Saturday, July 28, 2012

Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk 07/30 by Positively Autistic | Blog Talk Radio

Join me for the next broadcast of Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk on Blog Talk Radio.  During this broadcast, I will discuss that fantasy series that I have been working on for the past six years and some of the work and challenges I have faced to reach the point where I am at today in the process.  

This show will air on Monday, July 30th at 1 pm EST, 10 am PST, and 6 pm UK time.  

Remember that you can post any appropriate feedback you have in the chat room.  You can also call into the show by dialing (619) 393-2848 to ask me any relevant questions that you might have.  Click on the following link to tune into the broadcast:

Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk 07/30 by Positively Autistic | Blog Talk Radio

INFP/Autism Dating Curse

Building from the topic I started my last blog post, the INFP personality type is an uncommon type.  Only about four percent of the population has this personality type compared to the fifteen other types on the Myers-Briggs scale.  Even more interesting, the INFP type is more frequently found in women than men.

Therefore, since I am a male INFP, I have found myself subjected to gender stereotypes all throughout my life.  The American society expects men to be, for a lack of a better word, manly.  That is, men are expected to be decisive and assertive problem solvers.  In my case, I would much rather allow a conflict to happen passively than try to take action and do something about it and expose myself to more emotional pain than I would feel by doing nothing..  This is not something I do whole-heartedly; I am often at inner conflict about this aspect of myself.  

It also makes it very difficult to date.  I haven't had an official girlfriend in about five years.  It's been more than four years since I've even been on a date.  Both INFP and autistic individuals find dating to be very intimidating, the combined total has made my dating life miserable to experience and nostalgic to look back on.  Summoning the resolve to ask out a girl, who might say no, stretches my anxiety to the limit. This is not helped by the fact that in this society, men are expected to ask women out and not the other way around.  Much to my disadvantage.

To sum it all up, being a male INFP with autism in the world of dating makes me feel like a hairless cat being entered into a competitive dog show.  It is not easy by any means.  It's reached the point where it's more trouble than it's worth for me to force myself to approach girls.  I'm just living my life with the belief that the right woman will walk into my life and make the first move.  Other than that, I will continue to write my fantasy series without the fear of a family complicating my dream of becoming the next great writer.  It doesn't mean that I don't want a family, but it's sort of become a way for me to justify, both to others and to myself, exactly why I have such a hard time dating.

INFP and Autism: An Introduction

During this next series of posts on The Voice from the Spectrum, I am going to expand on a topic that has been of great interest to my lately.  A few years ago, I identified myself as an INFP personality type, identified using the "Myers-Briggs" scale (information found at this website).  This personality type is referred to by different resources as an Idealist or a Healer.

To give a little background information, the 16 personality types described on this scale are evaluated using the following criteria: someone could be an introvert or an extrovert, depending on whether they draw internal energy from themselves or from other people; people can take in information  Intuitively by seeing the big picture or Sensory by focusing intensely on the details; people can be driven by logic as a Thinker or emotions as a Feeler; and people can live their lives by Perceiving spontaneously or by Judging in an orderly fashion.

Each of the sixteen personality types presents its own strengths and challenges.  For example, as an INFP, I am very good at writing.  Many of the world renowned fantasy writers, such as J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling have this personality type.  People who are INFP are very creative in general and are interested in helping the underdog through a cause of some sort.  Well, my cause at this stage in my life is to raise autism awareness in a way that only I can.

Some weaknesses associated with this personality type include the following: people who are INFP have an extreme dislike of conflict and will go to great lengths to avoid conflict; people who are INFP view any type of criticism as an attack on their entire character, but might show nothing of this pain to an observer.  These two weaknesses are a very big concern to me right now in my life.

I searched the Web to see if there are any resources that describe how INFP characteristics and autistic characteristics might interact with each other.  Finding none, I am going to try to create a resource myself right here on The Voice from the Spectrum.  This will certainly answer many questions I have about myself, as well as possibly prompting others to see how autism might interact with the other fifteen personality types.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Heavy Question about Autism

I have a question for my readers that I hope will cause a discussion on this topic: do you think that people on the spectrum are prone to weight issues?  I am bringing up this topic for a couple reasons.  First of all, many medications used to treat negative autistic characteristics such as Risperdal cause an increase of appetite.  I have taken Risperdal for the past twelve years, and ever since that time I have been overweight.  Also, obsessive autistic behavior can cause habit where someone on the spectrum has to eat something at a certain time or they experience sensory issues.   Whether this same problem is common for people on the spectrum is a question I am trying to find out.  What do you think?

Dennis Leary Autistic Statement Response

I have never been particularly fond of practical jokes.  I personally prefer slapstick comedy like "The Three Stooges," or "America's Funniest Home Videos," or even "World's Dumbest Drivers."  However, in my experience, practical jokes are normally someone laughing at my expense.  I just never know how to react.

Recently, actor Dennis Leary made comments in his book about autism that has greatly offended many parents of autistic children as a joke.  Now, Leary is a good actor.  I particularly like the character "Diego" from the "Ice Age" franchise.  It won't stop me from seeing the new "Ice Age" movie. However, I can honestly say that I was offended by his statements that blamed parents for the behavior of their autistic children and stating that autistic kids are just "lazy" or "stupid."

That really irks me to no end.  I may have had difficulties in my own past where even I considered myself stupid, but in five months I will graduate from college with a Bachelor of Science and a 3.3 GPA.  If that is considered "stupid" then we really need to rethink our priorities as a society.  Jokes are supposed to be funny. Comparing stupid or lazy people to those many people on the spectrum is a very poor excuse for a joke, in my opinion.

To read the article about Leary's comments made in his book, click here.

Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk 07/23 by Positively Autistic | Blog Talk Radio

Tune into my next broadcast of Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk.  During this show, I will talk about the strategies that I used to obtain a marketing internship last week with a local condominium developer in the area.  I talked about autism during that interview and was able to turn it into something positive.  To find out how, tune into the broadcast at 1 pm EST, 10 am PST, and 6 pm UK time.  Remember that you can call into the show to ask questions you might have about the broadcast material by dialing (619) 393-2848 or by using Skype on the show screen after the broadcast starts.  You can also participate in the chat room by supplying appropriate feedback and thoughts about the program.  Tune into what will surely be another great broadcast.
Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk 07/23 by Positively Autistic | Blog Talk Radio

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk 07/17 by Positively Autistic | Blog Talk Radio

Join me for the next broadcast of Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk.  This week's show will feature guest, Stephanie Aberlich, who is the owner of Hatch Boutique photography studio.  Stephanie has taken photos of man special needs children.  She also teaches photography to autistic children in classes offered by OUCARES.

This broadcast will air at a slightly different time than normal.  The show will air Tuesday, July 17th at 3 pm EST, 12 pm PST, and 8 pm UK time.
Remember, as always, the chat room will be open for comments and feedback.  You can also call into the show by dialing (619) 393-2848 or you can all in through Skype.  Remember to tune into what will surely be another great and insightful broadcast!

Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk 07/17 by Positively Autistic | Blog Talk Radio

Autistic Musical Prodigy

It's been a while since I have shared an autism success story, so I thought I should share this video that was recently brought to my attention.  This six your old boy is nothing short of amazing.  I could prattle on about this, but I'm going to keep this short so that you can view the video and draw your own judgment.  I'm only going to say that this is an example of what an individual with autism can accomplish under the right conditions with a proper support group.  Without further ado, click here to view the video.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Moving on...And Moving Out

A big question on the mind of many young adults with high functioning autism is gaining independence.  For many, this is a very difficult question indeed.  Autism presents many challenges for both children and parents. Aspirations that are shared by NT young adults, such as moving out, getting a place of their own, are much more complicated.

In my case, I am nearing the end of college.  By the end of this year, I will have my Bachelor Degree.  Sometime next year, I will finally move out and get a place of my own.  The notion of gaining independence, while challenging, is not as difficult for me as it would be for many on the high functioning end of the spectrum.  

