Autism Movie Review: Rain Man Wednesday, Aug 31 2011 


 

I know what you’re thinking. “I deal with autism all the time. I hate the Rain Man stereotype.” I do too, but I think its worth discussing. I think, given the right approach, Rain Man can be used to raise awareness. The key is to focus on the positive aspects shown. It doesn’t hurt to bring up the change in approach, from an institutional model in the 80s to the current community based ideal.

For those who haven’t seen it, Rain Man is the story of a callous brother Charlie Babbitt, played by Tom Cruise, and his estranged and unknown brother Raymond, played by Dustin Hoffman. Raymond has autism, and Tom Cruise kidnaps him in an attempt to get money from his deceased father’s estate. With no money forthcoming, Charlie decides to use Raymonds savant skill, the ability to visually track and mentally simulate mathematical formulae at lightning speed, to cheat a Vegas casino out of a small fortune.

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Autism Movie Review: The Horse Boy Monday, Aug 29 2011 


Great story about a family who decides to take an unconventional method to healing their son. I’ve read the book, which I reviewed in my post Autism Book Review: The Horse Boy. The story is the same although, naturally, abbreviated due to time constraints.

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Let’s talk about atypical autism Friday, Aug 26 2011 


I meet parents here and there who say things like “my son has atypical autism” or “my son is on the spectrum but he’s atypical.” That statement is always a head scratcher for me, because of all the kids and adults I’ve met on the spectrum I can’t say a single one was “typical.”

I know why the parents say it. We can’t help ourselves. Somehow the autism is better or different if its atypical. Typical means that they can expect a typical outcome, which is a largely unsuccessful one in our current community support system. I get it, and the allure of saying my son is atypical is maddening, so I embrace it.

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Autism Book Review: The Horse Boy Thursday, Aug 25 2011 


This is a heartwarming story of a lengthy intervention and spiritual journey for a family with a child on the autism spectrum. I found it to be an interesting and informative read, especially if you have any interest in Mongolian history. I’m a huge Genghis Khan fan, so this book fed into a natural interest of mine.

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Autism Parenting Skills Part 4: Bravery Wednesday, Aug 24 2011 


“Bravery is being the only one who knows you’re afraid.” – Franklin P. Jones

I have been told recently that not everyone who has an opinion has the courage to raise it, and many people do not speak up when they have something to say but instead bite their tongues. Since that idea is totally foreign to me, I thought I those folks need to know why we parents need to speak up.

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Autism vs the kids birthday party Monday, Aug 22 2011 


Kids with autism enjoy birthday parties as much as the next kid, although they generally aren’t invited to as many of them as their typical peers. While kids birthday parties can be challenging I encourage parents to attend them with their kids on the spectrum. The social opportunities dwarf the challenges in my opinion. However, we have a few simple rules that help us have a successful party experience.

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Our train garden and why it may help with autism Wednesday, Aug 10 2011 


I posted an article from another blog on my facebook feed a while back called “Gardening for those with autism and special needs.” I’ve been wanting to plant a garden for the last two years, so that post was extremely motivating. I put the word out on my facebook wall and my pals at Urbivores sent me a short list of recommended veggies.

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My Spotify “Inspiration” play list. Tuesday, Aug 9 2011 


I don’t know if anyone who reads this uses Spotify, a free music service, but I do. I’ve been working on a playlist of songs that inspire me to advocate and you can view it at

http://open.spotify.com/user/raynelsonrealtor/playlist/3FaElOfvzMoJ98PEvt0HFH Inspiration

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Raymond’s Dog 3: Meet Blue! Monday, Aug 8 2011 


Raymond’s dog is named Blue! We are in touch with his current puppy raiser and will be meeting him soon. Raymond was excited by the picture but nowhere near as excited as he will be by the visit. At the moment, we plan to schedule 1-2 visits in the next couple months. Then, after he is neutered in October, Blue will come to live with us! For us that means the work will just be beginning, as we will have 2 hours a week of training, but that sort of work is exciting to do!

Autism Parenting Skills Part 3: Trust Your Instincts Friday, Aug 5 2011 


In this day and age we all question ourselves about everything. I’m not saying that self reflection is bad, but there is also a time when you have to go with your gut. Hopefully this post will help you figure out how to turn your instincts into challenge detection devices for your kids!

The most common thing I hear from parents of folks on the spectrum is “How do I know I’m doing the right thing.” I ask myself that one, and I also hear it from my wife, and my answer is always “our son is learning and growing. That is the right thing.” I’m a pragmatic type in that I measure right or wrong by outcome. If our outcome is positive, if our son has learned a skill or grown as a person or we as a family are more functional then we did the right thing. If it goes the other way then we didn’t.

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