Saturday, December 26, 2015

Indiana sponsering a hotel school for disabled people

Courtyard by Marriott and the state of Indiana are doing their part to support people with disabilities by opening a teaching hotel geared toward workers with special needs.
The Courtyard Muncie at Horizon Convention Center in Indiana will open on Dec. 22, and “at least 20 percent of the Courtyard by Marriott hotel’s 129-person workforce will be people with developmental and other types of disabilities,” according to
People with disabilities will in different capacities from the front desk to housekeeping to the restaurant to management, said Sally Morris of Arc of Indiana, who helped organize the project and building of the hotel.
Though the 150-room hotel will largely operate as a traditional hotel, it will also have a training institute to where people with special needs will study to learn the hospitality industry and intern at the hotel, starting Jan. 11. The hotel will also work with human resource professionals to help them better understand how to hire people with disabilities.
The idea was born when Jeff Huffman was frustrated by the lack of opportunity for his son, who has Down Syndrome. The project was partially funded by the state of Indiana, which has committed up to $5 million.
“We believe the training institute and teaching hotel will significantly change employment opportunities and postsecondary education options for people with disabilities,” Morris told “As others look at this model, and word spreads about the quality of the workers at the hotel, as well as the individuals who leave the institute and gain employment in their hometowns, we believe other businesses and industries will realize the value added of hiring people with disabilities.”

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Work to make a disabled lego

ow many Lego mini-figures live on your street? With a planet-wide population of 4 billion, there are sure to be a few plastic folk nestling down the back of a sofa near you. But for all the mini-figures in the world, Lego does not produce a single one with a wheelchair or a disability.
When the seed of Lego (Danish for “play well”) was first planted back in the 1930s by Danish philanthropist Ole Kirk Kristiansen, the company’s vision was to cultivate creative play and contribute towards healthy child development. Today, Lego is the largest toy company in the world with annual sales topping £2.8bn. It’s a sprawling super-brand with tentacles not just in the brick box, but also suckering on to films, games, merchandising, leisure and publishing to create an all-permeating brand experience that is hard to escape.
But the brand continues to exclude 150 million disabled children worldwide by failing to positively represent them in its products.
Thanks to the Disability Discrimination Act, disabled children can no longer be refused entry to toy shops, schools or soft play centres on the grounds of their wheelchair being a fire hazard or bothersome to other children. In terms of ramps, lifts and buildings constructed with equality in mind, the country has never been more accessible. But what about the rights of disabled children to be positively represented in the cultural sphere? To see their lives and experiences reflected in the media they consume?
There is an irony in the fact that toy shops are legally bound to consider the access of their disabled customers, while the products inside, created by huge companies that profit from the entertainment and education of our children, have no legal duty to consider how they represent disabled children and can therefore continue to culturally marginalise them.
The #ToyLikeMe campaign I co-founded in April this year, to call on the global toy industry to start representing disability, marks a progression in disabled rights movements from calling for access to a call for cultural representation.
While Lego’s London offices will be legally bound to have wheelchair access, the brand is under no obligation to factor in representations of disabled access in its model buildings or include disabled characters in its much-loved mini-figure range, so it just doesn’t do it. Why not? Does there come a point when a brand becomes so large, with so much cultural influence, that it has a moral duty to include disability?

