Categories
Puzzle Pride Campaign

Wherein I Meet Mario… Yes. THAT Mario.

I’ve been so busy with the Aspie Dialogues and getting into the Autism at Work Initiative, that I realize I’ve been neglecting the Aspie Epilogue something awful, lately.

I actually meant to post this a couple months ago, but I think we all know my dirty, little secret with this site:

I get distracted from it very easily.

Never mind that, though. I’m here, now, and boy, do I have something awesome for you all! (And it’s not the gratuitous amount of commas in that last sentence.)

Back in May (This is that late, I know. Other projects. What can I do; I can only spread myself so thin…), I attended Wizard World Comic Con Philadelphia with some friends of mine.

Oh, yeah! I also met a Power Ranger. Go figure!

Oh, yeah! I also met a Power Ranger. Go figure!

You may ask yourselves, “What does any of this have to do with the Aspie Epilogue, Jon?”

I’m getting to that…

You see, I also met Charles Martinet. He’s better known as the voice of Nintendo’s Mario. Hey! That goes back to the title of the post! How about that!

It's a-him! A-Martinet! ... Wait a minute...
It’s a-him! A-Martinet! … Wait a minute…

Yes, I met Mario Mario’s voice actor in the flesh. I was also extremely lucky enough to have received this very special message from the Mushroom Kingdom’s favorite plumber, himself:

I happen to know from my prior experience working with the Kinney Center that Nintendo’s games were a giant hit with the teens with ASD whom I had the distinct pleasure of working with. For whatever reason, Mario always resonated with these teens, and they could not wait to go home and play some Nintendo when they got home. So much so, that the Kinney Center eventually bought a Wii to use on location as positive reinforcement.

I, for one, would like to echo Mario’s words above. You guys make the Aspie Epilogue and the Aspie Dialogues what they are. Without you, we are nothing.

So, it is with this, that I would like to award Charles Martinet with the HONORARY PUZZLE PRIDE AWARD 2015.

Web

You guys are more Super than the Super Mario Bros! You’re #1!

Categories
Carry On Puzzle Pride Campaign

Changing Directions…

By now, I’ve noticed that I haven’t received submissions for this year’s Puzzle Pride Campaign yet. At this point, I have no reason to suspect that I will by the deadline. That’s fine; I haven’t really been pushing it as hard as I should have been, and that was entirely my fault.

However!

Yes, there is an attachment to this statement… However, I do have something really nice to share with you all, possibly in its place.

I don’t want to talk too much about concrete details, but I assure you it is coming.

…in May.

I promise this will be good. Just hang in there with me on this.

That’s it for the Puzzle Pride Campaign news for now. As for¬†Carry On, my original screenplay…

I have entered it into three competitions at the same time. I’m hoping at least one of them will bite. If not, then I will engage in a massive revision I’ve been brainstorming about. I find out about contest #1 in June; I won’t know about the others until July.

I do greatly appreciate everybody who has liked the screenplay on Skripteez.com so far. You all are wonderful! Let’s keep the momentum rolling on that!

I’m not sure if there will be a Puzzle Pride Award recipient this year, but I promise you will enjoy what I’m working on this month in regards to the Aspie Epilogue. Suffice it to say, I want to foster conversation, or dare I say… “dialogues?” You’ll understand when you see it.

Have a wonderful Autism Awareness Month, everybody!

Categories
Carry On Puzzle Pride Campaign

Big Announcement Just in Time for Autism Awareness Month!

Before I get to the big announcement, I just want to address the lack of nominations for the Puzzle Pride Campaign I’ve received. I really want this year to be a success, so I’m going to extend the deadline to April 30. That’s not really the best case scenario I was hoping for, but it is what it is.

Perhaps, people don’t feel as comfortable putting themselves out there as I do, and that’s okay. So, what I’m going to do instead is tweak the rules a bit to something more people might be comfortable with.

1. ANY Puzzle Piece can be nominated for this award, now. That includes parents, siblings, caretakers, friends, family, and the actual Spectrumites (Is that a word? It is now. ūüôā Patent Pending!)

2. You now have until 11:59 PM on Thursday, April 30, 2015 to submit your nominations for the Puzzle Pride Award.

3. You must contact me through either my email listed on the site’s contact page, the Aspie Epilogue¬†Facebook page, or through any other means listed on the site’s contact page.

