Tag Archives: T Shirt

Question?: Treatment For Autism In Babies

Chris asks…

What are the first signs of Autism / Developmental Delay that you start to see when they are a baby?

admin answers:

I second everything that Robin wrote. My son was just like that too. He would even break down if someone cleared their throat. Today we use headphones for the auditory. After I taught him to read and write he was able to use a Dynavox which has brought much fewer meltdowns. He is 8 this year and he just pointed for the first time last month. We don’t do any kind of treatments or special diets. We just love and accept him for who he is. Give him patience to learn at his own pace and style even if it means coming up with 50 different ways to teach the same thing until you find one that clicks for him.

I once read a t-shirt that said “Autism isn’t a processing error, it’s a different operating system.” If you can remember that and learn the different system they run you can better understand how they experience the world. My feeling is that autism isn’t a tragedy but an adventure. Simply by experiencing the world differently an autistic person has greater potential to become an innovator. The intense focus that some see as obsessiveness I see as beneficial for reaching a level of expertise in a chosen field. After all a jack of all trades is usually a master of none.

If your child is autistic figure out their triggers and motivators first and the rest will fall into place. Stay positive and best of luck to you.

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Running

Oh, you guys. You may have noticed that my site is a little…wonky. I’m working some shit out. Bear with me. Hopefully I”ll be all up and running smoothly by the end of the weekend. Before that, though, I am running my first race in a decade tomorrow.

If you’ll be at the Kensington 8k tomorrow, say hi! You’ll recognize me based on my Stimeyland t-shirt and my number 238, which is actually a number that has been kind of following me since my freshman year of college.

Two three eight! Two three eight!

You’ll also know me because I’ll likely be in the very back of the pack of runners. And bright red. Wish me luck.

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fifty shades of oh my god, mom, seriously?

*

It’s been a hard three days. Last night was tough. Tonight was tougher. For the sake of our sanity, it’s time to laugh. For that reason, tomorrow’s Diary post is going to be funny. Nothing but funny. There, consider yourself warned.

~ Diary’s Facebook status last night

*

As many of you know, I post periodically on Diary’s Facebook page. Usually in the evenings, I’ll share a thought – something I found funny perhaps, a cute kid story, or maybe something that struck me as particularly profound. I usually don’t stray too far off the reservation. Although my ‘real life’ sense of humor tends toward being pretty crass, I like to keep things clean here in Diary Land. It’s a family show, after all and my greatest hope is that someday my children will read what I’ve written here. Well, maybe not here today, but ya know, in general. Anyway, point is, I try to mostly stay within the navigational buoys.

One night a couple of weeks ago, however, I veered into some previously uncharted territory. I made a reference to the Fifty Shades of Grey books. I wasn’t sure how it would fly, but I figured that the odds were pretty good that in this crowd, the majority of whom are, I assume, moms, I wasn’t going to be the only one who knew what Charlie Tango was. (Christian Grey’s helicopter for the uninitiated.)

This is what I posted ..

The responses were hilarious. There was a lot of commentary on the awful writing (agreed), but even more “Gee, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Laters, baby.” confessions and even an admission to owning a “We aim to please” t-shirt. Good stuff.

And then there was a comment that went like this …

It was Ana’s mom who had her when she was very young (goodness, I don’t know how I knew that)!

To which I responded ..

Cause I had to ..

With this ..

~

The next day at work, I couldn’t resist sharing the story with a colleague. He gave me one in return.

A friend’s wife had started the first book in the series. His buddy was, well, shall we say ‘excited’ to hear about it. He asked her for details, and was extremely disappointed when she told him that she’d lost interest in the book and abandoned it less than halfway through.

He was then surprised and delighted, if not slightly confused, when he then found all three books on their shared Kindle a couple of weeks later. Once again, he was, well, ‘excited’ to hear about it. He climbed into bed one night and feverishly asked the question.

“So, what happened? I thought you didn’t like the Fifty Shades books, but now I see you’ve read them all.”

He waited anxiously for her answer.

“Oh yeah” she said, shrugging, “I wasn’t into the first one at all, but your mom said I really should give it another chance so I did.”

According to the story, he looked at her for a moment, processed what she had just told him and said as he turned out the light, “I never, ever want to talk about this again.”

~

Last Sunday, while everyone was puttering around the house, I snuck outside with the intention of transporting myself to Seattle for a little .. um .. intrigue. I got about five minutes into Ana and Oh dear God is she seriously staring down at her knotted fingers, battling with her inane inner goddess or using the word ‘there’ to describe her nether region AGAIN? when Katie came outside. She walked over and immediately asked the question.

“Whatchareadin?”

I stared at her for a moment, my mouth slack. There was no sound coming out.

“You OK, Mama?” she asked.

I blinked.

“Oh, hi, baby,” I said, pretending that somehow I hadn’t seen her in the uh, glare of the sun. “Oh, just a silly book.”

“What’s it called?”

I blinked again. I was cornered.

“It’s part of a series. It’s um, Fifty Shades of Grey.”

As soon as the words were out, I panicked. I pictured her in a bookstore with a friend and said friend’s parents and her seeing the book and pointing and shouting, “MY MOM IS READING THAT BOOK!” and then some lady in an ill-fitting suit from DSS coming to my door and telling me that I got some ‘splainin to do, Lucy and then I *really* panicked and when I really panic I start talking which is really the worst thing you can do when you really panic cause then you know, you say stupid stuff that you really, really wish you hadn’t, like, oh, I don’t know, like when your kid asks if you like the books and you can’t seem to stop the words before they’re out and you hear them and they are,

“Yeah, they’re pretty good. But um, well, there’s some pretty inappropriate scenes in them, ya know, like romance stuff, so it’s not really something to mention around other people, OK?”

And then it’s sort of like you’re underwater when you hear her saying, “Oh my God, that’s gross,” and you know that she doesn’t necessarily think that it’s gross like ya know, intrinsically but that it’s gross because her MOM is reading it and then you think of this …

… and you realize that you know EXACTLY how she feels.

~

Ed Note: Today’s Tweet of the day ..

Nearly 9,000 signatures objecting to @joeNBC @Morning_Joe ‘s reckless comments re #autism. Pls sign + share http://www.change.org/petitions/joe-scarborough-msnbc-retract-your-statements-about-autism-and-the-colorado-shooting @Starbucks

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It Gets Better – by Aspie Columnist Jeffrey Deutsch

It Gets Better – by Aspie Columnist Jeffrey Deutsch
Posted on Friday, April 06 @ 15:21:14 EDT by WrongPlanet Tips I’ve been there, done that and gotten the proverbial T-shirt. As an Aspie who grew up pre-ADA, never mind pre-Aspie acceptance, I was unemployed, underemployed and lonely for years.

In fact, I’d probably still be that way, if it wasn’t for Emily – my first and only girlfriend ever (now she’s Mrs. Deutsch). We met when I was 29 1/2, and a few years later, after Googling my more…interesting…traits, she figured I may be an Aspie.