In response to a 19, petition calling on Lego to act, Lego said: “The beauty of the Lego system is that children may choose how to use the pieces we offer to build their own stories.”The practicalities of capitalist market forces, the need to make a profit, perhaps determine this exclusion. It’s arguable that wheelchair figures are likely to sell in small quantities and could be considered niche products, but is there not also a counter argument that brands as large as Legocan, or should, soak up small sales in exchange for the greater good?
Indeed you can create wheelchairs with Lego parts and there are independent businesses in existence that create and sell wheelchairs for mini-figures. But is this the same as the world’s largest toy brand getting behind the issue and including a guide dog user in the Lego City sets or factoring wheelchair access into an aeroplane design? It’s the power of the brand that is crucial.
Is Lego worried consumers will be turned off if it aligns itself with the image of disability? It’s a hard question to answer honestly, but is there something considered inherently aesthetically displeasing about disability, something that makes us want to turn away, and causes toy brands such as Lego to give it the swerve through a fear of damaging sales? Or is it fearful of getting it wrong? Stereotyping is an easy trap to fall into and in July this year Lego’s Duplo range, aimed at pre-schoolers, issued a wheelchair, made from grey plastic and marketed alongside a figure of an elderly man, encouraging an enduring assumption that disability is the preserve of the elderly despite there being 770,000 disabled children in the UK alone.
Perhaps Lego thinks children don’t want to play with disabled toys?
In 1930s and 1940s America, a study was undertaken by African-American psychologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark to look at children’s self-perception in relation to race. Their seminal doll experiments asked children to choose between a black and a white doll. The study found that all the children (regardless of their own race) had a preference for the white doll. The Clarks argued that these findings exposed internalised racism in African-American children, and led to psychological research into areas of self-esteem and self-concept.
Toy brands such as Lego take pride in consulting children during their product development but if children don’t choose disabled toys, does that mean we shouldn’t make them? Lego and the global toy industry need to recognise they are excluding some children, and commit to ways to change that.
While most toy companies would argue that they are inclusive and that everyone is welcomed to play with their toys, what they seem slower to grasp is what it means to represent disability, both for disabled children themselves and for their non-disabled peers. This is more than just about sales figures or disability access, it’s about changing cultural perceptions. It’s about brands such as Lego using their vast power of influence to positive effect.
For a child with a disability it would be hugely affirming to be reflected by a brand such as Lego. It tells them that the brand is behind them, believes in them, and that they are part of the mainstream. For children without a disability, seeing a brand such as Lego celebrate human difference helps to create a more positive attitude when they meet someone with an impairment in real life. It’s a win-win situation – only Lego doesn’t seem to want to play.
 Vote for the #ToyLikeMe Wheelchair Santa on Lego Ideas. If it receives 10,000 votes Lego will consider it for production. Find #ToyLikeMe on Facebook here

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Disabled workers paid just pennies an hour and its legal

One of the nation's best-known charities is paying disabled workers as little as 22 cents an hour, thanks to a 75-year-old legal loophole that critics say needs to be closed.
Goodwill Industries, a multibillion-dollar company whose executives make six-figure salaries, is among the nonprofit groups permitted to pay thousands of disabled workers far less than minimum wage because of a federal law known as Section 14 (c). Labor Department records show that some Goodwill workers in Pennsylvania earned wages as low as 22, 38 and 41 cents per hour in 2009.
"If they really do pay the CEO of Goodwill three-quarters of a million dollars, they certainly can pay me more than they're paying," said Harold Leigland, who is legally blind and hangs clothes at a Goodwill in Great Falls, Montana for less than minimum wage.
"It's a question of civil rights," added his wife, Sheila, blind from birth, who quit her job at the same Goodwill store when her already low wage was cut further. "I feel like a second-class citizen. And I hate it."
Section 14 (c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which was passed in 1938, allows employers to obtain special minimum wage certificates from the Department of Labor. The certificates give employers the right to pay disabled workers according to their abilities, with no bottom limit to the wage.
Most, but not all, special wage certificates are held by nonprofit organizations like Goodwill that then set up their own so-called "sheltered workshops" for disabled employees, where employees typically perform manual tasks like hanging clothes.
The non-profit certificate holders can also place employees in outside, for-profit workplaces including restaurants, retail stores, hospitals and even Internal Revenue Service centers. Between the sheltered workshops and the outside businesses, more than 216,000 workers are eligible to earn less than minimum wage because of Section 14 (c), though many end up earning the full federal minimum wage of $7.25.

