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anneurysm
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22 Aug 2011, 4:29 pm

Thought I'd post this opportunity to anyone interested...

http://positively-autism.blogspot.com/2 ... utism.html

Dr. Temple Grandin is writing a new book featuring people with autism who are over the age of 50 and have a successful career.

About 6 to 10 people will be chosen whose stories are interesting and inspirational to those with autism and those who care for them. 

Please give one or two paragraphs on your career when diagnosed by a professional and a little about your life now.

If this relates to you or someone close to you, please write to [email protected]


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I am an anomaly. Diagnosed with borderline,"tentative" Aspergers at 7 as the school board required me to have a label in order to receive special education services. I did not fit criteria for ASD but that was the closest label that fit my behaviour at the time.

My longtime psychiatrist has confirmed that I do not qualify for an ASD diagnosis (but have traits & OCD-like traits).

Mostly keeping a distance from ASD-related things (including WP).


Avengilante
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22 Aug 2011, 8:08 pm

I think that's dishonest and a disservice to those for whom autism is a serious handicap. It trivializes the disorder and gives the public the impression that its no big deal.


I worked for well over a quarter of a century and if your standard is recognition for quality work, I was very successful.

On the other hand, if your definition of success is the ability to make a comfortable living and remain employed without being fired every few months for not fitting in and having to continually start over again, then I didn't do so well.

I felt the same when I read 'Look Me in the Eye'. Stable long term career, worked with rock stars, business owner - well, hey, if that's what having High Functioning Autism is like, then its not even a real disability, is it?

Except that it IS a very real disability and pretending that its anything else is like calling those who DON'T have successful careers lazy, good for nothing slackers who are just using autism as an excuse. Don't we hear enough of that from the pea brained haters in the world? Way to take a handful of extremely rare best-case scenarios and rub them in the faces of those who are genuinely struggling. Temple Grandin needs to stick to what she knows - herself and her own personal experiences.


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SammichEater
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22 Aug 2011, 8:27 pm

Avengilante wrote:
I think that's dishonest and a disservice to those for whom autism is a serious handicap. It trivializes the disorder and gives the public the impression that its no big deal.

Except that it IS a very real disability and pretending that its anything else is like calling those who DON'T have successful careers lazy, good for nothing slackers who are just using autism as an excuse. Don't we hear enough of that from the pea brained haters in the world? Way to take a handful of extremely rare best-case scenarios and rub them in the faces of those who are genuinely struggling. Temple Grandin needs to stick to what she knows - herself and her own personal experiences.


I was under the impression that it's no big deal. The fact that many people here disagree with me makes me question myself. Maybe I don't really have AS. :?

But that's ridiculous. I definitely am on the spectrum somewhere, there's no questioning that.


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Zen
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22 Aug 2011, 8:54 pm

Avengilante wrote:
Except that it IS a very real disability and pretending that its anything else is like calling those who DON'T have successful careers lazy, good for nothing slackers who are just using autism as an excuse. Don't we hear enough of that from the pea brained haters in the world? Way to take a handful of extremely rare best-case scenarios and rub them in the faces of those who are genuinely struggling.

I can relate to this. And I even feel like I'm one of the lucky ones who is actually able to get work at all, despite the fact that I'm horrendously underpaid for my skill level and can't pass an interview to save my life. It's been a struggle to get this far. I don't sit around and feel sorry for myself. So I just can't imagine being "successful", even as successful as some people I see here.



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22 Aug 2011, 8:57 pm

It makes as much sense as this:

Bill Gates is a human, just like the rest of us. If he can make billions of dollars, why can't we?

It's all chance and circumstance. Just as within any population, there's going to be both successful and unsuccessful people.


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wavefreak58
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22 Aug 2011, 9:07 pm

I'm over 50 and employed, but miserably so. I have never been able to engage in the type of things that are of interest to me. I get an excellent salary and am fully and completely bored and frustrated. I'm a classic example of underemployed relative to my ability, And the MAJOR factor in this is my complete inability to understand social interactions.


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kfisherx
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22 Aug 2011, 11:38 pm

I too wonder about John Robison. He says he has had an MRI and is on the spectrum and tons of other ASD people relate to him but I do not. He has so much social awareness that I never had that he might as well be NT to me. (btw: I am not saying his is not ASD, just that he is far less impaired in some ways) That said, I am also highly successful in life and could easily be a candidate for this book if I was only 2 years older. (am only 48 right now) I would be okay with this book provided it was done in such a way that it set up realistic expectations for ASD people along with these awesome stories. I think that there is HUGE benefit to giving people role models even if they can never be like those role models.

It always makes me squirm a little when parents of ASD kids tell me how much "hope" I give them. I am a medical statistical anomaly and so is Temple. People who are as affected as we are, generally only live with guarded independence (like in a marriage with a wife who looks after them) or in a group home. We beat the odds. Doesn't mean that everyone else can though... I have "mixed" feelings about all of this.



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23 Aug 2011, 11:15 am

kfisherx wrote:
It always makes me squirm a little when parents of ASD kids tell me how much "hope" I give them. I am a medical statistical anomaly and so is Temple.
Quote:

THIS!! !

Temple Grandin is a statistical outlier amongst a small minority. She is truly one in a million.

Quote:
People who are as affected as we are, generally only live with guarded independence (like in a marriage with a wife who looks after them) or in a group home. We beat the odds. Doesn't mean that everyone else can though... I have "mixed" feelings about all of this.


And this. If I had not the good fortune to marry my wife, I suspect I would have had a vastly different outcome. Homeless or suicide comes to mind. Not all support comes in the form of social services.


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Zen
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23 Aug 2011, 11:39 am

kfisherx wrote:
I would be okay with this book provided it was done in such a way that it set up realistic expectations for ASD people along with these awesome stories. I think that there is HUGE benefit to giving people role models even if they can never be like those role models.


Exactly.
My feelings are mixed too. I don't mean to come across as a downer. I do see value in having role models rather than having people tell you you'll never amount to anything. But I also get frustrated when people advise me to "just do x" as if it's the simplest thing in the world and not something that I can throw every ounce of my emergency resources into and still not manage very well. You wouldn't tell people in wheelchairs to just get up and walk, for example. Practical and realistic advice is quite welcome though.



kfisherx
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23 Aug 2011, 11:46 am

wavefreak58 wrote:
kfisherx wrote:
It always makes me squirm a little when parents of ASD kids tell me how much "hope" I give them. I am a medical statistical anomaly and so is Temple.


THIS!! !

Temple Grandin is a statistical outlier amongst a small minority. She is truly one in a million.



This is exactly what the Doctors around here keep telling me about my situation too so I am highly aware of the fact that not every ASD person is going to climb to where I am. Thus why I squirm when I hear this phrase from parepnts. (and I hear it ALL THE TIME)

Oh yeah and this, is why they all these professionals are listening to me and lining up to visit with me. I actually had one drive all the way from across town to visit me at Intel. Just to "meet" me. (remember when we were all trying to figure out what was going on with that?) LOL!

It will be interesting to see if Temple can come up with enough people to write this book given the supposed rareity of ASD people who actually are highly succesful in life.



Last edited by kfisherx on 23 Aug 2011, 11:56 am, edited 4 times in total.

wavefreak58
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23 Aug 2011, 11:49 am

Zen wrote:
You wouldn't tell people in wheelchairs to just get up and walk


I've been to church services that did just this. Lot's of rationalization after the fact when the walking didn't work out so well. These are the same folk that tried to cast out my demons.



... back to your regularly scheduled thread.


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anneurysm
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23 Aug 2011, 5:44 pm

After some thought, I feel I have mixed opinions on this upcoming book as well. While I can understand the nature and premise of finding these stories (to inspire others), there's the issue of whether it is realistic enough to currently reflect what the older autistic population actually has experienced.

As wavefreak58 has noted, Temple Grandin is an anomaly among this population and not really representative of all autistic people. Not every person with an ASD will reach this level, and while I see the vlaue in role models, I agree that giving people this false sense of 'hope' is not that realistic of an approach.

While I'm unsure of the scope of this project as a whole, I would recommend that this project's focus should be on practical and concrete success strategies, with perhaps the success stories as an addendum. As well, the nature of the success stories should be expanded to include people who have had success with various aspects of employment (i.e. a rewarding or enjoyable job) rather than focus solely on people with stable careers. This is a far too narrow of a scope, and I agree that if this scope is not widened, there won't be many story submissions.


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I am an anomaly. Diagnosed with borderline,"tentative" Aspergers at 7 as the school board required me to have a label in order to receive special education services. I did not fit criteria for ASD but that was the closest label that fit my behaviour at the time.

My longtime psychiatrist has confirmed that I do not qualify for an ASD diagnosis (but have traits & OCD-like traits).

Mostly keeping a distance from ASD-related things (including WP).


szmaine
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23 Aug 2011, 6:19 pm

I think folks might be overlooking a possible very positive effect of a book like this...

Celebrities are often able to effect great change due to their higher profile, right?

So, Temple Grandin has great visibility now, due in great part to her anomalous abilities. If she writes a book about these "success stories" then these people might also become a voice for the greater community. All the better to increase awareness among everyone, to help with problems of acceptance and resources.

And if you look at Alex's mini-documentary you can see that she is fully aware of the full range of atributes in those with autism/ASD. I don't think at all that she is espousing a message of "anyone can do it, look at us".

You need MORE highly visible people out there changing perceptions.



wavefreak58
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24 Aug 2011, 6:21 am

It is very common to put people of excellence on a pedestal and teach children that those heights can be achieved. Children are encouraged to excel in sports because "You might make the big time" even though the odds are vanishingly small. With autism and autistics like Temple Grandin, this can become a negative when people with no real knowledge of autism over generalize her experience and expect other autistics to achieve similar levels of success. People don't REALLY expect all their kids to become professional athletes and when they are more normal in their abilities it's OK - they aren't labeled as lazy or unmotivated. It would seem that Temple Grandin is sometimes used as a bludgeon to heap accusatory stereotypes on the less capable of those on the spectrum.

Temple Grandin is an example of possibility, not likelihood. Having a book of such possibilities is a good thing. We need to believe that we CAN have some measure of success even if it is never to the level of these exceptional individuals. These autistic stars remind us that there is possibility out there and that we can expand our boundaries.The message of the Temple Grandin's of our world is not that all autistics can do great things, but that all autistics can do more than most people expect when given the space and support.


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The road to my hell is paved with your good intentions.