Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Look Me in the Eye

I read over the weekend “Look Me in The Eye” by John Elder Robison. It's about a man with Asperger’s Syndrome. At times it was hard to read his father was an abusive alcoholic and his mother was mentally unstable. He was sent to various therapists who often labeled him as anti-social, a psychopath, and even Schizophrenic.
He moves out of home at 16 and then goes on to design Ace Freehly’s fire-spouting guitars, creating some of the first electronic toys for Milton Bradley, falling in love, having a son, getting divorced, getting re-married, and starting his own career. He now owns his own automotive business, capitalizing on his interest in transportation machines.

This book was very painful to read because of the things that John Elder had to experience. He always felt like a fraud, he never could enjoy his accomplishments because he felt deep inside that someone would find out about the real him. He finally finds out he has AS when a therapist gave him a copy of “Asperger’s Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals”. When he read the book, he said the book perfectly described him.

Getting the diagnosis of Aspergers helped John to understand and accept himself. Also sharing with his community that he has AS allowed those around him, to understand him and embrace him.

Its nice to see someone with AS who is successful, both in business and relationships. However, sometimes the book is a hard to follow, it sort of rambles, I really didn’t like his chapter on mate selection, and at times its profane. It gives very good insight into the mind of a person trying to decipher social situations and deal with a world that just doesn’t seem to accept him. With that said I’d recommend the book with caution.


The Glasers said...

BONNIE!!!!! Sorry to side-track your comments here! Wait, I have a segue. Regarding, looking people in the eye. That is not the goal of RDI. The idea is for kids to watch what we are doing, what our hands are doing, what our heads are doing, and mouths, and eyebrows, and noses, and even eyes. When they can learn to "read" our body language, then they will have a reason look at us (to figure out the secret code NTs send to each other). Then they will have a greater context for what people are thinking because what we say is not always what we think. Then they will be more successful in their relationships. That is a natural consequence and does not require you to pass out M&Ms every time someone eyeballs you! LOL

I am so thrilled for you. Another good book is "The RDI Book" which you can order at the connection site.

The biggest things are to realize that the goal is to give your son opportunities to think. You do that by:

(1) slowing down, slow down the pace of interactions, slow down your life,

(2) start working on nonverbal communication (infants practice this for the first 18 months of their lives)--without nonverbals, we end up with people with autism who talk (usually in monologues, perseverative conversations, or drill-like Q and A),

(3) use declarative language (stating what you observe, think, feel)--in watercolor class, I will say, "Abbie is mixing her colors" instead of "Get out the red and blue."

(4) the focus is NOT activities; it is finding moments during the day when you can do (1),(2),(3) with a focus on process (being together) not product (learning a skill).

(5) recording yourself helps you see how things went; early on, I was so focused on me (changing my interaction habits), I lost track of Pamela. It was TIRING for me for a few months.

Lora said...

Hi Bonnie, I am trying to reach Rebecca because she sent me an e-mail in reference to me posting on my blog about your business blog. But she didn't leave me an e-mail address in which to contact her. Could you link me up with her please because I would love to do that for her/you.

I always welcome new and exciting information about autism to my blog. And you business blog is exceptionally informative.

Thank you,
Lora Aspiotis

Lora said...

Hi again Bonnie, I just read over your blog and it is fantastic! So much wonderful information! I only wish that you had a "follow" button so that I could follow your blog from my blog. Otherwise I am awful at trying to remember to stop by my favorite blogs if they are not on my list.

I have one on my blog and I think that you can access one for your blog through that one. I am at:
My Beautiful Child Griffin & Autism. Please stop by and tell me what you think.

Lora said...

I just posted a link to your blog Bonnie on my blog. Hope you get some new readers/followers.