“From as early as I can remember, other children seemed to want to have a dig at me,” he told the Daily Mail. “I was constantly teased at primary school, with people calling me names like ‘nerdy’ and ‘gay’. Once one started, it wouldn’t take long before others joined in. At worse they would push me around physically and a couple of kids threatened to beat me up in an alleyway. I tried to toughen up and deal with it but it gets unbearable after a while.” Hat tip to More Than Coping
About 90% of adults with autism are unemployed, so kudos to any employer that makes an effort to give them a chance and reduce that percentage. The Matador Coffee Shop in Scottsdale Public Library (Arizona, USA) has done just that, teaming up with The Southwest Austism Research and Resource Center to employ Jon, a barista with Aspergers. [Story & video via ABC 15]
“This was the first company that gave me a chance,” said Jon who has been looking for a job for the past six years.
A nice little article from the Mail Online about high-achieving women with Asperger’s, and how they cope with the condition. A few choice quotes below, just to give some idea of what Asperger’s is like –
Sarah has also got herself into trouble at work several times by repeating other people’s jokes and comments without understanding that they were inappropriate.
‘For example, I’ve gone up to people in the office and said things like: “You must be ‘Octopus Mike’ or ‘Orange John” — the secret nicknames people have given them.’
‘I’m very sensitive to light and noise, so with 200 people all working in one room, it can feel like fireworks going off in front of my eyes — and as if people are banging saucepans in my ears. I often have to escape for half an hour, count to ten, and get my thoughts in order before I can go back.’
‘It takes me at least two hours in the morning to prepare for work. I lay all my clothes out the night before and have a set routine, but if my husband moves something and it isn’t where I expect it to be, that can add an hour to my day.’
45-year old Darran Knight had Aspergers since childhood and was a bus driver for eight years, before deciding to combine his interests in sharks and jewellery design into a business; designing shark-themed jewellery, of course. You can admire his handiwork at Shark Jewellery by DZN. (via The Sutton Guardian)
There are many autistic students in higher education, especially since some autistics (particularly those with Aspergers or NLD/NVLD) have above-average verbal or math skills, or a strong interest in a particular topic. It would be good for college professors to have some idea of how to spot students on the autistic spectrum, and how to meet their specific needs. The following videos by the Organization for Autism Research (OAR) aim to equip teachers in higher education with some basic knowledge to help them in facilitating learning for autistic students.
This is a video by a young person of her rather long and winding road to getting diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (unfortunately, this kind of hit-and-miss, two-steps-forward-one-step-back experience is all too common). She was 14 when the process started, and 17 when she got the diagnosis. The key take-home points are don’t get discouraged, be persistent, do your homework and see the right experts.
Does your spouse seem absent-minded, insensitive, distant, antisocial, and just plain awkward? Does he or she have trouble relating to people, tends to rub others the wrong way, can’t seem to hold a decent conversation, is a little too forthright with personal opinions, constantly gets lost, is awfully disorganised, clumsy, often late and makes a mess? You could be married to someone with an autistic spectrum disorder (though not everything above applies to everyone with ASD). This article (courtesy of Margery D. Rosen at lhj.com) gives useful first-hand accounts by both spouses (and their counselor) in a marriage with a husband who has Asperger’s Syndrome.
Neil seems to live in his own world. I take care of everything from finances to repairs since he can’t be trusted to do anything. He can’t even keep a job. He’s always butting heads with bosses and coworkers. No surprise, really: Neil has never been able to deal with people. If we go to dinner with friends he won’t even look at them. If anyone asks him a question, he starts on an endless rant. I’m working two jobs now but he seems totally unconcerned about how drained I am.