Sunday, June 28, 2009

The sequel to Look Me in the Eye

For the past couple of years, I have pondered what sort of book should follow Look Me in the Eye. I actually went so far as to write most of a book I called Beyond Normal, which illustrated Aspergian thinking through stories. However, I could never convince myself that book was a true successor to LMITE and this spring I decided to put it aside and start anew.

I thought carefully about who my readers are, and what they would want. The answer just sort of came to me in the midst of speaking engagements at special needs schools and colleges. I realized that there is no inspirational guide to Asperger’s for teens and their families, and I resolved to write one.

I thought of this project as a sort of Beginner’s Guide to Asperger’s. I think the finished book needs a better title, but that’s its message. I resolved to write a book that you could hand to a teen who was just learning about AS, and he’d feel good about himself after reading it. Not only that, he’d have some useful ideas and he would have thought the thing was entertaining to read.

That book began as a two page outline April 29. Two months later, it’s a 58,000 word manuscript, well on its way to completion at about 70,000 words. This story has pretty much flowed out of me naturally, and I’m now on the home stretch. I’d like to share its organization with you, and as for your suggestions to take this book the rest of the way.

Here’s a brief summary:

I start with an introduction, which is sort of a ten-page life story. I assume people who read this book have not read LMITE, but if they have, that’s okay because they each stand alone. After meeting me, readers will continue on to chapters describing the autism spectrum, and the history of Asperger’s, including Nazis, Untermenschen, and the resurrection of the diagnosis in the 1990s.

I illustrate the three kinds of people who make up the world’s population: There are those of us on the spectrum, of course. Next, there are Proto-Aspergians who have some AS traits, but not enough for a diagnosis. They are what you might call common geeks. Finally, you have everyone else, the neurotypical or nypical population.

Next, I have a chapter explaining the Asperger diagnosis from the DSM manual. The official diagnosis is rather brief, and I’ve elaborated on what I think some of it means. I think my chapter length definition is both more entertaining and more illuminating than the official description, but that’s just me.

I conclude the first section with a story on fixable disabilities, which is how I see Asperger’s. It’s my belief that we Aspergians will always have different brains, and most of us suffered some degree of disability as kids, but we have the power to work our way out of disability even though we are always going to be different. At age 15, there is no telling where you can go. It’s all in our minds.

Part one kind of sets the scene: who I am, what AS is, and all that stuff . . .

The next part of the book illustrates Asperger’s through stories of my life. People seem to like the storytelling style of LMITE, and I’ve used that here but all these stories are set in the childhood-young adult age range so they have more relevance to the teen/family audience. Part two begins with list of Aspergian traits and references to chapters where they are discussed. For example, Bullying is discussed in Lobster Claws and Animal Wariness. So a person who wanted to know about that could just flip to those chapters and read them.

In the next few weeks, I am going to post the intro to part two, and you can see the final chapter names and what I’ve covered. With every behavior, I either show how I turned it into a competitive advantage or I describe how I minimized the disability and tried to find value in something.

That's pretty much how I go through life. I find places my strengths are appreciated, and build them up, while all the while minimizing my deficiencies (of which I have plenty)

For example, I show how my special interests got me teased as a ten year old, but my fascination with waveforms, music, and electronics took me to the top of the world in the music industry. I show how I made the best of my blindness to other people’s social cues, and how I found places where I could hold my own.

Some stories illustrate practical things, like how I learned to share. I talk about my high school dream - finding a girlfriend. And I have some funny stories, like what I’ve learned from pig racing at the county fair.

The third part wraps the whole thing up. I describe some traps Asperger people can fall into – entitlement, lack of self reliance, and victimhood. I explain the secrets of my own success, such as they are. With that, the book certainly comes to an upbeat and inspiring end. The ideas for this book really sprang from the programs I’ve been doing at schools. These are the kinds of things teens and teachers ask me, and of course my answers are very abbreviated when I’m speaking to a crowd. A book allows me to lay it out better.