She made me aware of my condition and how it was driving me to do and say things that pissed everyone else off and closed doors to me.

As a result, I came to see that I really could re-shape my own future – by re-shaping my behavior.Just like with gays, it can get better for us too – if we make it so!

“Congratulations, you’ve been voted Most Individual and Most Controversial!”

(“You have no friends, and you’re only still breathing because murder’s actually a felony in this state.”)

“We’re going to have to let you go.”

(“You’re fired!”)

“Thanks for asking, but I need to shampoo my rugs that evening.”

(“I wouldn’t go out with you for a million-dollar role on a reality show – even if they’d been invented yet!”)

“I’m sorry, but we’re going to need the room back.”

(“Namely, to rent to someone else – anybody else instead of you!”)

(The sound of my phone never ringing with, say, friends inviting me out.)

As an Aspie, I’ve been there, done that and gotten the T-shirt.

Now, I have my own practice doing what I love and getting paid for it, by helping fellow Aspies navigate this bewildering NT world. I’ve been happily married to Emily, an NT, for over seven years now, and we’re living in a nice townhouse. I also have regular social engagements (especially through Toastmasters) and good friends.

I’ve certainly been trained for it – decades of Home-based Experiential Lifelong Learning (HELL)! I grew up and went to college and my first years of graduate school before Asperger Syndrome (AS) was even recognized as an official diagnosis. In fact, I first heard about it from Emily while we were dating – at the age of 34. She then…insistently asked me, let’s just say, to read articles and books about AS.

After I read a few books – especially by Maxine Aston, who counsels Aspie-NT couples – my eyes opened. I saw for the first time how my being inflexible, getting hung up on little details and missing anything that’s not spelled out in so many words, among other things, were upsetting people and burning bridges.

As I started to understand how NTs tend to think, feel and express themselves, I softened and otherwise changed my words and actions. And then – to my surprise – some people actually liked me back. People asked for my help with projects. In Toastmasters, a senior district official (who has since become District Governor) recruited me to join her club, and I’m now in my second elected office there.

Meanwhile, I’ve learned a lot in my marriage to Emily. I’ve learned to compromise, take another person’s viewpoint and even anticipate how she’s likely to react to something. We’ve lasted longer than many NT couples, and we’re not quitting anytime soon!

If someone had told me at age 15, 20 or even 25 that things would get better – and in fact I could make them better myself – I would have thought they were nuts. But it’s true. And you can do it too!

Jeff Deutsch is an Aspie, who draws on his decades of Home-based Experiential Lifelong Learning (HELL) to help fellow Aspies better relate to NTs and vice versa. Now happily married to Emily, an NT who first told him about Asperger Syndrome (AS), he gives inspirational talks, group training for Aspies and also for Aspies’ families’ and partners’ support groups, employers, service providers, first responders and others, and individual life coaching for both Aspies and NTs. He helps Aspies better get along with NTs, and NTs better recognize and deal with Aspies, on the job, through social situations, in personal relationships and other aspects of daily life.

After graduating from high school, and then Cornell University less than three years later, Jeff subsequently earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from George Mason University. Years later, at the age of 38, he was diagnosed with AS by both a counselor and a psychiatrist.

Jeff’s practice, A SPLINT (ASPies Linking with NTs), is registered in the State of Maryland.
               
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Re: It Gets Better – by Aspie Columnist Jeffrey Deutsch (Score: 1)
by Rhiannon0828 Friday, April 06 @ 18:46:42 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) How do you get over being angry that it’s always you that has to adjust or change; even when the NT way is illogical, inefficient, or just plain dumb? I am asking about this primarily in the context of employment, where I am constantly on the edge of unemployment because I have such a difficult time restraining myself from letting my boss know how ridiculous some of the corporate requests are, not to mention my difficulty with “being a team player”. I can be tactful, but this tends to go right out the window when I am stressed. Suggestions?