Now, I offer something that I have said repeatedly on my radio programs in recent weeks: everyone on the autism spectrum is different than one another.  What might work for one person might not work for another.   As much as I would like to say it, there is no manual for autism.  

Before despairing, remember that living as an NT is difficult to.  For the autistic individual who feels that no one understands them, try to remember that most NT's don't understand each other either.  You don't have to look very far.  Just look at the current presidential race.  Republican and Democrats are at each other's throats and have been that way for a long time and will probably continue to be that way for years to come.  These are NTs who have very different ideas of how things should be done.  Both sides have different belief systems, and many claim not to understand each other.  So my message to those who effected by the spectrum, try to think of this example when things get hard.

So, going back now to the topic of independent living; I don't have all the answers to your problems.  What I can say is that you are not the only one with these difficulties.  There are many people impacted by autism.  So, if you would like, leave comments with any concerns you might have about independent living with high functioning autism.  Who knows: if I don't have the answers, maybe another one of my readers will.  I believe that under the right conditions with the right support group, and individual on the autism spectrum can literally change the world.  For some, that change starts right here: with The Voice from the Spectrum.  It starts with many difficulties that I have now overcome.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk 07/09 by Positively Autistic | Blog Talk Radio

Join me for my next broadcast of Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk.   I'm back again after Independence Day and this week I will be talking about day camps that are available for individuals who are on the autism spectrum.

After I was diagnosed with high functioning autism at age 12, my mom signed me up for a local summer day camp for children and teens with special needs.  This camp is called Clarkson Scamp.  It runs for five weeks and consists of many activities that will be discussed during the broadcast.

You can join the discussion too by calling (619) 393-2848 during the broadcast or you can call in through Skype by selecting the Skype logo which will appear after the broadcast begins.  Tune into what will surely be another can't-miss broadcast!

This show will air on Monday, July 9th at 1 pm EST, 10 am PST, and 6 pm UK time.  Click here when it is time for the show to start.

Another Celebrity Puts a Foot in His Mouth

Comments recently made by a well known celebrity have angered members of the autistic community.  Rapper 50 Cent made comments on his Twitter page that were offensive to individuals with autism and shows what a long way to go we have until we are able to spread enough autism awareness and acceptance in the world.

Whatever faults that 50 Cent has as a person is overshadowed by his presence in pop culture.  It is also important to consider the accompanying influence the popular rapper has over his fans, which are great in number.  Most of his fans that saw that statement on Twitter probably do not know or care about the public outrage this has caused.  I agree that 50 Cent's public apology is not enough.  

The damage has already been done.  A great number of people witnessed that statement and have been influenced by the words of this misguided celebrity.  What we need to do now is give this story as much exposure as possible so that the knowledge to fans that their celebrity icon spoke out of turn.

For more information about 50 Cent's remarks and the public response, click here.

Overloaded...Commencing Shutdown..!

Did you know that there are two ways that autistic individuals can become overwhelmed by sensory stimuli?  You have probably heard of the term meltdown. This is an external way of displaying the stress that sensory overload can sometimes cause that may result in violent outbursts, but have you heard of the term shutdown?  It is another way for an autistic individual to cope with extreme sensory overload internally.

I had never heard of the term shutdown until a few weeks ago.  Once I realized what it meant, I noticed that there are many instances in my life when my mind does shut down.  At these times, I may struggle to give simple answers, such as (I work at a grocery store) "where are the CDs located?"  

This actually did happen once a few years ago.  A customer at the grocery store I work at asked where the CD's were and my mind literally would not respond.  I had to fight for a few simple words that made me look like an idiot, in my own critical opinion of my behavior.  One of my coworkers had to answer the question for me and looked at me like I was stupid.  For the longest time, I felt guilty about not being able to answer a simple question where I knew the answer but could not communicate it.  Now, I understand that it was completely beyond my control at those brief moments.

Are there times when you have noticed yourself or your child or anyone on the spectrum seem to shutdown?

While you are thinking about that, here is a very useful video that I discovered earlier today.  It was shared by another autistic individual that I am friends with on Facebook.  It describes shutdowns quite well.  To view the video, click here.