Sunday, October 18, 2015

Woohoo... I can't wait for the new Star Wars movie

The latest poster for the new Star Wars movie.

And yes, I'm the fan-woman. In my house there are no fan-boys, or fan-men for that fact  .....but I think they will relent and go with me to see it. At least Mr. YM says he is looking forward to the movie and Mr. GS2 says he might actually go too.

By the by, if they wont go with me, I am definitely going alone. Heh.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Importance of Working Memory

Little is really discussed about the issue of working memory. This is what helps us all make sense of the world. It is something each and everyone of us needs in order to function fully in society. It is also, in many instances, something our children struggle with accessing on a daily basis. Here is an interesting discussion about what it does and why.

From TED

Peter Doolittle is a professor of educational psychology in the School of Education at Virginia Tech, where he is also the executive director of the Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research. He teaches classes such as Cognition and Instruction, Constructivism and Education, Multimedia Cognition and College Teaching, but his research mainly focuses on learning in multimedia environments and the role of "working memory." 

Doolittle has taught educational psychology around the world. He is the executive editor of the International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and the co-executive editor of the International Journal of ePortfolio.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

A piece of chocolate....

Born in 1933, Francine Christophe was deported with her mother to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1944. Released the following year, she continues to share her experience and memories, particularly with the younger generations.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sorry, But Not Sorry...and Gmar Chatimah Tova...May You be Inscribed for a Good Year

Between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, some of us are inundated with social media requests asking for forgiveness by some individual or the other, just incase they may have inadvertently hurt your feelings or made you a bit unhappy. I used to do that. I thought it was a great idea. Not anymore.

In truth if you hurt someone's feelings, it is the cowards way out to post some oblique post on social media saying "oopsiedaisy." Turn to the person in your life and APOLOGIZE. That is what a grown up does. That is what someone who takes command of their life does.

Take responsibility. Admit your mistake. Fix it. Move on.

There is nothing wrong with being wrong. You will not die from it. You will not be sucked into the event horizon of a black hole never to be seen again. In fact, you may end up the better for recognizing your shortcomings. You may make yourself a better person. Spiritual growth really isn't a bad thing in the long run.

But here's the flip side to the idea of repentance: what if you are not wrong, but the other person has decided you are? Why do you have to play into the victimhood of another person? I don't think you have to. Simply because someone was offended by your beliefs or ideas doesn't mean that you are wrong either. You can take a good look at what you said or your ideals, but you don't have to change if you don't want to. The rule of thumb is still the golden rule: treat others as you wish to be treated...go from there.

Meanwhile, these are some things in my world that are NOT negotiable:

The main one is that my aspergean sons are wonderful, brilliant, youngmen who are entitled to any future they choose, and I will do what I need to, without apology, to get it for them. I don't care who I have to step over, or who I have to hold up to ridicule if that is what it takes. I will fight this fight until the end. I will take no prisoners.

I love my country. I love the USA. I believe the USA is the greatest experiment ever in the history of the planet Earth. We may not be perfect, but at least we try to do our best, even if that best falls short time and time again. As far as I am concerned the US Constitution is the most significant document ever created by humankind. No it is not perfect. It can't be since its creators, humanbeings, are not perfect. Yet having amazing foresight the authors of the Constitution knew that they were not perfect and created a mechanism whereby future generations could fix their mistakes.

I am proud of my Jewish heritage and I am proud to be a supporter of the State of Israel, with all its warts, issues and problems. I am proud of the technologies, the medical advances and challenges that Israel brings before the world. I am joyful that after 2,000 years our yearning, "Next Year in Jerusalem" is a reality.  I am glad that after thousands of years of exile, torture, pogroms, and genocide, Jews (Ashkenazim and Sephardi) whose existence is threatened can return to their homeland for help. And yes, the uniqueness of the Holocaust does matter (despite what some overindulged thespian may have you believe) especially the part where noone gave a damn that it was happening. And it matters, as an affront to decent human society, that there are millions who while denying that the Holocaust ever happened, call for a new one everyday and happily celebrate the murderers of Jewish children.

I despise racism, bigotry, antisemitism, homophobia, misogyny and the politically correct idea that those who are not like us in the west are held to a lower standard of humanity. I have no use for cultural relevancy. Human rights are human rights and noone is better than another. Religious and ethnic supersessionism is devoid of humanity. Anything that takes from one person their right to blossom as a full human being does not deserve respect simply because its an ethnic idea that has existed for thousands of years.

This is our only planet. Earth is to be nurtured, loved and cared for. Whether you adhere to global warming or are a denier (who some believe should be arrested under the RICO statute), taking care of this spinning blue ball in the Milky Way for the next generation is our greatest obligation.

Kindness is the ultimate gift to one another.

Try to laugh at least once a day.

Drink copious amounts of coffee, and wine, while eating barrels of chocolate.

So going forward here is my one simple rule:

If you don't like what I say, believe or stand for, don't read my blog, follow me on facebook/twitter or any other social media platform. I am not sorry for my opinions. I am not sorry if my opinions offend you.


In conclusion:

For those of my fellow Jewish travelers, may you have an easy fast this Yom Kippur.


May all of you, Jew and gentile alike, be written in the Book of Life for  good year.

Gmar Chatimah tova.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Rosh Hashanah-Jewish New Year 5776-Shana Tovah Umetukah

To all my Jewish friends Shana Tovah Umetukah and to all my non-Jewish friends, may you too have a sweet and good year.

The History Channel has a wonderful video presentation about Rosh Hashanah.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

End of Summer Update..It's all Good

Note: Legend Change 

Well its been a great successful summer for both boys in many ways. Of course they both graduated and Mr.GS2 (formerly CM2) was accepted into his masters program. He received all the necessary accommodations (yes including the "educational consultant support") and he is looking forward to starting classes. He chose some rather interesting subjects, right up his SJW alley. As Mr. YM (formerly Mr.GS he is now a "Young Man") had done right before he started graduate school, Mr. GS2 took a "Social Learning Class" that is given for those on the autism spectrum by the aspergers support department at this university. That's right, Mr.GS2's new university prides itself on supporting and helping those who are on the autism spectrum. They take the notion of diversity very seriously. How cool is that!

Unfortunately, Mr. GS2 had to stop his internship at the Town Hall, where he had worked for a year, at the start of the summer, because they had an incoming crop of new interns. But it was a terrific experience where he learned great job skills and independence. He was very well liked and his immediate supervisor was more than happy to give him a recommendation for grad school. As far as a job during this upcoming school year is concerned, we are going to have him start his program and then figure out what kind of time he has free. Grad school is alot more work and alot more intense than college so we don't want to overburden him. No good can come from triggering his anxiety. But we do know he will need to do some small position, if only to retain all those job skills he learned at Town Hall over the past year. But as they say, everything in good time.

But since he doesn't have a job right now, he is enjoying his free time off right before school starts. Hanging out. Playing video games. Chatting on social media with friends. It's as if he is on vacation like the rest of the Northeast, only he isn't at Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket with the President, or out in the Hamptons with the glitterati or Hollywood elites. He's just at home, like over 65% of the young people his age who live in our neck of the woods.

As far as Mr. YM, he has been working at the Lab at school. Considering the issue with getting a job, even though he has officially graduated they allowed him to continue to work there to gain experience. In fact, from what I understand his inability to even get interviews is not unusual and the school is rather besides itself and have no idea how to help these newly minted graduates. (He's also not the only one at the Lab in this position) To those that think this has alot to do with aspergers, think again. I have many neighbors with "All-American-Kids" who can't get jobs in their field or even into graduate school. In fact my friends tell me that the way they got their children jobs was because they had connections in the desired field. That is what the career services people tell us too. That 80% of new graduates who were able to get jobs, did so through connections. Read: A New Transition issue that applies to everyone....

Meanwhile, the position at the Lab is being treated as an internship. He has been put on actual projects and is being treated as an employee. He has assignments, responsibilities and presentations. According to the Professor who runs the program, everything he is handing in is very professional and they are quite pleased. In fact, what they are giving him to do hasn't kept him very busy so they are going to be giving him additional projects to work on simultaneously. (He took an online class this summer and now that it is over, he doesn't have enough to do.) He is also  learning a new set of employment skills. He had always worked through college and had been given interesting assignments and positive job reviews. But this is the first time he has had to work in concert with a "client" to get something done as opposed to interacting with people in an office. He actually is having a good time and enjoying himself.


So to all those who think there is only one path to follow and only one way to accomplish a goal you need to think again.
Keep looking outside the box and eventually you will find what you need for your children.
Let your children learn and grow at their own rate.
Don't listen to the pundits who tell you this generation is lost. It's not. These young people have more to deal with and more to learn than ever before. They are also up against a lousy economy and a hyper competitive work force that has no room for a novice.
Remember to provide your children with the support they need, not the support someone else thinks they need.

Remember the tortoise, not the hare wins the race.

Now a little dance music to take us out of the summer......

Friday, August 21, 2015

Beware How the Internet Skews Your World

From TED

Why you should listen

Shortly after the September 11, 2001, attacks, Eli Pariser created a website calling for a multilateral approach to fighting terrorism. In the following weeks, over half a million people from 192 countries signed on, and Pariser rather unexpectedly became an online organizer. The website merged with in November 2001, and Pariser -- then 20 years old -- joined the group to direct its foreign policy campaigns. He led what the New York Times Magazine called the "mainstream arm of the peace movement" -- tripling MoveOn's member base and demonstrating how large numbers of small donations could be mobilized through online engagement.

In 2004, Pariser became executive director of MoveOn. Under his leadership, Political Action has grown to 5 million members and raised over $120 million from millions of small donors to support advocacy campaigns and political candidates. Pariser focused MoveOn on online-to-offline organizing, developing phone-banking tools and precinct programs in 2004 and 2006 that laid the groundwork for Barack Obama's extraordinary web-powered campaign. In 2008, Pariser transitioned the Executive Director role at MoveOn to Justin Ruben and became President of MoveOn’s board; he's now a senior fellow at the Roosevelt Institute.

His book The Filter Bubble is set for release May 12, 2011. In it, he asks how modern search tools -- the filter by which many of see the wider world -- are getting better and better and screening the wider world from us, by returning only the search results it "thinks" we want to see.


It's one thing to tailor ads for merchandise to specifics for people, but how is anyone's thoughts, ideas or notions of reality going to be challenged to make this a better world, if we only see what we want to see? That is not what the Internet is supposed to be about. We decry governments controlling what is seen on the Internet, but what about Google, Facebook or news agencies deciding simply that you are not up to seeing some particular information? It used to be that the "News was what the news departments said it was"...the Internet was suppose to stop that. So now we have gone from the bad old days of information control to being infantalized by these same groups.

I also wonder just how  this control of the flow of information actually tempers people's view of autism and autistic people.  What if the truth about autism is not something someone wants to see? What if they believe in the vaccine nonsense or think that autistic people can't function in the real world independently, or they think that all people with mental health issues are violent, so they never see the truth that their assumptions are incorrect? How much damage could this actually do to the future acceptance of marginalized people in society? How much damage could this do to the fight for the civil rights of the disabled? How much damage could this do to perceptions, reality and the world in which we are fighting to create? A bit dramatic you might say? I don't think so. Our perceptions are based upon our reality. If your reality is skewed so are your perceptions.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

When you refuse to give into bullies and hate...."Champion"

This song is on the latest album of the hip-hop reggae former Hasidic-Jew, but still religious, Jewish-American Matisyahu, formerly known as Mathew Miller. Matisyahu was disinvited from a reggae festival in Spain. He was singled out by the festival as their only Jewish participant and was required to sign a pledge supporting a Palestinian State if he wanted to perform. He refused to give into the antisemitic aims of those who would demonize the Jewish people. HERE  and Read a synopsis of the entire sordid affair HERE.

The festival was castigated by not only world Jewish organizations, but Spanish newspapers and most importantly by the Spanish government for their antisemitism. The festival apologized, saying they were "bullied by anti-Israel politicos." It is important to note that the Spanish government partially funds the festival. They asked Matisyahu to please perform at his previously allotted time. Right now he has not responded. Read HERE.

Matisyahu is not Israeli. And even if he were so what? Is every American, European, Russian, Moslem, responsible for every policy, belief, or act promoted by their government or religious leaders? Read what the US State Department considers antisemitism HERE 

WSJ on the controversy

Creative Community for Peace  and HERE

What a weak-kneed and weak-willed bullcrap response from the festival organizers. Noone can make you support and promote antisemitism. Noone can make you hold Jews out as different from other peoples on the Earth. Noone can make you see the Jewish People as  the Other. Noone can make you hold the only Jewish State to rules, laws and obligations that you hold no other nation on Earth. Noone can make you give into bullies, every middle school child knows that.

So why is this important to autism? Do you really think that someone who promotes bigotry against Jews, would have any sympathy or love for any person who is different on any level? Remember the Nazis, before they began the Holocaust in full force, experimented to find the best killing method on the disabled.

Meanwhile, here is a song from Matisyahu's latest album. It is called Champion.

Remember to fight the fights that are important. 

 You Fight the Fights that are Worth Fighting.

Social Justice, Humanity and Autism

UPDATE: Matisyahu said that he will perform at the festival Saturday night as previously scheduled. He thanked the world for its support.

Monday, August 17, 2015

How I learned to Communicate My Inner Lfe with Asperger's

Alix Generous for TEDwomen

Why you should listen

Alix Generous has Asperger syndrome, but was misdiagnosed for years. A student and researcher who is passionate about molecular biology and neuroscience, she encourages people like her to share their intelligence and insights. She is a co-owner of the startup AutismSees, which develops technology tools to help all kinds of people give presentations.

At 19, Generous won first place in a nationwide competition for her work in quorum sensing and coral reefs. Her paper titled "Environmental Threats on the Symbiotic Relationship of Coral Reefs and Quorum Sensing," was published in Consilience. In November 2013, she was a youth delegate for the UN Convention of Climate Change (COP19), where she negotiated technology transfers and issues of medical importance. She has assisted neuroscience researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina, Tufts University School of Medicine, and the University of Vermont.

Book Review and Giveaway: "The Devil's Bridge," by Linda Fairstein

As I always tell parents, it is important to take yourself out of the autism world once in awhile. It is why I began the blog The Rediscovered Self. It is not being selfish to remember that you are allowed to have something you enjoy doing simply for yourself; whether its reading non-autism related books, dancing to fun music, exercising so you feel good about yourself, going to movies (or out on spouse-dates), playing with clothes and fashion, hobbies/crafts of any sort, enjoying good food and drink, or thinking of and going on vacation.

One of my hobbies is reading good crime and historical dramas. It's even better when the two are combined into one book.  Linda Fairstein's books fit that bill, exciting crime and legal action combined with the history of New York City. In fact, I just happen to have a book review up and a giveaway for her latest novel, The Devil's Bridge.

Go HERE to read the review and enter the GIVEAWAY.

Go enter... you just might win. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

A Word Game...Helping the Autistic to Communicate

From Ted

Ajit Narayanan is the inventor of Avaz, an affordable, tablet-based communication device for people who are speech-impaired.

Why you should listen

Ajit Narayanan is the founder and CEO of Invention Labs, and the inventor of Avaz AAC, the first assistive device aimed at an Indian market that helps people with speech disabilities -- such as cerebral palsy, autism, intellectual disability, aphasia and learning disabilities -- to communicate. Avaz is also available as an iPad app, aimed at children with autism. In 2010, Avaz won the National Award for Empowerment of People with Disabilities from the president of India, and in 2011, Narayanan was listed in MIT Technology Review 35 under 35.

Narayanan is a prolific inventor with more than 20 patent applications. He is an electrical engineer with degrees from IIT Madras. His research interests are embedded systems, signal processing and understanding how the brain perceives language and communication.

Go HERE to learn more and experience AVAZ.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Legend Change and an Update

If you have been a constant reader of this blog, you may notice some updates in the LEGEND section of the sidebar. CM2 has graduated and been accepted into a Masters program in Communication. So now he is Mr.GS2, or Mr. Graduate Student 2. He has chosen his new classes, contacted the disability office, and is starting to look forward to this new experience. Many people find it ironic that a young person with aspergers who has been diagnosed with a speech delay and other communication issues such as auditory processing and language processing, would want to study "Communication," but that is Mr.GS2. He, my self-proclaimed Social-justice-warrior, has it in his head that he can fight the world's ills by learning how to communicate ideas and thoughts to others. Sounds reasonable to me.

In truth, neither of the boys have ever stood down from a fight. When it became rough, they met the challenge head on and persevered. I suppose this is going to be an interesting  experience for Mr.GS2. He is definitely going to be taken out of his comfort zone. In the meantime, he has set his goal. There is no doubt in my mind that he will attain it.

Furthermore, Mr.GS was awarded his Masters in Science in May and has begun the process of transitioning into an adult life. He has gone from being Mr. GS to Mr. Young Man, or Mr.YM.
As you may have read though in an earlier blog post, that process for Mr.YM is not going very smoothly. Not because he does not want to get out into the world and be independent, but unfortunately for that to happen a person needs a descent job. It is an issue facing so many of our young people in today's day and age. Read that  post:

A New Transition Issue that Applies to Everyone

Right now,  Mr.YM is working on projects at the School Lab and building a portfolio. He is going to learn job skills, organization, and team work. Something they would teach you at an entry level position, just those positions don't really exist anymore apparently. Brilliant-computer-sis, told me that the field is a ridiculously competitive place right now and we need to have patience. Let him work on projects that showcase his potential to employers and just give it time. I have no issue in giving it time, as long as Mr.YM learns what he needs to learn. The question is what is the next step for him and how do we get him there? I suppose we will figure it out when we get there. For now, though, he needs to access this internship and the opportunities it allows him to the best of his ability.

On another note: since so many of his peers are living at home with their parents, in fact in NY State where we live, the number is somewhere around 65% in his age group living at home, he doesn't stand out.

I'm not certain what this means for his social skills though. He is loathe to ask out anyone on a date. In his own words," I live at home, don't have a job and no money right now. Who would date me?" We tried to explain to him that most young people are in his position right now. That it doesn't matter. But he is determined to work at getting out on his own and becoming independent before he takes the next social step. He was always an all or nothing sort when it came to his work, I suppose that it has continued. We would like for him to meld the two, but as with everything else, he marches to his own time-frame.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Practical Information for Adolescents, Teens and Beyond

The ages for this page are from 11 years to 18 years (and beyond),  or 6th grade/middle school through 12th grade and even post secondary. Of course, much of what is discussed below can apply to younger children as well, simply add some tweaks to accommodate for the age differences; also see the page dedicated to practical information for younger children.  Also don't forget to click on the Tabs in the sidebar for more information on specific topics.

I have been autistic all my life and I turned out just fine....

Essence of Education and the Lack of Magical Realism


Fractal Moles, Unanswered Emails and a Totally Inappropriate Parental Response

Political Correctness, Autism and Bullshit In General

How my aspergean views the world

Autism Used This Time as an excuse for Criminality

Video Game Play as Therapy

Video Games-Purpose and Yes, Importance

It's the Typical Stuff That Finally Gets You

Sibling Relationships and Mindblindness

Entitlement, Privilege and Reaching for the Dream

M is for Motivation by a Mentor (For all posts in this group read Tab AUTISM A to Z)

Of Insomnia and Cortisol

Decision Making Style and Your Child's Future

So Far So good (Hope I Didn't Just Jinx It)

Setting Goals and Expectations (Read PRACTICALITY Tab for more straight forward advice)

Go Big or Go Home: Helping your child have a Big Life

Charlatans, Autism and the Reality of What Helps

Never Give Up Never Give In

Id, Ego and a Sense of Self 

Some Straightforward Parenting Advice 

See the Human Being First and Not the Disability 

Raising a Child in a World without Adult Consequences for bad Actions

To all Those who Think Age and High IQ Means no Para is Necessary

Employment: What is too much support and what is not enough?

Entering the Adult World: Transitioning Out of K-12 

21 is Easier than 10 

PTSD and the Autism-Warrior Parent, Or Life's Lessons Reviewed

Jumping In With Two Feet While Doing a Cannonball

Well It's Done College Applications on the Way


Getting Ready for IEP Season

Back to School: Transition and Perspective

Inside the Special Needs Village  (Read the Tab SPECIAL NEEDS VILLAGE for more information)

Pragmatic Speech, the Autistic mind and Telling Your Professor He is Wrong 

Demystifying Written Language

Review and Reset 

Be Positive 

Should Your Autistic Child Learn a Second Language? 

