Saturday, July 28, 2012

Surfer Story

Today we started with songs about silly pirates and jumping fish.

When we sang, I saw a surfer.
The surfer was all grown up.
He was riding a wave like this.

Until today, I didn't think I could surf.

But today I surfed.

The surfer was me!

Only a short time ago I couldn't chew food.
But my parents opened the door to therapy – and I learned how.

Only a short time ago I couldn't communicate.
But my teachers opened the door to the joy of learning.

Only a short time ago I couldn't surf.
But Miss Paula opened the door to the world of imagination.

Through those doors I learned what it is to dream.
And I heard about another boy – another dreamer.

A boy named Clay Marzo dreamed.
And he became the world's best surfer.

Oh yes – along with being the world's best surfer, Clay Marzo also has Aspberger’s.

They made a movie about him. It's called "Just Add Water".
It's a surf film unlike any you've ever seen.

See for yourself. Here's the trailer. It's 3 1/2 minutes long

Here's the whole movie. It's 48 minutes long.

"He's not a great surfer in spite of his medical condition, but because of it." - Lisa Salters - ESPN

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Parrot Talk

Hello. I'm Pete, the talking parrot. I'm a friend of Miss Debbie's and we've come to visit. I sing and dance the "Squawk Walk". Awwwwwk! Hate to brag, but in some circles I'm known as an (ahem) "communication experience". So who needs Disney world?

Word is that you have some pictures of me and other things at your tables. What? You call them what? Pic symbols - Awwk! What are Pic symbols?

Oh...I get it...Pic Symbols came before Apps. Awwk! They're nothing but pictures. That picture of me on the right is pretty good, I'll have to admit. If you can't write or speak, you just point to the picture and then grownups know what you are trying to tell them — and vice versa.

Pretty funny, huh Camden? I know you're just a kid! Awwk! But you can point to pictures – even if you can't write or speak yet. You can point to "I want" and "crayon" and later your teacher can point to "clean up". It's just another "communication experience" – like me! Awwk! Lots of kids like you – even grownups – have learning delays of one kind or another. You know – things like autism, autism spectrum disorder, down syndrome, aphasia, apraxia and other tongue-twisters.

Guess what? Now they've put Pic Symbols on computers. You can press a picture of me and who knows where you end up? You might even learn something. Try it! Click on the parrot —>

Some computer Pic Symbols lead to Apps (Application software). I see you have Apps in your classroom: you've got them on iPads, on your portable TAP∙it and even on your wall-sized interactive whiteboard, the one you call the Promethian. Well, guess what again...I'm interactive too! Sometimes I can repeat back what you say.

And, so, Ellie, why do you laugh? Haven't I properly boggled your mind?

But enough about me. Let's talk about you. What do you think of me?...What's that? You don't think I can sing and dance? Well watch this video. And Camden says he wants to show us his own "communication experience" out on the play ground. And I my friends want to show off as well – on the Promethian.

Don't miss this!
On Sunday, July 15, CBS's 60 Minutes aired a powerful 13-minute segment on how Steve Jobs' iPad technology has opened the world of communication for the autistic. See Apps for Autism: Communicating on the iPad. Click here —>

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Don't Worry Be Happy

Don't Worry
It's like a silent movie played on a big screen in my mind. People move their lips but I can't hear them – and I don't want to. I don't understand your world. I'd rather live in mine. But I must work very hard to live in your world and sometimes it makes me feel very anxious. I'm afraid a lot – sometimes very afraid. Of what, I don't know. I really have no deep, dark secrets that can explain my fear. Nothing that can explain my panic attacks.

So I worry a lot.

I think in sounds. I think in touches. I think in pictures. My emotions are simpler than yours – less complex – such as happy, sad, fearful and angry. But fear is my main emotion. I think it's the main emotion in animals, too, such as dogs and cats.

I worry a lot, too.

Be Happy
And then I was the wind, blowing.
Did anyone see my trick?
I found no wrong with anything.

Somewhere a wish was rising,
Perhaps from between my laughing lips.
Why stop turning and turning
When right can be found with everything?

        ~ Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay – autistic poet

It's Simple: Don't worry – be happy!

I want you to like me the way I like you
If only you saw things from my point of view.
Your life and my life both run parallel
Yours seems like heaven, mine's sometimes hell.

Whenever you're frustrated at the things that I do
Remember - you could have been me and I could have been you.

       © from "My Name is Charlie", by Brian J. Webb, grandfather of a boy with autism. 2007

Summer viewing (4:21):
Temple Grandin On Mark Zuckerberg and Overcoming Autism