Overview of My Personal Development Into an Autistic Self-Advocate
The 3 Cs and the Great Veto of AAC Leadership Qualifications
Downloads of all the documents listed in this video:
My Path to Regaining My Independence
Getting Autistic Aspie Off Public Assistance
AACs Recovery Approach to Autistic Self Improvement and Advocacy
Everything Autistics Aspies Really Need to Know About Social Skills
Session 1a: My Personal Social Successes (Jason Bunn-Parsons, CPSS)
Session 1b: Getting Autistic Aspie Off Public Assistance – Abridged (Jason Bunn-Parsons, CPSS [Just the solution])
Getting Autistic Aspie Off Public Assistance (Jason Bunn-Parsons, CPSS [Unabridged version for those who are interested, but will not be used during the conference. Assessing the problems in order to understand the necessity of the purposed solutions])
Session 2: Vocational success pre- post-diagnosis (Sue Golubock, M.Ed., OT [Co-Organizer of Pile Center Autistic/Aspie Support Group])
Session 3: Everything Autistics Aspies Really Need to Know About Social Skills (Jason Bunn-Parsons, CPSS & Aaron Foster, MA, LAC, CRC, CRSS [RI International])
Over the past couple of weeks, 2 different wives of Autistic husbands have contacted me to discuss the conflict that they have been having with their spouses. This isn’t news to be because there has always been much higher level of conflict between Autistics and non-Autistics. My intent is to have a balanced discussion about the specifics issues that Autistics in general have with non-Autistics in general and vise-versa.
My dissatisfactory experience with a doctor is the motivation for leading this discussion topic.
For those of you who have not seen one of my videos, I’ve been on SSDI since I got diagnosed with Autism/Asperger’s back in 2009, at the age of 40. I have since learned what I needed to know about myself during my school years and have since been trying to find someone who would give me a chance to do something that I could succeed at. I finally was given the right lead on Saturday, November 18, 2017, by a fellow Autistic/ Aspie who attended my monthly Autism discussion group.
I not only recount my path from that tip to my first day of work, my company’s orientation on Friday, January 26, 2018; but also a rough draft of a blue print that Autistic/Aspie self-advocates can take in order to be able to work professionally with our fellow Autistics/Aspies.
Furthermore, this all fits into a much bigger picture plan to, not only overhaul how the system that is supposed to be Autistics/Aspies operates, but also the entire social services system. I also made a reference in the video to an Arizona state politician who claims to be interested in my idea, but that’s still a long way away from anyone putting my plan into action. Nevertheless, this is just the 1st step.
PDF of the letter I wrote to the AZ Legislature on December 4, 2017, distributed on December 8, 2017, that I made mention of in this video: Voc Rehab SM
PDF of “Getting Autistics/Aspies Jobs and Off Public Assistance” that I made mention of in this video: Getting Autistic Aspie Off Public Assistance
PDF of Follow Up letter I distributed to the AZ Legislature on February 12, 2018, after this video was made: Follow Up SM
As I mentioned in the attachment that I added to the end of the video of last month’s meeting, we didn’t finish all of the material due to the great dialog that was generated, as well as the fact that just about everyone had to leave early. I also felt that I didn’t do as good of a job of pointing out the specific social skills issues that stem from our executive functioning impairments. It’s not that the information I did provide wasn’t good and very beneficial, its that I don’t feel that it really address the bigger subject of social skills.
Therefore, I redid my PowerPoint slides of that section so I can present the information that I feel needs to be shared. Nevertheless, instead of being an amendment to last month’s presentation, it ended up becoming a reboot. I’ll leave the original on line because it went into greater detail about the foundational issues that were discussed prior to the section on “Executive Functioning,” while this “reboot” concludes with the solutions that I couldn’t get to in the original because I ran out of time.
PowerPoints: 1 The Science of Autistic Social Skills
“I’m wired differently, here’re all the things I can’t do,” is not a recipe for successful interaction with anyone (believe when I say I tried that method and it failed me miserably) nor any other endeavor that we might under take. Although society may make us feel like we were “born on the wrong planet,” that doesn’t make it true, nor does it give us the self-confidence that we need to succeed any anything, especially social interaction. In fact, the entire mentality is self-defeating.
Success for Autistics/Aspies in any area, including social interaction, requires a root level understanding that builds our self-esteem and self-confidence. How do we accomplish this, with a “holistic understanding of Autism/Asperger’s.” That means instead of defining us by solely by our weaknesses, we need to also need to give our strengths their just due. Just as a blind person compensates by developing a more acute sense of hearing, frontal lobe impairments result in Autistics/Aspie result in a greater reliance in other areas, resulting in superior abilities in those areas.
Another way that this discussion of the neuroscience of Autism/Asperger’s is going to be different from what’s typically presented is that I won’t be teaching trigonometry to kindergarteners. I came up with this analogy to explain to Dr. Woodruff why conferences designed to educate parents and Autistics/Aspies should simplify how Autism/Asperger’s is explained to them. We also need to focus more attention on what will allow us to devise strategies for dealing with struggles that we face today, rather than solutions that science MIGHT provide us 5-10 years from now.