After struggling all that time with the Beyond Normal idea, I’m surprised at the speed with which this manuscript has appeared. It has come out more like LMITE. Hopefully that’s a sign it will move into the marketplace in the same way, too.

Right now, I am writing the remaining stories for Part II. I have the whole arc of the thing worked out, and I’m filling in the details. I’ve got a few friends reading stories and offering suggestions, and I’m now turning to all of you for your thoughts.

If you were asked what you would want in a book for teens, parents, and teachers/counselors/doctors/etc, what would you say? Please let me know your thoughts and I will do my best to consider and integrate your feedback.

I’ll consider story ideas, philosophical questions, comments . . . anything at all.

It’s taken me a long time to get to this point, but now that I’m here, things are moving briskly. I expect to show this book to publishers later this summer.

49 comments:

Torley said...

Friendly greetings John — woof!

There've actually been some books re: Aspie teens on Amazon — but I think what will fundamentally stand out about yours is your unique voice. I just finished Look Me in the Eye on my iPod and found it inspirational and starkly humorous at times — I appreciated those moments, even more brought to life when I saw a video interview of you and your brother. In particular, you reading the audio version of your book adds nuances not captured by words alone.

About your new book... I'm particularly fascinated by "entitlement, lack of self reliance, and victimhood". I hate seeing Asperger Syndrome used an excuse for malicious and cruel behavior. This is what leads to the many "Asperger is a fad!" negative and misinformed views I've seen on the Net. As well as the stupid "There's no such thing as Asperger's, it's just people wanting others to feel sorry for their lack of effort to get along socially." With your perspective, you could go a long way towards educating people, and as I like to say, debunking the mindjunk.

The proto-Asperger part is intriguing, because like being queer, some controversially insist that to be an Aspergian is becoming more of a choice. I believe certain people are biologically wired and more predisposed towards geekdom than others, which is why it's important to remember the gradient of a SPECTRUM (vs. a polar ON/OFF state).

Anyway, I only know my own experiences in this world, while learning from others. You could very well have a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for Aspies here. I'd definitely include making the best of Internet resources; these tools were simply not available to earlier generations and they're more comfortable than face-to-face for many with AS.

Finally, I'd LOVE to talk with you more about this and contribute to your book. I'm a fellow Aspergian who champions the healing power of virtual worlds — foremost where I work, Second Life — I also blog actively and I rock out on synthesizers, using music as an electrifying conduit for self-expression. Let me know how we can amplify each other's awesome further!

jamtaylor said...

One thing teens don't realize, especially teens who don't "fit in" traditional environments associated with adolescence is that it gets a hell of a lot better after high school when you have more control over your environment and more choice in your path.

This can be seen in hindsight but isn't easily seen or heard while you are living it. So I guess my suggestion is to get the message across that it does get better in a more powerful way than just telling a kid to wait 5-10 years for things to get better.

Loved your first book, can't wait for this one, and love, love, love your photographs.

Jordan Taylor

Dr. Crapp said...

Looks very good so far! I can tell you that the one thing that I appreciated most about LMITE, is that the explanations of Asperger traits and symptoms are blended in with stories. When I read about the young John Elder, I was able to picture my son doing exactly the same things. I think for the audience you have already built up, this is a great continuance. As far as the descriptive chapters, I think that the "been there, done that" approach is far more educational (and entertaining). There is only so much that can be squeezed into a medical text book; the spectrum has so many shades of so many colors, that it's hard to single out each one. I am grateful that you are taking the time to clarify AS, not just as a diagnosis, but as a lifestyle. I am a fan of JER for life!

Jennifer said...

Hi John,

I am very very excited to see that you are continuing your writing on AS! Can't WAIT!!!

You've got it, parents, para professionals, professionals but most importantly those with AS themselves are always looking for the what now after diagnosis?

