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: 

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:

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:

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:

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: