Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Take the Focus off Autism

Those on the autism spectrum are known for their hyperactive focus. This is the sort of focus which impedes with the perception and interaction of the surrounding world.  Now, employers such as SAP are recognizing the potential value of these individuals with autism and filling tech positions with those on the spectrum.  However, the reason this works is not because the focus is placed on technology rather than autism.

Let me use another example that is a foremost struggled faced by those with autism: relationships.  Particularly, romantic relationships.  This is something that many on the autism spectrum long for and ultimately struggle with.  Please view one of my most popular blog posts on the subject to see how I felt about this issue three years ago.  Of course, that was before I met Jackie.

Jackie and I met through the popular online dating site Eharmony.  We're getting married next summer.  We've lived together for more than a year in our own apartment.  We both are a vital part of making our relationship work.

She knows I have autism.  I told her a few days after we started talking.  She has two cousins who are more severely autistic than I am.  Since she used to babysit her cousins, she is very familiar with autism.

She accepts me for who I am as an individual on the spectrum.  Her feelings on the subject is that autism is simply another way of being.  Just like there are different races and cultures, autism is simply a different neurological state.  I'm really lucky to have her.

In our day to day life, autism never really comes up anymore.  Our focus is on our respective jobs, keeping up with household chores, our respective families, and planning our wedding.  The topic of autism might come up if we have difficulty communicating or don't see eye to eye on something.  Other than that, our focus is not on autism, it's on each other and it's on the world around us.

One thing to really keep in mind about autism that as a spectrum disorder, there are correlations between those on the spectrum but what solves one person's problem is not guaranteed to solve the same problem for another person.  I'm not saying my approach to my relationship and upcoming marriage will work for all.  I'm only mildly affected by the spectrum unlike many others.

To make a relationship work, or to make an employment opportunity work with a company such as SAP, the focus should not be on autism.  The focus should not be on the behaviors or characteristics that make someone autistic.  Rather, the focus should instead be on the interests that can translate into employable skills.  Or in the case of relationships, the focus should be on making day to day life work with your boyfriend, girlfriend, fiance, husband or wife.

Do you have any feedback on the topics discussed above?  Perhaps you have a story where the focus was taken off of autism?  How did that change things?  Leave your comments below my friends and don't forget to tell others about the Voice from the Spectrum!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

It's Been a While...

It has been quite some time since I last wrote in this blog back in October   A lot of things are different now in my life.  In November, I moved into my own place and I've been living independently since that time.   Also in November, I proposed to my girlfriend and we are planning our wedding for July 2016.

Back in February, I started work in a internet marketing call center and I've been doing quite well.  Being on the autism spectrum, I never pictured myself working in a call center and while it's been difficult at times for the most part it's going well.  Everyone I trained with at work knows I'm on the autism spectrum and have been quite accepting.

For my new job, I have to commute an hour one way to work.  This means I work eight hours and drive two hours a day.  My autism podcasts have stopped and I also had to quit teaching for OUCARES.  I have also stopped playing the clarinet in the New Horizons Band. There are too many things going on now.  I do miss teaching, band, and hosting my shows.

What with living independently, preparing my wedding, and working full time I'm not thinking that much about being on the autism spectrum.  Instead, I'm focusing instead on the rest of my life.  I think that's the way it should be.  It's better to focus on what can be done instead of what can't be done.

On the flip side, I also am learning that in the midst of day to day life with responsibilities wearing down, it can be difficult to heed the advice of someone far removed from those difficulties.  That being said, I wonder what value my words have provided those struggling with far more autism related trials than I am facing.

This is one reason why I am not advocating for autism as much as I used to.  It is wearing to be a self advocate for autism at times.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Teen with Autism Crowned Homecoming King

High school is often a difficult time for individuals on the autism spectrum.  While everyone struggles during their teenage years, those with social difficulties tend to struggle more than others with a strong desire to fit in and a lack of knowledge of how to do so.  However, there are inspiring stories out there of high school communities that have embraced individuals on the spectrum and given them experiences that they will be able to recall with fondness for the rest of their lives.

John Toriello, a high school senior with autism, was crowned homecoming king at his Pennsylvania high school, the Ridley Raiders.  A highly passionate Raiders fan for the past three years, Toriello has not allowed the social difficulties associated with his autism to stop him from contributing to his team during high school.

John's mom is quoted in the article stating that the football team has included him as though he is part of the team.

To read more, click here:

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/10/13/autistic-student-crowned-homecoming-king-at-pennsylvania-school/

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Celebrate the Arts at Acting Antics

Last month, I was invited by fellow autism advocate, Dani Bowman, to teach animation for Acting Antics in Frazer Pennsylvania.  For one week, I led the class where a dozen students created their own animations using Flip Boom Allstar.

Acting Antics was founded in 2007 by Cindy Schneider.  Cindy brought more than 20 years of special education experience and a love of the arts to life with a number of annual sessions that take place throughout the year.  Other than animation, there are classes offered for theatre, improv acting, and dancing.

For more information about Acting Antics, visit their website at www.actingantics.org.

Cindy Schneider has also written a book about teaching drama to individuals on the autism spectrum.  This book in available on Amazon.  Just click here.

Here are some photos from the Acting Antics Animation Program:







Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ten Tips for Summer Travel

With summer fully upon us, many families are now preparing to take a little time off work to perhaps travel somewhere new and exciting.  However, for families with one or more members on the lower functioning end of the autism spectrum, the prospect of taking a family vacation may seem daunting full of hassle.  There are still ways to find the enjoyment and relaxation many families find vacationing during the summer months as long as certain precautions are followed.

The Family Travel Forum has prepared a list of ten tips for vacationing with a child on the autism spectrum, which I have listed here:


  1. Alert airlines and hotels ahead of time.
  2. Make sure your child is comfortable with airplanes.
  3. Safety First (Make sure hotels know about specific dieting needs and other necessary. accommodations to give them the opportunity to prepare for the specific needs of your child).
  4. Authorized letter from your child's physician identifying disabilities and needs.
  5. Be prepared (for the unexpected).
  6. Be creative (in order to maximize engagement your child during the trip).
  7. Know your child's likes and dislikes.
  8. Focus on your child's strengths.
  9. Stick to your (daily) routine (as much as possible).
  10. Plan for the whole group.
For more details about these ten tips for traveling with a child on the autism spectrum, click here.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Stranger Replaces Stolen Bike for Teen with Autism

Kindness is an often understated virtue which nevertheless has a far greater impact than what can be perceived.   Tyriq Gordon is a fourteen year old boy with autism who lives in Vancouver Canada.  He loved to ride his bike...until it was stolen from him.  His mother appealed to the community, requesting that Tyriq's bike be returned.  This story received international attention and prompted a certain Dennis Wong into action.  Also a resident of Vancouver, Wong purchased Tyriq a new bike and delivered it to the ecstatic family.  This act of kindness within a global community can have an undetermined positive impact in the world.  Who can say what further kindness has been prompter by this single act of good faith.

To read more about this story, click here:  http://www.autismspeaks.org/news/news-item/kind-stranger-buys-new-bike-boy-autism.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Autism Insurance Battle in North Carolina Senate

Insurance companies and autism advocates are at a gridlock to determine the fate of a bill passed in North Carolina which would mandate insurance coverage for those on the autism spectrum.  This bill would extend existing coverage to include applied behavioral analysis, which is "the most common" form of treatment for those on the autism spectrum.  While the bill has been passed in the House, it is now being considered by the senate.  Blue Cross along with the N.C. Farm Bureau are actively lobbying against the passage of this bill, showing reluctance to accept new mandates due to concerns related to the Affordable Care Act.  To read more about this bill, click here.

Here is a list of states that have previously passed laws mandating insurance coverage for those on the autism spectrum (source found here):

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Massachusetts
Michigan
Missouri
Montana
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
Texas
Vermont
Virginia
West Virginia
Wisconsin

Vacuum Drawing Sparks Social Media Frenzy

Over the past few years of advocating for autism, I have come to know quite a few talented artists who are on the autism spectrum.  While I have not met Marcus Bartlett, I feel compelled to share his story which has received quite a bit of attention on social media in recent times.

Bartlett is an 18 year high school senior from Missoula, Montana.  One of the many drawings he has created contains a pink Hoover Vacuum.  Many individuals on the autism spectrum have interests about which they know a great deal.  Since he was ten years old, Bartlett has been fascinated in Hoover Vacuums.  This has been directly reflected through his artwork.

A few months ago a paraprofessional who works with Bartlett, Kathy Howlett, mailed one of Bartlett's drawings to Hoover Headquarters.  The drawing was, in turn, featured on Hoover social media which sparked an online frenzy.  Over the intervening time, the pink Hoover vacuum drawing, and Bartlett, received worldwide attention.

The end result of all this was Bartlett received a surprise from Hoover.  They had created a custom vacuum matching what he had drawn and sent it to him.  The vacuum was presented to him during a school assembly, along with a coloring book which chronicled the events that were sparked when that drawing was sent to Hoover.  Bartlett has used this publicity to advocate for autism.

To read more about Bartlett and his Hoover Vacuum, click here:

http://missoulian.com/news/local/autistic-and-artistic-missoula-grad-gets-custom-hoover-after-drawing/article_670f0330-f292-11e3-8f2f-0019bb2963f4.html 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My Insights Teaching Those with Autism

It has been more than two months since I last wrote in The Voice from the Spectrum, which I am sorry for.  Starting now, I'm going to try to get back to writing three posts every week.  Since my last post on March 27th, I have traveled to England to meet members of Positively Autistic


And started teaching teens and adults on the autism spectrum. (Here is some information about our upcoming summer session):


As the assistant instructor, I am not in charge of the lesson plan.  Instead, I am the program's "autism expert."  On the first day of class, I sat nervously in a seat as the class began to file in.  One of the students was upset and showed reluctance to enter the classroom.  It was a new experience for him and he was experiencing sensory difficulties.  His mom was having some difficulty controlling him.  I spoke to him, locking eyes (which is quite unusual for someone on the spectrum) stating that I was on the autism spectrum too, that it can be difficult sometimes but we have to keep going forward.  I also said to give the class a chance and you may be surprised with what happened.

This connection I formed with this student lead to a dramatic, and seemingly permanent, change in his behavior.  Ever since that time, he has come to class communicating with Stefan, myself, and his classmates about his interests while gaining skills in graphic design and Photoshop.  During which, he has explained a great deal about his various interests.  From what his mom said, this student was improving in other areas of his life too.  She asked me a few weeks ago if I would continue to be a part of this program and I said yes.  She answered with "good, we need you here."  Those on the autism spectrum can seem impossible to relate with at times but it only takes a moment for the right kind of connection to make all the difference in the world.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

1/68 Diagnosed With Autism?

Recent reports indicate that the autism diagnosis rate in the United States has risen again.  Two years ago, 1/88 U.S children were being diagnosed with autism.  Now, experts are claiming that 1/68 U.S children are being diagnosed with autism.

I have to say that I have mixed feelings about this autism diagnosis increase.  Growing up with Atypical Autism, I felt isolated from others affected by autism.  That was before social media.  Since then I have been introduced to the autistic social media community and have seen firsthand how those affected by autism are so adamantly divided on what should be done about this increase in children being diagnosed with ASD.

The last thing I want to do right now is claim that I know what to do about this increase in autism because I have no idea what should be done.  Even though I am on the spectrum, I can only speak for myself and cannot pretend to understand what is going on inside the mind of someone who is severely affected by this condition.  It was not easy for me to accept this, because I thought that as someone with an autism diagnosis, I would be given access to the world of those with lower functioning autism.  I was wrong by believing this.  The fact is that they are dealing with something that is completely different than what I am experiencing.

Also, I have seen a growing number of people who disapprove of large autism organizations like Autism Speaks, claiming that these organizations do not speak for them.  Of course Autism Speaks is not going to speak for everyone on the autism spectrum because everyone on the spectrum is so vastly different from one another.  They are also going to make mistakes.  All large organizations make mistakes because it's impossible to get so many people working together toward a common cause and not have individuals within this organization who make mistakes at some point.  These are just my feelings but the autistic community should not be attacking Autism Speaks for focusing their efforts on those with lower functioning autism, or in other words, for trying to help those on the spectrum who need the most help.

Today, I disassociated myself from an autism advocate who kept asking me to attack Autism Speaks.  My reason is that I don't want to be associated with such a hate-filled message.  My mission as an autism advocate is to spread acceptance rather than hate.  I do not want to use my writing talents to attack Autism Speaks and because this person would not back down, they were removed from my network.  What sort of message does the autistic community send to the rest of the world when we fight among ourselves?  We want the rest of the world to understand us and yet we do not understand others who are affected by autism like ourselves.  There are so many clashing viewpoints about autism that I am not certain what will happen next as a result in this latest increase in autism diagnosis rates.  I only hope we can try to promote understanding and acceptance rather than trying to spread hate.  The world has too much hate already...