In working with pre teen- and teens with AS for years now (as well has having my own who is but 7 years old now), the kids always want to learn what MAKES them targets. They want practical suggestions on how to see the subtle signs of bullying that they are missing, before it gets worse and they get physically injured - often at school / going home from school etc.. They know about their gifts - but don't know how to incorporate them into a job later on or be respected for them beyond a "special interest because of their AS" They want respect and some want to be taught important tasks (cooking, cleaning) so they can become more self reliant on their own daily schedule at home so they can have more time to read or enjoy their special interests - without being bothered by their parents about breakfast/lunch on the weekends etc..

I'm often asked by parents the parent questions- will they be able to drive, what about puberty, girlfriends, marriage, children etc. Some are simple answers, others they have many more questions.

I remember about 8 years ago when I was first asked a bunch of questions I answered the best I could and then said- the best way to learn about AS adulthood is from an adult with AS who is willing to write about their personal experiences - at the time I cited Temple Grandin, Stephen Shore and more recently yourself and Daniel Tammet.

Ok so I've rambled on about a few thoughts. Hope this helps a bit.

Can't wait to read it!
Jen

cath c said...

as far as i'm concerned, you don't need any suggestions. i can't wait til my son can read it. quick work, too! it's taken me 6 years to write my children's fiction manuscript and it's only 30k. of course i took massive breaks from it. but then the aspergian tendency toward intense focus avoids that altogether!

ddugs9 said...
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ddugs9 said...

Hi John,
As a teacher, I'd personally like to thank you for providing us with a view into the world of Aspergers. It has was such a gift for me to see life as my students may see it, and this has better allowed me to be helpful instead of unintentionally hurtful. I can't wait to read your next book, and I think it's a wonderful idea to gear your writing towards Aspergian teenagers. Having someone who understands and relates to their experience, as well as offers helpful suggestions and tips will diminish feelings of isolation and confusion for many of these individuals.

My only suggestion would be to use the term "fixable disabilities" with caution. I like what you are essentially trying to say- that all people with disabilities have the ability to be successful if they learn how to navigate their disability, but along the lines of what you said- "you will always have different brains" I think it's important to note that a disability is not so much fixable as it is adaptable. I always tell my students that everyone's brain is like a computer- all of the computers work fine, but some are programed differently. The skills I teach them are designed to help them learn how to "override" their brains so that they can access the curriculum on their own. I always tell them that their brains will never change- they will always have a disability, but that they need to learn how to work with it. For example, my student who constantly changes words that look visually similar- like reading "the" for "there" needs to learn to constantly check for meaning as he reads. This child will always have this difficulty, but will be a success if he learns to accommodate for himself. I worry that the title of your chapter "fixable disability" may lead some students to believe that they can fix or change their brains, and subsequently, if their brains need to be fixed there must be something wrong with them. For these reasons, I think you may want to reconsider your terminology for this section of the book. Perhaps "adaptable disability" or something of the like would be a better fit?

Thank you again for opening so many people's eyes to the struggle of Asbergians. It is so important that we understand this population of amazing individuals. I am very grateful for your writings and continued advocacy. Keep up the great work! Deanna Conley

John Elder Robison said...

Ddugs, I appreciate your thought re fixable disabilities, but with all due respect, I don't agree with you.

It's true that we will always have differences in our brains, but it is not true that those differences will be disabling.

The example you gave - a kid who always swaps words in his mind - may indeed always hve that difference. He may have to pay closer attention to reading as a result. But will be be disabled by it as a grownup? Not if he's smart and focused.

One aspect of the fixable disability concept is that we make life choices that minimize the impact of our weaknesses. You see that kid as disabled because he's in a school environment where his readng deficiency is exactly that.

But what if he grows up and writes music, and that so-called disability leads to rhyme and melody? That could turn that trait into a gift.

What if his communication as a grownup is all spoken, thereby obviating the problem?

It is by no means obvious that deficiencies we have as children persist as lifelong components of disability.