For those who aren’t familiar with Dr. Woodruff, he’s a neurologist who works at the about 2011-14. During that time, he donated all of his knowledge to anyone who Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale who attended Autistic/Aspie meetings for personal reason from wanted it. I soaked up everything that he had, that was within my ability to comprehend, like a sponge. He examined the material that I’d come up with prior to our meeting each other and completely overhaul several portions of it. Everything that I share on the subject of the neuroscience of Autism/Asperger’s has his endorsement as to being consistent with consensus view of scientists at the time he assisted me in developing this material.
PowerPoints: 2 The Science of Autistic Social Skills (Continued)
Because I covered all of the foundational principles in the 2 previous presentation, I knew this would be a very short presentation if I didn’t add more material. So along with the sensory processing and stress issues, I attached additional information about how to manage stress which I originally planned to attach to a future presentation on conflict resolution. I through in a few other nuggets of information at the end.
Note that I didn’t title this, “Stages of Autistic Social Development.” That’s because, as I’ve clearly stated as my #1 point of emphasis throughout this series, Autistics are 1st & foremost human beings. Having the entire conversation about are social struggles is extremely detrimental to us. It has led many Autistics to the erroneous conclusion that social skills come naturally to non-Autistics. If every phycologist, physiatrist and all other social development expert knows this isn’t true, then why is the status quo Autism still presenting in a way that leads so many of my fellow Autistics to this erroneous conclusion.
My presentation is going to focus on that which is common knowledge outside the Autism community, but I’ve never heard or read discussed inside our community. My sources for this information:
Lisa Ratan, Former Early Childhood Director of Word of Grace Church, Mesa, AZ. Her 7 week-14 hour teacher training program was the 1st time someone laid it all out for me in a systematic format.
Bob Blayter, Former Senior Associate Pastor of Word of Grace Church, Mesa, AZ. Prior to accepting that position, he did management training for SRP. He used that experience to do leadership training which I participated in.
Small group facilitator training at several different churches for several different group types.
A child who struggled to interact with his peers.
A student who saw school councilors in order to work on the above mentions struggles.
A volunteer & professional childcare provider.
An adult interacting with other adults of various ages, at various ages.
A codependent that went to a general purpose 12 step program in which issues like assessing what is actually happening around me, seeing things from the points of views of others, conflict resolution, stress management, etc.
I’m putting the series of Autistic/Aspie Social Skills on hold because I’m in the process of changing venues. I appreciate Ability 300 allowing us to use their facilities free of charge, but there has been a problem with people being able to read the PowerPoints due to design of the classroom. So in June, I’ll be moving to my church that that will let us use the fairly large flat screen TV that will be perfect.
So for this month, I want a topic that doesn’t require PowerPoints. Therefore, we’ll discuss the specific needs of the Autism/Asperger’s community for both Autistics/Aspies and their parents, as well as assess the various solutions that are available. A lot of the programs are simply not as effective as advertised due to inadequate funding and/or some of the caseworkers/care providers that are just there to collect a paycheck. Having volunteered to help the refugee community, I’ve observed them “hit the wall” in terms of the programs reaching their limits in terms of how much they can help their clients improved their quality of life. It’s at this point that the refugees ban together and fend for themselves.
So my goal isn’t to change the system, its to alleviate its burden by figuring out how to solve our own problems while minimizing our dependency on taxpayer funded bureaucracies and organizations. A great example of this are all of the housing programs out there for us. The thing is, I didn’t get diagnosed until I was 40, yet I’ve been living by myself since I graduated from high school (with a few brief exceptions in which chronic employment issues made it impossible). I know a number of other Autistics/Aspies who have had the same success in this area as I have. So why not give us the opportunity to be volunteer role models to the Autistic/Aspie community in this area? Just because some Autistics/Aspies don’t have the ability to have my level of independence doesn’t mean that those who do should be denied the opportunity because of those who don’t.
As I’ve stated many times before, the less taxpayers money that its spent on those who can be taught to not need it, the more money that’s available for those who have to have it. This is the mindset that I’ve been trying to get the Autism community to open its mind to since I became a self-advocate back in 2010, and it’s the approach that I take whenever discussing this subject.
Links affiliated with video:
PowerPoint Slides of presentation:
“Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact” (1943) [Slides 5 & 33]:
History of Blame (PBS) [Slides 14-15, 17 & 22]:
Guide to the Richard Pollak Collection of Bruno Bettelheim Research Materials 1863-2006 (University of Chicago) [Slide 16]:
Portland Press Herald (Oregon Newspaper) [Slide 18]:
The Embryo Project Encyclopedia (Arizona State University) [Slides 27-28]:
Bettelheim’s TV show appearances (Dick Cavett Show) [Slide 29]: http://dickcavettshow.com/index.php/component/zoo/tag/dick-cavett-show/Bruno%20Bettelheim?Itemid=101
Bettelheim’s “Documentaries” [Slide 30]:
Rimland’s Overkill (Health Counselor Magazine, Vol. 3 No. 6; June/July 1994) [Slide 39]:
http://www.bestbehaviour.ca/briefhistory.htm (link, affiliated with a website the promote a specific autism early intervention method, no longer valid)
I’ve posted this video in which we discuss topics for 2017 because I thought it might give ideas for other groups across the world to discuss as well.