Re: It Gets Better – by Aspie Columnist Jeffrey Deutsch (Score: 1)
by awriterswindow Saturday, April 07 @ 22:00:35 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) This was so great to read. My partner of 6 years is an Aspie and I’m NT. He’s struggled with unemployment as well. Like your wife, I started talking to him about Aspergers a couple years after I met him. He was recently diagnosed with AS officially, and he’s starting therapy. Your column gave me a lot of hope that one day he will be working as well and that things will improve for him in that area. Thanks!
Re: It Gets Better – by Aspie Columnist Jeffrey Deutsch (Score: 1)
by Ai_Ling Monday, April 09 @ 20:49:49 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I like your story and it seems that things have certainly gotten better for you. I think a lot of us aspies reach a point where things suddently change. For you, it was through your wife. For me, it was through a friend and being in college. Things really dont turn around miracuously like how they would seem in a 1 pg life synopsis. We really have to keep educating ourselves about being aspie and how NTs think, getting the right help, finding the right friends, and getting the right support from our family. Of course all of these tasks are not nessarily going to secure in place. But sitting around and hoping a breakthrough will suddently happen is not going to be effective.
Re: It Gets Better – by Aspie Columnist Jeffrey Deutsch (Score: 1)
by techstepgenr8tion Tuesday, April 10 @ 10:03:35 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Congratulations on the achievements with work as well as peeling back the veil! It can be a difficult thing and its good on your part that you cared to reconcile the gap.
Re: It Gets Better – by Aspie Columnist Jeffrey Deutsch (Score: 1)
by cberg Tuesday, April 10 @ 23:40:42 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) As someone who was diagnosed at 5, I can agree with the “It gets better” message, but not necessarily the “I get better” message. It just seems that I and my somewhat narrow, curated group of friends are accustomed to what many see as a social disability being irreplaceable in my persona. Downplaying and skirting my social shortcomings has the same effect on my work; AS is just too essential to what most people I know expect from my mental faculties.
Re: It Gets Better – by Aspie Columnist Jeffrey Deutsch (Score: 1)
by Liz19922005 Wednesday, April 11 @ 07:33:36 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Good article! I am glad that Emily is still there to help you. I hope you had a good Easter Sunday.
Re: It Gets Better – by Aspie Columnist Jeffrey Deutsch (Score: 1)
by ArtMom76 Friday, April 13 @ 14:04:04 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Found this website today, and I just wanted to say your article was exactly what I needed to read this morning. My nine-year-old son has recently been diagnosed, and some days it just seems like it’s hopeless. I’d love to know what you think might have helped you as a child had your family known you had Asperger’s. Would you have wanted to know yourself? At what age do you think you’d have understood? I haven’t told him yet. It’s so HARD, as a parent, to know the right thing to do…
Re: It Gets Better – by Aspie Columnist Jeffrey Deutsch (Score: 1)
by BobinPgh Monday, April 16 @ 02:12:51 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Jeff, do you have kids? As mean as this sounds, I hope not. If someone knew they have autism, why, why, why, would they ever have any kids?! Would you want them to have the same suffering and problems you did growing up? If so, that is incredibly selfish to wish something like that on one’s children. I know I am being really, really blunt but this time I mean to be. It seems that people would be better off if the (not “disorder” but whatever you call it) would be allowed to “die out”. Somehow this issue has be brought up, even though it is offensive.
Re: It Gets Better – by Aspie Columnist Jeffrey Deutsch (Score: 1)
by stillsearching1961 Wednesday, April 18 @ 19:43:51 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Hello Jeffrey, I am new here and have recently been diagnosed with adhd. There seemed to be something missing from the picture so I have been researching things madly. I now think that I also have Aspbergers but not sure? I am also parenting a wonderful 12 yr old boy. If not for myself , then at least for him , I need to get a clear picture of my condition(s). Almost all of the info on asp. is applicable to me , but in one on one conversations , I am able to communicate well enough , that no one knows about my problem. Is it still possible that I am aspie? Thank you for the inspirational letter and congratulations on your wonderful successes. Sincerely , Searching from Edmonton.
Re: It Gets Better – by Aspie Columnist Jeffrey Deutsch (Score: 1)
by stillsearching1961 Wednesday, April 18 @ 19:43:53 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Hello Jeffrey, I am new here and have recently been diagnosed with adhd. There seemed to be something missing from the picture so I have been researching things madly. I now think that I also have Aspbergers but not sure? I am also parenting a wonderful 12 yr old boy. If not for myself , then at least for him , I need to get a clear picture of my condition(s). Almost all of the info on asp. is applicable to me , but in one on one conversations , I am able to communicate well enough , that no one knows about my problem. Is it still possible that I am aspie? Thank you for the inspirational letter and congratulations on your wonderful successes. Sincerely , Searching from Edmonton.
Re: It Gets Better – by Aspie Columnist Jeffrey Deutsch (Score: 1)
by theslanket Tuesday, April 24 @ 19:44:12 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) We need more columns like this one for one very big reason: you have successfully adapted to your social deficits and shown you can improve on these skills, even after 30-odd years. As a person choosing to go through the same very painful process now, I feel like it’s absolutely necessary to learn about others who have found their paths to the social graces. You NEED to write more!
Jeff, Your article stated that “just like gays, it can get better for us too.” I like the comparison, although I wonder if you’ve thought out the full implications. Perhaps you just meant to say that it gets better for gays as they age so it can get better for us as we age. You may be right, but there’s a major difference– no one expects gays to “change” in order to fit in. My understanding of the “it gets better” meme is that people in high school are incredibly intolerant of anyone different. Many gay teens are tormented in high school for not fitting within gender roles. Then, as they age, they are able to find communities in which they fit. They are allowed to excel within the career environment and find their soulmates. The problem is that most of these opportunities are unavailable for aspies. While the work world doesn’t judge you based on how well you fit within traditional gender roles, it does judge you based on your ability to navigate complex social landscapes. In high school an aspie who sticks to his or her guns and catches an attitude with people he or she feels is wrong will not be punished for it. Try that in the work world. And, in high school Aspies are often not as concerned about dating as NTs. But when they try to meet their soulmates they often realize that they can’t avoid the secret language of dating. Jeff, the reason why “it gets better” for gays is because the world is more accepting of them after high school. But the only way it gets better for aspies is if we learn to adapt and fit in. I suppose that’s available for gays too. After high school they could try to mimic traditional gender roles and become popular that way. But is that really what we want from them? It shouldn’t be what we want from aspies either. There is nothing wrong with helping aspies learn things, but we also need to help others learn how to understand the benefits of our differences. If society can learn to deal with people who do not conform to traditional gender roles, they should learn how to deal with people who behave like us.
Re: It Gets Better – by Aspie Columnist Jeffrey Deutsch (Score: 1)
by booksandcats Friday, May 04 @ 04:24:38 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I’m a 26 year old female with Asperger’s. Just a few weeks ago I was saying to myself, “It gets better? Well, it didn’t for me.” And crying bitterly and feeling suicidal. I thought it was all over. I guess I just have to wait a few more years, eh? I can’t quite believe that it will get better though. My Dad has Asperger’s and didn’t have a girlfriend until he was 28. However, he went to university (something that I bitterly wish I could do, but I’m too mentally ill) has almost no empathy for others, has no friends, and is inflexible and abusive. And divorced. I don’t have any friends because I’m terrified of people. I find it hard to believe that my life will turn out differently.
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Bullying – You Have More Power Than You Think

Bullying – You Have More Power Than You Think
Posted on Monday, April 16 @ 15:50:30 EDT by WrongPlanet Tips Loving Someone with Asperger?s SyndromeThe following column by Jeffrey Deutsch is part of his “It Gets Better” series on Wrong Planet.

One thing that Aspies so often suffer from is bullying. People picking on them, insulting them, vandalizing or stealing their stuff, even spitting on and hitting them when they can’t fight back.

I’ve been there, done that and gotten the T-shirt.

One of the worst things about being bullied is the fear. Fear that something could happen at any time. Being afraid that everyone will see how weak you are.

Having no control over anything. Being *helpless*. And that happens with a great deal of bullying.

Read Bullying – You Have More Power Than You Think

Thing is, sometimes we have a great deal more power than we know. Sometimes getting around in this world is a bit like a kid trying to fly an airplane. You can barely stay in the air with all the other planes around you, going their merry way.

But once you take some time and study your controls, and then practice using different ones and seeing what happens each time, you can harness your flying power.

Back when I was a kid, I saw the movie “My Bodyguard,” about a kid, Clifford who goes to a new school and gets bullied by the school’s tough guy, “Big M” Moody. Then I read the book – basically the same story. Moody’s a bad guy who uses violence to get his way, including extorting kids’ lunch money. (In fact, he’s played by a tough guy straight from Central Casting – Matt Dillon – just to make sure we get the message. Dillon’s tone and manner brought to this villain what black hats did in earlier times.)

Ever hear the saying “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression?” First impressions are very important. And where art imitates life, as here it certainly does, you can predict a good deal by looking at what happens the first time two people interact.

When Clifford meets “Big M,” he asks whether the M stands for Mouth. (In the book, he says “M & M – good stuff for little kids!”) Way to go, Clifford.

Keep in mind that this isn’t just one situation – this is a work meant to speak to kids everywhere. Remember, Clifford’s (and everyone else’s) every line is specified by the screenwriter, author, etc. This book and movie were trying to tell us something.

Were they trying to show Clifford as being mainly to *blame*? No. Again, Big M isn’t just some guy who doesn’t like being made fun of. he’s literally a professional (albeit for the moment small-time) criminal. And Clifford doesn’t call him anything that can’t be repeated here on a family website – keep in mind that the movie is rated PG.

So yes, Big M was very wrong. *But he wasn’t unprovoked.*

They were trying to tell us that you can reduce the crap that flies your way by not generating any yourself. Not making fun of someone’s name is a good and cheap way to avoid trouble. You might have heard the saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Prime example.

In my case, negative example. In junior high school, I teased another kid, calling him “Ravioli” – a variant on his name. He responded by attacking me multiple times, and not verbally either. Was he wrong? Of course.