I hope this clarifies my viewpoint. I will discuss this at greater length in the book, but I will say that I stand behind my concept of fixable disability.

Individual levels of success may vary but everyone can minimize their weakness and disability components through focus and life choice.

adamson1789 said...

I'm very excited about the new book! I had no idea it was even in the works!

My son is almost 10, diagnosed with Asperger's at age 7. He's an amazing child, reads on an adult level,and is just really a cool kid. I would be especially appreciate of a book like yours that would explain all of the things he might go through with stories. He knows what I've told him, what his psychologist has told him. And I agree that the part about victimhood would be so helpful. Sometimes when he does something or says something hurtful (because he doesn't understand that it was hurtful), he will think that he doesn't need to apologize because he has Asperger's and can't help it. This is where adaptability comes into play and I would love for him to be able to read a book by a fellow Aspergian that would explain that even though you didn't know at the time, now that you do know, you have to apologize and try to remember next time.

Also, the school counselors would do well to read your work. So many people in the school system don't even know what AS is. We are blessed to have our son in a school with a wonderful autism program, so the teachers and counselors know all about AS. But this past year was our first year there, and in the past, the teachers have not been understanding. The books that I have are very medical and wordy and hard to understand for a regular person. Truthfully, I couldn't even finish the books because they had lots of words, but they weren't really saying anything.

I think this book sounds amazing and would be useful to the parents, teachers, and the kids themselves. We also have family members who don't "get it" and just write my son off as "weird," so I would love to have something to offer them to read as well.

Thanks so much for the writing. I can't wait to read it.

Michelle S. said...

I can't wait for your next book and I think this idea will be so helpful and motivational for the teens who are struggling. I believe the ease that this book is flowing shows that is the right topic for you at this time. My son is classic autistic and isn't going to be having these same issues, but I still look forward to your unique perspective.

Stimey said...

I am so thrilled to hear that this is your topic for your next book. Teenage years are so hard (for everyone, I think), so a book like this is especially needed.

Also? I think "nypical" is just about the best word I have ever heard.

Amanda said...

I had LMITE for Christmas, read it and loved it, particularly the Varmint in the hole test story - that had me rolling and crying with laughter. As the mum of two girls with Autism I value any insight into what's really going on in the head of someone on the spectrum. It can only help me understand and help my girls Sometimes I wonder which category I fit into as it has become a bit of an obsession but in a good way I hope.

My girls will always be who they are, and as the world will not bend to their ways of being I have to give them the best strategies I can to not only cope but enjoy life.

Dejahmi by Beth Respess said...

I can't wait! I loved LMITE so much as it helped me understand myself, my family, the friends I'm attracted to, etc. I'll be preordering a copy as soon as it's available.

Something in the Autism Spectrum I'm trying to learn more about are Sensory Integration issues. My husband has pretty strong Sensory Defensiveness, but I am having a very hard time finding anything about it other than regarding children. By his age, adults are usually already seen as oppositional or avoidant, or to have anger management problems. But imagine walking around the world with the sensation of fingers on chalkboard from stimuli that isn't disturbing to others. I know I'd have a pretty short fuse, too.

Is this a part of the spectrum you cover? I don't remember you ever mentioning that it is part of the collection of symptoms you deal with.

Eric said...

John, I've been looking forward to your next book, and absolutely love the ideas that you are incorporating into it. My concern has always been the bullying that so many of us went through, and am thrilled that this will be a part of the book as well. I still like the original idea of Beyond Normal though and hope that this might be a future release, in addition to the new book. With your strong story telling abilities, I have no doubt that both books would be successes in their own rights. Again, many thanks for all that you are doing for the cause, and give my best to Augusten. Woof!

~ ANNE said...