NBC News
Harold Leigland, who is blind, with his guide dog on the bus during his morning commute to the Goodwill facility in Great Falls, Montana, where he works hanging clothing.
When a non-profit provides Section 14 (c) workers to an outside business, it sets the salary and pays the wages. For example, the Helen Keller National Center, a New York school for the blind and deaf, has a special wage certificate and has placed students in a Westbury, N.Y., Applebee's franchise. The employees' pay ranged from $3.97 per hour to $5.96 per hour in 2010. The franchise told NBC News it has also hired workers at minimum wage from Helen Keller. A spokesperson for Applebee's declined to comment on Section 14 (c).
Helen Keller also placed several students at a Barnes & Noble bookstore in Manhasset, N.Y., in 2010, where they earned $3.80 and $4.85 an hour. A Barnes & Noble spokeswoman defended the Section 14 (c) program as providing jobs to "people who would otherwise not have [the opportunity to work]."
Most Section 14 (c) workers are employed directly by nonprofits. In 2001, the most recent year for which numbers are available, the GAO estimated that more than 90 percent of Section 14 (c) workers were employed at nonprofit work centers.
Critics of Section 14 (c) have focused much of their ire on the nonprofits, where wages can be just pennies an hour even as some of the groups receive funding from the government. At one workplace in Florida run by a nonprofit, some employees earned one cent per hour in 2011.
"People are profiting from exploiting disabled workers," said Ari Ne'eman, president of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. "It is clearly and unquestionably exploitation."
Defenders of Section 14 (c) say that without it, disabled workers would have few options. A Department of Labor spokesperson said in a statement to NBC News that Section 14 (c) "provides workers with disabilities the opportunity to be given meaningful work and receive an income."
Terry Farmer, CEO of ACCSES, a trade group that calls itself the "voice of disability service providers," said scrapping the provision could "force [disabled workers] to stay at home," enter rehabilitation, "or otherwise engage in unproductive and unsatisfactory activities."
Harold Leigland, however, said he feels that Goodwill can pay him a low wage because the company knows he has few other places to go. "We are trapped," he said. "Everybody who works at Goodwill is trapped."
Leigland, a 66-year-old former massage therapist with a college degree, currently earns $5.46 per hour in Great Falls.
His wages have risen and fallen based on "time studies," the method nonprofits use to calculate the salaries of Section 14 (c) workers. Staff members use a stopwatch to determine how long it takes a disabled worker to complete a task. That time is compared with how long it would take a person without a disability to do the same task. The nonprofit then uses a formula to calculate a salary, which may be equal to or less than minimum wage. The tests are repeated every six months.

NBC News
Harold Leigland works at the Goodwill facility in Great Falls, Montana, where he earns $5.46 an hour.
Leigland's pay has been higher than $5.46, but it has also dropped down to $4.37 per hour, based on the time-study results.
He said he believes Goodwill makes the time studies harder when they want his wage to be lower.
"Sometimes the test is easier than others. It depends on if, as near as I can figure, they want your wage to go up or down. It's that simple," he said.
His wife, Sheila, 58, spent four years hanging clothes at the Great Falls Goodwill for about $3.50 an hour. She said the time study was one of the most degrading and stressful parts about her job. "You never know how it's going to come out. It stressed me out a lot," she said.
She quit last summer when she returned to work after knee surgery and found that her wage had been lowered to $2.75 per hour, a training rate.
"At $2.75 it would barely cover my cost of getting to work. I wouldn't make any money," she said.
Harold said he believes Goodwill can afford to pay him minimum wage, based on the salaries paid to Goodwill executives. While according to the company's own figures about 4,000 of the 30,000 disabled workers Goodwill employs at 69 franchises are currently paid below minimum wage, salaries for the CEOs of those franchises that hold special minimum wage certificates totaled almost $20 million in 2011.
In 2011 the CEO of Goodwill Industries of Southern California took home $1.1 million in salary and deferred compensation. His counterpart in Portland, Oregon, made more than $500,000. Salaries for CEOs of the roughly 150 Goodwill franchises across America total more than $30 million.
Goodwill International CEO Jim Gibbons, who was awarded $729,000 in salary and deferred compensation in 2011, defended the executive pay.
"These leaders are having a great impact in terms of new solutions, in terms of innovation, and in terms of job creation," he said.
Gibbons also defended time studies, and the whole Section 14 (c) approach. He said that for many people who make less than minimum wage, the experience of work is more important than the pay.
"It's typically not about their livelihood. It's about their fulfillment. It's about being a part of something. And it's probably a small part of their overall program," he said.
And Goodwill and the organizations that run the sheltered workshops are not alone in their support for Section 14 (c). In many cases, the families of the workers who have severe disabilities say their loved ones enjoy the work experience, enjoy getting a paycheck, and the amount is of no consequence.

