Thursday, January 29, 2015

The improtance of a mentor

It's important to not just rely on your own judgement.  This may be a surprise for some people but there are people out there who have more knowledge and experience than you.  Someone who knows you, you feel comfortable with, and can advise you.

I remember a few years ago a friend of mine was telling me how he saw 2 guys who were going towards a degree in Physics.  One really smart, and one not as smart.  The one who wasn't as smart took all the advice my friend had (as he also went for a physics degree), and that guy got farther than the guy who gave him the advice in a shorter amount of time.

This is something that also applies to parents in raising a child in general, and especially in raising an aspergers child.

Save yourself trouble get a mentor!

Monday, January 26, 2015

How an aspergers person should go about getting a job

I remember so many interviews I went to and failed.  A lot of them I did things that hurt me in my interview (or was naive in how I went about what they were saying).

For many people with aspergers, and many people in general it's a good idea to rely on your experiences, and skills to get you a job.  First of all if you are competeing for a low level job you will have a lot of competition.  If you find something you can start doing small things for and building experience then you can use that to seperate you from everyone else.  Making these things the focus of why you should get a job instead of your social skills is a great idea for a person with aspergers.

I was thinking about myself that approaching a job this way is a lot better for me (in that I myself could get a job better).

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tackling transport troubles for the disabled | ISRAEL21c

Tackling transport troubles for the disabled | ISRAEL21c

Navigating public transport can be difficult for people with disabilities. Photo by Miriam Alster/FLASH90


Navigating public transport can be difficult for people with disabilities. Photo by Miriam Alster/FLASH90
As of December 31, 2014, there is a new law on the books in Israel mandating that all public transportation must be wheelchair-accessible. Still, this does not completely solve the issue of mobility difficulties on buses, trains and taxis for people with disabilities.
“Galgalim Darom” (“Wheels in the South”), an innovative program tailor-made for Israel, was recently launched for people whose physical or mental challenges hinder their ability to get around independently.
Galgalim’s mission is to provide various forms of transportation assistance to individuals with different kinds of special needs, so that they can be as active participants in society as everyone else.
The program will help the 67,000 residents of southern Israel with a disability – and eventually all of Israel’s approximately 697,000 disabled adults between the ages of 21 and 65 — to get to work or shop at a mall without the added pressure of calculating how they are going to manage the trip itself.
The project is backed by the Ruderman Foundation and is the brainchild of the Joint Distribution Committee’s Department of Disabilities and Rehabilitation, with cooperation from Israeli institutions such as the Finance Ministry, the Ministry of Welfare and the National Insurance Institute.
According to Tal Goldman, project manager for the Tel Aviv-based non-profit organization Transport Today and Tomorrow, which is a partner in the program: “This will open up new vistas for people who otherwise would be limited in their ability to find employment, to visit friends and family and to have the ability to enjoy their leisure time.
Tal Goldman of Today and Tomorrow.
Tal Goldman of Today and Tomorrow.
Goldman told ISRAEL21c that the program will include an information hotline to provide assistance in planning rides on public transportation and everything connected with travel, such as advance purchase of tickets and eligibility for discounts. This line will also serve as the address for receiving “first aid” advice and for filing complaints.
The bulk of the program, however, will revolve around an extensive network of volunteers teaching the target population how to use public transportation, often accompanying disabled travelers to their destinations.
“Our aim is for as many people as possible to be able to utilize our infrastructure,” said Goldman, explaining that volunteers will be recruited from among the community with disabilities as well.
For example, he said: “Someone in a wheelchair who has a car might become a driver for someone who is visually or cognitively impaired.”
Alone with his guide dog
Galgalim Darom was launched on December 2 at a conference in Ashdod, in the presence of Knesset members, Transportation Ministry officials, and representatives from the Egged bus company, the Ashdod municipality, the Department of Disabilities and Rehabilitation in JDC-Israel and Transport Today and Tomorrow.
Arkady Balanovsky, a veteran immigrant from the former Soviet Union, was also in attendance. The 59-year-old Ashdod resident, who went blind a few years ago after being diagnosed with artemis pigmentosa, took to the podium to describe the benefits of Galgalim Darom for people like him.
Balanovksy subsequently told ISRAEL21c his tragic personal story – one paved with loss. In the space of five years, he lost his eyesight and thus his job as a construction engineer; he lost his wife to cancer and his 34-year-old son to liver failure; and he lost both his parents and in-laws.
“I am all alone now with my seeing-eye dog,” he said, matter-of-factly. “And though life must go on, it is very difficult for me to get from place to place without the help of other human beings.”
Balanovsky continued: “It is the lack of understanding of what people with disabilities go through just to get on a bus or take a train that makes a program like Galgalim Darom so necessary.”
Though the program is still in an early stage, Goldman is very optimistic about its future.
“The response on the part of the local authorities and so many other groups has been incredibly positive,” he says, adding that he and his partners are in the process of recruiting volunteers. “And the more we get, the more extensive the program can become.”
The next step is to advertise the various services that will be available to people with disabilities, and to encourage those people to take advantage of them.
Goldman’s forecast is grandiose: “Within three years, we aim to have the program running so effectively that the Israeli government will take it over and expand upon it,” he said.
For more information, click here.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Yonatan and Aaron Raz'el: Ibdu