Hi Jon, We met a few times in Burlington and did a radio interview during your time at the Book Festival on my autism,/disability radio program. . Haven't seen your blog in awhile. Signing up for TWITTER brought me here..I have a question. Some parents get very anxious on their little aspergians getting into their "fascinations" where they can't stop talking about a certain subject etc. I've read this also can come from anxiety. What's your take on this and should parents intervene and how? Thanks Jon. Can't wait for your 2nd book! Take care. Hope you'll follow me on TWITTER as I hope to reach far with The Next Frontier radio show. Your interview is an all time favorite!
Best wishes, ANNE Barbano

brickology.com said...

It's about freakin time!!!

jess said...

As you well know, I have been eagerly awaiting another book.

I have to say that while I see what you are trying to convey with the concept of 'fixable disability' I would agree with ddugs9 that the language is a little difficult to swallow.

I think ddugs9 said it well with "I think it's important to note that a disability is not so much fixable as it is adaptable."

Reading your defense of the concept, I see you making a case for adaptation. Following your example of a reading difficulty, the adult who finds a talent reading and writing music will still likely have trouble reading words. However, they have ADAPTED – they have, as you suggest, minimized their disability and leveraged their talents/ strengths. That doesn’t mean that they ‘fixed’ their disability, it means they have worked around it and found ways to ensure that it wasn’t an impediment. They also found the flip side of it, where they may have a strength that distinguishes them. But, that doesn’t make the challenge go away.

Of course, there are some disabilities that can be leveraged as strengths in and of themselves. Echolalia for instance – my daughter’s tendency to echo words and scripts that she hears is most often viewed as a challenge she needs to overcome. However, I recently heard her repeating Spanish words along with flash cards on TV. She sounded like a native. Difficulty or gift? Well um, yes.

I really look forward to reading the book!

JT said...

One of the issues that plagues my teenage Aspergian is the idea that there are things that are required of him that he doesn't want to do, or has no interest in: homework, reading non-preferred books (he loved Look Me in the Eye), chores, ... Do you anticipate discussing the fact that there are things that are required, "even" of adults, that we might not always want to do, but we have to do anyway? It would be great if this were addressed in the book!

Amanda said...

JT I think that's being a teenager, not aspergian!

John Elder Robison said...

Well, Jess, my idea of a fixable disability relates to the whole person, not a specific behvaior.

Take the example of speech. I describe a way in which a person might take his own particular difficulty with speech and turn it to his advantage.

I never said the difficulty with speech goes away. What I said is that the "disability" part is fixed.

Here's why: A kid who can't function in school due to a reading issue is disabled. Inability to function in one's environment is a part of being disabled.

If that same person, with greater knowledge and learned , places himself in an environment where he is fully functional, he isn't disabled even though he still has the underlying issue.

Dejahmi by Beth Respess said...

i think i get what you are saying, John - the underlying issue isn't fixed, but the fact that it has been disabling is fixed.

right?

AudraE said...
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AudraE said...

So great to hear you've got a new book in the works. Both your and your brother's books are among my all-time favorites.

I second JT's comment about addressing the need for the Aspie teen to "suck it up" and do things that don't necessarily interest him/her. It is such heartbreakingly hard work on the Aspie's part but that kind of exercise can really pay off.

For example, my almost-10-year-old has no interest in sports yet knows how much other boys his age generally do. So he's forced himself to become educated about our hometown baseball teams/players/records so he has some material for typical conversations. And interestingly what was initially a chore has slowly turned into a genuine interest (albeit probably more focused on the numbers and stats than most fans).

And he'll go out and shoot hoops if the neighbor boys are around even though he hates it and would never do it with his dad or brother just for fun...again just to create more common ground with the kids. Slowly he is connecting with his peers when prior to "force-developing" these interests he had a much harder time.

Keep up the good work. All the best to you.

jess said...

OK, not to beat a dead horse, but .. well, perhaps to beat a dead horse ..

While I completely understand the concept I still don't think that the term 'fixable' most accurately describes it.

The thing is, the disability itself remains the same. What has changed is the need for the skill set upon which the disability may have impinged. So while one may have trouble with something in one setting, it may no longer be relevant in another.

I'd argue that a good alternative might be 'situational disability'.

As you have said, a disability in one situation may even be viewed as a gift in another. The challenge then becomes finding the setting in which one's challenges may be redefined - something you have done with great success throughout your life.

Either way, I still can't wait for the book. :)

Cheryl Kauffman said...

I have told many stories from LMITE to my 12 year old aspie daughter. She said it gives her hope she can become a successful adult. But for now, she has no social skills and wants nothing more than to make friends. She had a horrible year of being bullied her first year of middle school, and the school doing nothing about it. We are putting her in a private school next school year that specializes in teaching kids with ADHD/Aspergers. Hopefully with other kids like her, she won't be a target for bullying and she will make friends. We will look forward to your book.

The older, larger and non-famous John Stewart said...

i am so excited about reading this book with my son! thank you, thank you, thank you!

Cynthia Bronco said...

It's great that you invited input! Thanks! I've secretly wished there were some classification for myself as it might help me navigate through things, LOL.
I've always known I had to work the hardest to blend socially, and gain "social graces." My responses are always to make light, and be flip and witty. On the other hand, I have to avoid emotionally upsetting things, because I will, for example, bawl at "heartwarming" movies and therefore avoid them.
In one section of LMITE, you wondered about hypocrisy in reactions to world events, etc, but in truth, and I see this magnified in my son's reaction to things, some things are so upsetting that I can't even look at the headlines, have to turn off the radio when a horrible story comes on, etc., when it involves thigs happening to children. It was magnified greatly in those first years after childbirth when my hormone levels were running amok, and I always wondered if that had something to do with it. I expected I'd be emotional, and wrote it off to that (e.g. having to look away from roadkill).
On this end, I'm not the most socially gifted, but I've come a long way. I wonder what I've exchanged for that. :)

Cynthia Bronco said...

P.S. In school, kids used to ask me, "Why are you so weird?" on a regular basis. For the most part, I knew they liked me and were asking in earnest.

Ythanya said...

John I would really like to see some of the following:

Your views and advice on becoming a man in the context of Aspergian traits - so many of the young people I work with have few role models for this and the first person accounts are predominantly female - although there are more male accounts like yours surfacing.

Some examples of successful relationships that were guiding and formative - tips on finding the right person to look up to.

An exploration of the changing balance between responsibility and authority during adolescence.

Lots of examples of doing - I think this is what was so about LMITE - you gave examples of the doing - the mechanics of it all - describing your interactions with people, technology and machines using similar language across the domains.

Dejahmi by Beth Respess said...

As a person with a physical disability, the more I think about it, the more I agree with you, John. An illness, or syndrome, is not the same as a disability. I have a genetic disorder (it won't go away or be fixed) which causes, among other things, my pulse and blood pressure to be very unstable. I haven't been able to work for 7 years b/c of this. I am continually working with doctors to stabilize my symptoms as much as possible, and starting my own business which allows me to work from home at my own speed and rest whenever I need to. If these things are successful, then my disability will be gone (just ask the Social Security Administration) even though my illness will not.

I had never really thought about it in these terms, but I think John has hit on something important here. AS doesn't need to be fixed, only the way it is dealt with in order to allow ease of function in a society that doesn't understand it.

Kathy said...

ok-this is in your request for input-humbly submitted-I imagine that one of the sharpest pains for these kids is that they are alone and feel so different-which is why your writing is so important-but having anything in there about how there are places and ways that they can connect socially and feel not wrong all the time--

Kim Stagliano said...

Wonderful, John. Looking forward to the finished product. Or an ARC. Or an MS?? Hint hint. :)

Michelle O'Neil said...

I love the idea for your next book John. I love the idea of taking Aspergian traits and using them to one's own benefit, etc.

I would also be interested in any anectdotes about how not to be taken advantage of. Any tricks up your sleeve in that area for kids on the spectrum?

Suzanne B. said...

Thank you again for helping to illuminate the mysterious brain of my 5-year-old son for nypicals like me. I shed some self-pitying (and Momma-Bear-protective) tears today when he was "kicked out of" rock and roll day camp because the counselors couldn't figure out how to get and keep his attention. ("I mean, he doesn't respond to his name," she declared indignantly, and I couldn't help but wonder what boring crap they must have had planned for him to not be interested at a camp that was supposedly dedicated to his favorite subject/activity. Or maybe he was just completely overstimulated in a new environment with 11 new kids...) While I enjoy the irony that my son is the most likely of the day campers to end up in a music career, precisely because it is an industry that embraces difference, it still makes this mom sad that her son will soon figure out that certain doors are closed to him for reasons beyond his (and my) current ability to control.

That said, I hope your new book will include some advice for parents like me on how and when to introduce the concept of our child's specific difference/diagnosis to him. My son attends a model early childhood special education inclusion program, where 6-7 kids with an IEP and 10-12 nypical peers learn together in classrooms co-taught by regular ed and special ed teachers. Considering that I can't always figure out which kids are "different" in his class, I'm not sure what he understands yet about his own situation. I don't want to add a label so early that he thinks that term defines who he is as a person; nor do I want to let it go so long that he's anxious and confused because he feels that something is different but no one is voicing it. We may talk about the fact that it's hard for him to sit through a movie in the theater and assure him that we understand that it's loud and exciting, but we don't label this difficulty as "because you have autism spectrum disorder." Instead we have started taking him to sensory friendly showings (where he won't be admonished for not sitting still or staying quiet), and we praise him for how long he DOES stay focused.

Based on how helpful LMITE was to me, I am confident your sequel will be invaluable to me and, eventually, to my son. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to offer suggestions!

Suzanne B.

KMC said...

Hi John-
My 12 yr old son was reading 'Born on a Blue Day' by Daniel Tammet recently when he yelled out "EXACTLY!" . Very similar to his reaction to LMITE. He is inspired to read and relate to similar minds. For me, I can take the eloquent words of Aspergian authors and guide his educators and others to understand what I can't explain very well. So thanks from both of us for your new book and your blog!

Samwick said...
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John Elder Robison said...

Samwick, I can always count on you to step in with a ton of negativity, to bring us all back to earth.

What would you have me do? Tell people they are all going to be dismal failures?

While I sympathize with the plight of less successful people, I also see that we have SOME degree of control over our destinies.

And one key component to success at any level is a positive attitude, an attribute that is absent from your own posts.

When I read your response, it's as if you want to revel in failure and isolation. Don't you want something better? And if so, wouldn't it make sense to work toward it?

Samwick said...
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Samwick said...
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Jenni said...

You're writing another book!? That's freaking awesome. I only JUST picked up your book today, because I have been meaning to read it for some time now, and I'm only a few pages in and I'm hooked.
...I don't know if I have Aspergers. Sometimes I feel like I do, but I don't fit the general tendencies, but sometimes I wonder.
I have NF1, and I suppose that's what has lead to such social....ineptness. But it's funny. I feel like I don't have enough NF to fit in with the NF crowed, or Aspergers-y enough to fit in with that crowed (is that offensive? If it is I am sorry) So where am I?

...So I'm reading this book in hopes I can really understand what it is like to have Aspergers, because I want to understand it. I don't like to be one of those people who are like "Well, I have -this condition-" or something, without TRULY understanding it.

Anyway, I'm meandering and prattling on, but seeing others comment I think it will be okay. If it's not, many apologies and best of luck with your new book. I am so looking forward to reading LMITE!

Darci said...

I always start to say something on here but there always seems to be such a clamoring crowd. It seems like an NT discussion where I am typically afraid to speak although I desperately want to. In the end it just doesn't seem worth it and life goes on. I think there are probably a lot of Aspergians like me. I feel like a lesser Aspergian. My Psych uses William Glasser "reality therapy". It has helped me a great deal but I find it odd/ironic even in a group of Aspergians I still feel the odd-woman out.