NBC News
Sheila Leigland, who is blind, with her guide dog. She quit her job at Goodwill in Great Falls, Montana, after her hourly wage was lowered to $2.75.
"I feel really good about it. I don't have to worry so much about him," said Fran Davidson, whose son Jeremy has worked at Goodwill in Great Falls, Montana, for more than a decade. "I know he's not getting picked on, and he's in a safe place. He enjoys what he's doing, and he's happy, and that's what we like for our kids." Jeremy started out working for a sub-minimum wage but did well on his last time study and is currently earning $7.80 an hour, Montana's minimum wage.
But foes of Section 14 (c) have hopes for a new bill that's now before Congress that would repeal Section 14 (c) and make sub-minimum wages illegal across the board.
"Meaningful work deserves fair pay," the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Gregg Harper, R.-Miss., told NBC News. "This dated provision unjustly prohibits workers with disabilities from reaching their full potential."
The bill is opposed by trade associations for the employers of the disabled, and past attempts to change the law have failed. But Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind and a foe of the sheltered workshop system, is cautiously optimistic that this time the bill will pass, and end what he called a "two-tiered system."
That system, explained Maurer, says "'Americans who have disabilities aren't as valuable as other people,' and that's wrong. These folks have value. We should recognize that value."
Monica Alba contributed to this report.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Learning social skills vrs foreign languge

As some of you know I am now living in Israel.  The main language spoken is Hebrew.  For the last year I have been working on my Hebrew.  I've noticed that there are some simmilarities in learning a language and social skills (for someone on the autisim spectrum).  Here is one on exposure to a foreign language or social skills for autism:

  • It may seem like a gigantic distance you have to go to master them, but with a lot of practice they are possible to master
  • Getting exposed to social skills makes them possible to be learned (this means interacting often in a fun way for them (something they enjoy doing or going in the context of social skills)
  • There are many ways to get that exposure.  In interacting that could be playing a game (even a multiplayer video game), visiting a place, or doing an activity.
  • I personally have been watching a lot of videos in Hebrew and my Hebrew is so much better because of it FIND WHAT IS RIGHT FOR EACH CHILD

