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jmnixon95
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27 Dec 2011, 7:08 pm

hyperlexian wrote:
it would have been nice if they had looked around the forum for a true success story (i have seen a few that resulted in LTRs or marriage) instead of just defaulting to using the Autism Talk TV spokespeople. i imagine this entire thing was arranged through alex, so i guess it would make sense he would use his cohorts.


Yeah, I know several couples have met through this site and have married. I even know of one that resulted in one party moving across the Atlantic to marry a fellow WP member.
The article says they've been dating for 2 years or something, which is pretty long for young people, but I think they should have done something like what you said.



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27 Dec 2011, 8:50 pm

The article is part of a series of articles on the Coming of Age of Autism of a Generation of Autistic Youths, as they transition into young adulthood. The previous story in the series was about a young man facing greater challenges from his transition from highschool and the special programs he was in, to a place in the adult world.

From the topic article:

Quote:
Articles in this series are chronicling the coming of age of a generation of autistic youths. If you are a person with autism or a relative, neighbor, romantic interest or co-worker of someone who is, you can help inform this series. Share your story at nytimes.com/national


This particular topic was "love on the spectrum", "marriage on the spectrum" would be an interesting topic to explore as well. Their story presented unique challenges, in an autistic relationship, not common to other relationships.

These are the kind of stories presented in movies, but rarely discussed in a mainstream newspaper. The influences from family and connections here to resources about autism, no doubt impacted the level of details related to autism, that probably wouldn't have been expressed, from someone in the general public.

That's a good thing, because of the educational value of awareness to the general public, about what it's like for two individuals with Aspergers in a relationship in college.

It's kind of a breakthrough of sorts, I think; if Wrong Planet, John Elder Robison, or Autism Speaks had anything to do with the article making it to the New York Times, they participated in something good for awareness for the general public to hear.

It's a bit of awareness too, in the mainstream media that a place such as wrong planet exists, for those young adults that may identify with some of this story, potentially find their way to a diagnosis, because of it, and even gain some support here.

I've had friendships with girls that likely had many autistic traits in real life, however it was always brother/sister like. I get a similiar feeling from reading this story, they seem to be really good friends; not sure how each navigates through the common sense things in life, but I had to find someone with common sense.

My wife thought I was smart, but I really needed someone to help me find my way out a paperbag, more than she needed someone who could do the income taxes, and she has always provided that part, I don't possess.

As the series in the newspaper progresses, I hope they can express several different scenarios: autistic/non-autistic relationships, autistic parents with autistic children, in young adulthood, life in the workplace, etc.

There are a variety of topics that many members, here, on this website could send to the Newyork Times, that might be selected, in the future, because of the level of detail and accuracy of the information that would likely be provided.

The New York Times is a great avenue for this awareness effort.



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27 Dec 2011, 8:54 pm

They got the pony wrong! The pony being described is Twilight Sparkle, not Fluttershy.


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jmnixon95
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27 Dec 2011, 8:58 pm

Ganondox wrote:
They got the pony wrong! The pony being described is Twilight Sparkle, not Fluttershy.


Lol, didn't notice until now.
So much for borderline-encyclopedic knowledge.



hyperlexian
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27 Dec 2011, 9:28 pm

o lordy, the pony thing was a fail.

aghogday, i disagree that it was a good thing. i can see why they picked youngsters for the article, but it is a bad example of a relationship. hopefully they will balance it with a healthier relationships in upcoming articles, otherwise it makes us look like it isn't possible for us to have well-functioning LTRs.


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Ganondox
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27 Dec 2011, 10:10 pm

hyperlexian wrote:
o lordy, the pony thing was a fail.

aghogday, i disagree that it was a good thing. i can see why they picked youngsters for the article, but it is a bad example of a relationship. hopefully they will balance it with a healthier relationships in upcoming articles, otherwise it makes us look like it isn't possible for us to have well-functioning LTRs.


Of course, in order to make an article of a healthier relationship they need a story of a healthy relationship. This is a mini-celeb couple, so easier to make a story, and also rocky relationships make more interesting stories; no conflict, no story.


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scubasteve
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27 Dec 2011, 10:30 pm

I don't think it's fair for us to judge the relationship just from reading that article.