This more than likley makes no sense but here it is......

Bernie Folan said...

Very much looking forward to this.

As a parent of and wife of a couple of yet-to-be diagnosed possibe Aspergians, I'd like something for parents. Not tips, as there are books of those. But maybe some funny recollections from your own parents/childhood. Things can drive me mad at home but often I step back and it can be very funny to realise how accustomed I've become to behaviours.

Also, something about how to help NT school kids understand how the world may look different for their peers. What education can there be for them to 'get it'. Some suggestions for professionals, teachers..

Thanks!

cath c said...

Darci, go ahead and speak up. at least in this format, no one will get impatient for you to to say what you need to say and no one can interrupt. thanks for your honesty.

for us 'nt' types, it's helpful to hear what anyone on the spectrum has to say, and us parents want to soak up anything that will help us see into the minds and feelings of our kids.

kyra said...

wow. no suggestions here just a bunch of cheering! it sounds wonderful, clear, inspiring, instructive, and entertaining.

i love that you're targeting the teen population, a grossly overlooked group. i'm still a fan of RDI type teaching and i think it's extremely helpful for ALL ages. something you can't really speak to from experience but something that i think is critically important for AS teens and adults to know about. it's a different way to work with what isn't working (for lack of a better way to say it) than the more cognitive approach you've taken. not that one or the other is better. choice is always my big headline!!!!

Darci said...

Well evidently everyone thinks the group they deal with/are is grossly overlooked.

I have been thinking and I would like to know more about how you, John dealt with knowing you had Asperger's intially or possibly shared stories from other people who were diagnosed in their 30s and later. I would like to know more too about how other adults who live and work in the "mainstream" deal with the distractions and sensory overload and even how they cope at work/school.

I have gone back to school and they keeps asking me what I need help with and I really don't know, no one ever asked me before I just dealt with it or avoided it if I coudln't. This has lead to me being underemployed and constanly second guessing myself.

I guess I have always considered you the spokesperson for Adults with ASD. There are virtually no resources out there for adults with very few exceptions.

My fantasy is local support groups throughout the US for everyone. If only to possibly have someone to relate to.

I am one that has the video tape memory and frankly it makes life extrodinarily painful because most people forget things. I know that is normal with NTs and some Aspergian's as well but it doesn't always make it easy to accept. It would be great to relate to others and honestly a new experience for me and I am sure others.

Darci said...

Now for the second guessing sorry if I repeated/duplcated anything. I am at work and have to start and stop a lot so don't get to fully read some of the prior posts.

Perri said...

Loving your book! (Halfway through, started it yesterday) Some of your experiences resonate with those I've had as a mother of a 17 year old and teacher of middle schooler Aspergians.

More of hearing what is going on inside your head when you're acting in socially unexpected ways is what I would ask for in your next book. For example, your explanation of what was going on for you as you were smiling about the neighbor's story of a kid hit by a train was particularly helpful.

I appreciate your positive, empowered perspective on Aspergers and compensating. I, too, have not been comfortable with using the term "disability" in my work or with my son.

That you've arrived here with a lot of challenges early on makes it all the more inspiring. Thank you for sharing, and continuing to share, your journey!!!

jessicaley said...

I am sooo happy to see that this next book will be coming out. My son is 10 years old and I would LOVE to have something for him to read. I have been searching for answers to help him with whatever "it" is and never knew until I started reading LMITE. I felt like it was written about my son. Thank you for having the courage to tell your story.

skipper said...

I get where Samwick is coming from, I think. LMITE is a brilliant read, but your story is too unlikely to inspire a socially isolated, disconnected, non-savant Aspie like myself. Sometimes it was frustrating, to be honest. Your book doesn't acknowledge those of us who aren't genuises (at least not in any meaningful way); but I understand that you are telling YOUR story, not mine. You've led a remarkable life.