To read more about this increase in autism diagnosis, click here:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/27/health/cdc-autism/index.html

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Social Media Connects Those Affected by Autism

The National Autism Network provides social media services catered specifically to those on the autism spectrum as well as parents and caregivers.

I took a few minutes to join the National Autism Network.  Apart from the pages loading slowly, I did not have any trouble at all.  Once I was a part of the network, I found that I had access to a number of different resources all related to autism spectrum disorders, such as current events related to autism, state legislation and much more.

Pricing options include a basic plan for free.  There are certain features of the site, such as access to webinars and the creation of a blog that are only available to paying users.  Payments are processed either $9.95 monthly, $99.95 annually, and $149.95 for lifetime use without the need for renewal.

For more info, click here: http://www.onlinesocialmedia.net/20140304/national-autism-network-social-platform-without-set-up-restrictions/

To join the National Autism Network, click here: www.nationalautismnetwork.com.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Mother's Request for Birthday Wishes Goes Viral

A Michigan boy with autism has received global attention in the past week for a simple reason: he thinks that no one cares about his 11th birthday.  His mother was heartbroken when her son Colin told her that he didn't want a birthday party because he had no friends.  Without telling Colin, his mother appealed to Facebook users who have responded magnificently.  Her plea has gone viral, resulting in more than a hundred thousand birthday wishes that flood in every passing minute.  Colin's birthday is on March 9th and he has no idea any of this is happening.  Visit his Facebook Page to wish Colin a happy birthday!

For more information, click here:

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Autistic Teen Asks Ellen DeGeneres to Prom, Receives Community Support

It is truly unfortunate that there are those, on the spectrum and off, who feel that they are alone even though they are in fact surrounded by friendly, loving people.  Yesterday, someone I used to work with committed suicide.  I never really spoke with her that much but it is clear that she was loved because of the number of people who have been hurt by this loss.

This story proves that there is always hope, no matter how alone or disconnected you might feel.  Esteban Barriga, a teen with autism from Maynard Massachusetts, told his mother that he was not going to his high school prom because he had no friends.  He eventually changed his mind and decided who he wanted to ask to accompany him on that special night...talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

Although this seems like a tall order to achieve, it has helped Esteban see one thing in his life that he did not see before.  From the amount of support he is receiving from his classmates and his community, he has surely seen all the friends that he does have in his life.  Whether or not he actually reaches Ellen DeGeneres is irrelevant.  He's already proven his earlier statement wrong.  Esteban does indeed have friends who are willing to help him make his dreams come true.

To read more about this story, click here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/04/esteban-barriga_n_4724602.html?ir=Good+News

Sunday, January 26, 2014

My Interview with a Recognized Member of the Autism Community

If you missed my interview with Joanne Lara, founder and CEO of Autism Movement Therapy and producer of the new documentary "Generation A: Portraits of Autism and the Arts", click here to listen now:

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Fundraiser for a Good Cause

Those who have been following The Voice from the Spectrum for a long time will know of my involvement with Positively Autistic.  For those who do not know, since February 2012, I have been hosting a podcast for an international autism awareness charity based out of Newton Abbot England.  In April of this year, I will be traveling to England to meet members of Positively Autistic who I have communicated with through Facebook for the past two years.  This exciting trip is unlike anything I have ever done before and I find myself feeling a mixture of anticipation, anxiety, and excitement.

In April 2012, I began working with another member of Positively Autistic who lives here in the United States.  Marilyn Francis hosted Positively Autistic: The Poet's Interest with Marilyn and Ryan with my assistance as co-host.  Marilyn is truly a credit to Positively Autistic because she was able to connect to some wonderful people who worked to raise autism awareness through poetry while caring for her severely disabled daughter.

When we first came up with the idea for the England Trip in September of this year, Marilyn had already been planning to travel to England for some time to see members of Positively Autistic and had already put some money aside to cover the expenses.  However, a most unwelcome tragedy took place.  Marilyn's daughter Leslie, who was severely disabled with cerebral palsy passed away near the end of September.  Leslie's passing ripped a hole in Marilyn's already fragile life.  The expenses in the following months wiped out Marilyn's saving so she can no longer afford the England Trip.

That's why, with the help of Joe Westlake, co-founder of Positively Autistic (an exceptionally driven young college student), we created a fundraiser on gofundme.com to help Marilyn participate in the England trip.  Our goal is to raise $2500 by mid-march to help Marilyn pay for the flight to and from England (which cost me more than $1000) and help cover additional costs that may come up during the duration of the trip.  I am not one to ask for monetary support but Marilyn really needs whatever help you can give her.  I spent most of my show last week discussing the fundraiser with Joe Westlake and as of right now, we have not received any donations.

To find out more about this fundraiser, please click here:

http://www.gofundme.com/5zxyw8

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Media usage linked to Sleep Deprivation

Sleep is important to healthy development and growth for children.  A study performed by the University of Missouri has linked the use of easy-to-reach technology and media to less sleep for boys with autism.  I myself am guilty as charged.  Last night I could be found surfing the web on my phone which I charge within reach of my bed.

The study revealed that this not only a problem related to autism but with the general population as well. While easy access to the world wide web has solved many problems, it has clearly created some new problems.

During the study, boys parents of those with autism as well as parents of NT boys were surveyed to determine how much time per day their children use media.  They found a link between bedroom access to a TV or computer and lack of sleep.  There was a much stronger correlation between boys with autism and lack of sleep due to media usage.  Members of the research team stated that further research was needed to see what processes might contribute to lack of sleep in boys on the autism spectrum.


Parents, is your son with autism getting enough sleep at night?  Does he have easy access to media in the place where he sleeps?

For more info about this study, click here:

http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/01/03/media-screens-in-bedroom-tied-to-less-sleep-for-boys-with-autism/64038.html

If You Missed My Show 1-2-14

If you missed my podcast on Thursday, January 2nd, you can listen by clicking on the link below.  My guest, Jake McCorry, discussed the difficulties of living on the autism spectrum and being gay.

Use this link to listen:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/positivelyautistic/2014/01/02/junior-positively-autistic-ryans-spectrum-talk 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Teacher Training in Autism Care Vital for Success

Here is a heartwarming story where the difficulties of high functioning autism were solved early enough in a child's life to enable her to make the best use of her education.  Seven year old Chloe Burton thrived in kindergarten but started to go downhill in first grade.   She wandered the classroom instead of performing work likely because the significant change in routine between kindergarten and first grade.  The problem was that Chloe's teachers at the time were not trained in handling autism so they disciplined her for not getting her work done.  They prevented her to go out for recess and insisted she use the time to get her work done.

The frustration Chloe felt is something that many people on the autism spectrum know all too well.  The discipline used by the teachers did not help the situation and instead nursed anger within the young girl.  She lashed out at teachers and other students.   The problem was not Chloe but the way the teachers were presenting their instructions.  Chloe's parents settled with the district and moved her to a different school where the teachers were trained to handle autism.  The difference is remarkable.

These new teachers knew how to break instructions down into steps so that Chloe could follow and understand every part of the process and she is thriving.  Positive reinforcement was used instead of punishment and extra time was given to complete assignments when needed. The situation would have been very different if Chloe's parents had followed the advice of the untrained teachers and placed Chloe in a unit alongside kids with behavioral problems.  That being said, training teachers in handling autism can really make all the difference in the lives of those on the spectrum.  Many children and families have gone through unnecessary grief that could have been resolved if the proper knowledge was applied.

For more information about this story, click here:

http://kuow.org/post/six-months-later-girl-autism-thrives-trained-teachers

Friday, December 27, 2013

My Autistic Journey: Part II

Here is some info about me:

  • I was born April 28th 1988.
  • When I was two years old, my language skills degraded.
  • When I was three, I regained my ability to speak.
  • When I was nine, I was highly impulsive and destroyed another student's textbooks in Catechism class. Earlier that same day I was disciplined at school for throwing snow at another student.
  • When I was eleven, I received detention for not keeping up and had a teacher tell me "see, you know what you need to do, why don't you just do it?" I didn't have an answer I could give.
  • When I was twelve, I was taken out of school and hospitalized for four weeks while I was diagnosed with atypical autism and treated for depression.  During the following months, I received an "F" in an elective computer class.  It was the last time I ever failed a class.
  • When I was thirteen, I was enrolled in all special education classes and had begun to slowly regain my self esteem.
  • When I was fourteen, I made the honor role for the first time.
  • When I was fifteen, I attended my first school honor ceremony.
  • When I was sixteen I had begun to mainstream into regular education science and social studies classes and was still ranked in the top 10 % of my graduating class.
  • When I was seventeen, I was inducted into the National Honor Society.
  • When I was eighteen, I graduated from high school with a 3.85 GPA.
  • When I was nineteen, I received my first "B" in a college class after attending community college for a year.
  • When I was twenty two, I wrote for The Oakland Press as a reporting intern while taking four college classes and working another job.
  • When I was twenty three, I began to write this blog The Voice from the Spectrum, which has received more than 25,000 pageviews to date.
  • When I was twenty four, I graduated from college with a 3.35 GPA as a member of Alpha Mu Alpha marketing honor society which required a recommendation from a professor.

  • Today, I received this in the mail:

Thursday, December 26, 2013

You Think You Know Autism...

People tell me all the time that I don't seem like I'm autistic.  If you are a relatively successful adult who is on the spectrum, I am certain you hear it too.  Why do you think people say that in response to us "coming out?"

Here is what I think:

  • It's because they think they understand autism and I simply don't fall into that category.  
  • It's because small talk cannot relate what autism really is.  Only deep intensive discussions can do that.
  • It's because the face I and so many others present to the face to the world are individual faces of autism and no two of us are alike.
  • And it's because autism has been treated as a disease to be cured instead of what it really is.

The world as we know it has changed a lot in the past one hundred years.  There have been many revolutions driven by business that have changed the world completely.  We have walked on the moon.  You are reading these words right now and you have likely never met me and likely never will.  The industrial age works as a system.  Children are sent to school at a certain age, expected to assimilate certain knowledge at certain times at the same frequency as their peers.  After school is finished, these adults who were once children work for the next 50 years of their lives.  Then, they retire and stay retired the rest of their lives.  This way have life has reshaped the entire world in one hundred years.  Everything has become systematic according to this industrial world.  Education.  Medicine.  Art.  The industrial society has worked hard for the past one hundred years to convince everyone that this is the single best way to live.  A small handful of generations.  When you think about it, one hundred years is really not the long when you consider how long mankind has walked the earth.

Autism is different.  It makes the industrial world feel uncomfortable.  Autism cannot be compared to the standard of what people are expected to know at a certain age.  So the industrial world cannot rely on autism the same way as other people who are trained to become workers since first entering school. So industry assumes that those with autism are less capable.  Then those on the spectrum show that they are indeed capable, producing great works of art, proving extraordinary capability in many different areas of interest.  This makes the industrial world even more uncomfortable.  Autism is something strange, new.  The industrial society is afraid with no clear answer in sight according to their system.  And this takes us to the present day.

Let me reiterate what I am today.  Today, I am a college graduate, a musician, a writer, a podcast host, a friend, an uncle, a son, a brother, an idealist, a dreamer, a visionary, and autistic.  This is the current end result of my autistic journey which is still in progress.  Many successful stories told by those on the autism spectrum are very similar to mine.  Why then is autism still treated like a disease to be cured?  Should we not be patient with all members of the spectrum and try to nurture the strong gifts that can be found in all members of the spectrum?

Here is a fact about ASD.  All cases of autism are like icebergs.  Most of the activity is taking place below outside perception.  Even a kid who is screaming, a kicking, and biting themselves can tell a story, not in the conventional way, but in the autistic way, if minds are opened and this "self destructive" child is viewed in a new way.

That new way is not easy to see.  The industrial world has standardized everything to be based around profit generation, including the distribution of information.  This reminds me of a simple principal of the news industry:

Bad news sells better than good news.  

The public has proven that there is a greater response to negative news than positive news.  So the news industry has been based around the premise that if a worker in the news business has to choose between showing bad news and good news on the evening news than bad news takes priority.  Bad news is better for business.  Bad news makes more money.  So when information is presented to the public about autism it is more likely bad news than good news.  Unfortunately, bad news has also skewed how autism is viewed by the general public and by decision makers who have the power to make a difference.

Autism Speaks is the largest organization in the United States that is based around autism.  They have been under a lot of fire since John Elder Robison, who is on the autism spectrum, resigned from their science board.  His accounts can be found on his blog.   Now that Robison has left Autism Speaks, general outcry has stated that there is little to no representation by members who are on the spectrum.  There are Facebook movements striving to remove the support of sponsors from Autism Speaks.  There are also many who state that Autism Speaks has mishandled funds.

The fact of the matter is that Autism Speaks operates under the principles developed by the industrial world.  These principles have led to their use of sponsors, their hierarchical structure, and nearly every action, every decision they have made.

I think that the single mistake Autism Speaks has made is that they look at autism with the same eyes used by the industrial world when those on the spectrum do not fit into that system.  A possible solution?  Toss aside the system and start fresh.  The system has already proven to not work for those on the spectrum from education to employment.

Viewing autism through the eyes of industry also accounts for the information they report about autism on their website.  Robison stated that the trigger of his resignation was an article written by Suzanne Wright displaying the worst of what autism has to offer.  This is because Wright was using the news principle of the industrial world: bad news sells better than good news.  As a result, many on the spectrum have stated that they find the article offensive.  This is because, like I stated earlier, the system developed by the industrial does not work for those on the spectrum.  The system depends on traits common among the majority of people in order to function.  The simple fact is that autism is not the majority.  The sooner that autism speaks realizes this, the sooner that they will be able to really make a difference.

My point is that everything we think we know about autism, the actions of Autism Speaks, the computer you're using now and the fact that you can even read has been determined by the industrial society that has shaped life for the past one hundred years.  The same industrial society that fears autism because those on the spectrum do not fit into their system.  Like I said earlier, one hundred years is not the long.  Is there a better way?  Is it now time to change the way we live our lives not according to the industrial way but an entirely new way? Comment below with your thoughts.

Great Minds DO NOT Think Alike

It is my viewpoint as an individual on the spectrum that those with autism are beginning to change how Western Society views talent.  Too often, people mistake presentation of talent for the talent itself.  By that, I mean that those who are extroverted are seen as more valuable than those who are introverted or those who are autistic.  Companies require team building activities and colleges require group work under the premise that groups can produce better ideas than individuals working alone.  Those on the autism spectrum are proving this premise wrong by producing excellent creative work without the social skills used during group activities.

I'm not saying I'm against group work.  A few weeks ago, I joined the marketing committee for the community band I play in.  This has worked out very well, a lot better than I thought it would.  The reason for that is that I am able to work within the realm of my strengths rather than being forced to rely on my weaknesses.  The person I have worked with mostly on this project is outgoing and action orientated.  This person's approach complements well with my introverted, idea orientated mindset.  This person told me that the ideas I come up with really gets her thinking when I present ideas in an environment I am comfortable in.  Working together, we have accomplished a lot more than we would have if either one of us would have done if we had been forced to rely on our weaknesses rather than our strengths.

Forcing those into group work who would rather work quietly is counterproductive to success.  Today's job market in America favors the assertive when in fact there are talented, capable individuals being overlooked simply because they are quieter.  Both sets of people have their place.  Those who are quieter work better in support roles alongside their outgoing counterparts, reigning them in when necessary.  Those on the autism spectrum fall into both categories, many high functioning individuals are outgoing and many are quieter.  The main idea is that people on the autism spectrum and those who are neurotypical, those who are introverted and those who are extroverted all work best when they can utilize their strengths instead of being forced to rely on their weaknesses.

Just something to think about.

Friday, December 13, 2013

My Take on Susan Boyle's Announcement

An autism diagnosis is not the end of the world but the beginning of a whole new world filled with wonder and delight.  Many on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum, such as Susan Boyle, lived their lives thinking that something was wrong with them.

I speak from experience when I say that those who grow up thinking differently than most others can discount their inner voices and pursue the expectations of others.  By recently finding out that she was on the autism spectrum, Susan Boyle may have finally found peace with being different.

Susan Boyle announced earlier this week that she was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, a form of high functioning autism.  A few years ago, Boyle received world-wide attention for her singing talent.  In an article on the Daily News website, the 52 year old singer also revealed that she was misdiagnosed as a child.  Boyle is beginning to expand other talents as well with the announcement of her film debut in "The Christmas Candle."


Friday, November 29, 2013

4 Paws for DJ

Here is a message from friend in need (the following was taken from the 4 Paws for DJ Facebook Account):

"Here is our story, also I am a single mom who has a lot of health problems, lupus, arthritis, herniated discs in my back, and more. A service dog will help me also by helping my son! I will have the security of him not running off in public, be alerted for seizures and disrupt the self hurting behaviors that he does without it resulting in an argument with me! 
My family is raising money for 4 Paws for ability in order for my son DJ to receive an autism/seizure service dog. We need 13,000 points to qualify for my son’s service dog; each dollar donated equals one point.
My son has autism, sensory processing disorder, adhd, fine and gross motor delay, epilepsy, selective mustism, anxiety, speech delays, and some health problems. He is 7 years old and home schooled through a cyber-academy because he cannot handle being at school or anywhere where there are groups of children. A service dog will greatly improve his quality of life by providing love, behavior disruption (he pulls out his hair, bangs his head, bites his nails till they bleed), detect seizures, and he will be tethered to the dog while out in public because DJ is also a runner/wanderer when we are out in public.
It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 or more to raise and train a service dog for my son. The money we raise will go to 4 Paws for ability directly to help them help other families like us receive a service dog. Because of this we will not have a waiting list or have to pay to receive my son’s service dog. 4 Paws for abilities is a wonderful organization that helps many families, we are very excited to raise money so they can continue their amazing work in the community.
Any donations made should be made directly to, 4 Paws for ability 253 Dayton ave. Xenia OH 45385
Please make checks out to 4 Paws for ability and please make sure to write on your check memo line – In honor of Dennis Bowman- so that we receive the points from your donation. ALL donations made are tax deductible as 4 Paws for abilities is a nonprofit 501c3 organization. Any services or products donated for an event is also tax deductible!
Please make sure to fill out the enclosed donation sheet.
Thank you for your time and support"


To donate, visit the 4 Paws for DJ Facebook page or email DJ's mother directly: amymswanson80@gmail.com

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Animator with Autism Recognized for Achievements

A good friend of mine was recently recognized for her great accomplishments as an individual on the autism spectrum.  Dani Bowman was recently awarded the "Hero Goody Necklace" for teaching animation to over 250 children with autism.   Dani was also awarded the Next Level Artist award and the Temple Grandin Award.   All these awards were given during the Exceptional Ability Awards in Los Angeles.  A short animation film created by Dani also received some well deserved recognition at Comic-Con 2013.  "How Hannah Lost Her Smile," premiered for the Comic-Con audience.  Great job Dani!

For more information, click here:

http://goodyawards.com/autistic-teen-animator-dani-bowman-receives-hero-goody-necklace/

Visit Dani's website:

http://powerlight-studios.com/

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Decline in Infant Eye Contact Could Predict Autism

Studies have revealed that autism can be detected as early as six months through use of special equipment.  This is done through observing a decline of eye contact between 6 and 24 months, which would indicate autism.  The quicker the decline of eye contact, the more severe the diagnosis in autism.  Experts state that such observations cannot be observed by the naked eye to to the precision of eye  movement necessary to make an accurate diagnosis.

For more information, click here:

http://www.hngn.com/articles/16792/20131106/autism-signs-may-be-detectable-in-first-months-of-life-and-its-all-in-the-eyes.htm

Monday, November 4, 2013

SENSE Program Uses Theatre to Help Kids with Autism

Those on the autism spectrum are often valued for the high level of creativity that we have to offer to the world around us.  Therefore, I think it is rational to assume that the use of creativity can help solve many behavioral issues that may arise.    Joey Travolta's Inclusion Film Camp is a great example of this.  Also, it has been proven that involvement in another creative pursuit, theatre, can help those on the autism spectrum to improve their behavior.

In the source article I used to derive this blog post, it was stated that those on the autism spectrum were paired with NT peers.  All participants were between the ages 8 and 17.  The camp, called SENSE, taught social skills while working toward the end result of a theatre performance.  

The only part of this article I disagree with is the way the title was used.  I feel that the writer implied that theatre is a one-size-fits-all solution.  Autism doesn't work in that way.  It's the creativity aspect of these programs which determines their success.  Whether it's theatre, or Film Camps, or even surfing.  Based on my experience as an individual on the autism spectrum and through all the people I have met by advocating for autism, I feel that creativity is the driving factor that enables those on the spectrum to display talents and abilities that were previously unobserved.

To read about the SENSE program, click here:

http://health.india.com/news/can-theatre-help-kids-with-autism-overcome-their-problems/

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Thinking in Pictures on the Job

Temple Grandin wrote about the concept of "thinking with pictures" in her book with the same title. Even though that thinking in pictures was something I had done plenty of times before, it was not something that I had really thought about that much before reading Grandin's book about three years ago.

Earlier at work today, I consciously realized that I was thinking in pictures as I was trying to explain something to my manager earlier.  I could perfectly picture the problem in my head but I was having difficulty translating that problem into words.  I thought to myself: if she could just see this picture in my head then there would be no problem.  But she couldn't see it and there was no way that she was going to see it.  I eventually was able to get enough words out to explain the situation so that my boss followed me to see for herself.

Trying to explain something when you are thinking in pictures is like trying to force a rock through a sand strainer.  By bashing the rock, bits and pieces trickle through until the rock is entirely through, but not at all in the same condition it was before.  That's what I experience trying to explain something to another person when I am thinking in pictures.  It's difficult and the other person never knows exactly why I am struggling with words.  I have to resist the temptation to say "just look at it and you'll understand," because the other person will never quite see the picture that I can see quite clearly in my head.

If you Missed My Show 10/10/13

During the 10/10 broadcast of Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk, I interviewed author Travis Breeding  about his book The Reality of Living Within Two Worlds.  You can listen to the interview right now by clicking on this link:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/positivelyautistic/2013/10/10/junior-positively-autistic-ryans-spectrum-talk 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Company can Help Missing People with Autism

The search continues for a 14 autistic boy, Avonte Oquendo, who is missing in New York City.  Avonte is non-verbal, which increases the urgency to find him as quickly as possible.  Searches are being concentrated around subway tunnels.  It was reported that Avonte has run away three times previously and was found near area train stations. (source)

We all dread stories of missing individuals on the autism spectrum and the horror stories that appear all too often in the mainstream media.

A few months ago on my autism awareness podcast, I interviewed two parents of an autistic child, Bruce and Erin Wilson, who started a company called QR Code ID.  A QR code is a special label that can be read by smart phones and take the phone user to certain websites.  This QR code is placed on the clothing of an autistic child.  When the code is scanned by a smart phone, anyone who happens to find this child alone can receive any information the parent would like them to know.  It gives low function autistic kids a fighting chance if they happen to wander.

Click here to find out more about QR Code ID:

https://www.qrcodeid.org/

Edit 10-10-13 2:49 EST: Click here to listen to my interview with Bruce and Erin Wilson about their company QR Code ID:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/positivelyautistic/2013/08/07/junior-positively-autistic-ryans-spectrum-talk

Saturday, October 5, 2013

If You Missed my Show 10-3-13

If you missed my musical extravaganza featuring performances by Colin Brennan and myself, click here to tune in.  Colin is 11 years old, on the autism spectrum, and he is a fantastic singer.  I played some music from memory on my clarinet.

You can tune into this podcast right now by clicking on this link:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/positivelyautistic/2013/10/03/junior-positively-autistic-ryans-spectrum-talk

My Response to Daryl Hannah's Revelation

A recent confession has caused quite a stir in the entertainment industry.  Actress Daryl Hannah recently revealed that she is on the autism spectrum in an issue of People Magazine.  Hannah claims that she was never happy being in the "center of attention."  Some have criticized Hannah for not revealing this information sooner.

Let's examine this a little closer.  Hannah is 52, which means she was born in a time when autism was not widely understood.  Her mother refused doctors when they said Hannah should be institutionalized and would not function in society.  By age 17, Hannah was acting and in the years that followed she made it big as a celebrity.  However, she was never happy.  Having nearly every aspect of her life analyzed by the media is not easy for anyone, but I can imagine that it caused Hannah uncomfortable anxiety.

I have to admit that I had not heard of Daryl Hannah prior to hearing about this story.  She never acted in the kind of movies I like to watch.   In any case, it seems like Hannah's revelation has led many to questions whether they really knew her.  I think that is nonsense because they already knew her beforehand, from her actions, movies, and decisions.  When I reveal to a new person that I am on the autism spectrum, the first thing that comes to mind is whether this information will change the way people view me.  No wonder Hannah waited so long to make this revelation...

Here are my sources:

http://www.stjamesnews.com/article/20130927/NEWS/309279955

http://www.ibtimes.com/daryl-hannah-autism-2013-did-interview-bring-awareness-or-confusion-spectrum-disorder-1413044

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk 09/26 by Positively Autistic | Lifestyle Podcasts

Tune into the next broadcast of Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk.  This show will take place Thursday, September 6th at 6 pm EST, 3 pm PST, and 11 pm UK time.
This show will feature an interview with Paul Gomez, who has mild autism.  Paul operates a camera for Joey Travolta's Inclusion Film Camps.  Last summer, Paul traveled with Travolta to Inclusion Film Camps all over the United States.
Tune into what will surely be another great show!

Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk 09/26 by Positively Autistic | Lifestyle Podcasts

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Higher Functioning Versus Lower Functioning

When I attended a social event recently with some friends who are familiar with the work I do to raise autism awareness, someone brought up the topic of autism and mentioned at some point during the conversation that I "don't seem autistic."  I've been hearing that same phrase for years and I think it's because when many people think of autism, the first thing that comes to mind is classic autism.

This article brings up the point of high function autism and low functioning autism from a parent's perspective, stating that those with higher functioning autism face their own challenges as well.  The writer says this is because society has higher expectations for those with higher functioning autism.  Individuals on this end of the spectrum are expected to suppress any autistic behaviors that does not comply with expected behavior in society.  I'm not saying whether this is right or wrong.  What I'm saying is that those with higher functioning autism face challenges that are often understated, even by those who are familiar with autism.

I have seen high functioning autism advocates that receive negative feedback from parents or classically autistic children.  I have been told before that I don't really understand what autism is really like because I am high functioning.   Either autism is too broadly defined or people still don't understand the spectrum, I don't know.  When a group of people with varying symptoms are classified as autistic, there is going to be many differences in perspective.  Hopefully my words lead some people to think about this subject a little more.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk 09/19 by Positively Autistic | Life Podcasts

Tune into the next broadcast of Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk.  During this show, I am going to interview Matt Page, an adult with autism who runs the Facebook group Aspergers and Business.
This show will air September 19th at 6 pm EST, 3 pm PST, and 11 pm UK time.
If you would like to join the discussion, you can do so by calling (619) 393-2848 or you can call in through Skype.
Tune into what will surely be another great show!
Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk 09/19 by Positively Autistic | Life Podcasts

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk 09/12 by Positively Autistic | Life Podcasts

Tune into the next broadcast of Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk.  During this show, host Ryan Comins will interview Kevin Mackie, who is the producer of the anti bullying CD "All About Bullies Big And Small." This CD features various artists addressing both people who have been bullies and bullies themselves. This CD actually won a Grammy in 2012.
This show will take place Thursday, September 12th at 6 pm EST, 3 pm PST, and 11 pm UK time.
Stop by for what will surely be another great show!

Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk 09/12 by Positively Autistic | Life Podcasts

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Autism Did Not Cause Attack in Best Buy

A 29 year old man is facing charges for attempted murder in an incident that took place at a Best Buy in Florida.  The article states that this man was on the autism spectrum and strongly implies that autism was the reason behind the attack.

I strongly disagree with this article.  This is enough confusion circulating around about autism for reporters to associate autism with violent acts.  It's just like the aftermath of the Newtown Connecticut shooting where speculation emerged that the shooter was on the autism spectrum.

While the man was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, there had to have been more issues involved that would prompt this violent attack.  I hope that this message reaches the right people and that the publication of this story does not result in further confusion about autism.

To read more about this incident, click here:

http://jacksonville.com/news/crime/2013-08-29/story/accused-best-buy-attacker-diagnosed-autism

Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk 09/05 by Positively Autistic | Life Podcasts

Tune into the next broadcast of Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk.  During this broadcast, I will interview Jake McCorry, an adult on the autism spectrum, as we discuss his interests, his challanges, and the day Jake and I spent hanging out with Dani Bowman a few weeks ago.
This show will take place Thursday, September 5th at 6 pm EST, 3 pm PST, and 11 pm UK time.
If you would like to join the discussion, you can do so by calling 619-393-2848 or you can call in through Skype by clicking on the Skype icon anytime during the broadcast.
Tune into what will surely be another great show!

Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk 09/05 by Positively Autistic | Life Podcasts

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Hate Letter Sparks Outrage in Autism Community

You have probably heard the story by now, about the grandmother in Newcastle Ontario who received a hate letter from her neighbor about her grandson, who has classic autism.  If this story is news to you, click here to find out more.  I have made many friends within the autism community through social media over the past few years and this story has been everywhere on my Facebook news feed.  The support I have seen from the autism community is just amazing.  It also shows how strong we are as a whole.

I was hesitant to draw any attention to this story at first because I believed the letter in question was the work of a prankster but sources (like the one above) believe that this letter was legitimately sent by a neighbor who does (or did not previously) understand autism.  I hope that the response her words have induced from the autism community has made this mother think twice about how she views those on the autism spectrum.

Meet Anthony Barrett: a Business Owner with Autism

Anthony Barret is a 24 year old man with autism who has started a delivery service.  He travels around with his aide, Mikey Hamm, to deliver things to people.  While Anthony is mostly independent, he still needs assistance with certain aspects of life.  Mikey says that he likes hanging around with Anthony because of how positive Anthony is throughout the day...well, maybe not always in the early morning.

This two-men delivery service is looking for more business, so if you live in the Edmonton Canada area, remember to contact Anthony is you need anything delivered.

To find out more, click on these links:

http://globalnews.ca/news/790139/man-with-autism-reaches-business-milestone/

Visit Anthony's website: http://www.anthonyatyourservice.com/

Surfer Boy with Autism

Change is usually very difficult for those on the autism spectrum.  Which is why 11 year old Shea Edmondson-Wood, a boy diagno"sed with Aspergers Syndrome, did not respond well to his new home in Florida...at least at first. Shea experienced sensory difficulties from walking on grass, among other things, but his parents noticed that he did like going to the beach to watch the surfers.  When his parents heard about inclusion surfing lessons being offered in their area for children on the autism spectrum, they enrolled Shea, not knowing what to expect.  To their surprise, Shea experienced immediate improvement while attending Surfers for Autism under the guidance of the inclusion class instructors.

During one of his first surfing lesson with Surfing for Autism, Shea loses his balance and falls off the board, disappearing under the water.  When he emerged, Shea's parents thought that was the end of surfing.  They thought that Shea would reject this new interest.  They could not have been more surprised when Shea surfaced, screaming in excitement.

Through exploring the passion of surfing, Shea began to improve in other areas of his life as well.  It lead to what his parents can only call a "transformation."  Shea now dons a blue mo-hawk and even is brave enough to "hang ten."

To read more about Shea, the surfer with autism, click on the links below:

http://www.weartv.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/surfing-turns-fla-autistic-child-into-rock-star-35143.shtml

Shea's parents, who call Shea the "Puzzled Surfer" have also started a website to celebrate Shea's interest:

http://puzzledsurfer.com/

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Meeting Dani Bowman

It has been almost three years since I first heard the name "Dani Bowman." Autism advocate.  Animator.  At the time Dani was a sixteen year old girl with autism who had an animation company.  I just missed meeting her at the 2011 Joey Travolta Inclusion Film Camp held by OUCARES at Oakland University.

This year at the film camp, I did receive a chance to meet her.  I've spent a lot of time this week with Dani and other members of Joey Travolta's crew.  On Thursday, I hosted my weekly podcast live on location at the OUCARES Film camp with Dani sitting in front of me most of the time.  Other activities this week included some karaoke at a local bar, where Dani and I both participated (yes, I actually sung two songs. Unfortunately for me, Dani's Aunt Sandy recorded both of my performances...)  To finish off the week, on Friday, I went to a cook out with Dani, Joey Travolta, and the rest of the crew.

Overall, last week was a great week and I expect this week to be even better!


Saturday, August 17, 2013

An "Unrecognized" Autism Population?

There has always been a lot of attention spent on children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and a reasonable about of attention is now being paid to adults with autism as they try to cope with sensory issues among other things.  However, what about the senior citizen population that is on the autism spectrum?

Donald Triplett, 77, of Forest Mississippi was the first person to receive an autism diagnosis around 1943.  According to my source, Triplett was known as "Case One" regarding what was considered to be an extremely rare condition.  Only ten other children were diagnosed with autism at that time.

This brings attention to a hardly discussed population on the autism spectrum: the senior citizen population.  Does anyone know someone over age 65 who is on the autism spectrum?  What are their individual needs?  Do you feel like enough attention is paid to oldsters on the autism spectrum?

Leave a comment below to share your experiences.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk 08/15 by Positively Autistic | Life Podcasts

Tune into the next broadcast of Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk.  The first of a two-show special, this broadcast will feature an interview with Joey Travolta and a walking commentary of Joey's Inclusion Film Camp at Oakland University.
This show will air Thursday, August 15th at 1 pm EST, 10 pm PST, and 6 pm UK time.   
Cohosting during this two-broadcast series is Joe Westlake, co-founder of Positively Autistic, and Diana Lowther, a volunteer for Positively Autistic.  Tune into what will surely be a great show!

Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk 08/15 by Positively Autistic | Life Podcasts

Monday, August 5, 2013

Tune in to Learn how QR Code ID can Save the Lives of Children with Autism

Tune into the next broadcast of Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk.  During this show, I will interview business owner Erin Wilson as she talks about a product that saves the lives of those on the autism spectrum.  
Erin's company, QR Code ID, uses computer codes embedded in T-shirts to help find children on the spectrum who wander away from home.
This show will take place at a DIFFERENT time this week: Wednesday, August 7th at 5 pm EST, 2 pm PST, and 10 pm UK time.  Stop by to find more about a unique product that can save the lives of children on the spectrum.
To find out more about QR Code ID, visit their website at www.qrcodeid.org.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Children with Autism/ADHD More Prone to Video Game Addicitions

A new study has revealed that children with autism and ADHD are more prone to excessive video game usage, according to an article published in the August issue of "Pediatrics."  Experts say that video game addictions result from difficulties experienced in relating with peers.

Video game addictions is something that I have experienced with varying degrees throughout my life.  In fourth grade, I would have much rather played the computer game "TIE Fighter" than worked on my homework.  Even today, at age twenty five, there are times when video games have cut into my writing and autism advocacy work.

If I had to give a reason, I would say that playing video games still gives me a sense of control that I don't always have at work or in my social life.  In any case, excessive video game use can be harmful if not controlled.  While attending school, I tried to set a timer and take breaks from studying for class to play video games. When the timer went off, I returned to my studies.  This routine worked reasonably well although there were times I was tempted to keep on playing instead of returning to my studies.

To read more about this topic, click here:

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2013/07/29/video-game-addiction-more-likely-with-autism-adhd

A Great Resource for those Affected by Autism

When I wrote for The Oakland Press as an intern reporter during early 2011, I got to know reporter and disability advocate Jerry Wolffe.  Jerry, who is currently a Disability Advocate for MORC, was born with cerebral palsy. Over the years, Jerry has become a strong advocate for those with disabilities.

In his blog "Voices of Disabilities," Jerry lists a number of resources for those affected by autism.  Click here to view that list:

http://voicesofdisabilities.blogspot.com/2013_07_16_archive.html

If You Missed My Podcast 8-1-13


My show Thursday August 1st was a success.  If you missed my interview with Dani Bowman and her Aunt Sandra Vielma, you can listen to the show on demand by clicking on the link below.  Among the topics discussed were Dani's recent high school graduation and her plans for the future.  We also discussed the topic of autism and dating/relationships which was started during my show last week with Frank Allen, as he talked about his recent marriage.

To listen to my interview with Dani and her Aunt, click on the following link:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/positivelyautistic/2013/08/01/junior-positively-autistic-ryans-spectrum-talk

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tune into My Podcast 7/25/13

There is always hope for those on the autism spectrum.  Artist Frank Allen, a friend of mine who is on the autism spectrum, recently married.  Frank, who is an artist with a degenerative eye condition, has been on my show several times in the past.
For this week's show, Frank is coming on Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk to talk about his marriage and the long road that led him where he is today.
This show will air Thursday, July 25 at 6 pm EST, 3 pm PST, and 11 pm UK time.
Join in on this discussion in the chat room (just create an account on Blog Talk Radio to access the chat room just below the show screen) and by calling (619) 393-2848 to join the conversation live on the air.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/positivelyautistic/2013/07/25/junior-positively-autistic-ryans-spectrum-talk

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tune into my Rescheduled Show

Unfortunately, last week's episode of Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk did not work out due to technical difficulties.  So this week, I am going to hold last week's intended show with guests Colin and Gordan Brennan.
This show will air Thursday, July 18th at 6 pm EST, 3 pm PST, and 11 pm UK time.
Special guestsColin Brennan and his father Gordon will talk about Colin's upcoming birthday, his new sister, and his plans for future vocal performances.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

My Show with Singer Colin Brennan

Tune into the next broadcast of Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk.  This show will air Thursday, July 11th at 6 pm EST, 3 pm PST, and 11 pm UK time.  This show will feature special guest Colin Brennan and his father Gordon, who will talk about Colin's upcoming birthday, his new sister, and his plans for future vocal performances.  Click here to tune in:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/positivelyautistic/2013/07/11/junior-positively-autistic-ryans-spectrum-talk