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.