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

5 Most Important Lessons from a Mother of a Special Needs Child

5 Most Important Lessons from a Mother of a Special Needs Child

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
A clueless first-time mom has a lifelong habit of denial, so her two-year-old can’t possibly have a problem. Then, okay, he has a problem, but it will fix itself (like everyone tells her). Then she and her husband get him diagnosed and it’s something called PDD, which means Pervasive Developmental Disorder; at least it’s not autism that seems to be sweeping the nation.
Only, of course, it is.
Fast-forward and my son (call him Cory) is a teenager. Not a regular teen, but my beloved son, anyway. His speech is a little stilted, and he gets annoyed if he sees someone smoking on the street (because it could kill you, so why would you do it?). Life’s not what it was supposed to be, but maybe it was supposed to be much more challenging, and what I’m paddling through is a sea of blessing. Who knows?
I’m in a contemplative mood. Rosh Hashanah is coming. For the last few years, I’ve made a note to myself before the holiday of what I should request when praying for a good year. The other day I checked out last year’s list and realized how much progress Cory has made. Not a moment too soon, either. I’d been feeling low...some new medicine Cory is on that’s not the hoped-for cure-all. It helps to remember that the last 12 months were, indeed, productive.
Noticing the good stuff: That’s just one thing I’ve learned as the mom of a special-needs child. So in the spirit of the season of renewal, here are five key lessons from me to you:
1. Face what’s wrong head-on. With apologies to the Rolling Stones, time is not on your side. Not if your child has a problem you need to address. When Cory was born, he seemed normal. About a year later, he began to withdraw and not make eye contact. My husband and I were freaked out. We finally faced the facts, months later than we should have, and found a specialist to evaluate and diagnose Cory. Having your fears confirmed is terrifying. But sooner or later, you remind yourself that a diagnosis is just a label, not a sentence. And, with God’s help, not unchangeable. When you know what to call a problem, you start asking questions that lead to answers.
There have been plenty of missteps along the way. Early on, Cory was in a mainstream nursery school. We were looking for a special-needs setting but still clinging to a secret hope that his issues would fix themselves. That episode was a disaster. But it showed me Cory needed a school that was right for him, not one that fit some preconceived idea I had about where a child of mine should be. An ego-puncture can be a gift.
2. Get out there. This part is about showing up. The world is full of people and ideas that can help you; meet it halfway. Don’t isolate yourself. Go to lectures about what your kid has. Network with parents in his school. After Cory’s diagnosis, I learned of a group at the local JCC for parents of special-needs kids. The first time I went there I was so sad, full of shame about my son’s condition. And then I met these parents who had gone through, more or less, what I was going through. It was so heartening to learn I was no pioneer, that there were others who had been where I was and could help me find my footing. Over the years I also found out about email groups of parents of special-needs kids. Night or day, I can ask any question or voice any fear, never having to sugarcoat my words, and there’s always a parent to listen, or share what she knows.
3. Feel as awful as you need to feel...up to a point. So you're not a pioneer. Still, you are unique, and your child’s issues are unique to her. You don’t have to adopt someone else’s brand of optimism. Early on, family members would assure me that things would be okay. Sometimes that’s exactly what I needed to hear. Other times, I wanted to dig a hole and descend to the bowels of the earth and disappear. I eventually turned to therapy, and my doctor also prescribed a little pharmaceutical help. I still get sad, at times, but it’s manageable. I’m better at figuring out what will make me feel better, whether it’s prayer, or a movie with a good friend, or reaching out to an online parents’ group, or rocky-road ice cream.
4. Risk “no.” If you need something for your child, keep trying to get it. When planning for Cory to start kindergarten, I took him for an interview at School A. They turned him down, feeling he was not ready for their program. My husband and I were disappointed but chose School B. Before the school year started, Cory went to the summer program at School B. Soon we realized it was the wrong place for him. Mid-August, I told Shannon, Cory’s speech therapist, how concerned I was. She suggested I call School A again. “What’s the worst that could happen?” she said. “So they’ll turn you down a second time. Cory has come so far since the winter. Try it.” I called the admissions person at School A. To my shock, he told us to come in. Cory was accepted, and spent the next five years there.
5. Where we started: Let the positive catch your eye. It’s easier to acknowledge the bad than accept the good. When your child struggles to do what should come naturally, you can find yourself so focused on helping him overcome his deficits that you overlook his strengths. But don’t. Notice what your child can do that she couldn’t do a few years ago. Notice what he can do that “normal” kids can’t. Stepping back and taking perspective reminds you there’s something to celebrate.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Hufington post why every start up should hire people with autism