Was he acting *randomly*? Nope. As far as I know, I was the only kid he attacked. (In fact, one day after punching me he strode into a class he shared…to cheers and clapping from some of the other kids.)

If I had it to do over again, would I still call him “Ravioli”? Hell no.

Knowledge is power. And with both, it gets better.

Jeff Deutsch is an Aspie, who draws on his decades of Home-based Experiential Lifelong Learning (HELL) to help fellow Aspies better relate to NTs and vice versa. Now happily married to Emily, an NT who first told him about Asperger Syndrome (AS), he gives inspirational talks, group training for Aspies and also for Aspies’ families’ and partners’ support groups, employers, service providers, first responders and others, and individual life coaching for both Aspies and NTs. He helps Aspies better get along with NTs, and NTs better recognize and deal with Aspies, on the job, through social situations, in personal relationships and other aspects of daily life.

After graduating from high school, and then Cornell University less than three years later, Jeff subsequently earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from George Mason University. Years later, at the age of 38, he was diagnosed with AS by both a counselor and a psychiatrist.

Jeff’s practice, A SPLINT (ASPies Linking with NTs), is registered in the State of Maryland.
               
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I hardly said a word in school, especially to other kids. Yet people still felt they had a reason to despise me. I was not beaten up or verbally abused because I was not around to be. I would wander the school yard at lunchtime and never stick around long enough around people to have any idea what they thought about me. I was so in my world that I didn’t know when people were making fun of me. I still had people that hated me for hardly any reason. There were a few occasions when a particular girl would say negative comments to me and I’d not understand why. Some kids, especially those of us on the spectrum, are bullied without even needing to open our mouths. We’re picked on because we have no back up and look weak to bullies who probably have some issue in their life that makes them feel insecure so they take it on on those weaker than them. My brother actually bullied me the most at school. To him it was play but I never wanted to be picked off the ground and defenceless, so it was bullying.
Re: Bullying – You Have More Power Than You Think (Score: 1)
by momsparky Monday, April 16 @ 20:03:26 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) One of the problems I have with the current anti-bullying campaign is that bullying is only rarely as simple as aggressor vs victim. Most often, bullying is an entire system of behavior, with everyone: victim, bully, bystanders, playing a role. This is not to say that the victims are at fault, but it is to say that isolating the bully as the problem – or, even, isolating the bystanders as is happening lately – will change the system. More than likely, what happens is new victims, new bullies and new bystanders step into the same roles. I believe that I was bullied because the other kids had no tools with which to handle me. I was very literal, and they thought the frequent miscommunication this caused were deliberate. I was very rules-bound, and they thought (legitimately) I was a rat. I’d miss cues from them: cues for friendship, cues that I’d bored them, cues that I was supposed to reciprocate a compliment – and they thought I was stuck-up, inane and cruel. I’m an adult now, and I realize that those girls were not inherently evil: they’ve grown up to be contributing members of society and probably have no idea how much they hurt me. Kids have to learn the skills of handling conflict, even when the conflict isn’t direct: they have to be taught appropriate ways of dealing with people who bother them. This goes for bully, victim and bystander. We tell kids all the time to be tolerant, but we don’t tell them how. While there is no excuse for those girls tormenting me the way they did, it was an expression of their frustration that’s common with kids who lack these skills. Today, in an ideal world, I might have received pragmatic speech lessons or social skills classes. A teacher might have stepped in and helped us negotiate the missed cues. Maybe there would have been a disability/difference program for the whole school to help kids understand what was going on. Those girls might have been taught to expect odd behavior from me, and to understand that my intentions were harmless. I hope that the kids that come after us get these desperately needed resources: the victims aren’t the only ones who are hurt by bullying.

