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:

Visit Anthony's website:

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 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:

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

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

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:

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:

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: