Bringing Out the Talents of Autistic Spectrum Kids
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Angel Griffin

Tree and it's roots in yin yang symbol

The Millennials:  Part V

 

危机

The Chinese word, wei ji, has come to represent a deep symmetry of nature.  Wei means danger; ji means opportunity.  The Millennials (the generation born between 1980-2000) are coming of age in 危机 (wei ji), a time of danger and opportunity.

 

危 Danger

Millennials have emerged as young adults in the wake of a global recession, beginning in 2007 and continuing to this day.  The current unemployment rate for young adults, sixteen to twenty four years of age, hovers around 50%.1  The unemployed half watch… Continue reading

Social Butterfly
The Millennials: Part IV*

 

Therapists jokingly say “if you’re working with young autistic adults, you’re job is secure because no one will pay you for it.”  Children’s intervention programs are siphoning most of the resources devoted to autism.  The Millennial generation of autistics (born 1980-2000), who generally didn’t receive much intervention as children, have largely been relegated to the self-help section of the bookstore, where they read that autism is a problem with social communication.

Their demoralizing experience with peers bears this out—they are bullied and excluded, aching with loneliness in the midst of a haze… Continue reading

Father and toddler son playing

Getting an autistic child’s attention by drawing an object of interest close to a human face is a technique employed by Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) therapy.  Dads instinctively do the same thing, shaking a rattle close to their own faces in front of their babies.  Who invented the drawing an object of interest close to a human face technique, the Early Start folks in Denver, or dear old dad?

Parents intuitively use props, coaching their babies to pay special attention to faces, voices, and human activities.  Parents are drafted by toddlers into playing hide-and-seek for the… Continue reading

Child sleeping There was once a mother who took her autistic son to many doctors, used many different diets, and found one that really worked—the air diet—a diet of unobstructed breathing.  After the doctor had cleared her son’s obstructed air passages in his nose and throat, her son was twice as responsive to his environment and learned twice as fast.  The boy suffered from two conditions that interfered with his development—autism and sleep apnea.  This is a true story.

The power of the air diet is well understood by those who study sleep apnea—sleep that is constantly interrupted… Continue reading

IQ

 

The Millennials: Part II*

 

1980 was the year that ushered in a new generation of Millennials (born 1980-2000).  1980 was also the first year that autism was classified separately from schizophrenia in the DSM-III.

Millennial autistics with normal IQs and language were classified as “mildly autistic,” whereas their intellectually challenged counterparts were simply “autistic.”

According to recent American and Norwegian surveys1, outcomes for “mild autistics” and “autistics” are more or less the same.  Adults of both groups remain largely unemployed, unmarried, friendless, unoccupied, and living on public assistance.

Just like talent, IQ and language… Continue reading

Tired young man
The Millennials:  Part III*

 

Why would a person who is young, brilliant, and talented be incorrigibly lazy?  Everyone tells him he has all the talent he needs to succeed, but he can’t figure out how other people do it.

He’s been told what an action plan is.  But even thinking about planning is already exhausting.  How can he line up his tasks so that the first step in the plan leads to a logical sequence of intermediate steps which would need to be taken in just the right order to achieve his goal?  He… Continue reading

Print

Why should your Kindergartner take music lessons or practice playing an instrument when his chances of growing up to be a musician are next to nil?

According to neuroscientists, you probably have the very best tool for language comprehension training lying around your house somewhere.  Practicing an instrument rigorously trains the entire brain via a feedback loop that moves from the cochlea of the ear, through the more primitive brain stem (responsible for coordination of physical movement) to the cortex (the locus of higher-level brain functions) and back around again.

Nothing can match musical training for fine tuning language… Continue reading

Pokimon1

At the age of five, all my son cared about was this silly game, Pokémon.  Any reasonable parent should try to persuade a child, who wasted the entire day organizing the “bug-like” Pokémon figurines into neat little rows, to take at least a fifteen minute break from the game, and learn his letters, or, at the very least, go outside and play on the swing.

I rued the day that I ever gifted him with the Pokémon game, which turned into such an all-consuming obsession!  I tried persuasion.  I tried bribery.  Nothing would take his attention… Continue reading

Pair of siamese twinsBefore extensive intervention,
if there is such a thing as Aspergers, it described my son to a T.

Before most people had even heard the word, I was born with the curse of severe dyslexia.  I won’t get into the emotional scars I live with because I grew up as the “retard” sitting in the corner of the class, or the countless ways that dyslexia affects me even now.

I eventually learned to read, not because I was cured, but because I learned to connect words with a functioning frame of reference: my ability to speak those same… Continue reading

Slave DriversEver felt guilty about expecting too much from your Aspergers child?  Shouldn’t you indulge him because your heart is bursting with sorrow over his plight?  It’s not his fault, so shouldn’t you be the one to adapt?

Not according to the young adults I know who have come to terms with their condition.  They either rejoice in the payoffs from a heavy handed workload imposed on them as children, or wish they had been pushed to learn more as they grew up.  The large percentage of autistics, who stand a good chance of recovery, don’t mind… Continue reading