Entrenched bullying situation very difficult to respond to. (Score: 1)
by AardvarkGoodSwimmer Monday, April 16 @ 20:34:53 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Okay, very serious topic, let’s get started. If a person is the recipient of bullying it’s far more difficult to change that situation than to avoid bullying in the first place. And there are a lot of luck factors in this whole thing, including how a person gets targeted in the first place. Sometimes it’s merely being different, including in ways hard to put a finger on like those of us on the spectrum. One thing, often it’s easier to defend and stand up for someone else. For example, something as simple as “she seems okay to me” or “he’s an alright guy, or “that sh.t ain’t cool” (and yes, the matter-of-fact profanity helps), sometimes that’s all it takes. With you defending yourself, the dynamic plays different. So, not as just one more obligation, but as an opportunity, if the energy feels right, consider standing up for someone else. Also sometimes gives you a kind of street cred where you are less likely to be bullied. But here we get to the example of percentage baseball, and no one thing always works. There are better percentage plays and lower percentage plays, and through it all a goodly percentage of just plain luck. Again, entrenched bullying is very difficult. I think it’s serious enough to consider moving to your grandparents and going to a school in their area, or an Aunt or Uncle. And then in six months or a year, hopefully you can move back to your current school, and then if you matter-of-factly stand up for yourself twice, that will be the end of it. You’ll no longer be a favorite target. No guarantees of course. A little bit you want the James Coburn cowboy attitude, don’t particularly give a damn one way or the other. That combined with pulling someone along when they are a builder. Then I advocate boxing lessons and tight, defensive boxing to a draw, with someone your own size, and even then you’ll win some, you’ll lose some. I am not advocating fighting. The zen of it all is that if you have a baseline of confidence a fight actually becomes less likely. And you kind of want to pretend to have the attitude of, you want to go a few rounds, we can go a few rounds, no big deal. Almost like a form of mild self-hynosis. Now, do I believe in this attitude? No. But I think that is the advantageous attitude to temporarily have. Now, the part about preferring a draw, I think that’s a little touch of genius and I’m kind of proud of that part. You’re not trying to humiliate someone you’re likely to see again. You graciously accept a draw. (In fact, I wished this carried in international relations more.) If you happen to “win” the fight, graciously accept that, too, without boasting and without allowing other people to boast on your behalf. Maybe say to someone you overhear talking on your behalf, “I’m sorry it came to that. It’s over. Let’s not make a big deal about it.” If you “lose,” I guess graciously accept that, too. But really, a boring draw is almost the best outcome. And please don’t take a bunch of blows to the head during training because all that stuff about post-concussion syndrome, and even cumulative lesser blows, is largely true. Just say to the instructor, “I don’t want to take a bunch of blows to the head,” and if he or she is not hip to it at this point, get another instructor. For me, what often works is one or two private lessons, then practicing some stuff on my own, then maybe some more private lessons. And you might be amazed what you can learn in just a few weeks, including good blocks and strong defense, and the money shot is the upward hook shot to the ribs. But let the person preserve their dignity. If they back off, let them back off. They might never acknowledge how much you hurt them. That’s okay. Let it be perceived as a draw. And one more thing on the importance of brain safety, just like it’s been found that football helmets don’t really protect, presumably neither does boxing headgear. And use us here at Wrong Planet as a resource. We do have a variety of good experience. At least we can somewhat see where you’re coming from, most of the time. And anything past that is a bonus, how’s that for a little zen flourish ;>)
Re: Bullying – You Have More Power Than You Think (Score: 1)
by questor Monday, April 16 @ 21:06:28 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I do agree that we shouldn’t provoke others, but it was very rare for me to provoke people when I was growing up. I was preyed on too much myself, and didn’t want to deal with the response from anyone I might provoke. I tended to avoid other kids, because they didn’t like me anyway, and would use my being with them as an opportunity to bother me. I didn’t have a real solution for dealing with those who tormented me when I was growing up, but I do now. I recommend that any parents of Asperger’s kids get them into martial arts training. If you are already an adult, and still being abused by others, take the courses yourself. Once the nasties know you can, and if necessary, will defend yourself, they will be less likely to bother you. Just make sure you let the school know that you have authorized your child to defend him/herself if attacked, and that you will come down on the school like a ton of bricks with a lawyer and lawsuit if they try to make trouble for your kid for defending him/herself. Remind the school that everyone has the right to defend themselves, and that the school staff isn’t always present when an incident happens. Sure it would be nice if we could all sit around singing “Kumbaya”, but nasty people aren’t into being nice and friendly. If they were they wouldn’t be nasty, now would they? They are into the power trip they get by being mean to other people.
Re: Bullying – You Have More Power Than You Think (Score: 1)
by LennytheWicked Tuesday, April 17 @ 07:07:16 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Yeah, but what about when people start calling you ‘weird’ because you draw in class or ‘retarded’ because you tell them not to be snotty to you during class? Kids attack unprovoked all the time. :I
Thanks for much for this article and bullying certainly applies to adult Aspies as well. From what I’ve learned on the Wrong Planet (& through my own experiences with being bullied), please know that you have powers more than what you can imagine. For all those Aspies who’ve been badly hurt – your are not accountable for the reckless/violent behaviour of those bullies. I have ultimate confidence in Aspies and our power to overcome obstacles that another could not. But being aware of bullying, and being proactive, can alleviate the pain. I think bullying is an issue that is overlooked with respect to AS and we all need to get serious about dealing with bullying in schools and the workplace. Oftentimes, from those I’ve met on the WP, the bully wins – that’s so unfair. I think now we all need to show others who/what Autism/AS is so our way of appreciated too. We have so much to contribute in this world – let us.
Re: Bullying – You Have More Power Than You Think (Score: 1)
by Konstans Tuesday, April 17 @ 13:36:58 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I was bullied at school, but I though everyone experienced this, so, in a way I coped, thinking I was not alone and got through it all. Every day I was bullied, one way or another. It was not strange as I probably was the weiredest kid at school, not yet managing to adapting to the normal behaviour. Years later I realized that it was normal not to be bullied. I am glad I did not realize this at the time, I guess I would not been alive today. Every day I was sad, and sometimes I cried myself silently to sleep, making sure not to wake my mum. (My father was a saylor). Instinctly, I protected her from my sufferings, as I felt she had a hard time coping on her own in a time when every family had a father that came home till dinnertime every day. When I began on college, I decided to change it all and used countless of hours in front of the vcr watching comedies, learning cool lines and perfect timing. After I memorized a couple of thousand lines, I was ready for the world. I had a catchy line for every occation and added a spice of my own weird lines and my co-students couldn’t stop laughing. It was a great success and with multiple lines ready at any occation and the fact that I managed to alter them or adjust to almost any occation almost lead to me working as a radio host. Unfortunally, I panic when I am to adress a big audience, so I chickened out and never became a radio profile. 🙁 Anyway, this shows that there are many ways to battle bullying. I think humour is one of the better ways. Noone choose to bully a funny guy or someone with a quick line to fit any occation.
Re: Bullying – You Have More Power Than You Think (Score: 1)
by Evinceo Tuesday, April 17 @ 17:54:11 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Sounds a lot like something that happened when I was in school, except I won the ensuing fight. That pretty much stopped the bullying.
Re: Bullying – You Have More Power Than You Think (Score: 1)
by edgewaters Wednesday, April 18 @ 02:22:41 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I hate the way this is framed as a children’s issue. Bullies exist in the adult world every bit as much as in the schoolyard. The only difference is that they become much more sophisticated, and because many of them are backed up by society, often far less restrained. I don’t know what else you can call predatory economics, terrorism, rape, police brutality, warmongering, violent crime, etc.
Re: Bullying – You Have More Power Than You Think (Score: 1)
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Re: Bullying – You Have More Power Than You Think (Score: 1)
by techstepgenr8tion Thursday, April 19 @ 22:56:05 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) The challenge when I was growing up was this: just being *different* is enough, the socially abrasive brand of different isn’t even a requirement.
Thank you much for your responses. This reminds me that I need to be vigilant for these behaviors as both a teacher and a parent. I will suggest the following. There are some schools where teachers ritualistically degrade each other. There are some schools where teachers form cliques. The students learn the behaviors from the teachers and the parents.
Re: Bullying – You Have More Power Than You Think (Score: 1)
by Awiddershinlife Monday, April 23 @ 16:47:55 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I agree that we aspies have a lot to learn while we live in an intolerant culture that tends to ‘rub out’ nonconformists. That being said, I grew up in the 1950s when people could defend themselves. I was a tough little cookie who no one dared interfer with. However, there was lots of bullying going around to people who were nicer than I was. I didn’t get bullied until I was an adult in the work place. As an adult I worked in a school that required every teacher to become profient in “responsive classroom” techniques. It was the foundation of a tolerant culture. It was wonderful for not only the kids, but the tolerance for difference was extended to staff as well. Needless to say, this school was fully inclusive (sp.ed kids were not isolated in jim crow classrooms) Bullying solutions are need to be discussed globally and enacted locally. Intollerance for difference is the basis. We will always be a little wierd and therefore vulnerable.
Re: Bullying – You Have More Power Than You Think (Score: 1)
by Happyfather Sunday, April 29 @ 03:38:44 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) What should parent do if your kid is targeted by a bully [www.nurithen.com] ? Make sure that even if your child wants revenge on the abuser for their constructive options, such as expressing anger in a positive way, such as sports, physical activities, drawing and making art. Teach your kid that he has the right to say no to a bully.
Re: Bullying – You Have More Power Than You Think (Score: 1)
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Re: Bullying – You Have More Power Than You Think (Score: 1)
by Givemetaco Tuesday, May 08 @ 21:50:54 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I’ve been experiencing bully all my life until this 2nd semester in 10th grade. of course, I would usually report it if i was physical injured by one. But I was able to find out the trick. Obviously their is many reason for bullying but I think the common one is for fun,tease or make you give a threatening reaction. One day, these two freshman kids kept telling me that my artwork in computer graphics were gay and I would try to change it as much as I could. That went on for couple of days. Then they heard that I was Mormon. One of them said “hey your a Mormon? F U F U F U! hey aren’t you offended?” I simply just said yes. Just a plain old boring yes and then I went back to my work and that’s when they realized that I’m no fun anymore to tease around with. Right now we are kinda like friends. I joke with them sometimes. I just defend myself by not heavily reacting.
Re: Bullying – You Have More Power Than You Think (Score: 1)
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Bullying – You Have More Power Than You Think

Bullying – You Have More Power Than You Think
Posted on Monday, April 16 @ 15:50:30 EDT by WrongPlanet Tips Loving Someone with Asperger?s SyndromeThe following column by Jeffrey Deutsch is part of his “It Gets Better” series on Wrong Planet.