Brothers Yonatan and Aaron Raz'el are not only wonderful composers and musicians, they are the finest human beings you'll ever want to meet. In the clip you're about to see, they are helping some special needs young men to fulfill the dream or recording music in the studio. Together, the Raz'el brothers and the young men from "Alei Siach" sing "Ibdu" - serve Hashem with joy! I'm sure that you'll find this clip as inspiring as I did

The words are Ivdu et Hashem bsimcha from Psalm 100 which everything he sings is:
Serve G-d with gladness, come before him with joyous song.  Know that G-d (the attribute of kindness), is G-d (the one who gives us our diffuculties).  It is him who made us and we are his


Thank you Rabbi Lazer Brody for bringing this to my attention
Yonatan and Aaron Raz'el: Ibdu

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

How I improved myself in conversations (an example of how an aspergers person (or anyone) can make a relationship work)

I had a few times I went out with a girl, but they didn't work out.  One thing that went wrong was for myself I didn't have as good of an idea of what to talk about, and keep a conversation going.  After a while the conversations died.  I heard from a freind of mine (who doesn't have aspergers) that he was also experiencing this problem.  That the first and second dates went alright but after that the conversations just died.  That encouraged me to improve my conversational skills

I looked for different pieces of advice on maintaing a conversation.  I found out that I should ask more deep questions like How was that, or can you tell me more about that (not just going for the basic answer).  I practiced and prepared for a date with these methods, and this girl liked the conversations (she even told me herself), but it didn't work out (she did break up in a nice way) the thing that didn't make it work was that I didn't have a steady income (even a small one).

This is an example of what someone needs to do to make a relationship work.

Hat tip: Eli Massihesraelian

I now have a weekly post on the Times of Israel

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/my-life-with-aspergers-an-introduction/

True this is my original article from Aish.com, but starting next week I will have one big article that will be posted there.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The importance of understanding your aspergers in a relationship

A relationship is a big responsibility.  You have to be aware of your partner's needs, and give them what they want.

Besides the normal problems with a relationship, people with aspergers have additional problems.  Dealing with empathy, socializing, thinking about what is on the other person's mind (theory of mind), and lack of realizing what is proper in a relationship.

Understanding and preparing to deal with your challenges can help you better succeed at a relationship.

From myself and others I see that if a person works on these things they can improve.  Besides myself I have heard from others who were able to improve in these areas.  Tommorow I will post a personal story of how I improved in conversing with a girl.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The flip side of a relationship (WORST THAN DEATH)!

Although many people can easily understand that a relationship can be an enjoyable thing, most people also forget that it can also be something worst than death.  This is very harsh, so let me explain where I am coming from.

Look at the facts most people in America who get married get divorced.  If you have seen how painful a divorce can be you will understand this.

The first thing that a person with Asperger has to do when they are looking at getting in a relationship is can they handle it.  Can they give the other person what they need in a relationship (do they know what another person would need in a relationship), can they take care of themselves (a relationship is not meant to give you someone to take care of you in your current state), are they emotionaly stable or ready for a relationship.

Many people are in unhappy relationships, but if someone is able to handle a relationship with the knowledge of what make a succesful relationship they can overcome those things.

I hope to be bloging about some important things to do in order to make a relationship work.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Students from Overland Park KS (where I am from) build chairs that snuggle children with autism into calm

Students at the Center for Advanced Professional Studies in the Blue Valley School District have applied for a patent and hope to eventually market Sensory Chair™ and Sensory Lounger™ for less than $1,000. Involved in the project are students Trey Pellen (clockwise from left), 17, Daniel Jezmir, 17, Peter Bentele, 18, Zach Naatz, 18, Jenna Felsen, 17, Austin Edmondson, 17, and Andy Vietti, 17.


