In April 2016, Anna and I gave a presentation to a graduate class at the University of Texas at Dallas on our family’s experience with autism. We talked about our discovery that Daniel had autism, and the reasons I didn’t think there was anything wrong with Daniel–at least until it was clear he had a speech delay. The reasons, of course, were that I behaved much like he was behaving, and I of course was behaving that way because I, too, am on the spectrum.
One of the great things about our discussion with the graduate class is that we aren’t a one-trick pony. You can find people who can talk about their family experience with autism, and you can find people who can talk about the scientific aspects of autism, but how many people can do both? Other than Temple Grandin, of course.
You can see that mixture on this blog. I talk about the latest research I found, but I also talk about personal things, like little things Daniel has done. I think it’s important to both understand the underlying genetics/neurobiology as well as particular expressions that result. Of course, those particular expressions can range from meltdowns to taking things literally to various obsessions to (in my case) writing poetry and plays.
While everyone wants to hear about the problems, we also think it’s important to talk about the positive things. More, I am of the view that autism is a structural difference that gives rise to a different kind of thinking and a different kind of mind. And I try to communicate that as much as possible. I also try to talk about job-related issues. And, with Daniel, school-related issues.
Indeed, we talked about some of the problems I have had with finding and keeping employment. And we talked about some of the issues we have had with the school. The good news on that front is that Daniel has a fantastic Kindergarten teacher at Arapaho Classical Magnet here in Richardson, and the support staff all seem to like Daniel and think he’s sweet.
We hope that we can talk to more groups about autism in the future. We have given a talk at The Warren Center and to a graduate class at UT-Dallas. We are will hoping that these are just the beginning.