First of all, yes, they may have exaggerated the arguments to build conflict and make it a more compelling read.

And second, arguing a lot doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad relationship. I've known couples who had arguments like that every day and still were happily married their whole lives. Sometimes it's just a healthy form of communication between two people who are very particular. The key is that they're willing to compromise because they care about each other.

But, again, we can't judge what this relationship is really like just from reading an article. I'd be curious to know how Jack and Kirsten felt about the article though, if they thought it portrayed them accurately.



hyperlexian
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28 Dec 2011, 1:16 am

scubasteve wrote:
I don't think it's fair for us to judge the relationship just from reading that article.

First of all, yes, they may have exaggerated the arguments to build conflict and make it a more compelling read.

And second, arguing a lot doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad relationship. I've known couples who had arguments like that every day and still were happily married their whole lives. Sometimes it's just a healthy form of communication between two people who are very particular. The key is that they're willing to compromise because they care about each other.

But, again, we can't judge what this relationship is really like just from reading an article. I'd be curious to know how Jack and Kirsten felt about the article though, if they thought it portrayed them accurately.

it's not the arguments that made me wonder... it was how he referred to her in the article. yes, he thinks she is beautiful, but he made it sound like he was with her because he couldn't get anything better. and it almost seems like her meltdowns have become a bargaining chip. if any poster came into the Love & Dating forum with a fraction of the details included in the acrticle, i'd advise them to get couples' counselling or move on. seriously, the relationship does not seem functional or happy.

you're correct that it may have been skewed but we have no way of knowing that. all we have are the facts at hand.


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aghogday
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28 Dec 2011, 3:58 am

hyperlexian wrote:
o lordy, the pony thing was a fail.

aghogday, i disagree that it was a good thing. i can see why they picked youngsters for the article, but it is a bad example of a relationship. hopefully they will balance it with a healthier relationships in upcoming articles, otherwise it makes us look like it isn't possible for us to have well-functioning LTRs.


I think this series is exploring the difficulties that young people with autism have as they transition into adulthood, and how they meet those challenges. I don't think it was their intention to portray a well-functioning LTR, without any serious difficulties.

I think the story portrayed the path that someone might take into reaching the stage of having a well-functioning LTR, but I think it is something many learn through trial and error at ages 18-20, autistic and non-autistic.

I think it would be good to show healthier relationships of individuals, older, with more experience, too, but that might be part of a different series of how individuals have successfully adapted to adulthood with autism, rather than the difficult transition into adulthood.

I'm looking at it though from the perspective of the introductory article for this particular series, that portrayed 500,000 youths in developmentally disabled programs for autistics moving into an unexplored area of life, in the next decade, as a difficulty that will be challenging to accommodate.

Kirsten and Jack aren't part of that specific demographic of autism, the individual in the previous article was.

And, most individuals in the media that are portrayed with autism are individuals from those developmentally disabled programs.

Just the general fact that these two are in college, and are portrayed as having autism in the media, is a breakthrough to me, I can't remember that being portrayed in a news paper article when this topic of youths transitioning into adulthood comes up.

Most of the time it is how is society going to accommodate them, rather than, in this case two individuals moving their way to self-sufficiency.



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28 Dec 2011, 4:03 pm

It's an article in a series about the challenges of transitioning to adulthood with autism.

Therefore, the people in the article are going to be: a. young, and b. experiencing challenges.

The purpose of the article is not to show that autistic people can have blissfully happy long-term relationships that last decades. It's to show that like most other people their age, young autistic people seek out romantic relationships, and being autistic can present some unique challenges in that area. I thought it did a very good job of that.

The fact that the most prestigious media outlet in the US (maybe the world) is publishing articles like this one that portray us as real human beings is something that should be celebrated, in my opinion.



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29 Dec 2011, 5:37 pm

In the actual article, at the beginning, in a sidebar, it says that the NY Times is actively seeking MORE stories about adults with autism....You want your story told, contact them directly yourself!

No complaining about favoritism, or Jack and Kirsten only got their story told because Jack is the son of the well known aspie author, John E. Robison. It probably helped the reporter to find them but it was their choice to say yes we want our story told, or no we do not.

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Autism, Grown Up

Love on the Spectrum

Articles in this series are chronicling the coming of age of a generation of autistic youths. If you are a person with autism or a relative, neighbor, romantic interest or co-worker of someone who is, you can help inform this series. Share your story at nytimes.com/national.


As far as commenting on their relationship and the nature of it, I would not comment or judge them. I thought the reporter did a very decent job of trying to explain how this young couple met, their experience so far and I wish them both the best of luck in life and love. I thought it was very brave of them to tell their story in such a public fashion.

And as some have already posted in this thread, it gives you hope, you had resonance with the story and the more the whole world learns about ASD the better....



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02 Jan 2012, 10:07 pm

I cried reading it because I related to so much of it in my relationship with my partner. I'm NT, but some of the issues that have come up with us are the same. It broke my heart that prior to his diagnosis, I used to see some of his behavior as being "selfish" or rude, when actually it was just part of him being a person with autism. I'm so happy that Jack and Kirsten decided to share their story with everyone.



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03 Jan 2012, 11:35 am

I wrote this on another thread talking about the article and wanted to say it again. Surely the article wasn't written to please folk on here, and it didn't need to appeal or be interesting to them.

It needed to work, ie interest and educate people. You might be able to notice lots about it that doesn't quite please you, but its part of a process of educating people and I think this story works (I agree others are needed).

The reason why I think it works isn't just my personal reaction.

I'm in the UK and yet I had several chats in the pub triggered by other NTs who had read that article, which I was quite surprised by. NTs started the chats, people who knew nothing about autism or Aspergers other than from Rain Man and Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night. One seriously smart, kind, nerdy guy admitted that he thought, until that article, it was a devastating disease that you could catch. We talked about different ways of thinking, the empathy myth, and friends who were a puzzle to them. The interest was theirs, not a WP members telling them, thats how good learning works. I think that was a small bit of good, triggered by a fairly harmless article, so it seems daft to knock that? Perhaps if that happened in the UK rather a long way from the NYT, even more of that happened closer to home.

The only other unsolicited pub chat I have ever heard about Aspergers were from people reading Dog in the Night. You got to say that sounds like progress? Build on it, don't knock it.



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05 Jan 2012, 2:07 am

jmnixon95 wrote:
Ah, I see.
I wasn't sure if you were talking about national attention being drawn to an autistic couple or what. I see now, though. I actually don't know exactly what I was originally thinking.

Quote:
Of course, when you are backed by an organization such as Autism Speaks, you can probably push your way into any journalistic platform you desire. (considering that they seem to have a monopoly on the media when it comes to anything autism)


I totally agree with this.


You might be quite surprised how little Autism Speaks had to do with the publication of this article. It's a long story, but it has little to do with the fact that Jack has a famous father or Autism Speaks is sponsoring ATT. It's because Jack and Kirsten are fascinating. I could chat with Jack about chemistry for hours and Kirsten is a lot of fun. Their relationship captures public imagination for a great number of reasons.

Also, many of my own opportunities as writer have had little to do with Autism Speaks, though I have written for their blog a number of times. Don't give them more credit than they deserve. Once your in with Autism Speaks... well, you still have to work as hard as anyone else.

If Jack and Kirsten weren't worth writing about for their own merits, why was it the most read article in NYT the day it was posted? Jack and Kirsten are not yet major celebrities. People are interested in their story.


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05 Jan 2012, 3:14 pm

I just had the chance to read this article.

Moving story. What I took away from it is that, aside from dedication, what's helped Jack and Kirsten is having specific and clear-cut aversions/idiocyncracies to a point where they able to negotiate more directly when the waters get rough. Even ahead of that, being on the same page in that sense is what brought them together and what fuels their desire to keep trying.

This was a lengthy write-up too. I get the impression that yes, its partly for autistic parents and partly for AS-NT couples, but I also get the impression that *everyone* is having a hard go of relationships these days and when two of us are able to work through things its even more illuminating in that the dynamics are phrased a different way; thus a lot of hidden truths sift their way out into the open.

(lol, that and to Jack and Kirstin - sorry if I got too epic on you guys there. :lol: Congrats to you both)


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