New School Year, New Ideas for Supports

Next Leg of the Journey (Transition Plans) 

Scheduling/Organization/Executive Functioning

Social Stories


Homework and the Urge to Battle Mutant Zombies (Go to HOMEWORK for more posts with suggestions and help)

Social Stories,  Purpose and Use

Social Stories: Behavior Lessons

Of Triggers, Charts, Scheduling and Perspectives

Generalizing the Specifics 

Transitioning, Practice and Eventually a Smile


On-Line Trolls, IRL Trolls, Cyberbullying and the Ability to Block 

Autism-Meme as Political Insult

Skirting the Feminist Grievance Lexicon, While Thinking About Autism Advocacy

Teaching Your Child to Think for Themselves

Bullying and the IEP

This is How a School Should Handle Bullying

Bullying Update

Adult Twitter Meltdown...Cue Name Calling and Bullying

Kudos for a New Approach to Bullying

Social Relationships/Behavior

This Time It's Your Aspies Fault

Battling That Love-Hate Relationship

Sensory Issues While Growing Up

Self-esteem, It's not a Trophy, Its Reality

On Death and Dying

Sportsmanship and Mindblindness

Mindblindness, Obstinancy 

The Art of Conversation 

Dinner Table Conversation

Appropriateness and the Greater Society

Politics, Hitchcock, and Patience or Raise Your Damn Hand

Manners, Etiquette and Social Convention

When Obnoxiousness Reigns Supreme 

I'm in My Rebellious Stage

Dealing with the Oldest of Hatreds  (Read REJECTING HATRED AND BIGOTRY tab)

Popularity, Girlfriends and Senior Year

Yes Means Yes, and No Means No: How to raise a son in our confusing culture 

The Importance of Role Models

It's Not About Contraception, It's About Self-Respect

Turning Boys Into men: Fighting Society's Emasculation

Simon Cowell, a Culture of Rude, and Your Autistic Child

OCD, Meltdowns and School Behavior 

Remembering to Keep on Top of Social Skills and Behavior

42, the Answer to Life, The Universe and Everything 

Brave New World and Chimps on Campus 

18 Year Old Aspies in the Real World 

Know-It-All is Registered to Vote

Stress Be Not Proud 

Getting Your Aspergean to Invest in their Appearance (Remember to check out the PRACTICALITY Tab)



Monday, July 20, 2015

Practical Information for Pre-K through Elementary School

The ages for this page are from 3 years to 11 years,  or preschool through 6th grade. Of course, much of what is discussed below can apply to older children as well, simply add some tweaks to accommodate for the age differences. (There is another page collating posts for adolescents through high school, and post-secondary.) Also don't forget to click on the Tabs in the sidebar for more information on specific topics.

 The Hero's Journey: Autism and Your Child


So we change our dreams: life with an autistic child

Never Give Up and Never Give In 

When to Tell Your Aspergean They Are Aspies

Inside the Special Needs Village (read the SPECIAL NEEDS VILLAGE tab for articles and links to help organize your child's special needs village)
PTSD and the Autism-Warrior-Parent

Some Straightforward Parenting Advice 

Beware the Oracles of Doom

It's the Typical Stuff that Gets You

Sojourn Through Parental Types

Tell Those who Say Your Child Can't to "Suck It"

The Importance of Role Models

Fighting the Good Fight or Pick Your Battles there May Be Many 

Becoming the Guide in the Land of the Lost-Not What You Think

Don't Call Them Boys with Aspergers, Call Them Boys 

Charlatans, Autism and the Reality of What Helps

Embracing Your Inner Bitch: Dealing with Bullying and IEPs

Advocacy-Your Present Job, Your Child's Future Job

Freedom, Safety and Parental Peace of Mind

Y is for YOU

The Right to Say No

Reminding Yourself about Happiness 

Holidays-Permission Granted Celebrate as You Please

Cry Havoc and Let Slip the Dogs of War


After the DX: Sadness or Terror? I think terror with alot of pissed off thrown in

The Guide to the Perplexed

IEP and Goals
Getting Ready for IEP Season (read more articles at the ADVOCACY tab)

Of Homework, Sociologists and Parenting  (multiple links for additional homework support)

Setting Goals and Expectations

Talking about ESY

Self-Contained to the Future

Working with the School-Really It Can Happen

Watching Over the Teachers

Infantilization and School Supports

When You Want to Throttle the Teacher


Review and Reset 

Standardized Testing: Blessing, Curse, Somewhere Inbetween

Practical Pointers 

Generalizing the Specifics


Sensory Issues While Growing Up

Social Stories, Purpose and Use
Chores and Preparing for the Future

Art of Conversation

Pragmatic Speech

Social Stories

Setting Goals and Expectations
Schedules, Oasis, Rules and Love

Scheduling Those Last Open-Ended Weeks of Summer 
Teaching Your Child to Think for Themselves

Self-esteem: It's not a Trophy, It's Reality 

Teeth Brushing and Face Washing

A is for Accountability (read all posts from the AUTISM A to Z page)

F is for Foreseeable

Entitlement, Self-esteem and Privilege: teaching the differences is called parenting (additional embedded links)

On-line trolls, IRL Trolls, Cyberbullying and the ability to block (bullying program links)

"Science of Autism"-Who Gives a Crap-Practical is What Counts 

Harnessing Those Obsessions


Manners Etiquette and Social Convention

Channeling Robert Deniro and Other Social Issues

OCD Meltdowns and School Behavior

Speech out of sync for many with autism

Sassy Mouth


G is for Gamesmanship

Mindblindness and Obstinacy

Mindblindness and Sportsmanship

The Trick is to not be the Asshole

Flexibility and Reality

Taking a Giant Step Forward and a Baby Step Back: An Autistic's Real Life Game of Mother-May-I

No Retreat and No Surrender; Getting Your Child to Act like Britain Under Churchill

From Few Words, to One Kvetchy Kid

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Yes, People Change and Grow

Below, is a  TED talk, about how people change over decades. Studies show that apparently humans think they don't change, or better yet, can't imagine how they will change in the future, but in reality they do.

So when some pooh-bah "expert" on autism tells you that you have to accept that your child "can't do something" for the rest of their lives, you tell them to go "jump in the lake." (There is actually a Yiddish phrase that this is translated from) Well not literally of course, but in a more adult, respectful manner. In truth, one of the things I have learned over these decades is that you can no more predict who our children will be in ten years, then you can predict life's outcomes for neurotypical children. The point is to never give up dreaming for your child. Never let anyone tell you your child can't.

The trick is to find the way to get it done. There is always a way.

Why you should listen

Dan Gilbert believes that, in our ardent, lifelong pursuit of happiness, most of us have the wrong map. In the same way that optical illusions fool our eyes -- and fool everyone's eyes in the same way -- Gilbert argues that our brains systematically misjudge what will make us happy. And these quirks in our cognition make humans very poor predictors of our own bliss.

The premise of his current research -- that our assumptions about what will make us happy are often wrong -- is supported with clinical research drawn from psychology and neuroscience. But his delivery is what sets him apart. His engaging -- and often hilarious -- style pokes fun at typical human behavior and invokes pop-culture references everyone can relate to. This winning style translates also to Gilbert's writing, which is lucid, approachable and laugh-out-loud funny. The immensely readable Stumbling on Happiness, published in 2006, became a New York Times bestseller and has been translated into 20 languages.

In fact, the title of his book could be drawn from his own life. At 19, he was a high school dropout with dreams of writing science fiction. When a creative writing class at his community college was full, he enrolled in the only available course: psychology. He found his passion there, earned a doctorate in social psychology in 1985 at Princeton, and has since won a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Phi Beta Kappa teaching prize for his work at Harvard. He has written essays and articles for The New York Times, Time and even Starbucks, while continuing his research into happiness at his Hedonic Psychology Laboratory.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Advocacy Thought for the Day

When supporting your child the way they need, those who attack you (especially anonymous online trolls) do not deserve a respectful response. You are NOT the jackass whisperer.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A new transition issue that applies to everyone

Search "transition" in the box on the sidebar, and you will find a myriad of articles about how to help children move from one event to the next. In fact, I have regaled everyone with ideas and "how to's" when it comes to even supporting your child from one simple activity to another. These incremental changes and support systems work really well in a small contained environment known as childhood. But autistic children become autistic adults and noone, talks about how to transition into that phase. The level of support needed and the level of understanding required of society.

A person doesn't stop being autistic simply because they are no longer 21-years-old and they age out of k-12. The reality is that there is very little out there in the way of support and programs for autistic adults; be they extremely impaired or on the more higher functioning end of the spectrum. What I have found is that  you have to figure it out as you go along. And, as with everything having to do with autism, what works for one autistic adult doesn't work for another.

Some can jump right into adulthood. Others need help navigating the entire adult world. Also don't think because your child is smart enough to go to college that that solves all the problems. Don't think you won't be needed to either help create a support program or continue to be their advocate. You will find any number of new tasks, supports and needs for a child in college. And yes I say child. While society deems 18-year-olds adults, most neurotypicals cannot move through this phase without issue, never mind a person on the spectrum. I remember one of the Deans at MrGS' college telling me that as far as academic he was heads and tails above most his age. "This generation is different," he told me. "They aren't ready." But academics was never one of Mr.GS' issues. It was everything else that overwhelmed him.

And  no, I don't think transition issues have to do with delayed adolescence, be the person an aspergean or NT. Of course the pundits and know-it-alls like to chastise this generation of parents telling us we are too indulgent or helicopter parents. (Funny how those doing the finger waging also seem to be the only ones without children as well or ones with umpteen connections-nepotism does solve alot of problems in getting a leg up on the competition). In truth if you pay attention to what is expected of our children in today's world, you see that they are required to know and produce more than we ever did. More is required of them to get into college or even graduate high school. More is required of them to get a job after graduation than we ever had to deal with. I remember, you just simply applied and were given a job. You can't even do that at a fast-food restaurant anymore.

It's the post graduation transition reality that is settling into our household. It's not enough to get good grades, you need a 4.0 from a top school in order to even get an interview. If you don't have that, you won't even be interviewed for an internship where they simply want you to come in and work for nothing. Baring the ability to get an internship, and most employers like to see 2 or 3 internships during school, you need to create or design your own project. The idea is that you want to show employers that you may not have gotten top grades (a 3.4 isn't good enough) but that you are creative, hard working and inventive. Find a  way to stand out from the crowd, they tell you. Meanwhile that crowd is growing exponentially day by day.

Problem is what do you do when you simply aren't someone who thinks that way? What do you do when you are someone who needs direction and needs to be taught what to do? What do you do when you really need an entry level job but they just don't exist? I had a conversation with an HR specialist and she simply told me that in this economy employers don't want to spend the money training people. (No matter how they juggle the numbers in Washington to tell you the job market is great and the economy is growing, they are full of crap.) Employers want people to hit the ground running. So no, there are no real entry level jobs. Those that advertise for an entry level job, for the most part require years of experience; look closely at the advertisements. This of course isn't an issue for simply aspergeans, this is a real generational issue.

So how do you help your child move into the next phase of their life? Everyone doesn't have that ability, whether they are autistic or NT to create their own work-a-day environment. Some people really are good at fixing something that already exists. They aren't good at coming up with new ideas. Everyone who gets a degree today is not Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Warren Buffet (of course they never got degrees, but their companies require top notch grades from top tier schools). What do you do when you are simply stuck? Graduate school is not the answer for everyone, and funny thing, some people, even with excellent grades and boards don't get into graduate school so easily either, no matter what they keep pontificating on television.

I am afraid that we are dealing with a lost generation in many ways. They can't move out of their parents home simply because they can't afford to. They can't get jobs in their field because the jobs are not being created and those jobs that exist are being closely guarded. So how do you keep your child's hope alive and their dreams of a real and fulfilled life? How do you tell them that it will get better and that eventually everything will work itself out? What do you do as a parent that is supportive and at the same time realistic? How do you channel your hard-working child's desires, and interests while keeping them motivated in a world where they see no future?

During our last visit to the psychiatrist, he tried to put a global view of these issues for Mr.GS. Telling him that he hears these stories all the time from all kinds of people. Trying to make Mr. GS feel better; that it's not about him as it is about the world we live in right now. Not sure it helped very much, but maybe when Mr.GS hears it from someone other than us, he will realize that he is not alone in this predicament.

In fact, I know that we are not the only family in this boat. When MrGS went to a job fair recently, there were thousands upon thousands of people looking for work. From new graduates to people that have been in the field for decades; experienced people willing to take any job up against the newly minted.... tell me whom would you choose to hire? Did going to the job fair help Mr. GS not feel so bad about his reality? I don't know. The whole thing was very overwhelming for him and it didn't end up being a very productive experience. That job fair reality though, depressed the heck out of the hubby. (Yes, hubby went with Mr.GS)

You know what is the funniest part about this entire situation, is that most of the employment applications ask if Mr.GS is a person with a disability and they specifically list autism as a supported disability. And yes we have him check the box. I know that employers get some kind of tax dispensation  if they hire a "diverse" group. (We were kinda hoping it would be an incentive for them to interview him.) So far it hasn't helped. We could tell him not to check the box and see if he gets interviews, but then what happens when he goes to the interview and he talks to them about his aspergers. Will they consider this withholding information and brand him a liar? In truth, he needs to be upfront to employers about his issues.

As I always say, the boys are who they are always going to be who they are. They need to be accepted for their entire person, not changed, fixed or turned into someone they are not. And yes it is entirely noticeable that they have aspergers. Recently a dog-rescue organization came to us for a home study to see if we can adopt one of their charges. The person picked up on the boys' aspergers right away. You see, we don't notice the boys' differences, but I am certain employers would if this stranger did.

So here is my new transition quandary. How to help someone move forward when there is no momentum, through no fault of their own. How do you keep them positive and stop them from sinking into a depression? How do you help them figure out a way to use their talents, but maybe not how they thought it would be done, especially when you have no idea what you are doing? By the way, I don't think anyone knows what they are doing today either. The career services people simply keep telling me to go to state agencies for help. (The psychologist says its a waste of time.) I keep telling career services he isn't loosing jobs because of his aspergers, he's simply not even getting interviews based upon his resume. (She said it was important to keep checking the disability box, by the way) I think career services is as much at a loss as we are.

Honestly I also think for the first time in our entire lives, we are not in this situation because of aspergers. We are in the same situation as everyone else. Of course, we do have to approach the job search a little differently for the boys than if they were typical young persons. We just haven't been able to figure out the answers yet. I think this is one of those times, that we need to deal with each day as it comes. Meanwhile, we need to formulate a long term plan with goals. Only in this situation we have no idea how to get from point A to point B. All the old ways, that we were brought up on, no longer apply. It's a really different world out there and one we are not so sure how to navigate.

I'll keep you updated as we figure it all out.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Happy Independence Day ....In Congress July 4, 1776....

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with one another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitles them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We are at a great crossroads in our nation’s history. It’s not about the amount of taxation and the ineptitude of the government. That can be changed with the power of the vote and honest elections. Our issues lie in the fact that too many in our nation take for granted the guarantees within the Bill of Rights and the Constitution without truly understanding them. Remember... our rights given by nature and nature’s God.

It is time that We The People understand once again our responsibilities as citizens of a free country and demand that our government adhere to the Constitutional principles that they have so casually desecrated.

Freedom and the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God (originally posted May 9, 2014)

…Our rights come not from other men, but from an omnipotent all-powerful ruler of the universe who has decreed right from wrong, good from bad, justice from evil. No one human being can deny another these rights. Hence, the usurpation of these rights is a just cause for revolt against your government, ruler or liege lord….

