Saturday, September 29, 2012

College Sorority Holds Autism Awareness Events

A sorority at Texas Christian University recently held an event to raise autism awareness.   Students in Kappa Lambda Delta hosted a "five senses event," to educate students about the sensations that someone on the autism spectrum might experience and what it might feel like to be autistic.  For example, students would have to put on loud headphones and try to hold a conversation.  I can't speak for everyone on the spectrum, but I think this is an excellent way to inform people about the how sensory processing disorder can affect individuals on the autism spectrum.

Click on the following link for more information:

FYI: No Show This Monday

Due to my busy schedule that I have ahead of me next week, there will be no broadcast of Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk for Monday, October 1st.  I have exams to prepare for early next week so I need all the study time that I can get.  The next broadcast will be Monday, October 8th at 4 pm EST, 1 pm PST, and 9 pm UK time.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The NT Way...

There are many phrases that can be used to describe autism.  For example: autism is not a system malfunction, it is a different operating system.  This describes ASD disorders far better than the following phrase: those on the spectrum lack empathy.  While researching a connection between autism spectrum disorders and the highly sensitive person, I stumbled across this site.  It was written by a highly sensitive person who recently helped a number of high functioning autistic college students, who are not unlike me.  I definitely recommend reading it.

The article cited here is called "Epaths on the Autism Spectrum." The writer of that article states her observations about these students and how they compare to those who are NT (neurotypical, those who do not have autism).  She went into this assignment not knowing much about the autism spectrum.  Those autism resources that she referred to for help stated that those on the autism spectrum lack social empathy.  This writer came to the conclusion that this was not the case at all.  She stated that those on the spectrum possess of "hypersensitive" empathy; something that those who are NT have no access to.  She further stated that it's NT individuals who are the ones without social empathy.  I agree with this whole-heartedly.

I am in my last semester of college.  One of my two classes this semester is business law.  I'm learning how to draft briefs for cases and the process of litigation and an overview of the United States court system.  Today, we talked about ethics in class.  The professor brought forward some difficult ethical dilemmas to consider.  They were difficult for me to swallow because of my hypersensitive responses to the ethical dilemmas.  While listening to the discussion about what my classmates would do in these situations, I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. I knew that I had to account for my sensory overload and hypersensitivity to emotions. Since my emotional responses to conflict and stress are about 100 times stronger than for most people, the situation that called for an ethical response would be over before my mind could fully process the situation.  I wondered if that made me unethical if I could not act and also if any precedent in the United States court system accounted for sensory overload and hypersensitivity to emotions.

Also, I cannot help thinking that if everyone had "abnormal" autistic behaviors, there would be no need for the legal system.  Those on the spectrum are inherently honest.  I would be lying if I said I was always honest, but in a difficult situation I tell the truth or I don't say anything at all.  In other words, I return to my true nature.  The writer in the article above stated that those NT individuals lack social empathy.  Some people who are NT are convinced that their way is right and the ASD way is wrong.  Is honesty really such an undervalued virtue?  Or is the majority, once again, forcing their beliefs upon a minority? In this case: those who are NT versus those on the spectrum.  We only have to look back at American history to see this trait at work again and again.  If it is human nature to base all others off of what we ourselves experience, taking into account American history and the ethicality of the U.S. legal system, is the NT way really better than the ASD way?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Note for my Readers

Hi everyone, Ryan here.  I just wanted to announce to everyone that September 2012 has been the most successful month yet for The Voice from the Spectrum.  This blog passed 900 page views for this month just a few minutes ago.  I'm grateful to know that I have made a difference in your lives through my words and experiences.  There is still a week left of September so I am hoping to surpass 1000 page views before the end of this month.  Thanks again!

FYI: Autism Awareness Event in Metro Detroit

Here is an FYI for an autism awareness event in the Metro Detroit area.  The Oakland University Center for Autism Research, Education, and Support is hosting "Autism Safety Management for Families."  This event will take place October 3rd from 5:30-8:30 pm in the Lake Michigan room on campus at the Oakland University Oakland Center.  Presenters for this event are Sgt. Scott Schuelke (Ret.) of the Lansing Police Department and Staci Rulison, a parent and member of the Autism Alliance of Michigan.  Through their combined experience, the two speakers will discuss: safety at home, on campus, and when traveling; developing and autism emergency plan; wandering; reducing victimization; 911 database alerts; sharing de-escalation techniques; and developing partnerships with law enforcement and first response agencies.  If you are in the Metro Detroit area and are able to attend, please RSVP by emailing  Remember, space is limited so RSVP soon.  Hope you are able to attend what will surely be a practical, informational event.

Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk 09/24 by Positively Autistic | Blog Talk Radio

Tune into the next broadcast of Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk.  This show will air on Monday, September 24th at 4 pm EST, 1 pm EST, and 9 pm UK time.

The topic of this week's broadcast is the independence of higher functioning autistic individuals.  Many young adults dream of a time they have a place of their own and freedom from their parents. For higher functioning autistic individuals, this can be difficult ranging to impossible.  After I get my degree at the end of this year, I will start looking to get a place of my own.  I even have a friend who I am considering as a roommate.  Tune into the broadcast to find out more.

Remember, you can participate in the chat room by creating an account on Blog Talk Radio.  It's free and takes less than a minute.  This way, you can join in a live chat with me and any other members of the positively autistic staff who happen to drop in.  If you feel up to it, you can also participate directly in the show itself by calling (619) 393-2848 or by clicking the Skype icon which will appear after the start of the broadcast to call in on Skype.  

Hope you can make it.  Tune into what will surely be another insightful and inspirational broadcast!

Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk 09/24 by Positively Autistic | Blog Talk Radio

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Employers Gaining Awareness

Employer autism awareness is rising.  More companies are realizing the benefits of hiring high functioning autistic individuals.  Apart from our dedication to what is interesting to us, employers also don't have to worry about excessive socialization for those with high functioning autism.

Now, you won't be able to read this entire source unless you subscribe to this newspaper, which costs a bit of money.  I didn't read the whole article, but I think it is more important to know that the autism awareness message is being heard by employers.  To read my source, click here:

Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk 09/17 by Positively Autistic | Blog Talk Radio

Tune into the next broadcast of Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk.   During this show,  I will talk about my upcoming graduation as well as a great career opportunity I have received while reflecting on my college life.  
This show will air Monday, September 17th at 4 pm EST, 1 pm PST, and 9 pm UK time.
Remember that you can participate in the chat room to share any feedback you might have.  You can also call into the show to ask any questions you might have by calling (619) 393-2848.  Or, if you prefer you may call in through Skype by clicking on the icon over the show screen after the broadcast starts.  Tune into what will surely be another great broadcast.

Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk 09/17 by Positively Autistic | Blog Talk Radio

How Sensory Overload Feels to Me

My job at the grocery story was particularly challenging this past Sunday.  The workday started out alright enough; I was talkative and even joked around with friends and coworkers.  However, as the day went on, I began to have sensory issues, even though I did not recognize them for what they were at first.  Over my lifetime, I have tried to find reasons for the sensations that accompanied sensory overload.  I've tried to tell people that I was just tired, I had a headache, things like that.  My most recent reasoning for sensory overload was that I was empathetic and was reading the emotions of others.  Finally, I have not only identified when I am having a sensory overload, I can also describe how it feels.  It is sort of like a hard, pressing feeling in my head that came in waves and becomes increasingly painful.  This is what it feels like for me to have a sensory overload.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Reflections on College

In this blog post, I wanted to reflect on the past six years that I have attended college.  When I was eighteen during my freshman year of college, I didn't understand what it meant to have autism.  I tried to explain to a friend that people with autism didn't have emotions, which could not be farther from the truth.  Lucky that friend refused to believe it.  She was the first of many people that told me to start writing about autism.

Fast forward two years to 2008.  This was the year that I transferred from a community college to a much larger university.  My first semester, I was involved in a peer transition program designed for college students with autism.  I worked with a mentor during that semester to adjust to university life.  I was a commuter student, meaning I drove myself to class from my parents' home.  This peer transition program helped me in some small ways.  It gave me a familiar face on campus when I really didn't know anyone.  However, I ended up leaving this program in January 2009. I was a transfer student who had already attended college for two years and just needed a little help getting adjusted to the university.

Fast forward again to January 2011.  This was when I was hired by The Oakland Press as an intern reporter.  I wrote about twenty news stories that were published in the paper.  It was suggested again during this time that I share my insights into autism.  When I ended the internship in April 2011, I received an offer to continue writing for the paper as a community blogger.  I thought about what I could write, realizing this was my big chance to let the world know about autism awareness as I see it.  So, I ended up starting The Voice from the Spectrum in May 2011.

In November 2011, I was first introduced to Blog Talk Radio when I was interviewed about my autism story.  By that time, I was building quite a reputation on Facebook and The Voice from the Spectrum was becoming quite a success.  I was nervous on my show and very self critical, but everyone who listened said that I did very well.  Throughout the next few months, I started to become acquainted with the United Kingdom charity, Positively Autistic.  In February 2012, I first started hosting Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk.  This was a big step for me, since I considered public speaking to be my greatest weakness.  Not only have I excelled with that show, but it has improved my public speaking skills in other areas of my life.