One thing that Aspies so often suffer from is bullying. People picking on them, insulting them, vandalizing or stealing their stuff, even spitting on and hitting them when they can’t fight back.

I’ve been there, done that and gotten the T-shirt.

One of the worst things about being bullied is the fear. Fear that something could happen at any time. Being afraid that everyone will see how weak you are.

Having no control over anything. Being *helpless*. And that happens with a great deal of bullying.

Read Bullying – You Have More Power Than You Think

Thing is, sometimes we have a great deal more power than we know. Sometimes getting around in this world is a bit like a kid trying to fly an airplane. You can barely stay in the air with all the other planes around you, going their merry way.

But once you take some time and study your controls, and then practice using different ones and seeing what happens each time, you can harness your flying power.

Back when I was a kid, I saw the movie “My Bodyguard,” about a kid, Clifford who goes to a new school and gets bullied by the school’s tough guy, “Big M” Moody. Then I read the book – basically the same story. Moody’s a bad guy who uses violence to get his way, including extorting kids’ lunch money. (In fact, he’s played by a tough guy straight from Central Casting – Matt Dillon – just to make sure we get the message. Dillon’s tone and manner brought to this villain what black hats did in earlier times.)

Ever hear the saying “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression?” First impressions are very important. And where art imitates life, as here it certainly does, you can predict a good deal by looking at what happens the first time two people interact.

When Clifford meets “Big M,” he asks whether the M stands for Mouth. (In the book, he says “M & M – good stuff for little kids!”) Way to go, Clifford.

Keep in mind that this isn’t just one situation – this is a work meant to speak to kids everywhere. Remember, Clifford’s (and everyone else’s) every line is specified by the screenwriter, author, etc. This book and movie were trying to tell us something.

Were they trying to show Clifford as being mainly to *blame*? No. Again, Big M isn’t just some guy who doesn’t like being made fun of. he’s literally a professional (albeit for the moment small-time) criminal. And Clifford doesn’t call him anything that can’t be repeated here on a family website – keep in mind that the movie is rated PG.

So yes, Big M was very wrong. *But he wasn’t unprovoked.*

They were trying to tell us that you can reduce the crap that flies your way by not generating any yourself. Not making fun of someone’s name is a good and cheap way to avoid trouble. You might have heard the saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Prime example.

In my case, negative example. In junior high school, I teased another kid, calling him “Ravioli” – a variant on his name. He responded by attacking me multiple times, and not verbally either. Was he wrong? Of course.

Was he acting *randomly*? Nope. As far as I know, I was the only kid he attacked. (In fact, one day after punching me he strode into a class he shared…to cheers and clapping from some of the other kids.)

If I had it to do over again, would I still call him “Ravioli”? Hell no.

Knowledge is power. And with both, it gets better.

Jeff Deutsch is an Aspie, who draws on his decades of Home-based Experiential Lifelong Learning (HELL) to help fellow Aspies better relate to NTs and vice versa. Now happily married to Emily, an NT who first told him about Asperger Syndrome (AS), he gives inspirational talks, group training for Aspies and also for Aspies’ families’ and partners’ support groups, employers, service providers, first responders and others, and individual life coaching for both Aspies and NTs. He helps Aspies better get along with NTs, and NTs better recognize and deal with Aspies, on the job, through social situations, in personal relationships and other aspects of daily life.

After graduating from high school, and then Cornell University less than three years later, Jeff subsequently earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from George Mason University. Years later, at the age of 38, he was diagnosed with AS by both a counselor and a psychiatrist.

Jeff’s practice, A SPLINT (ASPies Linking with NTs), is registered in the State of Maryland.
               
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I hardly said a word in school, especially to other kids. Yet people still felt they had a reason to despise me. I was not beaten up or verbally abused because I was not around to be. I would wander the school yard at lunchtime and never stick around long enough around people to have any idea what they thought about me. I was so in my world that I didn’t know when people were making fun of me. I still had people that hated me for hardly any reason. There were a few occasions when a particular girl would say negative comments to me and I’d not understand why. Some kids, especially those of us on the spectrum, are bullied without even needing to open our mouths. We’re picked on because we have no back up and look weak to bullies who probably have some issue in their life that makes them feel insecure so they take it on on those weaker than them. My brother actually bullied me the most at school. To him it was play but I never wanted to be picked off the ground and defenceless, so it was bullying.
Re: Bullying – You Have More Power Than You Think (Score: 1)
by momsparky Monday, April 16 @ 20:03:26 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) One of the problems I have with the current anti-bullying campaign is that bullying is only rarely as simple as aggressor vs victim. Most often, bullying is an entire system of behavior, with everyone: victim, bully, bystanders, playing a role. This is not to say that the victims are at fault, but it is to say that isolating the bully as the problem – or, even, isolating the bystanders as is happening lately – will change the system. More than likely, what happens is new victims, new bullies and new bystanders step into the same roles. I believe that I was bullied because the other kids had no tools with which to handle me. I was very literal, and they thought the frequent miscommunication this caused were deliberate. I was very rules-bound, and they thought (legitimately) I was a rat. I’d miss cues from them: cues for friendship, cues that I’d bored them, cues that I was supposed to reciprocate a compliment – and they thought I was stuck-up, inane and cruel. I’m an adult now, and I realize that those girls were not inherently evil: they’ve grown up to be contributing members of society and probably have no idea how much they hurt me. Kids have to learn the skills of handling conflict, even when the conflict isn’t direct: they have to be taught appropriate ways of dealing with people who bother them. This goes for bully, victim and bystander. We tell kids all the time to be tolerant, but we don’t tell them how. While there is no excuse for those girls tormenting me the way they did, it was an expression of their frustration that’s common with kids who lack these skills. Today, in an ideal world, I might have received pragmatic speech lessons or social skills classes. A teacher might have stepped in and helped us negotiate the missed cues. Maybe there would have been a disability/difference program for the whole school to help kids understand what was going on. Those girls might have been taught to expect odd behavior from me, and to understand that my intentions were harmless. I hope that the kids that come after us get these desperately needed resources: the victims aren’t the only ones who are hurt by bullying.

Entrenched bullying situation very difficult to respond to. (Score: 1)
by AardvarkGoodSwimmer Monday, April 16 @ 20:34:53 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Okay, very serious topic, let’s get started. If a person is the recipient of bullying it’s far more difficult to change that situation than to avoid bullying in the first place. And there are a lot of luck factors in this whole thing, including how a person gets targeted in the first place. Sometimes it’s merely being different, including in ways hard to put a finger on like those of us on the spectrum. One thing, often it’s easier to defend and stand up for someone else. For example, something as simple as “she seems okay to me” or “he’s an alright guy, or “that sh.t ain’t cool” (and yes, the matter-of-fact profanity helps), sometimes that’s all it takes. With you defending yourself, the dynamic plays different. So, not as just one more obligation, but as an opportunity, if the energy feels right, consider standing up for someone else. Also sometimes gives you a kind of street cred where you are less likely to be bullied. But here we get to the example of percentage baseball, and no one thing always works. There are better percentage plays and lower percentage plays, and through it all a goodly percentage of just plain luck. Again, entrenched bullying is very difficult. I think it’s serious enough to consider moving to your grandparents and going to a school in their area, or an Aunt or Uncle. And then in six months or a year, hopefully you can move back to your current school, and then if you matter-of-factly stand up for yourself twice, that will be the end of it. You’ll no longer be a favorite target. No guarantees of course. A little bit you want the James Coburn cowboy attitude, don’t particularly give a damn one way or the other. That combined with pulling someone along when they are a builder. Then I advocate boxing lessons and tight, defensive boxing to a draw, with someone your own size, and even then you’ll win some, you’ll lose some. I am not advocating fighting. The zen of it all is that if you have a baseline of confidence a fight actually becomes less likely. And you kind of want to pretend to have the attitude of, you want to go a few rounds, we can go a few rounds, no big deal. Almost like a form of mild self-hynosis. Now, do I believe in this attitude? No. But I think that is the advantageous attitude to temporarily have. Now, the part about preferring a draw, I think that’s a little touch of genius and I’m kind of proud of that part. You’re not trying to humiliate someone you’re likely to see again. You graciously accept a draw. (In fact, I wished this carried in international relations more.) If you happen to “win” the fight, graciously accept that, too, without boasting and without allowing other people to boast on your behalf. Maybe say to someone you overhear talking on your behalf, “I’m sorry it came to that. It’s over. Let’s not make a big deal about it.” If you “lose,” I guess graciously accept that, too. But really, a boring draw is almost the best outcome. And please don’t take a bunch of blows to the head during training because all that stuff about post-concussion syndrome, and even cumulative lesser blows, is largely true. Just say to the instructor, “I don’t want to take a bunch of blows to the head,” and if he or she is not hip to it at this point, get another instructor. For me, what often works is one or two private lessons, then practicing some stuff on my own, then maybe some more private lessons. And you might be amazed what you can learn in just a few weeks, including good blocks and strong defense, and the money shot is the upward hook shot to the ribs. But let the person preserve their dignity. If they back off, let them back off. They might never acknowledge how much you hurt them. That’s okay. Let it be perceived as a draw. And one more thing on the importance of brain safety, just like it’s been found that football helmets don’t really protect, presumably neither does boxing headgear. And use us here at Wrong Planet as a resource. We do have a variety of good experience. At least we can somewhat see where you’re coming from, most of the time. And anything past that is a bonus, how’s that for a little zen flourish ;>)
Re: Bullying – You Have More Power Than You Think (Score: 1)
by questor Monday, April 16 @ 21:06:28 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I do agree that we shouldn’t provoke others, but it was very rare for me to provoke people when I was growing up. I was preyed on too much myself, and didn’t want to deal with the response from anyone I might provoke. I tended to avoid other kids, because they didn’t like me anyway, and would use my being with them as an opportunity to bother me. I didn’t have a real solution for dealing with those who tormented me when I was growing up, but I do now. I recommend that any parents of Asperger’s kids get them into martial arts training. If you are already an adult, and still being abused by others, take the courses yourself. Once the nasties know you can, and if necessary, will defend yourself, they will be less likely to bother you. Just make sure you let the school know that you have authorized your child to defend him/herself if attacked, and that you will come down on the school like a ton of bricks with a lawyer and lawsuit if they try to make trouble for your kid for defending him/herself. Remind the school that everyone has the right to defend themselves, and that the school staff isn’t always present when an incident happens. Sure it would be nice if we could all sit around singing “Kumbaya”, but nasty people aren’t into being nice and friendly. If they were they wouldn’t be nasty, now would they? They are into the power trip they get by being mean to other people.
Re: Bullying – You Have More Power Than You Think (Score: 1)
by LennytheWicked Tuesday, April 17 @ 07:07:16 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Yeah, but what about when people start calling you ‘weird’ because you draw in class or ‘retarded’ because you tell them not to be snotty to you during class? Kids attack unprovoked all the time. :I
Thanks for much for this article and bullying certainly applies to adult Aspies as well. From what I’ve learned on the Wrong Planet (& through my own experiences with being bullied), please know that you have powers more than what you can imagine. For all those Aspies who’ve been badly hurt – your are not accountable for the reckless/violent behaviour of those bullies. I have ultimate confidence in Aspies and our power to overcome obstacles that another could not. But being aware of bullying, and being proactive, can alleviate the pain. I think bullying is an issue that is overlooked with respect to AS and we all need to get serious about dealing with bullying in schools and the workplace. Oftentimes, from those I’ve met on the WP, the bully wins – that’s so unfair. I think now we all need to show others who/what Autism/AS is so our way of appreciated too. We have so much to contribute in this world – let us.
Re: Bullying – You Have More Power Than You Think (Score: 1)
by Konstans Tuesday, April 17 @ 13:36:58 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I was bullied at school, but I though everyone experienced this, so, in a way I coped, thinking I was not alone and got through it all. Every day I was bullied, one way or another. It was not strange as I probably was the weiredest kid at school, not yet managing to adapting to the normal behaviour. Years later I realized that it was normal not to be bullied. I am glad I did not realize this at the time, I guess I would not been alive today. Every day I was sad, and sometimes I cried myself silently to sleep, making sure not to wake my mum. (My father was a saylor). Instinctly, I protected her from my sufferings, as I felt she had a hard time coping on her own in a time when every family had a father that came home till dinnertime every day. When I began on college, I decided to change it all and used countless of hours in front of the vcr watching comedies, learning cool lines and perfect timing. After I memorized a couple of thousand lines, I was ready for the world. I had a catchy line for every occation and added a spice of my own weird lines and my co-students couldn’t stop laughing. It was a great success and with multiple lines ready at any occation and the fact that I managed to alter them or adjust to almost any occation almost lead to me working as a radio host. Unfortunally, I panic when I am to adress a big audience, so I chickened out and never became a radio profile. 🙁 Anyway, this shows that there are many ways to battle bullying. I think humour is one of the better ways. Noone choose to bully a funny guy or someone with a quick line to fit any occation.
Re: Bullying – You Have More Power Than You Think (Score: 1)
by Evinceo Tuesday, April 17 @ 17:54:11 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Sounds a lot like something that happened when I was in school, except I won the ensuing fight. That pretty much stopped the bullying.
Re: Bullying – You Have More Power Than You Think (Score: 1)
by edgewaters Wednesday, April 18 @ 02:22:41 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I hate the way this is framed as a children’s issue. Bullies exist in the adult world every bit as much as in the schoolyard. The only difference is that they become much more sophisticated, and because many of them are backed up by society, often far less restrained. I don’t know what else you can call predatory economics, terrorism, rape, police brutality, warmongering, violent crime, etc.
Re: Bullying – You Have More Power Than You Think (Score: 1)
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Re: Bullying – You Have More Power Than You Think (Score: 1)
by techstepgenr8tion Thursday, April 19 @ 22:56:05 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) The challenge when I was growing up was this: just being *different* is enough, the socially abrasive brand of different isn’t even a requirement.
Thank you much for your responses. This reminds me that I need to be vigilant for these behaviors as both a teacher and a parent. I will suggest the following. There are some schools where teachers ritualistically degrade each other. There are some schools where teachers form cliques. The students learn the behaviors from the teachers and the parents.

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It Gets Better – by Aspie Columnist Jeffrey Deutsch

It Gets Better – by Aspie Columnist Jeffrey Deutsch
Posted on Friday, April 06 @ 15:21:14 EDT by WrongPlanet Tips I’ve been there, done that and gotten the proverbial T-shirt. As an Aspie who grew up pre-ADA, never mind pre-Aspie acceptance, I was unemployed, underemployed and lonely for years.

In fact, I’d probably still be that way, if it wasn’t for Emily – my first and only girlfriend ever (now she’s Mrs. Deutsch). We met when I was 29 1/2, and a few years later, after Googling my more…interesting…traits, she figured I may be an Aspie.

She made me aware of my condition and how it was driving me to do and say things that pissed everyone else off and closed doors to me.

As a result, I came to see that I really could re-shape my own future – by re-shaping my behavior.Just like with gays, it can get better for us too – if we make it so!

“Congratulations, you’ve been voted Most Individual and Most Controversial!”

(“You have no friends, and you’re only still breathing because murder’s actually a felony in this state.”)

“We’re going to have to let you go.”

(“You’re fired!”)

“Thanks for asking, but I need to shampoo my rugs that evening.”

(“I wouldn’t go out with you for a million-dollar role on a reality show – even if they’d been invented yet!”)

“I’m sorry, but we’re going to need the room back.”

(“Namely, to rent to someone else – anybody else instead of you!”)

(The sound of my phone never ringing with, say, friends inviting me out.)

As an Aspie, I’ve been there, done that and gotten the T-shirt.

Now, I have my own practice doing what I love and getting paid for it, by helping fellow Aspies navigate this bewildering NT world. I’ve been happily married to Emily, an NT, for over seven years now, and we’re living in a nice townhouse. I also have regular social engagements (especially through Toastmasters) and good friends.

I’ve certainly been trained for it – decades of Home-based Experiential Lifelong Learning (HELL)! I grew up and went to college and my first years of graduate school before Asperger Syndrome (AS) was even recognized as an official diagnosis. In fact, I first heard about it from Emily while we were dating – at the age of 34. She then…insistently asked me, let’s just say, to read articles and books about AS.

After I read a few books – especially by Maxine Aston, who counsels Aspie-NT couples – my eyes opened. I saw for the first time how my being inflexible, getting hung up on little details and missing anything that’s not spelled out in so many words, among other things, were upsetting people and burning bridges.

As I started to understand how NTs tend to think, feel and express themselves, I softened and otherwise changed my words and actions. And then – to my surprise – some people actually liked me back. People asked for my help with projects. In Toastmasters, a senior district official (who has since become District Governor) recruited me to join her club, and I’m now in my second elected office there.

Meanwhile, I’ve learned a lot in my marriage to Emily. I’ve learned to compromise, take another person’s viewpoint and even anticipate how she’s likely to react to something. We’ve lasted longer than many NT couples, and we’re not quitting anytime soon!

If someone had told me at age 15, 20 or even 25 that things would get better – and in fact I could make them better myself – I would have thought they were nuts. But it’s true. And you can do it too!

Jeff Deutsch is an Aspie, who draws on his decades of Home-based Experiential Lifelong Learning (HELL) to help fellow Aspies better relate to NTs and vice versa. Now happily married to Emily, an NT who first told him about Asperger Syndrome (AS), he gives inspirational talks, group training for Aspies and also for Aspies’ families’ and partners’ support groups, employers, service providers, first responders and others, and individual life coaching for both Aspies and NTs. He helps Aspies better get along with NTs, and NTs better recognize and deal with Aspies, on the job, through social situations, in personal relationships and other aspects of daily life.

After graduating from high school, and then Cornell University less than three years later, Jeff subsequently earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from George Mason University. Years later, at the age of 38, he was diagnosed with AS by both a counselor and a psychiatrist.

Jeff’s practice, A SPLINT (ASPies Linking with NTs), is registered in the State of Maryland.
               
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Re: It Gets Better – by Aspie Columnist Jeffrey Deutsch (Score: 1)
by Rhiannon0828 Friday, April 06 @ 18:46:42 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) How do you get over being angry that it’s always you that has to adjust or change; even when the NT way is illogical, inefficient, or just plain dumb? I am asking about this primarily in the context of employment, where I am constantly on the edge of unemployment because I have such a difficult time restraining myself from letting my boss know how ridiculous some of the corporate requests are, not to mention my difficulty with “being a team player”. I can be tactful, but this tends to go right out the window when I am stressed. Suggestions?
Re: It Gets Better – by Aspie Columnist Jeffrey Deutsch (Score: 1)
by LouG Saturday, April 07 @ 19:52:40 EDT
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Re: It Gets Better – by Aspie Columnist Jeffrey Deutsch (Score: 1)
by awriterswindow Saturday, April 07 @ 22:00:35 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) This was so great to read. My partner of 6 years is an Aspie and I’m NT. He’s struggled with unemployment as well. Like your wife, I started talking to him about Aspergers a couple years after I met him. He was recently diagnosed with AS officially, and he’s starting therapy. Your column gave me a lot of hope that one day he will be working as well and that things will improve for him in that area. Thanks!
Re: It Gets Better – by Aspie Columnist Jeffrey Deutsch (Score: 1)
by Ai_Ling Monday, April 09 @ 20:49:49 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I like your story and it seems that things have certainly gotten better for you. I think a lot of us aspies reach a point where things suddently change. For you, it was through your wife. For me, it was through a friend and being in college. Things really dont turn around miracuously like how they would seem in a 1 pg life synopsis. We really have to keep educating ourselves about being aspie and how NTs think, getting the right help, finding the right friends, and getting the right support from our family. Of course all of these tasks are not nessarily going to secure in place. But sitting around and hoping a breakthrough will suddently happen is not going to be effective.
Re: It Gets Better – by Aspie Columnist Jeffrey Deutsch (Score: 1)
by techstepgenr8tion Tuesday, April 10 @ 10:03:35 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Congratulations on the achievements with work as well as peeling back the veil! It can be a difficult thing and its good on your part that you cared to reconcile the gap.

View the original article here