Stuart Jackson was on a mission.
For years, the Overland Park father had searched for a way to help his son find relief from the stress and anxiety often experienced by children with autism. Like many of those children, Joshua could be soothed through deep touch pressure — the kind of feeling one might get by being tightly hugged or squeezed.
Jackson came across a few potential solutions on the market, but they tended to be clunky, noisy or ineffective. And way too expensive.
So he took it to CAPS — the Center for Advanced Professional Studies in the Blue Valley School District.
And the engineering students rose to the challenge.
Using such items as a papasan chair, an inflatable air bag, a swimming pool noodle and a remote control air pump, they designed and built a device that not only provides deep pressure to calm the user, but is affordable and looks like a regular piece of furniture. It could work in the home or in an educational or clinical setting.
Now the students are testing and refining their two prototypes — the Sensory Chair™ and the Sensory Lounger™ — and have applied for a patent. The ultimate goal: to get the chairs into all Blue Valley schools and beyond, maybe even into homes and clinics.
The children love the chairs, said Keith Manbeck, a CAPS instructor.
“The first time we tested it, one of the kids was on the verge of a meltdown,” Manbeck said. “Then he got in it, and he just calmed right down.”
The chairs, Manbeck said, “are real close to being done.”
“We’ll hopefully put one at Timber Creek Elementary full time next semester,” he said.
Manbeck, a computer-integrated manufacturing instructor, said the chairs will be on display at a sensory fair at Morse Elementary School in April.
“It’s kind of been a well-kept secret,” he said. “Now we’re ready for the public to see them.”

It’s been well-documented that sensory therapy such as deep touch pressure can calm children with autism, reducing tantrums, meltdowns and hyperactivity.
Temple Grandin discovered that concept by way of a cattle chute.
Often described as the world’s most well-known and accomplished adult with autism, Grandin observed as a teen that the cattle on her aunt’s ranch became calm when they were put in a chute that squeezed them firmly as they were given their vaccinations.
She persuaded her aunt to let her try out the chute and found that the device had the same calming effect on her.
Grandin went on to become a leading advocate for people with autism and is internationally known for using insights gained from her autism to cultivate dramatic improvements in the livestock industry. Her story was told in an award-winning HBO film in 2010.
Grandin designed a “squeeze machine” that works like the cattle chutes, providing deep touch stimulation evenly and laterally.
Amber Englehart, an occupational therapist at Timber Creek Elementary School in Overland Park, said talk of such a device came up at a parent-teacher conference with the Jacksons. Their 11-year-old son, Joshua, is in the LIFT program, which serves children on the severe end of the autism spectrum.
“Joshua’s dad asked if I knew anyone in the district who either had a hug machine, the kind from Temple Grandin, or if any school in the district had one,” she said. “But I didn’t. They’re very expensive.”
That’s when they decided to approach the CAPS program.
Jackson, an entrepreneur with a background in engineering, is president and CEO of AnalyzeDirect, an Overland Park-based medical imaging software company, and has been a mentor to students in the CAPS global business program for two years.
He put together a presentation for CAPS students that included a video showing the difficulties faced by parents with a child on the autism spectrum. He also showed them clips from the movie about Temple Grandin.
“Basically, the stuff that’s on the market either does not apply enough pressure or costs way too much,” he said. “The Temple Grandin squeeze machine costs several thousand dollars. It’s about 5 feet tall and 5 feet wide, weighs 300 pounds and has a big, industrial-strength compressor on it. It’s very noisy and is impractical for a home.”
So he challenged the CAPS students to come up with a device that was lightweight, quiet, aesthetically pleasing and could potentially be used at home.
Manbeck put his engineering students to work. They brainstormed with Englehart and came up with several ideas before deciding on the current prototypes, using Grandin’s research as their inspiration.
The lounger was the first. It has a plywood base, an air mattress pump and cushions made of high-density foam.
They took it to Timber Creek Elementary to test.
“There were five kids who tried it, and not one of them wanted to get out,” Jackson said. “So we regrouped at the beginning of this semester and talked about what we could do to make it an even better design.”
Andy Vietti, a Blue Valley Southwest High School senior, said students observed children in the LIFT program to get a better idea of what sensory issues needed to be addressed. That, combined with the Grandin movie, she said, “really gave me an emotional connection to the project.”
After more brainstorming, the students came up with a new model.
They put inflatable airbags on top of a papasan chair, then placed a vinyl cover over the bags and a swimming noodle around the edges for more cushion. They topped it all with a removable blue cover made of stretch fabric and put a yellow drape with an elastic band around the bottom of the chair to cover the components.
The pressure is regulated by a hand-held remote. The district’s risk manager has checked the chairs out and determined they are safe.
The green lounger weighs about 70 pounds, while the papasan chair, at 30 to 40 pounds, is less cumbersome and easier to transport. The cost of either chair is expected to be just under $1,000.
The students have taken the chairs to Timber Creek Elementary several times for testing.
“Some of them were a little uneasy at first,” said Austin Edmondson, a Blue Valley Northwest High School senior. “But as it inflated around them, they enjoyed the pressure and embraced it. It was pretty cool. Just seeing how it helps the children has been incredible.”
Zach Naatz, a Blue Valley High School senior, acknowledged that the sensory chair project hadn’t been his first choice when he came to CAPS this semester.
“I really wanted to be on the aerospace project,” he said. “But then I read about this one and changed my mind.”
He said he wasn’t sure what to expect at the outset: “I hadn’t had a lot of experience with children with autism.”
But now, he’s convinced he made the right decision.
“I picked this project because I knew it was going to help people,” he said. “And then when I saw the impact it had, I really wanted to see it succeed.”

Now comes the next phase of the project:
“We’ve gotten to the point where we’ve proven the concept,” Jackson said. “Now we’ve got to prove that this is filling some void.”
If they’re able to demonstrate that there is indeed a market for the chairs, the students will develop a business model then take it to potential investors.
The global business students will interview parents of children with autism as well as occupational therapists in special education classrooms and therapy centers.
“This feedback will help us to understand the competitive landscape and the size of the market while generating ideas for improving the products,” Jackson said.
Manbeck said the project has blossomed.
“This started out as just an engineering project,” he said. “Then we brought in global business and digital design and photography and filmmaking.” Next, he said, they will add students from the medicine/health care and education programs.
As the students work to validate the market, Manbeck and Jackson said, they’ll continue making improvements to their models.
“Our plan is definitely to get them into the Timber Creek Elementary LIFT program, because they’ve been so helpful,” Jackson said. “Then I’d like to see one in all of the autism-specific programs in Blue Valley. And eventually, I would love to see one in every therapy room in the country.”

Meggin Finkeldei had to see the chairs for herself.
The Blue Springs mother dropped by the CAPS building on Dec. 5 after hearing about them. Her 9-year-old son, Jackson, has sensory processing disorder.
“About 95 percent of an SPD kid’s day is spent in fight-or-flight syndrome,” she said. “They get exhausted very quickly and have high anxiety.”
Finkeldei, who is a facilitator for an SPD parent support group in the Kansas City area, said it’s hard to find products that will help calm the children.
“Most of our equipment we have to build from scratch,” she said. “I love this, because it doesn’t look like a special piece of equipment. This could sit in the corner of a classroom and nobody will say, ‘Hey, that’s the weird kids’ chair.’”
Her fourth-grader stretched out in the lounger and grinned.
“I could just fall asleep in here,” he said. “It feels like a big hug.”
As she watched her son lying peacefully in the chair, she began to cry.
“I’m humbled that these kids have taken the time to do this,” she said of the CAPS students.
Trey Pellen, a senior at Blue Valley Northwest, said students have fondly dubbed the sensory lounger The Green Machine.
“I have cousins with autism, so this is kind of personal for me,” he said. “It’s taught me a lot about other people and to not take things for granted. It’s taught me that sometimes, small things are what really matter.”

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article5011941.html#storylink=cpy

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A comment on what dating can do for a person with aspergers

I saw this response from posting my article on linkedin.  I agree with it because I have lived it myself.

Thank you for pointing this fact out to everyone. I have two sons with both Aspergers and Autism. It has been amazing to see how dating has affect my oldest with Aspergers. The positive side of developing a relationship by dating for him has been motivation. What I mean by that is it has forced him to get out of his comfort zone. He would do anything to improve himself. The negative side is the improvement is for the approval of the other person. He has over come his social anxiety by dating. He also has studied and researched the behavior of popular male role models of love in history to try and teach himself the correct way to behave. 
My younger son, is now 20yrs old and has Autism. He is more concern with the relationship of his friends. When we talk he likes girls but feels that it is better for him to finish college before dating. He is my more practical child. He is the typical, sees things as black or white. 
It has and is a joy to watch these two grow into men. Oh, yes it is most difficult to watch them make mistakes in the choices. That is the hard part of being a parent, letting them learn and grow. 
Elizabeth Impastato,BS,CRT. 
IMPASTATO GALLERY & ART THERAPY/owner

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Dating and Aspergers: An introduction

Even though a lot of asperger people miss out on a lot of social cues, one thing they very often can pick up on is the opposite sex.  Having a relationship is a normal thing to do, and something I know a lot of people with Aspergers want to do.

The next few weeks I'm going to write some post on things related to dating for someone with aspergers.

Before I do so it is important to look at basic things.  First a person needs to be able to take care of themselves.  A wife or a husband are not someone who is there to take care of you (and they don't look forward to a lifetime of taking care of you).  Next on the social side it's basicly the guys who have to work really hard on this stuff, but having a relationship with a girl requires a lot of social skills (guys don't require as much of those things that a girl needs in a relationship).

I do not endorse everyone dating (because it can be hard for them.  I do endorse encouraging people to work on the skills needed for a succesful relationship so the person doesn't have to get hurt when a relationship doesn't work out (where if they don't have those skills a relationship will be very hard).

Stay tuned for more post in the future.