What happens when rights are not given by virtue of existence, but with the largesse of the political class? These rights then are not rights as delineated in the US Constitution (Bill of Rights), which as rights cannot be taken away and can only be denied under a limited scope of governmental authority. In fact, rights that come down to us by virtue of the good will of a ruler are not real rights at all, but a grant of favor by a dictatorial government. As long as you stay in good stead with the power elite then you are entitled to your humanity. But as soon as you cross that threshold of noncompliance with these overseers, then your rights, property and even your life become forfeit.

Moreover, to actually believe that mankind itself defines the ultimate reality in the Universe is the modern hubris of a limited, vacuous mind and an outreach of malignant egos. To say that in the vastness that is the Universe humankind is the epitome of what can and does direct TIME itself calls into play the rationality and sanity of the purveyors of a God-less world. It does not even have to be about an Omnipotent being as much as it is about Nature and the power of the Universe and the acknowledgement of the unknown.

To say that there is no deity above ourselves is to give ourselves the moniker of almighty God. We can now decide what is right, wrong, good, bad, justice and evil. We, the human beings of this world, are now the sole masters of all that is before us without boundary, limit or consequence. To say that God is an anachronism and that humanity is above the immutable forces that have created the galaxy, is to advance upon the human race powers that belie the mortal human being.

When we turn from the concept of something, or someone, greater than ourselves, we have no rights beyond that which we bargain for within the context of our daily lives. Life becomes a merchants market, a bazaar of old. Where for  the right argument, and the proper coin, you can buy yourself freedom for the time being. If you are lucky enough to be allowed manumission at all.

In such a world, our rights are defined by those in control of the world, rather than rights being defined by those that live in the world. Therefore, if you believe that humans are born free and that it is only mankind that created the chains of slavery, real or virtual, the concept of giving your self-worth to those who are devoid of righteousness, or honor, those who convolute democratic action with obsequiousness, demands an act of revolution. However, in the end, you need the foundation by which to challenge your servitude when you live in a world of political class tyranny, oligarchical triumphalism and identity tribalism. Therefore, you need Nature and Nature’s God. You need to understand that your humanity, your freedom, your existence is yours by right and not something you need to bargain for against an evil specter.

That foundation of the right to freedom comes from the acknowledgement that all within humanity have rights inherent in their humanity. Given to them by their uniqueness as unique individuals. It is Nature, and Nature’s God, that defines these rights so necessary for society to flourish, grow and develop. The right to proceed with your own existence and humanness in a way that is both beneficial to the self and society becomes the task of the free person and those free enough to think that it can and must be done.

It is not the fault of Nature’s God that humanbeings throughout history have perverted the gift of choice and thought that they were given by the Universe.

It is not the fault of Nature’s God that humanbeings revert into barbarism and decadence when given freedom. It is that same human weakness that causes mankind to destroy itself and then ask to be relieved of all responsibility for the choices made.

It is not the fault of Nature’s God that humans throughout history prefer an infantile existence of dependency and supplication to the hard work inherent in the existence of free expression and self-governance.

It is not the fault of Nature’s God that humans have allowed themselves to be led by the inadequate, the cruel and the profoundly evil.

It is not the fault of Nature’s God that when confronted with evil’s challenge, most times throughout history humanity has faltered, in the end thereby losing all that it means to be human.

It is not the fault of Nature’s God that humanity perverted Nature’s message in order to enslave, dehumanize and destroy other humanbeings.

It is not the fault of Nature’s God that it is easier to invoke the yoke of tyranny than it is to travel the path of Nature’s truth.

Responsibility for ones actions, distancing yourself from a scapegoat and taking the reigns to an uncertain future is frightening. On the other hand,  it is a sign of profound weakness to cower in the dark, allowing others to decide your fate, your reality and your worth. It is sheer cowardice to succumb to the fear of the unknown and allow your children to be enslaved because of your own ineptness.

We learn that democracies are the rarest form of government in the history of human kind. For each democracy born was short-lived, either due to corruption, mendacious leaders or complicity in the destruction of that with which we are endowed by the virtue of the human soul. Humans allowed fear to win over freedom. Humans allowed fear to win over individuality. Humans allowed the political classes to declare themselves above Nature and Nature’s God. Humans allowed the political class to manipulate the true blessings of Nature and Nature’s God in exchange for bread and circuses and life without responsibility.

Those who wish to make a Godless society, those that wish to deny Nature’s blessings upon humankind are the enemy of freedom, of liberty and justice. Those that decide that our rights come from the will of a self-perpetuating narcissistic ruling class rather than the exigencies of humanity’s right to existence are the enemies of a free people.

Those who presuppose that they are more powerful than the Universe run roughshod over humanity’s inherent rights. Those that denigrate the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God, denigrate our greatest gift. Be careful of those that put themselves above the wonders of the Universe. For they will laud themselves over you, making of themselves a new deity while decrying the freedoms we hold so dear.

Elise  on this Independence Day 2014

Reasons to Love the USA

I wanted to wish everyone a joyous Independence Day. Let us not forget those that sacrificed so much so that we, their posterity, would enjoy the freedoms to which we are entitled under the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God. By the way, just one of those obnoxious asides, the vote on the Independence Resolution, aka the Lee Resolution, actually took place on July 2, 1776. The Declaration was not read to the public until July 4, which is why July 4th is the day that we celebrate our Independence.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
John Hancock
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton