Dr. Temple Grandin: Practice Prior to Drivers Ed

AS101 Driving with Autism

Though driving with an Autism diagnosis is not for everyone, many do decide to obtain their driver license and go on to live independent lives. Aspergers101 teamed with Dr. Temple Grandin to provide helpful information when considering if driving is for you, or your teen.

Long before driver education, Temple suggests first mastering your skills by practicing on a bicycle (coordination, motor skills). Then tackle driving in a safe remote area such as the country or large parking lot. You’ll begin mastering such challenging tasks, such as multi-tasking, prior to any driving on congested roadways.

One suggestion she has is that before you take a driver education course, you need to find a safe place and practice, and after that, practice even more! Getting the ‘knack’ of driving includes working on your coordination, motor skills, and multi-tasking which all come into play when learning to drive, even more so for those on the autism spectrum.

Aspergers Syndrome: The Challenge of Reading Facial Expressions

Top of the Spectrum News

“Social Expectations: The inability to read facial expressions

For neuro-typicals, reading facial expressions comes easy but for those on the spectrum this is near impossible. The difficulty that those with Autism experience in reading facial expressions is due to the different wiring in the frontal lobe of the brain. This Top of the Spectrum News video offers solutions and tools, such as observational learning.

AuTalkz

004_LiarLiar

About “Liar Liar”

Lying doesn’t come easily to me, and is probably the same with a lot of people with ASD.  As for being blunt, there are times when I’ll say something without intending for it to be mean, but it can come across as being rude or hurtful. It’s not because I want to hurt someone or make them feel bad, or don’t have the ability to empathize, but because I either don’t realize that it’s rude/hurtful, or because it just feels more natural to tell the truth even if that means being blunt.

By: Nikki J. Creator of AuTalkz

Reading Facial Expressions is Important for Social Success

by: Raeme Bosquez-Greer

Learning to translate and digest the meanings of different facial expressions can help determine other people’s needs and foster true communication.

This works both ways. Individuals with Autism has trouble interpreting facials expressions and social cues and they often don’t express their own facial expressions and appropriate social cues.

Most professionals in an Autism related field understand that many individuals on the spectrum have a flat affect. My biggest challenge is educating the public, employers and employees that a person’s expressions does not mean the individual does not have feelings. I have taken many students to interviews where I had a sensitivity meeting with the employer prior and the employer still interviewed the individual and stated, “Next time show me a genuine SMILE.”. Educating employers is an ongoing challenge for an Employment Specialist. I have parents say to me. “Lacy likes ice cream …get her a job in an ice cream shop.” I then have to try to get Lacy a job in an ice cream shop where she has to demonstrate good customer service by greeting and smiling to the customer. This has nothing to do with her liking ice cream.

Do we put Lacy in the back room organizing the gallons of ice cream and have her do custodial work or after 23 years attempt to teach her and parents how important it is to learn to smile naturally? I can always tell when parents catch their child’s Autism early and have provided training to their child at a very young age. Smiles are more natural and social cues are taught early. It is a huge bonus for me and them if a child starts learning early. I have been removed from many cases due to my honesty and tact. I am always professional but very realistic. I will never say the Lacy’s in this world cannot ever provide customer service but it does take a great deal of training both at home and with an employment specialist.

Sibling Friendship and Aspergers: When Childhood Friends Outgrow Each Other

I don’t know if telling this story will date me, but I guess it doesn’t matter that I grew up in the sixties. I remember as a child, that song and story about Puff the Magic Dragon. The special friendship he and Christopher Robbins had together, but then the boy grows up and Puff hangs his head and cries. (Or was that Tom Dooley and Winnie the Pooh? LOL) Anyway, my kids have been best of friends since the beginning of time and long before that. My daughter, Carmen, and son, Jesse, have a sort of love for each other that I pray every day never ends. They even have a secret language and I often hear them babbling away together and cracking each other up with their private jokes. My son looks at his sister and her funny little ways and I can see it in his eyes that she brightens his day, and he her’s.

childhood, siblings, friends

In just the last couple of years, this has been a growing concern for me. They are getting to an age where most siblings just can’t tolerate the sight of each other. Luckily this hasn’t been the case in my home, but I see something else occurring. My daughter has been developing in a more sophisticated way than my son. Her speech has greatly improved, her social skills are growing in leaps and bounds, and she is succeeding in general ed classes.

I am sad to say that in some ways, she is leaving her brother behind.

Ridgefield Resident Shares Journey with Asperger’s Syndrome in New Book

Written by Kerry Anne Ducey

Ridgefield resident Alex Fischetti, at 2009 graduate of Ridgefield High School and member of SPHERE, just released his first book, The Lonesome Boy and the Blonde Haired Angel, available in print and Kindle via Amazon. In the beautifully illustrated picture book, Fischetti shares his personal journey from a world of social isolation as a result of Asperger syndrome, to a life of joy. We sat down to ask him a few questions about his newly released book.

Why did you write The Lonesome Boy and The Blonde Haired Angel?

Answer: I wrote this book because I wanted to pay the BEST tribute I could to a person whom, if The Lord hadn’t led me to her,  I would probably not be here talking to you right now. I was a very isolated person and my heart wasn’t really open to the positive surroundings around me. I wasn’t totally alone, but I didn’t really know how to connect like I do today. I never even went to any dances or proms! Now I’m blessed to know so many beautiful people. The book and my experience is a true testament how one person can make a gigantic impact on another through simple acts of kindness and love.

I know that the process of getting it published wasn’t easy. How did it happen?

Answer: It was a very long process. I’m still learning as I go about promoting this thing!  I could not ask for a better partner to have with me on my journey to publishing this book than my illustrator, Cleo Miller. She and I went through the Amazon outlets Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace and we just constructed everything from there. It’s incredible how amazing the book looks and how Cleo’s masterpiece of watercolor drawings make it into an attractive book. I know it will be sold in massive volumes!

Tell me about the real-life blonde haired angel.

Answer: Her name is Reeny Sempsrott and she lives in Vero Beach, FL. Reeny is one of the one in a billion people who, if you spend just a minute with her, will fill your day with sunshine! She has influenced me in so many ways from offering encouraging words and bringing me a positive spirit. She is always praying for anybody in need and inspired me to ask The Lord for the courage to open my heart to others. I can’t say enough about Reeny. I love her so much and will be eternally thankful to the Lord for her being my angel.

Your use of biblical quotes throughout the book compliments the story beautifully. Did you choose them?

Answer: Thank you so much! Yes! I chose every single one! I flipped through both the Old and New Testament to try to find the best verses that go with each page. There are some well-known ones featured like Jeremiah 29:11 and there are those you may not immediately remember, but they are powerful. I’m praying those who aren’t as deeply rooted in their faith as I am will read the verses that go with the story and be influenced by them as well!

In the story, you are the lonesome boy. Has writing the book changed that feeling?

Answer: It has! Reading this and looking at the life I have now makes me so grateful to the Lord for blessing me with what I have. I always tell my friends that for the longest time I hardly knew anybody and now I know everybody! Through the Lord’s grace in bringing Reeny into my life, I was able to come out of my lonesome cocoon to become the social butterfly you all know today. Praise the Lord’s name for helping me come so far!

What do you hope readers gain by flipping through the pages of your book?

Answer: I pray that anybody who reads this book will come to realize that in this oftentimes dark world of ours there are rays of light that can ignite your soul and not only positively impact you, but all those around you. It can be a family member, a friend, a co-worker, anybody! As long as you keep your eyes and your heart open to finding that special somebody. it’ll happen like it happened to me.

More books in your future?

Answer: You better believe it! I have another book in the works that I won’t go into too much detail about it right now – I want it to be a surprise! All I can say is that it’s about another angel in my life and there is a lot of dancing is involved! I’m so excited to share it with the world just as soon as the first book hits one million in sales!

Purchase The Lonesome Boy and The Blonde Haired Angel here.

Published on Wednesday, 07 February 2018 16:37

Written by Kerry Anne Ducey

Decreasing Neurological Stress

beliefs, aspie~~So how do we decrease neurological stress?  The following is an excerpt from my recent book titled Visual Supports for Visual Thinkers: Practical Ideas for Students with ASDs and Other Special Educational Needs.
A research team funded by the National Institutes of Health (2006) found that, in people with autism, brain areas normally associated with visual tasks also appear to be active during language-related tasks, providing evidence to

Components of a Behavior Intervention Plan

The complexities of High-Functioning Autism or Aspergers Syndrome may present themselves in behaviors that may be either excessive for specific situations or lacking.

Strategies developed to target such behaviors are often included in packages known as behavior intervention plans (BIP), behavior support plans (BSP), behavior management plans (BMP), positive behavior support plans (PBSP), and several others.

The primary purpose of a behavior plan is to outline and describe strategies that prevent problem behaviors, teach new behaviors that replace problematic behaviors and

Autism Does Not Define Him

Our son Sam is now 22 years old. Together we have discovered Autism first from a stage of confusion, then diagnosis and ultimately the journey toward understanding and adjustment.  This journey hasn’t been taken by just Sam or me. The education and life-changing decisions included our family of four and those whose chose to remain linked to us either by love or simple curiosity. Autism became us. As we learned to navigate the education system, employment and higher education, we’ve taken you along.

Through our website Aspergers101, together we have reached for stories of enlightenment and searched to navigate our next stage in life. Now at age 22, driving and nearing college graduation, Sam has reached a personal plateau that bares sharing. With an absolute delivery he declared, “Autism does not define me”.  He further went on to explain that up til now, he would introduce himself to educators, peers or the seldom few who initiate conversation as “Hi I am Sam…and I have autism.” He felt he owed them an ‘explanation’ for his social awkwardness, his lack of eye contact or his seemingly bland behavior.

Self-Determination in College Success with Aspergers

Several break-out sessions of the annual Autism Society conference in Indianapolis, Indiana were focused on the support of students with ASD in higher education.

Beautiful female graduate

Dena Gassner (Adelphi University), Dr. Lorna Timmerman (Ball State University), and Jackie Clark and Rebecca Hansen (Marshall University) carried out a panel discussion on the topic, titled “Is College for Me.” Panel members discussed challenges related to success for students with ASD in higher education, and best-practice support strategies that can help overcome challenges.