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Showing posts from April, 2013

Jobs for Aspies: Acting

People with Aspergers Syndrome often spend their whole lives trying to fit into society.  They copy mannerisms, accents, expressions and dialogue.  They also often enjoy making noises such hums, clicks, whirs and other sounds.  It's a stimming thing. In short, people with Asperger's syndrome often spend their lives practising acting and they can become very good at it. There are many people in Hollywood with Asperger's Syndrome or suspected Asperger's Syndrome. The lists includes; Daryl Hannah, Dan Aykroyd, Tim Burton, Woody Allen, Michael Palin, Alfred Hitchcock, Jim Henson and Michael Jackson. I doubt that we'll ever know the truth about these actors for sure but one thing is clear, children with Asperger's syndrome often make good actors and they can benefit significantly from acting classes; There's a video on YouTube where a boy with Asperger's Syndrome; Zach Henry and his family discuss the impact that acting has had on his life. It's

Book Review: Plan B: Empowering the Single Parent by Karra Barber-Wada

Plan B: Empowering the Single Parent!  ... To benefit their Child with Autism   by Karra Barber-Wada. Published by Future Horizons ISBN 978-1-935274-79-7 Plan B is a book with a well defined and very specific target; single parents with children who have autism. It's written in a very positive way and contains a lot of very good advice, all of which falls neatly under a very clever strategy; called "plan B". The book is very well laid out and is easy to read with lots of clear sub-chapters. There are regular tips sections and some great real life story asides which show the techniques in action and put a human face to the book. Some chapters have minor exercises designed to get you to focus on your priorities, budget or wants and needs. The book seems to be geared more towards the "higher functioning" types of autism, such as Asperger's syndrome but I have no doubt that the techniques within it are more or less universally applicable. It also

In order to Receive Empathy, we must first Teach it - Part 2

Following on from my previous post on teaching empathy, my wife had taught me to help, without being asked when a person with a pram obviously needed help. I was able to generalise this to helping people who clearly need help in all kinds of situations.   It took me years but I consider myself mostly reformed in that area now and I'll help people who stumble, who get wheelchairs stuck or who can't reach items on the top shelf of the supermarket. All without being asked.  I've even reached the point where I can anticipate a problem and will watch an unsteady person, or a toddler near a road in case they suddenly need intervention.  My wife did a very good job of reforming me in that regard. Unfortunately, even though I widened the scope of the "help" intervention considerably, it doesn't automatically put me into a good empathetic state. There are still so many situations to learn about and each time I manage to choose the wrong option. It's simply

Replying to a Parent's concern about the Traits of Autism

Normally, I don't post correspondence here as I like to keep those things private and individual but I recently got an email from a parent who was concerned about a number of traits her son was showing.  I've replied to her questions in prose and as I was reading it back I thought it might be a useful thing to post, so... all identifying information removed and lots of extra links added, here it is. Eye Contact Inconsistent eye contact is generally a sign of "gaze avoidance" - ie: lack of eye contact. Darting ones eyes around the room during a conversation is a great avoidance tactic as it gives a person a break from being totally focused on the speaker - something which is quite painful at times. Some children with autism give good eye contact but most do not.  You might want to encourage your son to look at mouths instead as this keeps his head pointing in the right direction and reduces eye-darting without making uncomfortable eye contact. If he does have pro

That "Blue" Day

Today is April 2nd. It's the international "Autism Awareness Day". People are encouraged to wear blue to show their support of this "awareness" and many bloggers will post every single day throughout the month to raise "awareness". I'm not one of those bloggers. My posts will come out as and when I have relevant and useful material to contribute.   It's rare that I interrupt a series of  posts for a specific event but I thought I should talk about the whole Autism Awareness thing. I'm all for the world understanding and accepting and loving people with autism - in fact, I'd extend the whole courtesy to people without autism too. To cats, dogs, mice, lizards and plants.  I suppose that it's a nice gesture but to me, the whole blue thing is as irritating as those "baby on board" signs. You know the signs on cars that make you wonder what you're supposed to do?  Cooo as you go past? Offer milk?