome. I consider Ari my BEST friend.
What does John Best Junior do?
John continually attacks and LIES about Ari on his blog, "Hating Autism." John has attacked Scott and LIED about him, too (one post).
What does Ari Ne'eman do?
Ari LISTENS TO, offers suggestions, stays positive, and HELPS people -especially adults, with Asperger's Syndrome, Autistic Disorder, and PDD-NOS. Ari runs the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder differences. Ari attends the University of Baltimore-Maryland, and he wants to be a lawyer. His dream is to make the world a better place for people with neurological disability differences, mental illnesses, and othe disabilities. Ari wants to see people with ASD differences be successful.
What does Scott Michael Roberston do?
Scott runs a support group for people on the Autism Spectrum. Scott LISTENS TO and gives suggestions to people with ASD differences. Scott wants to see people with ASD differences be successful.
What do I do?
I am working very HARD to be like my hero and role-models, Ari and Scott. One of my goals is to be INVOLVED in ASAN as much as possible.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Asperger’s does NOT and will NOT define my abilities, strengths, potential, or quality of life. It is useful in obtaining services, accommodations, and providing a label to explain my deficits, challenges, behaviours and eccentricities. Asperger's is PART -(NOT all) of my identity. An Asperger’s label explains the present but does NOT predict the future. It does not convey the devastating way Autism Spectrum Disorders are portrayed in the media.
My disability does NOT limit my self-determination to overcome the deficits, challenges, and struggles that present with experiencing Asperger’s Syndrome. My disability does not limit my need to advocate for services, supports, and accommodations. An Asperger’s diagnosis can be useful for various reasons.
By NOT participating in Autism Speaks, “Walk Now for Autism”, my hope is that I will soon hear “Adults with Asperger’s Syndrome, Autistic Disorder, and PDD-NOS are included in public policy, advocacy, the media, and ALL disability related things.As always, “Nothing About Us, Without Us!” ~ Disability Rights Movement
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
"Squeaky", rubber porcupine
Rainbow, rubber "Koosh" ball
Academic Accommodations (Dr. Shane's exact words):
1. Extended time on exams and quizzes (1.5x)
2. Quiet testing in the Access office
3. Permission to listen to music while testing
4. Request copy of instructor overheads/notes
5. Enlargements of class materials
6. Use of computer for essay quizzes and tests
There is a LOT that goes UNSEEN!
Any person (whether or not he or she has Asperger's Syndrome, Autistic Disorder, PDD-NOS, etc.) will try to conduct oneself as professionally as possible in public, especially in the media. Managing Asperger's is VERY CHALLENGING.
Not many people (Do NOT ask because I will not answer personal questions.) know about Ari's PRIVATE life. This is NOT about pity. This is about DANGEROUS ASSUMPTIONS!
Ari is not an "Asperger's inspiration." He is a PERSON. There is more to his life than his Asperger's (whether or not you KNOW).
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
"You have been banned from Neurodiversity
Sorry, AutisticAdvocacy (all), you can not access Neurodiversity as you have been banned. If you think you've been banned in error, you can contact the administrator."
"I'm sorry, I don't know who any of you are; but I have known Katie ever since we were little. She is a sweet girl who was not trying to harm anyone. She may have said something that you disagree with, but it is inapropriate that you should act like children. By behaving rudely to Katie, and calling her names, you are acting like children in high school who are bullying someone."
~ Anna, Katie's 16-year-old neurologically typical and only friend
The "Neurodiversity Ning is very biased and members join by invitation only. Members of the "Neurodiversity Ning" exclude everyone whom does not share in their beliefs.
"Neurodiversity Ning" sign in:
"The Neurodiversity Network is for those who are neurologically 'different' - autistic, bipolar, schizophrenic, tourettes, OCD etc etc."
Interesting... Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Tourette Syndrome, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder are part of "different wiring."
I do NOT partake in dangerous and unethical activities. I do NOT murder. I do NOT steal. I do NOT cheat on people or tests. I am NOT aggressive. I have been EXTREMELY close to self-injury, but thanks to enough SELF CONTROL - I did NOT.
Because of my ASD, NOT "natural variation", I may or may not be able to drive. I have learned how to use public transportation. I am very safety aware. I look left and right before crossing the street. I do not do drugs or smoke.
Due to my ASD, I have unintentionally offended people. I have improved in social skills.
How is my mind unsafe? I have lots of devastating challenges and delays, but I will be a person with high-functioning autism (even AFTER treatment and with coping strategies, education, tools, etc.).
1. I high-functioning autism (also known as Asperger's).
2. Autism is NOT a "natural variation", culture, or lifestyle."
3. Autistic disabilities are a life-long condition, thus Autism is a WAY (part) of LIFE.
4. ASD is an epidemic. ASD is a medical disorder. Autism, which includes Asperger's, PDD-NOS, and Autistic Disorder are neurological, biological disorders that cause children and adults to have medical problems.
5. Children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders need treatment, support, accommodations, services, and someday, possibly a cure (for those who desire one).
"The real proof of that claim would be to show us the 30, 50, and 70 year olds with autism. I don't mean Asperger's. I mean adults who are like the children of countless friends of mine across the U.S. Adults who don't talk. Adults who bang holes in walls and who wear diapers. Ones who flap their hands all day and spin in circles for hours. Ones who scream and have terrible diarrhea and constipation." ~ Anne Dachel
Yes, please show THEM. That's right - they do NOT exist.
Katie: The REAL PROOF would be to show us the 30, 50, and 70 year olds with Autism. I MEAN Asperger's. SAME thing. I mean adults who make EVERY EFFORT POSSIBLE TO FIT IN WITH NON-AUTISTIC PEOPLE! Adults who attend college. Adults who are employed (with or without assistance) and have friends and a partner. Ones who are married and appear in the media. Ones who run organizations and advocate for services, supports, accommodations, early intervention, better and improved treatments, and similar things.
Where are they? EVERYWHERE!!!
*Drum Roll* ... ... ...
Ari Ne'eman - President of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, college student, employee, Autistic advocate and activist
Scott Michael Robertson - Vice President of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, scientist, teacher's assistant, college student, Autistic advocate
Dora Raymaker - Board member of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, artist, employee, Autistic advocate
Michelle Dawson - Autism researcher, employee, Autistic self-advocate
Temple Grandin - college professor, animal scientist, Autistic advocate
Katie Miller - artist, employee, college student, Autistic advocate
Stephen Shore - I.A.C.C. Board member, Autistic advocate, employee
Jacob Pratt - Board director of Autism Spectrum Differences Institute of New England (in M.A.), employee, college student, Autistic advocate
Alexander Plank - creator of wrongplanet.net, college student, Autistic advocate
And you are STILL looking - *shocked beyond belief*
Donna Williams - artist, employee, writer, married, Autistic advocate
Joel Smith - employee, married, Autistic advocate
John Elder-Robison - self-employed, married, author, Autistic advocate, parent
What? You want more? Okay then - *last round*
Elesia Ashkenazy - co-director of PDX ASAN, parent, Autistic advocate, employee
Stephanie Lynn Keil - Autistic self-advocate, college student, artist, musician
Ryan McReynolds - Autistic, Singer, Musician, Songwriter, Actor, Politician, Genealogical Researcher, Engaged
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Disability is defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities."
"Autism is a brain development disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. These signs all begin before a child is three years old. Autism affects many parts of the brain; how this occurs is not understood. The autism spectrum disorders (ASD) also include the related conditions Asperger syndrome and PDD-NOS, which have fewer signs and symptoms."
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Scott Michael Robertson, a scientist who happens to be autistic, is trying to refocus the autism spectrum research agenda. I am neither pro nor anti cure. Scott and non-autistic scientists should focus the scientific agenda on educating, accommodating, supporting, and treating the various issues that are present with the autism disorders.
The research agenda should focus on educating autistic people. For example, people on the autism spectrum should be taught skills to interact with people who do not have a neurological disability. One way of teaching autistic people skills to interact and function with others is to use the discrete-trial method of Applied Behavior Analysis.
The research agenda should focus on accommodating people on the autism spectrum. Accommodations are modifications in daily living, employment, and in other aspects of life to assist an individual on the autism spectrum to fully participate in society and improve quality of life. Accommodations should be a right, not a privilege. We must find ways to improve the quality of life for children and adults on the autism spectrum through research and funding into adaptive augmentative communication such as devices and laptops. Many individuals on the autism spectrum are efficient, reliable, and trustworthy employees. We need to find practical ways to accommodate autistic people to increase their productivity. For example, Joel Smith has a diagnosis of Autistic Disorder. He uses an alternative augmentative communication device or his speech synthesizer to communicate when he has difficulty with speech. Other examples of accommodations include but are not limited to: flexible working hours, use of e-mail, sign language interpreters, Braille, telecommuting, headphones with or without a compact disc player, assistance with filling out papers, part-time hours, name tags at meetings, and strict anti-harassment regulations.
The research agenda should focus on supporting people on the autism spectrum. The autism spectrum is diverse with people of varying levels of ability. If you have met one autistic person, then you have met one autistic person. The autism spectrum is a neurological, biological, and life-long disability with medical manifestations. While all individuals display a variety of traits and behaviours, they may have common characteristics in the areas of: communication, socialization, repetitive behavior, hypo and hypersensitive senses, and deeply focused and passionate interests.
For example, services such as: discrete-trial methodology of Applied Behavior Analysis, positive behavioral supports, speech, occupational, physical, music, other therapies, vocational and adult life skill programs, and other services are not being funded by the Obama administration.
The research agenda should focus on treating the various medical illnesses, conditions, and mental health (co-morbid) disorders that many people with autism have. Many individuals on the autism spectrum have gastrointestinal problems and co-morbid disorders that require either mainstream or biomedical treatments, or both. For example, some individuals are placed on a specific diet such as gluten and casein free. Other autistic people take natural supplements for anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, personality disorders, and other disorders. Jake Crosby, an adult with autism, has done Methyl B-12 injections, and he reported benefiting greatly from them.
Biomedical treatments such as chelation in any form and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy are neither proven effective nor safe for treating autism spectrum disorders, co-morbid disorders, or gastrointestinal issues.
However, his detractors are making his agenda VERY difficult and STRESSFUL. They have created a very hostile environment in forums, chat rooms, list serves, and other online public places. These detractors use abusive language, threats including death, profanity, and other creative, disrespectful means to get their point across. Does the Autism Spectrum (Autistic) community need this? The obvious answer is “No.” However, some individuals specifically target certain individuals they presume as “dangerous.”
I am a strong supporter of respectful language. Terminology or phrases such as: disease, brain damage or dead, train wreck, dysfunctional, broken, not fully human or there, emotionless, vegetable, and other similar descriptions are not only offensive but also NOT accurate words to describe people with Autism Spectrum disorders. Autism forums, chat rooms, and similar places online are created for parents of children and adults with various Autism disorder diagnoses for support, suggestions, and similar reasons. Autism online places have been created for everyone - parents, adults on the Autism Spectrum, educators, friends, scientists, medical professionals, and other people in the Autism or Autistic community.
I do NOT have the right to speak on behalf of other people with Autism Spectrum Disorders. For example, I cannot tell Harold Doherty, a parent of an adolescent with an Autistic Disorder diagnosis, assessed with profound developmental delays, to stop supporting research for a cure. People who converse online in forums, chat rooms, et cetera are NOT qualified to diagnose anyone on the Autism Spectrum. Without certification in an educational background such as: Psychology, special education, or other related field, people are NOT qualified to even suspect neurological disabilities.
All people with Autism Spectrum disorder diagnoses are Autistic. That is NOT debatable. For example, Scott Robertson, John Elder-Robison, and Katie Miller have Asperger’s Disorder diagnoses (NO functioning labels attached). They are Autistic. Dora Raymaker, Michelle Dawson, Amanda Baggs, and Alex Bain have Autistic Disorder diagnoses (NO functioning labels attached). They are Autistic.
I have an Asperger’s Disorder diagnosis (NO functioning labels attached). I am Autistic. However, I do not smear feces. I have been mildly self-injurious before. I am not aggressive. I can read, write (with MAJOR exceptions), and type. I CANNOT write a lot neatly due to motor control, low muscle tone, and grip issues. In a literal sense, I am able to speak. I will not describe my challenges with speech production - mild Apraxia, stuttering, and related issues here. I will not detail my significant speech delays and difficulties during childhood here.
As adult Autistic, I can only speak for MYSELF. If a cure will be found in my lifetime, I would NOT take it. I (emphasize Katie) do not want to be cured. I have learned to accept and embrace (still working on) my Autism Disorder. I do not have a strong emotional viewpoint on being Autistic. I neither hate nor love my Autism. I do NOT celebrate the disabling traits of my Autism Spectrum diagnosis. I celebrate my talents, abilities, and strengths. I celebrate my hyperlexia that includes ability to read extremely rapidly, above grade level, and decipher most vocabulary from contextual clues. In addition, I celebrate my positive traits related to my personality, Autism Spectrum diagnosis, and other positive traits.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
The change I would like to make in myself is to ameliorate my generalized anxiety disorder. One reason I want to make this change is because my anxiety disorder affects my speech production. When Ari Ne’eman, my friend, telephoned me, I was unable to produce words. He spoke on the telephone and I typed out my responses on instant messenger. Ari’s compassion was evidenced when he heard my sounds and stuttering through the receiver and said, “Just type.” Another reason I want to make this change is that my anxiety disorder affects my ability to perform at piano recitals. I am a perfectionist, thus I cannot stand making mistakes. For example, I performed at a piano recital. While waiting for my name to be called, I was extremely nervous. I asked questions repeatedly. Because of my fear of making mistakes, I cried on the way home.
This is what Kathy typed.
"Some additional thoughts regarding Katie
Katie is a wonderful addition to our staff! She has the built in attention to detail that is impossible to teach but is an important ingredient for success in an office environment, especially in an accounting office. Katie often finds the inconsistencies that we are unaware of and has helped us become more consistent, both in our work duties and communications.
Katie has made the extra effort to learn the names of the other people working in our office (as you may know we have three firms sharing space) and she makes an effort to greet each one by name when the opportunity presents itself. She makes more eye contact as she gets more and more comfortable with each of us.
As Katie becomes more familiar with our expectations she has become better able to judge the quality of her own work and make more independent decisions on what should or should not be redone. I expect this to continue to improve. She errs on the side of caution, and that is the best way.
The other people in our office have observed the growth that Katie has exhibited, and are quite impressed with her efforts and abilities. They have expressed an interest in sharing her services and we are presently working out the details. This affords us the opportunity to continue employing Katie through the summer and hopefully into the fall. We have plans to increase Katie's skill set with some accounts receivable and other duties as she grows more comfortable and more able to absorb further instruction.
Thank you for introducing us to Katie. We hope to make her a permanent member of our working family and continue to help her grow as she is helping us grow.
Kathryn R. Light
LIGHT AND ASSOCIATES"
I would like to thank Kathy and Phil for their patience, understanding, and helping me acquire new skills. Thank you for believing in me.
Support Accommodation, NOT pity!
The card reads:
This is just a little gift to express my (our) thanks for the great job you did during tax season. I appreciate your quality of work, attention to detail, your willingness to learn new things, and your pleasant personality!! I'm glad you are working with us & hope you will be part of t he Light & Associates "family" for a long time." - Phil
(From Phil and Kathy)
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Pictured (right) is Ari Ne'eman. He is an adult Autistic. He is the President of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. He advocates for support, services, inclusion, education, and accommodations for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD's).
Stephen Shore is an Autistic adult. He advocates for support and inclusion for people on the Autism Spectrum.
Phil Schwarz is an Autistic adult. He advocates for people on the Autism Spectrum.
Alex Plank is an Autistic adult. He advocates for people on the Autism Spectrum.
Dora Raymaker is an Autistic adult. She communicates by using a variety of augmentative adaptive communication methods. She advocates for people on the Autism Spectrum.
Here are some things I use to manage anxiety:
-Vigorous exercise of 30 to 60 minutes a day (preferably cardiovascular in nature)
-Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, oats, etc.
-Reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption (In my case I don't drink any alcohol)
-Setting up routines and habits for daily, weekly, and monthly basis
-Breathing and relaxation techniques
-Squeeze stress balls-Affirmations and visualizations
-Seeing a counselor on a weekly basis
Re posted with permission from Scott Michael Robertson, Autistic adult and Vice President of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.