Josh Teigen is the founder and CEO of Crossfox Innovationan innovation consulting and business development company focused on bringing innovative ideas and systems to corporations looking to expand and grow their existing operations.
The startup tech world is booming. A steady stream of technological developments that make our lives, businesses and world better have catapulted developers into an occupation of choice for those looking to ride this wave. Tech entrepreneurs are today's rock stars, and there couldn't be a sexier job than being at the helm of a cutting-edge company.
Behind the curtain of these iconic tech companies and their extroverted leaders is a diligently working, silent force that is crucial to the success or failure of the organization, and that is a specialized group of software testers working with precision in a field of zero recognition. And many of them are on the autism spectrum.
After working in the trenches of emerging technology companies, I noticed the need for high-quality software testers. No one seemed to want this thankless work, and the turnover rate was high. So when a business partner introduced me to a Danish company called Specialisterne -- which assess, trains, hires and places high-functioning individuals on the autism spectrum in detailed roles within companies -- I saw the potential. My business partners and I explored how to start a Specialisterne-type company in the U.S. to address this challenge, and in the process I learned just how much value those on the autism spectrum can provide a company.
A Complex Disorder
When you hear the word "autism," your mind may instantly go to the lowest-functioning person on the spectrum you've met. The fact is, however, that there are many people with autism who hold advanced college degrees in physics, math, music, engineering, chemistry and more. These people are brilliant and diligent workers, yet they often remain unemployed because they don't interview well.
I personally met with a young man in New York City who graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University with degrees in both chemical and biomedical engineering. He then achieved his degree in medicine from Rosalind Franklin University in Chicago. He has a photographic memory, but is currently unemployed. Clearly this isn't because he's incapable of doing the work; rather, the issue lies in the fact that he doesn't interview well. This candidate has immense potential, but he has simply never been granted an opportunity because of his quirky nature.
Autism affects one in 68 people, or around 4.5 million people in the United States alone, and unemployment for people on the spectrum ranges from 80-90 percent. In technology, however, we have unemployment rates at less than three percent. What's more, people on the spectrum cost the system on average about $2 million over their lifetime, and some of those currently costing the system money are capable of working at an extremely high level. By employing them and utilizing their in-demand skill set, we can ease the burden on the system while also providing a needed labor force.
A Specialized Labor Force
There are a few businesses that have identified the unique skill sets of many on the autism spectrum and have harnessed their abilities. While it's no secret in Silicon Valley that developers and testers can have socially quirky tendencies, these companies have adopted and embraced them for their extreme skill and focus. In a conversation with a top software executive (who was at Microsoft at the time) when describing some of those on the autism spectrum and their skills, she laughed and said that I'd just explained 80 percent of the Microsoft development and testing team.
The truth is, software developers do not make good software testers. In fact, when a developer builds something, it's very difficult for them to look at it objectively. Additionally, software testing is extremely detailed and repetitive work. This can become monotonous, which is what makes turnover in this field is so high. Autistic individuals' brains seem to be wired differently: what they lack in social ability they make up for in the ability to focus on very detailed tasks for long periods of time without diminishing quality. What most people find to be boring and monotonous, people with ASD may find soothing, making them an incredibly valuable, yet untapped, workforce.
An Untapped Market
As I mentioned earlier, Specialisterne has identified these savant-level skills and has been able to build a sustainable organization from assessing, training, hiring and placing those with these skills in jobs using a staffing agency model. Taking their cue, my business partners and I were able to build a similar company in the U.S. using their training model and brand, but adapted to function in the more capitalistic U.S. (on which I remain a member of the Board of Directors).
This system has also worked well in places like Fargo, North Dakota, which has quickly emerged as the Silicon Prairie because of its tech success. This is an area that does well by employing technically-minded individuals on the autism spectrum in high-demand dev and tester rolls, even if hiring them initially poses a "company fit" risk.
Flagship organizations from a variety of industries outside of technology have embraced this model as well: banks, public accounting firms, engineering firms, biotechnology organizations, e-commerce and agriculture have all taken this leap of faith in their candidate selection decisions. From each of them, I've heard the same response once they've worked with teammates on the autism spectrum: they don't hire for any charitable reasons, but do so because it's a good business decision.
There are potentially people in your organization already who are high functioning, undiagnosed on the Autism spectrum -- it's not uncommon for technology companies. When looking at how you can hire this sort of person to be part of your competitive advantage, the valuable skills to look for are their ability to do high quality, detail oriented work for long periods of time; their ability to process large amounts of information effectively and accurately; and many of them have photographic memories.
Those on the autism spectrum have the potential to contribute to our currently specialized, technical workforce, and social abilities shouldn't keep them from filling 

Israel Iran unity at special olympics

Smiling and hugging Iranian and Israeli athletes have become the unintentional symbol of this summer’s Special Olympics now taking place in Los Angeles. “Modelling a heartwarming example of sports diplomacy,”GOOD magazine reports about the budding friendship between the two sports teams.
In previous sporting events, Iranian athletes have been ordered to withdraw from competition if their opponent was meant to be an Israeli. But at the Special Olympics something, well, special, is happening.
The Israeli and Iranian teams broke the ice even before the competition when they found themselves on the same transatlantic flight to California from Rome.
Smiling together: Iranian and Israeli athletes. (Photos: Special Olympics Israel Facebook)
Smiling together: Iranian and Israeli athletes. (Photos: Special Olympics Israel Facebook)
“We were sitting next to each other and it was a twelve-hour flight,” Israeli Head of Delegation Reuven Astrachan tells GOOD. “So what do you for twelve hours? You talk. You talk to your neighbor.”
The Special Olympics Israel Facebook site is now peppered with blue-and-white uniformed athletes alongside red-green-and-white clothed participants.
In addition to making new friendships, the Israeli contestants at the international event are showing their prowess on the sports field and in the water. So far, Israel’s delegation has won medals in kayaking, long jump, tennis, bowling and track.
A hug worth a thousand words.  (Photos: Special Olympics Israel Facebook)
A hug worth a thousand words. (Photos: Special Olympics Israel Facebook)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Advise for telling about Aspergers or Autism in a relationship

I know a lot of people with Aspergers/Autism who want to be in a relationship. There are a few suggestions I would give.

