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Guest Post Putting the Pieces Together Challenge

Guest Post: Jeff W. Shares His Insights with His ASD.

This is the part where I suggest I switch to a monthly format and work my way up to a weekly format. Clearly, so much has been going on at work that keeps me away from The Aspie Dialogues.

When I last posted, I was trying to encourage other Spectrumites to share their messages and experiences with ASD with the NT world. I obviously missed my deadline to post the results on the site, but since I only received one response from a particularly courageous soul I happen to work with, I spoke with him about making his message a guest post. We’re making Aspie Dialogues History, here, Spectrumites and Puzzle Pieces! I’m just as excited as you are! Our first guest post!

So, a little about my colleague, Jeff…

He is a very kind man, who will always chip in and support others, no matter the personal sacrifice he may endure. So, for him to come out and self-identify for this cause is amazing to me because in today’s world, that’s asking for future employers to not take you seriously.

…And that’s precisely why Jeff wanted to speak up. To change NT perceptions of us. One voice at a time. So, without further ado, here’s what Jeff had to say about the Putting the Pieces Together Challenge:

Where do I even begin? I think for starters, everyone has to understand that each person on the spectrum has their own set of challenges and difficulties. Some people have sensory issues where one constant distraction in the physical environment negatively affects their productivity. Others face the challenge of socializing or coping with change and transitions. Also, the mass media and some people tend to make unfair and judgmental statements about people on the spectrum. They think they know everything and can speak for everyone but they truly can’t. Each and every single of us who is on the spectrum is different in our own ways and people need to realize that.

On a more personal level, I wish people were more accepting of who I am instead of belittling and hating me for what I’m not. I may not be the most athletic, most talkative, or even the best looking person you’ve met but I’m a human being. A human being with real feelings, real thoughts and real struggles in life! Friends at first sight isn’t always the case but if you choose to welcome me with open arms, really get to know me, regularly touch base, and always make me comfortable and happy to engage and interact with you, that is the key to establishing and maintaining friendship or a network.

The bottom line is that individuals with autism are HUMAN and each individual deserves and needs to be treated like one. We can succeed in life like most people do but if that is going to happen, we need to have the right and accommodating environment. How exactly? By always having the considerate, compassionate and altruistic support from everyone around. Not just from family, but from managers, work colleagues, mentors and friends.

Jeff W.

Now, Jeff touches upon several topics I touch upon on this site, and I just want to take a quick moment of your time to elaborate on some of them.

Jeff begins by mentioning that everybody on the Autism Spectrum has his or her own set of challenges and difficulties, and that not all of them are going to be the same for everybody. If there’s one thing I love mentioning on The Aspie Dialogues, it’s that ASD is a uniqueness that is as diverse as the people whose daily lives it affects. That is to say –as Dr. Stephen Shore once suggested…

If you’ve met one person with Autism, you’ve met one person with Autism.

Jeff reiterates an important fact of life we must all learn:

If things are ever going to change for the better for Spectrumites, everybody must first acknowledge that we are all unique HUMAN BEINGS, just the same as any NT. He goes as far as to suggest that we can be as successful and as integrated with society as any other human on this planet. We just need to be treated with the same respect and dignity that comes so easily to NTs.

We are just as happy to interact with you as you are with other NTs, but you have to meet us halfway. Relationships are a two-way street. I believe that’s the point Jeff is trying make with his second paragraph.

As for his concluding paragraph, Jeff sums up everything we all want to share with the world with one definitive sentence:

The bottom line is that individuals with autism are HUMAN and each individual deserves and needs to be treated like one.

…And when we get right down to the purpose of the PPT Challenge or sites like The Aspie Dialogues, isn’t this what everybody’s end goal is? Don’t we all want to be treated as a human individual?

Don’t we all have the moral obligation to treat others with the same mutual respect and dignity we would want others to treat us with?

I’m going to leave you with this thought to mull around on until the next time.

Thank you, Jeff, for participating. Just so you all are aware, Jeff is an extremely talented writer in his own right (Or should I say “in his own… write?” Get it? *rimshot*). This message only scratches the surface of what he is capable of.

May all Spectrumites find peace with themselves, within themselves. And may we all eventually see the day when Jeff’s talking points come to fruition for everybody.

Until then, we’ll have courageous individuals like Jeff to help guide the way.

Thank you, and goodnight.

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Putting the Pieces Together Challenge

Keep the Fires Alive!

As I’ve been looking over the Facebook Insights page for The Aspie Dialogues since last week’s call to action, I’ve been very impressed and grateful for the numbers I’ve been seeing.

At the time of this writing, that post has reached 454 people, garnering 14 clicks and 9 likes, comments, and shares. I’m almost sad in a way; sad that I may never get a response like this again if I don’t keep raising the bar. (I’m still gonna try, though. I didn’t get this far by giving up…)

That’s FANTASTIC momentum, but we can’t stop here! We have to keep the momentum building right up to the deadline for submissions.

So, I’m going to ask each and every one of you to share the Putting the Pieces Together Challenge with at least five people in your circle of friends. I know, I know. It’s imposing a little bit, but if each of you emails five people, who each email five people, who each email five people… See where this is going?

Don’t think for a second that just because you’re Neuro-typical, that means you can’t participate, either! Even if you’re an NT, you can still participate if you are a close part of a Spectrumite’s life.

For example, you could be a parent, or somebody who works with a Spectrumite, or a close friend, sibling, or other close relative. ASD affects you, too, in a more indirect way than it affects your loved one/friend/co-worker. You still have your thoughts and experiences with ASD you wish you could share with others who aren’t affected by it.

I want to hear from everybody. A painting doesn’t depict a complete picture if the artist only paints with one color, so why should we  hear from only one side of the story?

Please, help make this the biggest success this can be! Share this with as many people as you think could benefit from it! Keep the fires alive! Build that momentum! And while you’re at it, share your thoughts with the Putting the Pieces Together Challenge!

Am I missing anything? Do you have something to add? Maybe you just want to contribute to the conversation? My mind is always open to discussion, so why not leave me a note in the Comments section, below?

As always… May you find peace with yourself, within yourself! Rock on, Spectrumites!

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Life Putting the Pieces Together Challenge

Putting the Pieces Together…

One of my primary goals for The Aspie Dialogues is to promote meaningful discussion (Dialogue, anyone?) on the topics that concern us as the ASD community.

I realize that the term, “Aspie,” may technically be widely considered defunct nowadays and that it refers to only a fraction of the ASD community, but it’s been so engrained in my self-identity since I became aware of my 1998 diagnosis some time around 2002 or 2003, that I felt it would detract to my blog’s meaning if I didn’t include it in the title.

But what does my blog mean, anyway? And while we’re at it, what is the meaning of ASD, in the first place?

Surely, my answer will be different than any other Spectrumite’s. After all, if you meet one Spectrumite, you’ve really only met just the one. ASD is just as diverse as the people it affects in its symptoms, its circumstances, and the cultures it creates. That doesn’t even factor in the countless number of communities dedicated to ASD and the Spectrumites.

So, with so many versions of ASD out and about in the world, how can any one person attempt to define ASD conclusively? It’s too subjective a condition!

The answer here, dear readers, is that we can only attempt to define what ASD means to us as the individuals affected by it, subjectively.

Now that we’ve gotten this far, what does ASD mean to me?

Quite frankly, I’m still figuring that out, myself. It’s part of the reason I kept the blog after leaving the Kinney Center in 2011. I may never fully figure it out in my lifetime. It’s like asking God, “What’s the meaning of life?” The world may never know.

This is a topic I want all of you out there, reading this to think about over the next couple months as we head into the 2016 Puzzle Pride Campaign.

Instead of suggesting nominations for the site (because that worked out so well, last year…), I’m hereby issuing a challenge to all of you to think about who has supported you the most through your diagnosis (or diagnoses, because some people have more to cope with than others) and send me any special message you want them or the rest of the world to know about your challenges with ASD. This can be an anonymous message, if you so desire. Just know that I will post your first name and last initial unless you tell me not to.

I’m going to post them here, on a special page on the site, for all to see in April. So, please, start thinking about what you want to say, now!

We’re going to call this the Putting the Pieces Together Challenge. I’ll post more details on the site, later. And no, this does NOT replace the Puzzle Pride Campaign. That is separate.

I’m counting on all of you to make this work. It’s my hope that through this challenge, the world will come to understand what ASD means to us that much better and accept us for who we are and what we cope with on a daily basis.

We all have so much to say; let’s let our messages be heard. No holding back!

May you find peace with yourself, within yourself. Rock on, Spectrumites!