From time to time, I cruise the autism shelf in my local library. Recently, this book jumped out at me:
The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to Be a Better Husband by David Finch
The author tells of how he is diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome around age 30, and sets about to make changes in himself to be a easier-to-live-with and more interactive spouse and father.
I found the book interesting, and amusing (though I have to warn you, there is offensive language in the book). The author does a great job sharing the inner workings of his mind and emotions. It was fascinating to read how he managed the rigidity, sensory sensitivities and emotional overload that are often are part of Aspergers and autism. Excluding the bad language, I really enjoyed this read, even though the author didn’t sugar coat…
In many drowning incidents, people nearby don’t know the victim is drowning. It often takes a trained lifeguard to spot someone in trouble. From watching movies, we’ve come to expect a drowning person to thrash about, wave, shout for help, and try to swim to safety. Quite often in real life, NONE of that happens. Drowning swimmers usually go through the Instinctive Drowning Response, in which they look like they’re “climbing a ladder underwater”, while their mouths constantly go above and below the waterline. Victims rarely wave or call out, because they’re instinctively focused on staying afloat and breathing. It often takes less than a minute before they completely submerge. To find out more, read this article and watch the video below from WIVBTV.
Luke, 25, is autistic and lives a sheltered life with his grandparents. But his world is suddenly turned upside down when his grandmother dies and he is forced to live with his dysfunctional relatives who have no patience for him or his senile grandfather, who they quickly force into a nursing home. Luke is left with his grandfather’s final semi-coherent words: “Get a job. Find a girl. Live your own life. Be a man!” For the first time in his life, Luke has a mission. He is about to embark on a quest. [Synopsis from the movie website]
Some autistic writers find computers more distracting than useful, with the overwhelming number of options and apps available. Enter the Neo 2, a stripped-down portable word processor that cuts out all the bells and whistles. It allows you to focus on writing, without the formatting choices and programs that might get in the way (the plain text can be downloaded later to a proper computer for formatting). The Neo 2 is designed for portability, with a small sturdy body and long battery life. It’s also highly affordable (price valid at time of writing). Video review below is by Brave Luck Books.
Living Independently on the Autism Spectrum by Lynne Soraya is described as “What you need to know to move into a place of your own, succeed at work, start a relationship, stay safe.” In fact, it’s a great deal more. Lynne, who writes for Asperger’s Diary in Psychology Today and works for a Fortune 500 company, covers everything from proper conduct and attire at a job interview, what to do when stopped by the police, setting boundaries, career goals, work related issues and self advocacy. My copy is filled with highlighted sections and notations, such as this quote regarding boundaries:
“The unfortunate reality for many on the spectrum is that the training that we receive to help us to “blend in” to the wider world can have the difficult side effect of teaching us to ignore our own boundaries.
“We learn to tolerate pain and discomfort of situations beyond what many…
The nonPareil Institute in Plano, Texas (USA) is a non-profit that teaches programming skills to adults with autism, and helps them find work making games, apps and other software products. Many of the students are employed by nonPareil itself, through its contracting arm. Some autistics are gifted programmers, but lack the social aptitude to fit into a typical workplace. nonPareil fills the gap by offering both training and an autistic-friendly workplace. Apart from imparting skills, the Institute also allows students to interact with like-minded peers in a supportive environment. nonPareil is planning to expand to other cities in the US, and welcomes donations. The Institute was recently featured on NBC Nightly News, and there are more videos (like the one below) on the nonPareil Youtube channel. BTW, if you’re wondering about the odd spelling of the name, ‘nonpareil’ is a French term meaning ‘none equal’ (apparently, the French don’t capitalise quite like the rest of us!).
Conversation is a challenge for many on the ASD spectrum, due to problems understanding non-verbal cues and unspoken rules. This video is an excerpt from a longer talk by Don Gabor of The Learning Annex. It gives some quick useful tips on starting and managing a conversation:
1) Ask an easy-to-answer open-ended question (without a “yes” or “no” possible answer).
2) Make a positive comment.
3) Offer sincere compliments.
4) Refer to something the person’s said to make a connection.
5) Stop focusing on yourself and your inner monologue, instead, LISTEN!