4. Please inform me WHY this person or these people (if you’re nominating more than one person) has been so inspirational to you. This is important. There’s no right or wrong answer here. Just go with what’s on your mind from the bottom of your heart.

Now that we have that out of the way, I’d like to address the big announcement:

I recently set up a Skripteez account to promote my graduate thesis, a 108-page feature-length screenplay called Carry On.

After nearly a full year of getting nowhere in screenwriting contests with this screenplay, I’ve decided to take a different approach to getting my screenplay out to its intended audience. If I’m lucky enough, it may even fall into the right hands to get optioned by a studio. I don’t know if I’m that lucky, though.

So, what does any of this have to do with the Aspie Epilogue? Here’s the screenplay’s logline (NOTE: Loglines are extremely difficult to write, as they must boil down, in this case, 108 pages into one sentence.):

A teenage Aspie must win a contest to appear on the latest hit reality show and impress the girl he likes.

As for a more detailed synopsis of the screenplay, here’s that, too:

Raising a child on the Autism Spectrum is difficult, but growing up as an Aspie can be overwhelming. Nobody knows that better than Jude Dunn (JD).

Whether fighting high school bullies, getting the girl, or simply winning a spot on a new hit reality show, JD wrestles with what it means to be an Aspie. Through the support of his friend, Amy, and his band, The Nitro Pumpkins, JD begins a journey through 12th grade that will impact the lives of everyone he meets. For some there will be a happy ending; for others, not so much. Will Amy ever know how JD feels about her? Will JD clinch his rise to fame? The scars of the past will bleed as JD battles his greatest foe: himself.

When I watch a character with ASD in a movie or on TV, 9 times out of 10, I see a robot or Rain Man. That doesn’t really do the ASD community justice. If you meet an Aspie, you’ve met one Aspie. ASD affects different people in different ways.¬†Parenthood on NBC is as close as I’ve ever seen to a TV show or a movie “getting it right.”

In¬†Carry On, our Aspergian protagonist, JD, is more lively than that. He’s colorful, he’s irreverent, and he’s vulnerable to his own self-inflicted insecurities. What brings him down could very well be the very personality traits that could someday lift him up. He just needs to learn how to balance that fine line of when to say something and when to shut his mouth. We all have those moments.

This isn’t just another ASD flick trying to raise awareness of ASD. Rather, it’s a film that shows how universal ASD is through the eyes of one Aspie with his own symptoms and coping methods.

If you would like to read Carry On, it is available on Loglinr for free. Just follow this link.

I will continue to keep you updated on my progress, as I try to get a buyer for the screenplay. I have also entered it in this year’s Page Awards Screenwriting Contest. I won’t know how that works out until July at the soonest.

Until then, find peace with yourself, within yourself. And don’t forget to nominate your favorite candidate for the Puzzle Pride Award this year!

Categories
Puzzle Pride Campaign

Puzzle Pride Campaign 2015 Ground Rules

Hi, I just wanted to give you all some guidelines for this year’s…

PUZZLE PRIDE CAMPAIGN!!!!!!!!!!!

*cue the dramatic echo*

 

In past years, the winners have all been, for lack of a better term, high-profile. Which is fine, but I had originally intended the Puzzle Pride Campaign to be more accessible to the average Puzzle Piece. Whether this person is a friend, a care-giver, a family member, etc., is immaterial. I wanted this to be about¬†YOU. So, this year, I’m giving more guidelines to foster the discussion.

1. All nominations must be emailed to me at jondorfman@aspieepilogue.com with the subject line: “PUZZLE PRIDE 2015” by 11:59 PM on Sunday, March 15, 2015. NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS RULE!

2. You may nominate up to three people for this award. You may even nominate yourself, if you so choose. You may NOT nominate yourself three times. Once you’ve used up your three nominations, they are gone. They are gone until next year.

3. The theme for this year (YES! We have a theme, this year!) is “A Source of Inspiration.” For this year’s award, I want the nominations to surround the Puzzle Pieces in¬†your life who inspire you in any way, shape, or form. So, this means that the only people I should receive nominations for are people on the Autism Spectrum (Autisms, Asperger’s Syndrome, PDD, PDD-NOS, Rhett Syndrome, etc.). I want this to be about the people who deserve the most say in all of this: the people who hold a diagnosis, themselves, and inspire their loved ones in even the smallest of ways possible. Inspiration is inspiration, no matter the amount.

4. With this in mind, when you submit your nominations, make sure you have this person’s (or these people’s if you’re nominating more than once) permission to disclose his, her, or their disability(-ies) for the world to see. I don’t want to violate any HIPAA laws with this. So only nominate people who want the exposure.

5. Your nominations should also include a small blurb about why this person (for each person you nominate) should receive the Puzzle Pride Award in 2015. This is where you plead your case. What about him or her inspires you, and why should it inspire the rest of us? That is the kind of question you want to answer with this blurb.

So, now that you all know the rules for this year, I want to show you a sneak peak at what’s in store for the winner:

Web

 

Suffice it to say, I’m aiming for this year’s prize is going to be more personal and more tangible for the winner than in the past. You’ll definitely like what I have in mind. DEFINITELY.

Get nominating, people! We’re counting on you!

Categories
Puzzle Pride Campaign

I Want to Hear from YOU!

April’s right around the corner, and that means another round for the Puzzle Pride Campaign! I want to hear¬†YOUR¬†nominations for the 2015 Puzzle Pride Award!

To make things interesting, I’m going to work on a special surprise for the winner(s) this year. I’ll announce what that¬†is when it gets closer, maybe sometime around March, perhaps. We’ll see.

For now, I want to hear who you guys think should win this year’s Puzzle Pride Award. I’m counting on you to make this work. Don’t let us down! It’s gonna be awesome.

Puzzle Pride!

Categories
Puzzle Pride Campaign

Some Good News

Yesterday, I finally received my diploma from my Master’s degree I earned back in May. Words cannot describe the relief I feel just knowing that I can now officially close the books on my graduate studies.

But that’s not the whole reason I’m writing today.

The Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support is hosting a 5K as part of Saint Joseph’s University’s Hawktoberfest celebration on September 27.

I started a team page for it, located here.

If any of my readers will be in the area and want to join my team, that’d be great! If you want to support the team but can’t run or won’t be in the area, you can also donate to Team Puzzle Pride from the team page.

The run (or walk, if that’s your thing) will cost $25 per runner, $100 per group of 5 individuals, or $10 per SJU student. Or you can donate toward the cause, like I described above.

For those of you who wish to join Team Puzzle Pride, check in starts at the Kinney Center at 7:00 AM on Saturday, September 27, and the race kicks off at 8:30 AM. You can sign up the day of if you wish. There will also be music and a carnival for the kids after the race.

I hope to see some of you there!

 

PS – If you want the specific URL for the team page, it is

http://alumni.sju.edu/PuzzlePride

Many thanks for supporting the cause. I couldn’t do it without your support.

Categories
FAQ Life Puzzle Pride Campaign

Puzzle Pride Climbing

I know I’ve been absent from the blog for a while. Long story short, my father recently broke his hip, slipping on the ice about a month and a half ago. Time to write on the Aspie Epilogue has been scarce.

Perhaps you’ve heard the latest from the CDC, but for those who haven’t, I just learned today that ASD now affects 1 in 68 people. For those of you playing the home game, that’s a dramatic increase in prevalence over the past two short years.

Welcome to the blog where the numbers DO count, and the points DO matter.

This means that instead of 1 in 88¬†children growing¬†into 1 in 88 adults with ASD, 1 in 68 children with ASD will grow into 1 in 68 adults with ASD. That’s a big difference from the 2012 numbers. A few years ago, it was 1 in 110. Clearly, this is a trend that’s not going to stop any time soon.

What bothers me about this is that now there is potential for another push to “cure” ASD. For many of us, this implies that there is something “wrong” with us. That idea is a myth.

We operate by a different brand of logic from the neurotypicals who create this myth. Even if a brand of logic is flawed — we do have a more literal definition of the world around us — it’s still a brand of logic.

It’s not that we can’t understand the world around us and contribute to it. It’s that our brains are wired to see the world differently than others. That’s not a problem, and it certainly doesn’t require a “cure.”

What it requires is resources to go into helping us use our way of seeing the world to advance it.

That’s enough of that rant for today. I have another important announcement to make today.

I’m still looking for suggestions for the 2014 Puzzle Pride Award recipient! I’ll give you guys all of April to comment and discuss on the blog about it.