1.Understand you Aspergers/Autism
If you know your aspergers/autism enough to explain it, you can show what it is to the other person.  Many people have different ideas about autism and aspergers.  This leads to the next point.

2.Wait until you get serious to tell the other person
Several reasons: They understand you better, and will less likely imagine a lot of things that your aspergers/autism isn't.  You will help them understand any irregualarities.

3.Know that you don't meet the right one the first time.
I know several people who met on dates 150 people before they found the person who was right for them (and these are neurotypical people).

If someone has other suggestions please leave it as a comment
Best luck

Monday, July 6, 2015

A Teen With Asperger’s Taught The Bullies Who Attacked Him A Lesson Instead Of Pressing Charges

original article

Gavin Stone was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and ADHD when he was a toddler. Since then, his mom, Cortnie, said the family has faced both challenging and joyful times.

Gavin Stone was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome and ADHD when he was a toddler. Since then, his mom, Cortnie, said the family has faced both challenging and joyful times.
Cortnie Stone / Via Facebook: cortnie.stone
Gavin is pictured center.

The Illinois teenager has difficulty maintaining relationships and tends to isolate himself, Cortniewrote on Facebook.

“He can appear rude, impatient, ‘weird,’ detached, or uninterested, but this is not intentional,” she wrote. “He can also be kind, generous, and forgiving, but even this can appear awkward at times because some of it is learned and not always natural.”

Gavin worked hard to learn social cues, but still has challenges. “Being a teenager with Asperger’s is tough because all [of a] sudden people around you are consistently ‘breaking’ all the social do’s and don’ts you’ve spent years learning,” his mom said.

Gavin worked hard to learn social cues, but still has challenges. "Being a teenager with Asperger's is tough because all [of a] sudden people around you are consistently 'breaking' all the social do's and don'ts you've spent years learning," his mom said.
Cortnie Stone / Via Facebook: cortnie.stone

Last week, something horrible happened to Gavin: He was beaten up by kids he didn’t know. Stone explained on Facebook:

On Thursday night, some kids were talking about how “it’s weird” that he is always by himself, attending events alone and watching people, and it was “creepy” how he wanted to be friends with people he didn’t know. On Friday night, another kid that overheard that conversation decided to take matters into his own hands and become judge and jury, and this is the result of that. He didn’t ask questions, didn’t get to know Gavin, never met him, and didn’t give him a chance to leave. He was called to meet someone, surrounded by people he didn’t know, choked, punched, and left laying on the pavement so he would “learn his lesson”.

This is what Gavin looked like after the beating.

Cortnie Stone / Via Facebook: cortnie.stone

But rather than press charges against the bullies, Gavin is hoping to raise awareness about his condition.

Stone wrote that he requested for their community service to be disability-related, that they write a paper on Asperger’s, and that they should watch a 20-minute video statement “he taped while their families were present so they could see the damage they did and hear the event from his perspective.”

Gavin’s story is spreading through the internet after it was shared by Susan Moffatt, the mother of a friend of Gavin’s. Moffatt’s post has been shared over 140,000 times.

Gavin's story is spreading through the internet after it was shared by Susan Moffatt, the mother of a friend of Gavin's. Moffatt's post has been shared over 140,000 times.
Susan Moffat / Via Facebook: smoffatt2
Gavin Stone and his friend, Jonathan Moffatt.

Moffatt wrote her son is also disabled, and it broke her heart to see what has happened to Gavin.

Now Stone says she hopes that something good with come of what happened to her son:

If you are reading this, I hope you talk to your teens, tell them about disabilities you can’t see, teach them to be tolerant of people that are different, teach them that if they continuously see someone alone that maybe it is not their choice to be alone, remind them to ask questions first and get to know one another.
BuzzFeed News has contacted Stone and Moffatt for comment.