Monday, May 4, 2009
However, Autism Spectrum Disorders are not a disease or mental illness. Autism is a SPECTRUM medical disorder, NOT "natural variation."
I strongly support Neurodiversity, especially Michelle Dawson's version. However, I just realized how my views have come into conflict with the mainstream Neurodiversity philosophy. I don't agree that the autism spectrum is 100 percent genetic. What about the environmental triggers, lack of oxygen at birth (personally experienced), exposure anxiety, GI issues, and other causes?
If Autism Spectrum Disorders are to be considered 100 percent genetic, then researchers and scientists would have a reason to fund eugenics. I am 100 percent against eugenics for all disabilities.
It is a fact people on the Autism Spectrum have mental illnesses and co-morbid medical disorders. For example, I have two co-morbid medical disorders. My anxiety disorders are not part of me. They prevent my quality of life.
Deena, from the "No Myths" PSA said, "Autism is an integral part of who I am." My autistic disability (neurological and biological), my personality traits, and other positive traits are an integral part of who I am.
I have accepted and embraced my autism spectrum diagnosis. That does not mean I will do nothing to improve my quality of life.
Gifts & Talents:
I am a musician. I have been taking piano lessons since I was 10 years old. I am on hiatus from piano lessons and practicing.
I am a writer. I like to various things and sometimes opinion responses.
I am hyperlexic. I can read very quickly, above grade level, and generally have good comprehension (except some figurative language). I can decipher most words from contextual clues.
I am a college student. I have just finished Spring 2009 - my first semester of community college. Like Jake Crosby, I decided not to ask for accommodations. Consequently, I have struggled but the semester is almost over, and I am passing. I did tell my professor I am Autistic. She has been very understanding. I chose not to disclose my autism spectrum diagnosis to the disability services office because I wanted to prove to myself I could take tests without extended time.
I am an employee; nonetheless, I struggle significantly.
Anxiety disorders are horrible, devastating illnesses.
Sarcasm - Part I: I enjoy being anxious and having anxiety attacks, racing heartbeat, sweat palms, and other physical symptoms. Celebrate social and performance anxiety. Anxiety is a natural prevention of quality of life. Anxiety is natural suffering.
Sarcasm - Part II: I enjoy getting obsessive thoughts. I enjoy when my mind gets stuck, I think we should celebrate not being able to get thoughts out of one's brain.
I have been a horrible person with ASD (Asperger’s Syndrome). I have wasted countless hours online when I should have been working on my English homework, practicing piano, engaging in my other passionate and deeply focused interests, and doing alternative (biomedical) and mainstream treatments to improve my quality of life.
I've engaged in frequent and pointless arguments, personal attacks, name calling, and other ineffective conversation methods. I've created and responded to insensitive and destructive threads one after another. I have conversed with people with ASD and parents of people with ASD. The common trend on Autism Speaks Social Network is attacking opposing views, defamation of character, personal attacks, name calling, questioning diagnoses, and other useless and disrespectful conversation techniques.
At no time have I really furthered my development through the various uses of Autism Speaks Social Network. It has been more a waste of time than anything, and I, for one, am vastly ashamed of myself. In my quest to offer personal experience and suggestions that would enhance the lives of autistic people and parents of people on the Autism Spectrum, I have harmed my own life by neglecting my emotional, mental, and physical health.
In my quest to gain more knowledge about how diverse the challenges of people with ASD are, I have learned reasons why I should "celebrate" having autism and argue with others that have opposing views in the Autism Spectrum community. I have partaken in one insane action after another. Well, I am done as of today.
Katie on Autism Speaks Social Network will now move toward her blog http://www.autismperspective.blogspot.com/. I will leave my account up and running if someone wishes to contact me through private message.
What am I going to do? I am going to be a better person with autism, friend, college student, and employee. I could probably quantify that statement in numerous different ways, but it all boils down to simply being a better person. After I improve my quality of life, I may or may NOT surface again. I have already obtained a laptop – Intel HP, but I still need to install a text-to-speech program and other programs.
For now, and until the end of the summer, I am going to have to say good-bye. Anyway, good luck to the remaining people with ASD who have specific medical diagnoses of Autistic Disorder, PDD-NOS, or Asperger’s Syndrome, and parents of people on the Autism Spectrum.