If we get to May and nobody’s been nominated yet, I’ll have to call on random people, which is less than ideal for the intent of the blog. I know we don’t it to come down to that, so let’s get the ball rolling.

Until then, Puzzle Pieces…

Categories
Puzzle Pride Campaign

Puzzle Pride 2014 is Coming!

Hi, all!

It’s almost February, and you know what that means! The Puzzle Pride Campaign is coming!

It’s only two more months until Autism Awareness Month, and that means I need your suggestions for the 2014 Puzzle Pride Award recipient. ¬†You can submit suggestions via any method listed on the Contact page (Facebook, Twitter, Email), Google+, or even by commenting on the blog! The winner will be announced in April, so stay tuned.

I’m hoping to also start a new Aspie Epilogue project next month in conjunction with the Puzzle Pride Campaign. So stay tuned in March for that.

How do you like the new look? Do you have anybody you’d like to recognize for the Puzzle Pride Campaign? Have any other feedback about the site? Let me know what you guys think!

Categories
Puzzle Pride Campaign

Happy (Belated) Autism Awareness Month 2013!

I know, I know…

I stink at blogging. I’ve already learned that lesson. I really wanted to get this up a month and a half ago, but various projects (and school) came up, and well, I don’t have much else for an excuse. I figured I’d make it up to you with this post then go from there.

Late as this post is, I wanted to share with you all how I spent my Autism Awareness Month (April). Last year, I introduced the Puzzle Pride Campaign and the Puzzle Man. How could I possibly have followed up such an amazing show for this year (even if I wanted to do it a month and a half ago)?

I convinced my parents to light up the house blue this April (last month… oopsy-daisy :P)! Take a look for yourselves:

Awesome! I know, right?
Awesome! I know, right?

But that’s not all I did:

Just in case my neighbors were curious.
Just in case my neighbors were curious.

It’s always great to see Puzzle Man in action. Look at him! He’s so happy to be so loved!

Here’s where I digress for a bit:

My sister has Sj√∂gren’s Syndrome. You can read all about it at her page on the blogroll. You may remember her as the Puzzle Pride Award recipient from last year (2012). ¬†As it turns out, Sj√∂gren’s Awareness Month is also celebrated in April. So that she didn’t feel left out…

Leave it to Jenny to steal the thunder from my blogpost...
Leave it to Jenny to steal the thunder from my blogpost…

Hmm… I appeared to be at home when this was taken… *Digression!* Ahem, so yes… It was also Sj√∂gren’s Awareness Month in April, as well.

So, who got the much coveted Puzzle Pride Award *Angelic Chorus Singing*?

Dr. Michelle Rowe of the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support at St. Joseph’s University. You can read more about the decision on the Puzzle Pride Campaign page located on this very blog.

So, there you have it! Up to date (or last month to be nitpicky) on the Aspie Epilogue. I have shown my true colors at last (well, at least one shade of them, anyway)! Huzzah!

I’m going to make an effort to be more active from this point. NO PROMISES! I do have a tendency to forget to post, you know. Anyway, I have class in about an hour, so I will see you next time… Whenever that is.

Categories
Puzzle Pride Campaign

Introducing… the Puzzle Pride Campaign!

Image

You may have noticed a new page on the blog. ¬†You can learn more by visiting the Puzzle Pride Campaign page at the top of the blog, but I’ll explain it briefly here. ¬†We are all pieces of the same puzzle. ¬†When we come together as one, we reveal the whole picture as we strive to understand what the puzzle is.

Since this is Autism Awareness Month (April), I feel it is appropriate to announce that I may not be “normal,” but I am me. ¬†And that is all that matters in this life. ¬†I am proud of all that I have accomplished in the face of ASD.

I could never have made it this far without those who went to bat for me in my lifetime.  So to thank them, I am initiating the Puzzle Pride Campaign.  Puzzle Man serves to acknowledge both the people in our lives who have supported us all the way and our pride as Puzzle Pieces.  Individually, we are but one piece.  Together, we are the completed puzzle in all its colorful glory.  I hope you join me in this campaign as I award the first Puzzle Pride Award to Understanding Invisible Illnesses (UII).  Live to Help, and Help to Live.  Nobody understands this and acts on it better than UII.  Keep an eye out on Facebook for the Official Aspie Epilogue Facebook Page, coming later this month.

May you find peace with yourself, within yourself (piece?).