In April of 2012, I started co-hosting the Poet's Interest: with Marilyn and Ryan.  At present, I am 3 months away from graduating from college.  It took me six and a half years, but I never failed a class. Always went full time except my last few semesters.  As long as I get the degree, what does it matter if I took 6.5 years to get it?  Not only do I have a degree but I also have a budding writing career and a handful of paid publications under my belt.  The future awaits.

Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk 09/10 by Positively Autistic | Blog Talk Radio

Tune into the next broadcast of Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk.  Starting this broadcast and continuing through December, this show will air every Monday at 4 pm EST, 1 pm PST, and 9 pm UK time.
During this broadcast, host I will talk about the start of school, while reflection on transitions that I have experienced in school.
Remember, you can participate in the chat room with any feedback you might have.  You can also call into the program to share your opinions and any experiences you might have by dialing (619) 393-2848 or by calling in through Skype.  Mark your callenders and make sure you tune into what will surely be another inspirational and insightful broadcast.

Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk 09/10 by Positively Autistic | Blog Talk Radio

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Eagle Scout Hands One to Autism

When I was younger I participated in Boy Scouts of America.  From the time I was eleven to when I was seventeen; I participated in many scouting activities such as weekend camping trips and weekly meetings.  In Boy Scouts, members of individual troops are driven to achieve Eagle Scout, the highest rank that Boy Scouts can offer.  This is a real achievement that will follow the scout through adulthood for the rest of their lives.  There are many benefits to becoming an Eagle Scout: it is something that one can put on their resume and there are also scholarships available only for Eagle Scouts.

Astronaut Jim Lovell was an Eagle Scout. So was my uncle, who is a business owner.  In my case, I just did not have the focus needed to achieve that highest rank.  I was in scouts when I was first diagnosed with autism, so there were other things going on at that time that distracted me from working to achieve Eagle Scout.  I made to the Star Rank which is stationed two ranks below Eagle.  Boy Scout ranks are as follows: Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle.  After a scout reaches age 18, they are no longer eligible to become an Eagle Scout.

A required part of earning the Eagle Scout rank is that the scout has to organize and implement a community service project.  I participated in a handful of projects lead by other scouts when I was a teenager.  A fellow scout supervised the construction of a handicap ramp at a public building.  Another laid out a trail behind a middle school in town.  There is always a higher cause involved with an Eagle Scout project that is intended to benefit others.

James Galley from Smithtown New York recently earned his Eagle Scout Rank.  Galley worked many hours to renovate the Young Autism program playground and the entrance of the Developmental Disabilities Institute.  This act of good faith will surely benefit the lives of autistic children in years to come.  It is up to the scouts themselves to determine all the finer aspects of their project and I am glad that Galley chose to benefit children on the spectrum with his project.  For more information about Galley's Eagle Scout project, click on the following link:

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Note to My Readers

Just a reminder: there will be no broadcast of Junior Positively Autistic: Ryan's Spectrum Talk this Monday in recognition of Labor Day.  Everyone have a fun and safe holiday.  Make sure to do something fun, if you can, before the school year starts up.  I will start my last semester of college this Tuesday.  In three months, I will get my Bachelor degree and then the fun really begins...Anyway, have a great weekend everyone!

Disney World Wins Autism Awareness Award

One of the great things I remember growing up were vacations to Disney World in Orlando Florida.  I've been there three times total: twice with my family and a third time with my high school band program.  I'm from southeast Michigan, so a trip to Florida during the midwinter months was always a great relief from the stark realities of snow and cold weather.  

In a marketing management course I took in college earlier this year, I studied how Disney trains its employees to look at their jobs differently.  They are trained not to feel as though they are working in the theme park industry, but rather, they are trained to feel as though they are in the entertainment industry.  This way, Disney employees can grant visitors a rich, authentic experience they can get nowhere else.  So, needless to say, a job at Disney requires exceptional acting talent.

A fond memory I have from Disney took place when I was fourteen.  At this time, I played the clarinet in my high school marching band.  During a five day school trip that involved both the band and choir programs, my classmates and I marched down main street in the Magic Kingdom playing "Conga," by Gloria Estefan.  A Latin-Rock song suited for warm weather and palm trees.

Another great thing about Disney is that they pride themselves in having top industry support for individuals with disabilities, including autism.   They recently won the Gold Autism Award on behalf of the United Kingdom Autism Foundation.  In addition to acting training, Disney employees receive extensive training to accommodate those with autism, as well as other disabilities.  A Disney executive is quoted saying the following in my source: he said "part of Disney's heritage is to have no one feel excluded."

Click on the following link to read more and to view my source: