What I Have Learned….
What I Have Learned….
What I Have Learned….
In Sixty Four Years of life with
Diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in 1995.
Spouse also has it.
Past chairman ASA National Peer advisory Board, director boards of
Co-Author three books about ASD as well as inspiration for a movie
Recent Co-Author of DVD “Autism: The Decision to Drive”
Jerry: [email protected]
Mary: [email protected]
The Short Story ( If you have to
leave early )
Life as a person with any autism at all
can be a real pain in the ----BUT IT IS WORTH THE EFFORT!!!!
What Makes Anyone’s Life Worth
Lots of different experiences: good and
bad ones, lots of “firsts”, surprises,
failures, highs, lows, pains, pleasures,
fears, moments of great confidence etc.
It’s no different for me. A good life is
not supposed to be easy.
A few priceless memories before I was
six…..illustrating pre-1954 some “issues”
1. social awkwardness
2. Social boundaries
But on the plus side…..
Two older brothers for role models.
Two teachers for parents
Big Mistake # 1
Fall 1955, I am “discovered” as a
“local walking calculator.” This talent is
believed to be enough to make up for
everything else going on.
( According to my second grade teacher
there was plenty going on )
To be fair, a good move too…
My father helped me to socialize my
number skill ( make it something I could
share with peers ). He taught me all he
knew about sports statistics. If anyone
wanted to know his Little League batting
average, all he had to was find me
wandering lost down the hallway of my
elementary school and ask me.
Special Projects can help too..
My father also started me on an
interesting geography project in second
1. It is not appropriate.
2. It is not our fault.
3. We are not always aware of it.
4. We have a right to defend ourselves
and seek defense from bullies.
5. Great Resource: Gray’s Guide to
Talent is great but it won’t necessarily
“make up” for barriers caused by social
Cub Scouts, Little League
This is a FACT….
Interest groups, early on, provided some
crucial passages… my first friends, my
first date, ( and my first illegal beer )
and helped me feel much less isolated and
1. Are durable; large enough to survive
handling by our children and able to safely let
them know when they are being hurt.
2. Can give and receive affection.
3. Won’t get your children sick.
4. Can provide fascination ( like an ant farm,
terrarium with plants and insects or aquarium )
Provide unconditional acceptance.
Best ones are DURABLE.
Let’s see if my audience…..
Can tell whether the
following pets are…..
Appropriate or Inappropriate
Sports are not for everyone…
But we can enjoy lots of individual
physical activities or as part of a small
I and other peers have enjoyed many
Short List of individual/group
Jogging, walking, running
Bowling, miniature golf, tennis,
badminton, cycling, swimming, hiking,
skating, fishing, playing catch, selfdefense class, weightlifting, modern
dance, tumbling, waterskiing, snowman
building, bird watching, horse riding
I Must Tell You This…
We will outlive you!!!
With That in Mind….
Circles of Support are low-cost, longterm ways to help your child find the
support he needs after you are gone.
Typical Adult Issues…
Feeling “labeled”, underestimated
Too much free time, boredom
Circles of support….
Can be especially helpful with
transitions. Life is full of those and they are
usually difficult and scary.
Life is Full of Transitions…
Firsts…. Job, date, night away from home etc.
Learning to drive or maybe deciding not to try
Accepting the loss of a loved and needed
The most important transitions…
should be made while parents are still
alive but that is not always possible. If a
circle of support exists, it should include or
access people who can help with all kinds
of inevitable transitions….
You can’t rehearse everything..
BUT many things you do, you will do lots
So it pays for us to learn the best way to
do what is done frequently and practice it.
I call such a practice a “drill.”
Examples of Drills….
Packing my suitcase.
Going to airport.
Getting up in the morning.
A good drill….
The major benefit of any drill is to make
something that seems impossible, doable.
My peers are often intimidated by
situations that require a sequence of
actions especially if there are time limits.
The bottom line…..
As we age, we autistic people will face
the same issues that the rest of you face,
just in our own way….
We are more human than anything else
we are called!!
If Interested in our books etc.
Future Horizons has our books and our
movie DVD. 1-800-489-0727 or go to the
“Your Life is Not a Label”
“Autism, Aspergers and Sexuality”
“Mozart and The Whale, an Asperger’s
DVD Movie: “Mozart and the Whale”
Thinking about Driving??
New DVD out …. “Autism and The
Decision to Drive”
For a preview clip, just google the above
title. It will take you to the preview and ( if
you want to order it ) to a site where you
can do that too.
One last thought….
If our universe has a creator, he must
be a little autistic himself….
After all, why did he make the planets