Guest post by Tracey Cohen, author of Six-Word Lessons on Female Asperger Syndrome
Socializing and social events are incredibly difficult and 'tricky' for many people on the autism spectrum including myself. We very much want to be included but are overwhelmed quickly - by the social situation itself as well as the very notion of attending. As a result, we often decline invitations and/or make very brief appearances which are often seen as standoffish; some even assume us to be arrogant. But such assumptions could not be further from the truth. In fact, what may appear to be a small 'token' effort is actually monumental and often a huge achievement for many of us on the spectrum.
by Lonnie Pacelli
This is part two of How an Autistic Child has Changed a Career…For the Better
In 2006 I wrote of Patty’s and my decision to homeschool our son Trevor to help provide a learning environment more conducive with his autism. It’s now twelve years later and time to write about how things worked out.
Guest Blog by Tracey Cohen. Originally published on The Art of Autism
“For as long as I can remember, my greatest loves, which is when I am most at peace, are running, especially outdoors, helping others and just giving back to our world if even in the smallest of ways. It was during my service as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in 2003 that I ‘fell’ into writing, a process that partially occurs during my run. My effort to bring more awareness to the needs of the developing country I served has progressed in ways I never dreamed, including two books, numerous articles and frequent speaking opportunities all of which allow me to help and connect with others in ways never deemed possible. Fueled by the courage I muster on my run, it is my honor and privilege to inspire, educate and entertain in the challenging world we live.” – Tracey Cohen Six-Word Lessons on Female Asperger Syndrome and Six-Word Lessons on the Sport of Running
Guest blog by Ashley Taylor of DisabledParents.org
Parents with autism spectrum disorder face so many challenges. They may have to overcome their sensory overstimulation in order to keep up with household chores or their children. People they encounter might place the burden of stigma on the parent as they misunderstand autism disorder. However, many parents find that their autism actually has some benefits. They have insight and are more empathetic toward their children when they struggle with emotions. Or they find that while they are caring for their kids they are able to “hyperfocus” on the little ones. The point is, parents with autism have struggles and strengths just like any other parent.
By Patty Pacelli
Human beings were made to work, and adults with autism are no different. Employment leads to a better mood, higher self-esteem, and improved physical health. It allows autistic adults to further develop their skills and understanding. Our son Trevor liked being around people and enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment at his jobs.
Northwest Center of Seattle recently hired Trevor Pacelli, a young adult on the autism spectrum, and one of his duties is to write blog posts for the company. In this post, he has written about his experiences with his past jobs and the varying degrees of inclusion in those workplaces.
Northwest Center is a nonprofit company that " . . . was founded in 1965 by parents who refused to institutionalize their children with developmental disabilities or accept the prevailing notion that their children couldn't be taught. Banding together to form Northwest Center, they hired their own teachers to develop education programs targeted to special needs children." (NWCenter.org) Their mission is "to promote the growth, development and independence of people with disabilities through programs of education, rehabilitation, and work opportunity."
Trevor is thankful and excited to be working for Northwest Center.
By Patty Pacelli
Independent living is an important goal for young adults with autism, and studies have shown that it can lead to better employment success. The process can start early in life, and there are several things to help meet this goal while still living at home.
By Trevor Pacelli
Far too frequently I get the idea that because I have slower speech and a lack of understanding towards other people, I can’t be of significant help to them. But this Memorial Day, I was proven wrong about myself.
by Lonnie Pacelli
In the TV show Parenthood, one of the characters, Max Braverman, is a child with Asperger Syndrome. Max displayed many of the classic autism traits, including obsessing over specific topics. One of his strong areas of interest was pirates. Max loved to dress up like a pirate and act out his made-up stories. His TV father, Adam, was struggling to find those connection points with Max that he so desperately longed for, so he decided to dress up like a pirate and enter Max's imaginary pirate world. The episode ends with Adam and Max running around in their pirate garb having a great time together. It was truly touching to see them both having fun as father and son.
By Patty Pacelli
For children on the autism spectrum, start career planning as soon as your child starts developing interests. The elementary school years are perfect for this, but at least by age 14. Taking note of their interests, especially their passions, can help them pursue and cultivate them. If they talk about dreams that seem unrealistic, encourage them anyway. You never know what they will be capable of as they grow and develop.
Take their interests a step further by finding household tasks or volunteer work that will help them explore and develop their passions while learning good basic work skills and lead to independence and better employment.
For more about preparing your child with autism for the workplace, check out Six-Word Lessons for Autism-Friendly Workplaces, in paperback and e-book.
Inspiration for Life with Autism
This blog has a variety of articles about people living life with autism, and topics and ideas that can help in the journey. Guest bloggers are welcome. Inspired by Trevor, a young adult film critic, photographer and college graduate on the autism spectrum.