"We, the one's who are challenged, need to be heard. To be seen not as a disability, but as a person who has and will continue to bloom. To be seen not only as a handicap, but as a well intact human being."
"Know me for my abilities, not my disability."
"Being born with a disability, can sometimes be a struggle, but it is the ability to overcome such a challenge, that makes it so worth the fight. NEVER GIVE UP!!!"
- Robert M. Hensel
Thought it would be so inspirational to link to quotes and articles written by famous people who faced
difficulties in their lives, like learning disabilities and other differences. Many are coming forward to share their stories,
hoping to encourage, inspire, offer some advice and even resources. We were amazed by what we found online.
These highly successful people not only surmounted the obstacles in their lives, many are helping to make a difference
in the world.
The very accomplished Robert M. Hensel may have Spina Bifada,
but he's also a Disability Activist and a Poet who was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.
He holds the Guinness & Ripley's world record for the longest non stop wheelie in a wheelchair, which
helped him raise money for wheelchair ramps in his Community.
He has this to say: "As a disabled man, let my life be a reflection of the endless amount of ability that exists in each
and everyone of us."
" Consider the following four dead-end kids.
One was spanked by his teachers for bad grades and a poor attitude.
He dropped out of school at 16. Another failed remedial
English and came perilously close to flunking out of college. The
third feared he'd never make it through school--and might not
have without a tutor. The last finally learned to read in third grade,
devouring Marvel comics, whose pictures provided clues to help
him untangle the words. These four losers are, respectively, Richard Branson, Charles
Schwab, John Chambers, and David Boies. "
Have you heard about Dr. Temple Grandin Ph.D.,
Assistant Professor of Animal Science, Colorado State University,
who credits thinking in pictures for her success.
As an autistic, she was almost institutionalized in childhood.
Another well-known autistic, international best-selling author Donna Williams, who holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Education,
offers counsel to parents and auties.
"Those who have read any of Donna Williams' books will know that she is one of the most articulate and perceptive writers
on autism today." -
The Guardian - Sept'06
Video on a Hero
Hope from (J-Mac) Jason McElwain, an autistic hero
On July 15th, 2006, Alex Bain reached East Point PEI and became the first autistic to run across PEI from tip to tip.
The goal was not only to raise awareness of autistics and their abilities, but also to raise funds for
Dennis Debbaudt's Safety Training and Education Seminars on Prince Edward Island.
Dennis Debbaudt is an internationally recognized expert on law enforcement and safety for autistics.
He'll be talking about how to identify and respond to an autistic person, and how to keep autistic children
safe in the home and community. The seminars are free of charge.
Recently we found an article that offers a different perspective on autism,
written by the parent of an autistic child. Morton Gernsbacher is
Vilas Research Professor and the Sir Frederic Bartlett Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
She is President-Elect of the American Psychological Society.
... research demonstrates that autistic traits are distributed into the non-autistic population;
some people have more of them, some have fewer.
History suggests that many individuals whom we would today diagnose as autistic - some severely so -
contributed profoundly to our art, our math, our science, and our literature. "
-- Morton Gernsbacher, parent of an autistic child.
Autistic Advocacy - Frank Klein
has articles, editorials and links on Asperger's Syndrome and autism.
He's written this excellent article that answers so many questions. I hope you'll take a look at it. Here is an excerpt:
Autism itself is not the enemy... the barriers to development that are included with autism are the enemy. The retardation
that springs from a lack of development is the enemy. The sensory problems that are often themselves the barriers are the
enemy. These things are not part of who the child is... they are barriers to who the child is meant to be, according to the
developmental blueprint. Work with the child's strengths to overcome the weaknesses, and work within the autism, not against
it, to overcome the developmental barriers. "
-- Frank Klein, autistic
And then there's Michelle Dawson,
Research Associate at the Pervasive Developmental Disorders Specialized Clinic at the University of Montréal,
and an autistic herself, who's written a very eloquent brief to the Canadian Senate Standing Committee
on Social Affairs, Science, and Technology:
THE WORD IS OUT ABOUT AUTISM - Canada in the Era of Autism Advocacy
She's also written this extraordinary article on the unethical treatment of autistics
and other human beings with differences, past and current, in the name of "science",
THE MISBEHAVIOUR OF BEHAVIOURISTS.
Is this an autistic trait?
Can you see the hexagon on the right embedded in the figure on the left?
Autism Diva announced she could
during a Distinguished Lecturer Series held at the UC Davis MIND Institute,
and was told by Dr. Frith that she probably has weak central coherence.
Omigosh!! I can see the hexagon too! But then again, so can anyone paying close enough attention.
(If you can't, it just may be because the graphic isn't clear enough. I'll try to find one that's sharper.)
Children in fact love to be challenged this way, to find the hidden picture.
Weak central coherence?!!
Looks more like a strength. In fact, just discovered that something called the EFT - Embedded Figures Test -
is used as a standardized measure of cognitive style and analytical ability. Also found the following:
THE PERFORMANCE OF ENGINEERING STUDENTS ON THE GROUP EMBEDDED FIGURES TEST
"The ability to disembed has been shown to be a necessary skill in problem solving and is consequently,
thought of as a necessary trait for individuals interested in engineering."
So when are these so-called experts in the field going to figure out how to help autistics
reach their full potential, and contribute their strengths to society, rather than denigrate their abilities and discriminate against them
for being different.
Not all autistics are savants, but the following man is.
A genius explains "Daniel Tammet is an autistic savant. He can perform mind-boggling mathematical calculations at breakneck speeds.
But unlike other savants, who can perform similar feats, Tammet can describe how he does it. He speaks seven languages and
is even devising his own language. Now scientists are asking whether his exceptional abilities are the key to unlock the
secrets of autism. " Interview by Richard Johnson
Saturday February 12, 2005
"Recognizing and respecting differences in others, and treating everyone like you want them to
treat you, will help make our world a better place for everyone. Care... be your best. You don't have to be handicapped to be different. Everyone is different!"
- Kimputer, Kim Peek, inspiration for Rain Main.
"I may be the star, but you are the heavens." - Dustin Hoffman dedicates his Oscar to Kim Peek.